The “pencil mustache with a goatee” is a vintage style infused with a modern twist. It’s a phenomenal choice for men looking for a simple, subtle way to turn some heads.
Although the term refers to a particular look, it does encompass a wide variety of styles. The pencil mustache is a core component of them all but there are some key differences.
For example, the chin beard is connected to the pencil mustache in some and disconnected in others. We’ll be touching upon what options are available later on.
Overall, it isn’t particularly high maintenance and doesn’t take much time to groom. Its subtlety is one of its main benefits.
You’ll learn what it is and why it works. Then I’ll run you through a brief tutorial on how to trim this glorious facial hairstyle.
Let’s get to it.
What Is The Pencil Mustache And Goatee?
The best way to explain it is by breaking it down into its two core components – the pencil mustache and the goatee.
The pencil mustache is exactly what you’d expect – a mustache so thin that it looks as though it’s been drawn on with a pencil.
It was exceptionally popular during the Golden Age of Hollywood, with many huge stars of the 1930s and 40s wearing one on the silver screen.
The pencil mustache could be “single” or “double”. A single pencil mustache consists of a single strip running smoothly above one edge of the upper lip to the other.
A double pencil mustache is parted with a tiny gap in the middle. This was the very, very popular during the Golden Era.
Although it’s far less popular than it used to be, in recent years it has made somewhat of a resurgence. But it has done so in combination with a different style – the timeless classic that is the goatee.
The term “goatee” means different things to different people. Its definition is constantly changing, which is why it’s more appropriate to think of it as a collection of different styles.
In general, the term can be used to label any style that consists of hair on the chin but not on the cheeks. As long as it fits that profile, the style can be safely called a “goatee”.
Putting the two components together, the “pencil mustache with goatee” refers to any style where the mustache is pencil-thin and there is hair on the chin but on the cheeks.
The chin beard could be long, medium, or short. It could even be pencil-thin as well. There is so much you can do with a goatee that although the mustache is fairly straightforward here, the chin beard can take many different forms.
Examples Of The Pencil Mustache With Goatee
It can be difficult to visualize without etching the image into your mind first. Here are examples of this glorious style in full force.
It’s important to note that the mustache and the chin beard can either be connected or disconnected.
A lot of men find it difficult to make these two connect in any case. A disconnected style may be a phenomenal solution to this endlessly frustrating problem.
As I mentioned earlier, although the stylistic options with the pencil mustache itself are fairly limited, the goatee gives you so many options. Click here to check out my other goatee grooming articles.
You could have it stubble length, short, medium, or long. You could carve a well-defined soul patch, or remove the soul patch altogether. You could add a chinstrap, or a grow some sideburns.
The picture above is actually a great example of the “pencil mustache with a soul patch”. The soul patch is the tiny patch of hair that lies right beneath the lower lip. You may already have one and don’t even realize it.
But a lot more can be done with a soul patch than you may initially think possible. It can be carved into a variety of shapes – circular, oval, triangular, etc. When a soul patch is carefully-defined and neatly-trimmed it really is noticeable.
Combining a neat soul patch with a solid pencil mustache is usually a great way to go.
The options truly are endless. A goatee really is a phenomenal way to complement a pencil mustache.
How To Trim A Pencil Mustache With A Goatee
For the sake of this tutorial, we’ll be trimming a pencil mustache with a goatee that’s of stubble or short beard length like the ones in the pictures above. Yes, the goatee can indeed be grown longer but that would be a different tutorial altogether.
Longer goatee styles do come with additional grooming requirements such as brushing, combing, and oiling. But let’s keep it simple for now.
You’ll need an electric trimmer or clipper to do this routine. Make sure the one you choose has the length attachments that will enable you to trim as long or as short as you need.
To exfoliate is to remove the dirt, excess sebum, grime, and dead cells from the top layer of the skin. Most trimming routines should start with this step, particularly if it involves a significant amount of shaving.
It can be done using a physical exfoliating scrub, or a chemical exfoliant wash. The whole process only adds 30 seconds to your routine but can have a profound effect on both the experience, as well as the look and feel of the outcome.
This is mainly because it allows the blade to move effortlessly across the skin with nothing obstructing its path. What this does is reduce irritation and allow for more even cuts.
Get into this habit early and you’ll be thanking yourself for years to come.
2. Trim your entire beard down
You may all be starting this process from very different points. Perhaps you have a fuller beard, or perhaps you already have a mustache and goatee and you simply want to define and perfect it.
Regardless, your first step should be this – trim all of your facial hair down to the length you ultimately want for your mustache and goatee.
Yes, this includes areas you’ll be shaving later on in any case, including any cheek hair or neck hair you may have. You’ll probably recognize this counterintuitive step from my other goatee tutorials.
