A Comprehensive Guide to Growing a Pencil Mustache

What do Johnny Depp, Burt Reynolds, Henry Cavill, John Waters, and Eddie Murphy have in common? 

They all make movies. 

Yes, that's correct. But, is that all? Not really!

Each of them also elegantly rocks a pencil mustache.

A pencil mustache is one of the most attractive and iconic mustaches to rock. It has a long history as it has been sported by popular figures as far back as Clark Gable and David Niven. Its elegance remained high over time, and it has also been worn by modern hip and trendy stars.

Read on to find out what a pencil mustache is, what styles exist and how can you grow one! 

What is a Pencil Mustache?

A pencil mustache is a style of neatly clipped facial hair that's typically grown out on the upper lip. It may feature a gap between the nose and the mustache. 

Back in the mid-1800s, pencil mustaches were initially done using wax. Its popularity has sharply grown over time, from the Victorian Era to the roaring twenties and even until this day.

The style is a notorious go-to option for several legends of the big screen. It is sinister and devious, yet fantastic. Just take a look at Michael B. Jordan in Black Panther

What are the Types Of Pencil Mustaches?

There are two variants of pencil mustaches: Single Pencil and Double Mustache.

A single pencil is a mustache that stretches from one end of the upper lip to the other.

The double-pencil mustache is grown and groomed in the same way as the single-pencil, but it presents a gap between the two sides at the philtrum (the indent above the upper lip). This gap can be added to the mustache using a trimmer.

Another popular variation of the Pencil Mustache is the Dali Pencil Mustache. This style features a thin pencil mustache with its ends curling and pointing upwards. This variant may be either single or double because its main feature is the very thin strip and curl.

This classic style was made popular by artist Salvador Dali during the surrealist art era, in the early twentieth century. In his eponymous book, "Dali's Mustache", Dali explains that all the other styles didn't seem to fit his taste, so he came up with a new idea for men’s facial hair. 

Famous People Who Wear or have Worn the Pencil Mustache

A very short list of famous persons who have rocked the pencil style mustache are:

Vincent Price 

Vincent Price was an actor and horror icon. He played in many movies such as House of Usher and The Fly. His pencil mustache is both distinguished and quite thin! At first glance, you can easily think it was drawn with a pencil. 

Salvador Dali 

Salvador Dali was a very famous painter, well-known for his distinct artworks in surrealism. He introduced his iconic mustache in grand style to the world and received great acclaim. His mustache style remains iconic across the world. 

Michael B. Jordan

Jordan, the Creed star, has rocked a pencil mustache for quite some time. He's been sporting a pencil mustache regularly, as well as a chin beard or goatee on occasion.

John Waters

The movie director’s famous pencil mustache has been in existence for over four decades. With a pencil-thin mustache as distinctive as his pervasive works, this is certainly one of the most recognizable in Hollywood. 

George Orwell

In his 1946 essay titled Politics and the English Language, George Orwell wrote: "Never use a long word where a short one will do."

Orwell adopted the same principle when it came to keeping a mustache. He is among the most notable persons who have sported a pencil mustache.

Things to Note Before Going for a Pencil-Thin Mustache

Before you get a pencil-thin mustache, you should note the following:

  1. Avoid shaving your facial hair for at least two weeks before attempting to trim your mustache into the pencil style.
  2. During this period, avoid mustache wax. This will give your facial hair time to grow out so that it can be easily tweaked when you begin styling or trimming your mustache.
  3. If you have hairy cheeks, shave off any excess hair around them so that they'll be easier to shape and contour.
  4. Another thing you need to take into consideration is how your pencil-thin mustache will look on you as it develops. Not everyone's face has the same shape, so one style may not suit everyone. Keep this in mind because if you try sporting just any type of pencil mustache without giving any regard to the shape of your face, you will likely end up with an unnatural result.
  5. When trying to achieve a pencil mustache, it's important to know before starting that the mustache may not necessarily start as well-defined as one would like. It may take several weeks before seeing a noticeable mustache development. This might even take longer for those who have very little facial hair.
  6. Lastly, it's important to remember that grooming a perfect pencil mustache takes time and practice. If you don't get it right on the first try, do not get discouraged.

With patience and determination, you too can grow a pencil mustache with little difficulty. Just remember to follow the steps given in this guide if you want to see great results in minimal time.

Items You'll Need to Style a Pencil Mustache

  • Electric trimmer
  • Good pencil sharpener 
  • Beard comb
  • Beard Brush
  • Pre-shave oil
  • Beard balm
  • Shaving cream or gel
  • Beard oil 
  • Mustache wax
  • Eyebrow Pencil

How to Trim out a Pencil Mustache?

Growing a mustache does not need any special tips and tricks as most men grow one naturally. The question though is how to trim one into a pencil style.

If you want your new pencil-thin mustache to look good and not get in the way of your mouth, you must trim it properly. This is necessary to keep your facial hair in good health and prevent deep ingrown hairs, which may cause an infection. 

Ensure that your mustache has filled out well enough before trimming it to your preferred pencil style. If you try to trim your mustache before letting it grow out, you may end up with bald patches because the hair is too short at that point. 

The best time to trim a pencil mustache is right after a shower or as soon as you get out of the shower because the hair is softer and easier to remove without pain or damage.

This section provides detailed steps to help you grow a perfect pencil mustache:

Steps to Follow

  1. Decide what style of mustache you want to have.
  2. Prepare your face just as you would for regular shaving. Moisten with warm water or place a hot towel on your face to smooth the facial hair and prepare your face for grooming.
  3. Shave your beard neatly with a gel. Don't shave your mustache just yet, though.
  4. Trim your mustache to a thin level.
  5. Shave the trimmed area into clean edges, being careful not to touch the mustache.
  6. Now, using an electric trimmer, trim the mustache into a pencil shape.
  7. If you want to try a style that involves a gap between two halves of your mustache, then trim very carefully in the midline gap.
  8. When attempting to balance the hair on both sides, do not go overboard.
  9. Shape out your desired mustache style while using a pair of grooming scissors.
  10. Carefully use scissors to cut off any stray mustache hair that is falling onto your upper lip.

Tips for Maintaining Your Pencil-Thin Mustache

The tips below will help maximize the health and look of your mustache hair:

  1. Use a mustache wax or oil. 
  2. Avoid putting your mustache near the mouth during eating, drinking, smoking, etc.
  3. Always keep it away from direct moisture and heat.
  4. Do not apply hairspray directly to your mustache because it will cause the hair to harden and remain stuck in that shape.
  5. If you have very curly facial hair which grows in many directions at once, then the beard growth may need to be checked with regular shaving.
  6. Do not pluck out stray mustache hairs when styling with mustache wax as this can result in bald patches over time.
  7. Avoid using a blade as your main tool for trimming because it can irritate the skin and lead to infection if used incorrectly.


Now that you know how to style and maintain a pencil mustache, make sure you remember to trim it often. Use combs as well for proper cleaning and grooming.

Also, give a nice sheen and smell to your mustache with specialized oils. Now, you've got all you need to rock the pencil-thin mustache with style and confidence.





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