How to Trim a Moustache

The ‘stache is back. If you’re joining the likes of Hollywood celebs, rock stars, and generally stylish men about town in the moustache crew, then you’re going to need to keep yours in shape, well-defined and generally well groomed. Keep reading and Cremo’ll tell you how to trim a moustache properly…


There are a number of preparatory things you should do before you even start to think about trimming your moustache.

Let’s take a look…

Grow out your moustache

Before you can reach for scissors or a trimmer, you first need something to actually trim!

If you want to be able to properly trim, shape and style your moustache, we recommend first growing it out to at least 2 cm in length.

To provide a bit more context to this, you want your moustache to be thick, full and definitely not patchy.

Depending on your genes, age, and skin, as well as other factors like nutrition and general health, it can take a longer or shorter period of time for your moustache to reach the stage where it’s ready to be trimmed and styled.

Whilst it’s hard to be exact on this, you’ll generally ‘know it when you see it’. For the average man, it will take about two to three weeks for their moustache to fully take shape.

Make sure you have the appropriate kit

‘Be prepared!’ It’s become a well-worn phrase precisely because it is so true.

For the best moustache trimming experience, you’re going to want the following bits of kit close at hand:

Moustache scissors

As is probably fairly obvious, moustache scissors are the most important things you’ll need for trimming your moustache. Resist the temptation to skimp on cost and use regular scissors - not only are regular scissors often far too big to be accurate, but they can be dangerous too.

When selecting a pair of moustache scissors, ensure you select a pair with a sharp tip (which will help you trim with precision), but not so sharp that they can cause you injury.

Beard trimmer

If you’re not comfortable using moustache scissors, then an alternative way of trimming your moustache is by using a beard trimmer.

Should you go down this route, you’ll need to select a beard trimmer that has a removable comb and which allows you to apply the head of the beard trimmer directly to your skin.

Given that you’re going to be working on fine detail, you’re going to want a beard trimmer that has a small head, allowing you to trim your moustache without cutting too much.


This sounds like an obvious one, but make sure you’ve got a mirror!

Not just any mirror, either.

As anyone who’s tried to shave or groom using a compact mirror, you’ll get the best results if you’re looking into a large mirror that allows you to see your whole head at once.


A comb is an easy way of preparing your moustache before you start trimming (be that via scissors or a trimmer).

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Whilst it may be tempting to use a regular old comb on your moustache, you’ll get much better results if you use a dedicated beard comb. That’s because your moustache hair is different from the hair on your head.

Being coarser, you need a comb with much finer teeth. When pulled through moustache hair, the finer teeth will better tame the hair ahead of it being trimmed.

Beard oil

Contrary to what some people may think, beard oil is an absolute essential when it comes to preparing your moustache ahead of trimming.

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As we’ve written previously, beard oil has many benefits, including nourishing moustache hair and making it more supple and easier to groom and - ultimately - trim.

In order to buy the best beard oil for your moustache, look for oils which contain a mixture of carrier oils and essential oils. Aside from this, you should also look for beard oils which contain natural rather than synthetic ingredients.

Shaving cream and razor

If you want the rest of your face to be clean shaved aside from your moustache, then you’re going to want the very best shaving cream and razor to hand.

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For the cleanest, smoothest shaving experience, we’d recommend buying a shaving cream and razor that are designed to work together. That way, you’re more likely to have a nick-free, razor-burn free shave.

It’s a question of style

Once you’ve compiled all the necessary kit and grooming products you’ll need to get your moustache ready to trim, the next step is to think about what style you want to wear your moustache in.

Should you be in need of a little ‘stache-spiration’, we’ve detailed some of the most popular styles of moustache below.

The OG

If your dad had a moustache when you were growing up, he more than likely wore it in the ‘original style’.

For those of you who may not be familiar with the ‘original’, it’s very much the standard type of moustache that sits just above the top lip and which extends to your ‘nasolabial folds’ (the creases in your skin that extend from both sides of your nose to the corners of your mouth - also known as ‘smile lines’).