The reason I encourage this is that it’s much easier to carve out a goatee outline (as you’ll be doing in the next step) when all of your hair is of an even length.
So, choose what length you want your pencil mustache and goatee to be. The pencil mustache works very well at lengths shorter than 6mm. Let’s choose 5mm as an example.
Set your electric trimmer or clipper to 5mm – the device will either have an adjustable dial or detachable guards.
Trim all of your facial hair down to 5mm. Feel free to vary the length a little in certain parts. For example, if your chin beard is thicker than your mustache, trim it a millimeter shorter to make everything look more even overall.
3. Trim the goatee outline
Now it’s time to sculpt the outline of the goatee itself. What we’ll be trimming in this tutorial is a straight forward Full Goatee that consists of a connected mustache and chin beard encircling the mouth.
If you aren’t able to connect the two, don’t worry. It looks just as good when disconnected.
In fact, a disconnected style will draw even more attention to the isolated pencil mustache.
If you are disconnecting the mustache from the chin beard, be sure not to trim too much off the edges of the mustache. The edges should just reach the corners of the mouth on either side.
The sides of the goatee should follow the angle of the mustache downward on either side. This natural curve should ensure the sides aren’t too vertical.
What you use to trim this outline depends on what you have available. A detachable T-blade would be ideal, but the naked blade of your usual trimmer or clipper would also work. In other words, take any attachment guards off of the device and start trimming.
Once you’ve outlined the goatee sides using the naked blade of the device, trim all of the cheek hair on either side.
Then, define the neckline. The neckline should lie approximately two finger-widths above the level of the Adam’s Apple. Once you’ve outlined this with the naked blade of your device, trim off all of the neck hair beneath it.
4. Define the pencil mustache
If you don’t have a T-blade, this is best done using the naked blade of your trimmer or clipper again.
What you want to do is increase the gap between your nose and your mustache. This is what gives you that pencil-thin effect. The bigger the gap, the thinner the mustache.
After deciding just how thin you want your mustache to be, start making gentle trims downward from the top of the mustache. Be careful not to trim the mustache too thin, as mistakes here aren’t reversible.
It’s easier to do this if you gently stretch your upper lip down over your teeth to tighten the skin beneath your mustache. This will allow you to see exactly what you’re trimming.
The pencil mustache should gently angle downward on either side, almost following the same angle as the border of the upper lip.
If you wish to make a parting in the middle and create a double pencil mustache (as described above), this is the time to do it. Trim a tiny gap in the middle to reproduce that glorious, vintage feel.
5. Trim any stray mustache hairs
What this refers to are the little stray mustache hairs that creep over the border of the upper lip. This is always, always unattractive and needs dealing with.
Even at lengths as short as this, you’ll most like have a few of these strays that need snipping. Although this is best done with a neat little pair of mustache scissors, again, the naked blade of your device is good enough.
If you’re using your clipper or trimmer blade, carefully make tiny little cuts just above the border of the upper lip. Be careful not to trim into the bulk of the mustache itself.
This should neaten things up very nicely.
6. Shave to perfect it
There are some areas you want completely clear of hair, such as the cheeks, the neck, and the gap between your pencil mustache and nose. The naked blade of a trimmer or clipper can only trim so short.
It’ll barely be noticeable, but it’ll still leave around 0.4mm of hair. If you want perfection, you’ll want to shave over these areas.
Shaving these areas will make the style much more impressive. The cheeks and neck will look smoother and the borders of the pencil mustache and goatee will be better-defined.
Simply using a manual cartridge razor is fine for this. Be sure to lubricate well with shaving oil or gel. Keep the skin moist to minimize irritation and reduce nicks and cuts.
You could also use an electric shaver, although these can be pricey and aren’t always necessary.
To define the borders, a straight razor is always best but does take some getting used to. If you aren’t comfortable with using one, a cartridge razor is also fine.
Shave the cheeks, the neck, the gap above the pencil mustache, and any other areas you want completely clear of hair. This may include the area either side of the soul patch as well.
Moisturizing is crucial to ensuring your skin remains happy. Trimming and shaving can irritate it significantly – be sure to slather on a good amount of moisturizing cream after every session.
Just like exfoliating, make it a normal part of your routine.
A fairly long article for quite a niche style – but I think it’s well worth it. You’ve seen what it looks like and the different forms it can take. You’ve also learned how to trim it if you decided you wanted to do so.
Although it’s a shame that the pencil mustache alone has fallen out of favour, it’s great to see that it’s making its way back into the mainstream in combination with the goatee.
Hopefully, you found this useful. Thanks for sticking around until the end.
Have fun with it.
Ready Sleek founder. Obsessed with casual style and the minimalist approach to building a highly functional wardrobe. Also a fan of classic, vintage hairstyles.