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How Can I Grow a Mustache that Won't Make Me Look Like a Douchebag?

"Movember is here! What's the facial-hair style of the moment that won't make me look like a total douchebag?" —Mark M., Greenport, NY

Dude, anything goes: a horseshoe, Vandyke, muttonchops. It’s Movember, and you’re raising money for cancer research. Just don’t grow a Hitler ’stache, have fun, and you’ll be fine. But if you’re looking for facial hair to keep for the rest of the year, know that there is no facial-hair style “of the moment.” The fact that you even ask that makes me wonder if you’re a hipster. (Never, ever, grow a mustache because you think it’s ironic or clever.)

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For most guys, I’d always recommend a nice kempt beard. Not bushy thick, but also not too manicured. It has to look somewhat natural, so avoid the George Michael lines.

For length I wouldn’t go longer than a quarter of an inch. That’s maybe two weeks’ growth. And please, goddammit, shave your neck. But be careful, because your neck is sensitive: You need to go with the grain, not against it, or you’re going to get a razor burn and ingrown hairs. (Most guys’ neck hair actually grows up, or in another weird direction.)

Also, remember to follow the corner of your jaw and below your ear. I’ve seen too many guys try to pull their beards down further cause they’re insecure about their neck wattle or double chin.

If you create a line that follows your jawline, it gives more structure to your face. And if you do grow a mustache, remember to trim the thing. It should never go in your mouth.

Shorty Maniace is the proprietor of J.P. Kempt Barber & Social in San Francisco. Send your questions to

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