The pencil

The pencil moustache is a super thin moustache which sits just above your upper lip. As its name suggests, a pencil moustache is thin enough that it looks as if it could have been drawn on with a pencil…

The horseshoe

Resembling an original style moustache, but also with two vertical ‘bars’ of hair extending down either side of the mouth (sometimes all the way to the chin), the horseshoe is a classic moustache style which has recently seen a revival - particularly in certain alternative subcultures.

The handlebar

Widely regarded as being the ‘hipster’ moustache du jour, the handlebar is a moustache which has been grown out at either end and styled so that each end curves upwards.

Such is the popularity of the handlebar moustache, that it even has its own club - The Handlebar Club. They describe this particular style of moustache as ‘a hirsute appendage of the upper lip and with graspable extremities’.

The gunslinger

Combining a horseshoe moustache with flared sideburns, the gunslinger is a moustache which has been made famous by rock stars such as Lemmy from Motörhead.

Variations on the gunslinger include joining the horseshoe moustache up with the sideburns to create a single ‘gunslinger beard’.

The royale

The royale - which can also be known as the royale goatee or royale beard - is an original moustache combined with a chin and soul patch. The hair that makes up the chin and soul patch is usually kept rather short - at most about 2 cm or half an inch.


Covering the entirety of the top lip, the chevron is shaped like a… well, chevron. The easiest way to think of the chevron is to picture a classic original moustache that has been somewhat grown out to become slightly wider and bushier.

Famous wearers of the chevron include Freddie Mercury, the lead singer of Queen.

A step-by-step guide to trimming a moustache

Have you decided what style of moustache you want? Then it’s time to start the trimming process…

Shampoo and condition

Start the whole process by giving your moustache a deep clean with shampoo and conditioner.

Apply a small pea sized amount of shampoo to your moustache and rub it into the hairs using a circular motion. Once thoroughly lathered up, rinse the shampoo out using plenty of warm water.

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Once completely rinsed, it’s time to apply the conditioner. As with the shampoo, apply a small pea sized amount and rub it into your moustache in a circular motion. Once thoroughly applied, rinse out the conditioner using plenty of warm water.

You can make this whole process a lot quicker and more convenient by using a 2-in1 shampoo and conditioner. Perhaps the best example of this is Cremo’s 2-in1 Cooling Shampoo & Conditioner.

Finish by towel drying your moustache.

Tip - it might be tempting to skip this step, but washing your moustache softens up the hair’s follicles as well as your skin. This makes it far easier to trim your moustache.

Comb your moustache

With your moustache now freshly shampooed and conditioned, it’s time to grab your handy beard comb.

It’s important to give your moustache a proper, thorough combing as it straightens the hairs meaning that when they’re cut, you’ll get an even finish. It’s for that reason that your barber is continually combing through your hair as they’re making cuts.

With your moustache thoroughly combed, it’s time to move to the trimming stage.

Trim time

It’s at this point that we need to dispel a myth. Many people believe that you should trim your moustache whilst it’s wet.

Don’t! Moustaches look longer when they are wet. If you trim your moustache when it’s wet, you are likely to cut off more hair than necessary - ruining the look of your moustache.

Instead, only begin trimming your moustache when it’s completely dry.

Okay, is your moustache dry? Then we’ll take you through each step of the trimming process.

Trimming along your top lip (the bottom of the moustache)

The first part of your moustache that you’ll want to trim is the part which sits immediately above your top lip (aka the bottom edge of your moustache).

If you’ve been growing your moustache for two to three weeks, then you’ve probably reached that annoying stage where hairs are beginning to grow over your top lip. Now’s the time to sort it!

Let your face drop into a completely relaxed, expressionless position. This will mean your moustache is sitting in a natural position. With your face in that expression, you should use your moustache scissors or trimmer to cut along your top lip line.

Hold the scissors or trimmer parallel to your lips and make small, gradual cuts. Work from the outside of your mouth towards the centre. Remember, it's easier and better to make many small cuts rather than trying to make a single long cut.

Trimming below your nose (the top of the moustache)

Next, it’s time to trim along the top of the moustache. Begin by trimming directly under your septum (the very middle part of your nose between your nostrils).

You then need to work your way down along the top lines of your moustache. Like when you’re cutting the bottom of your moustache, make short, gradual cuts. Use your smile lines as a guide as you get to the outer edges of your moustache.

Depending on the style you’re attempting to achieve, you’ll need to go deeper or shallower with the trimming of the top part of your moustache.

For example, if you’re aiming for a pencil moustache, then you’ll want to trim quite a bit down your top lip. Likewise, if you’re going for an original moustache, you’ll want to make minimal cuts, keeping the top of the moustache as full as possible.

Reducing the volume of your moustache

Once you’ve trimmed the top and bottom of your moustache - and you’re satisfied with the shape and outline you’ve achieved, it’s time to control the volume of your moustache.

The best way to do this is to use your beard comb to comb into and then up and away from your moustache. Imagine you’re doing a kind of ‘swooping’ motion, whereby you’re pulling the hairs of your moustache up and away from your skin.

Where hairs extend past the comb’s teeth - trim them off. Keep doing this in a consistent motion across the entirety of your moustache, and you’ll end up with a moustache that is of consistent volume throughout.

Should you be using an electric beard trimmer, then it can be easier to fit one of the trimmer’s combs and simply go over your entire moustache. This will achieve a consistent volume - but make sure you select the right length comb! Remember, it’s better to cut too little than too much.

Tidying up

The final stage of trimming a moustache is to clean everything up. Use your razor and a very small amount of shaving cream to shave the skin around your moustache. You particularly want to shave any stray hairs on your cheeks.

Tidying up like this will highlight and accentuate your moustache - providing a much cleaner, sharper look.

It also pays to turn your attention to your moustache again.

Use your beard comb to comb downward through your moustache and look for any longer hairs you may have missed previously.

Check from multiple angles, too. Turn your head and check to see if you’ve missed any extraneous hairs. Trim any you find accordingly.

For this final tidying up phase of the moustache itself, it’s best to use scissors rather than a trimmer as you’ll need to make very fine, precise cuts.

Tip - there’s one important thing that applies throughout the entire moustache-trimming process; speed. Always take your time! Trying to rush things can easily end in disaster, at worst leaving you having to shave off your moustache and start again…

Moustache grooming tips

Aside from periodically trimming your moustache, it’s important that you also groom it on a regular basis - especially if you want your moustache looking its best.

‘Top up’ trimming

Although you don’t have to go ‘all out’ and have an intensive trimming session every week, you should at least carry out what we call ‘top up’ trimming once or twice a week.

When you’re shaving the rest of your face, look out for long hairs or sporadically grown hairs in your moustache. And, trim them!

Shampoo and condition your moustache

It can be all too easy to forget to shampoo and condition your moustache. After a lifetime of only washing your hair, you can easily overlook the need to clean your moustache.

However, if not washed regularly, moustaches can be home to a build-up of dead skin and other bits of detritus. So, to keep things fresh and clean, keep your tache as well as your head well shampooed!

Use face scrub

To truly exfoliate your moustache - as well as the rest of your face - invest in a good quality face scrub.

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Over time, dirt, oil and various other debris can build up in both the pores of your skin and your moustache.

So, in addition to regular shampooing and conditioning, use a face scrub to achieve that extra level of ‘deep clean’.

Use beard oil

We’d recommend applying a small amount of beard oil to your moustache every day.

Using beard oil on your moustache not only keeps the hairs well nurtured, but it’ll keep the skin under your moustache well-moisturised and less likely to become dry and irritated.

When applying beard oil, it’s important that you do so thoroughly. A casual application won’t work. Instead, you really want to rub the oil into the follicles of your moustache (the follicle being the root of each hair). This ensures the beard oil works its full magic!

Cremo: astonishingly superior

For all of your moustache care needs, choose Cremo. Our barber-grade products feature the highest-quality natural ingredients that let you put your best face forward.

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For more moustache, beard and grooming advice, explore the Cremo blog