Hirsute for Happiness

All things facial hair, styling and gentleman's grooming

Styling Your Handlebar Moustache

FineFettle Beard Conditioner
Time to correct the corkscrew

I’m approaching the year anniversary of my handlebar moustache, its been a truly fascinating and liberating experience and one that I recommend anyone taking part in.  Of course there have been times of woe with poor product application, more user error than product fault, days when the mo wont go and even terrible decisions to trim.  One of the reasons that I started this site was to share in this journey and to show both sides of wearing a great moustache, its easy to share pictures and tales of a life enhanced by beautiful facial hair but to share the downsides is another thing.  Its easy to get disheartened by the absolutely stunning moustaches out there when your facial hair is deciding to go all wonky, with curls going in different directions, or the dreaded corkscrew leaving you reaching for the scissors or putting a bag on your head.  Fear ye not good sir, below are my tips on how to style your handlebar moustache as I do it, so step away from the scissors and put that ski mask back in the drawer.  I’m not saying that this a miraculous offering, it may not work for you.  Genetics aside there are many factors that will affect your ability to get a good styling, the local weather, your diet but the biggest is how you approach it.

Over the last week or so I have had a couple of chaps on my various social feeds asking me for tips on styling or facial hair care but mostly asking what wax I use to get a certain look.  My answer is always the same, its not the wax that gives you your style as all a wax will do is set what you have going on.  They key is your routine before you even warm your wax, so here is what I do.  I’ve added pictures but I am aware they are not great quality, I would love to get a video together but until then I hope this will suffice so please sit back and get ready to practice.

If there was such a thing as a Moustache themed Desert Island (sounds pretty awesome) the things I would take are a brush, conditioner of choice but THE most important tool is a hairdryer.  A number of guys I have chatted to online do not use a hairdryer and I didn’t until I joined the Handlebar Forum looking for help and I have not looked back since though I do admit on owing my wife a new hairdryer.  If you are resistant to this then all I will say just think about a hair salon with banks of ladies sat under dryers “setting” their style.  Now I admit some of these ladies will have a had a blue or purple rinse, that’s up to you if you want to go for that look but the reason they sat there reading an out of date magazine was all about getting the look.

Facial hair is tougher to set or style than head hair, if you are like me you most likely have a moustache that seems to go in a different direction everyday, one thing I do have consistently is a forward curl or corkscrewing of my right side but given a bit of time with the hairdryer I can get a pretty symmetrical look.  Here follows how I get the best out of a bad situation.

IMG_20131011_110641Firstly  its imperative that your hair is wet before you try and style it, if you think of your moustache like a wicker basket the only way the willow will flex is if is rehydrated allowing a number of shapes to be created.  It is then left to dry and sets firm, your facial hair is the same so I walk wet faced from my morning shower with drips of water cascading off my tash.  I assess my moustache and look at things to see which side needs more work and also to see if there is a certain style in the making and go with it, its key to work with what you’ve got.


IMG_20131011_110756The next step is to define your centre, I use a Kent Moustache comb for this but any fine tooth comb will do.  Once you have done this use your fingers to slowly tuck and roll your moustache visit this great site to learn how to do it.

You will notice a slight upward tilt of your handlebar as you perform the above step and this is key to either use or discard depending on whether you want a curl or not.

IMG_20131011_110832Next is to bring the tips together by using the above tuck and roll technique and pulling the hairs out towards your ear, if you want a tighter curl aim for the top of your ear or should you prefer a straighter look pull out towards your jawline. Now here comes the hairdryer, its very important not to have a high heat setting as you do not want to burn your hairs because this will dry them out, also going to work with 3rd degree burns on your cheek is most unbecoming! Aim the hairdryer on low heat setting so that it blows along your moustache out towards your ear, this will help to lay the hairs outwards but be sure to focus on the areas that need more encouragement to style. One trick I found that works well for the corkscrew is to puff your cheek out in the “Half Hamster technique” but this also helps to enforce a slight inward natural looking curl and builds on the start of the curl you noticed following the earlier step. So now puff out your cheek as in the picture and then hold the tips of your curls in tight to your face As you are doing this imagine you are chasing the water out from the centre along the hairs towards the ear but focus mainly on the curl for now. I then centre the heat directly on the curl by moving the hairdryer out at 90° to the face so that you are coming in from the side.

IMG_20131011_110823Here’s a front view of the same step above.




IMG_20131011_111347Lastly we put the finishing touches to the curl, and a bit more from the dryer.  Finish off by drying the centre hairs and remember to push tuck as you go.

If during styling its not quite working as desired you can wet your hairs again and try to convince the hairs to do as you wish.

This will take some time to perfect but it works really well for me and I hope you get something from it, below are a couple of pics of the moustache without any product.  I will work on some wax application posts and how best to condition your facial hair very soon so please do check back, but until then have fun and play with your face in the Hirsute For Happiness!

To see the video for this please have a look here


FineFettle Beard Conditioner



A man with a moustache and beard on a mission to review as many products as possible. Please read this http://hirsuteforhappiness.com/hirsute-happiness-review-process/

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12 Responses

  1. Craig says

    Hi again Stu,

    Bit late here but I must acknowledge your beverage solidarity in the spirit of my previous apres wine bar posts. I hope your celebration was epic, sounds like it was. I haven’t heard aff-mo before and it’s led me to several private chuckles and musings. Here in the states the culture is far too racially sensitive to get much mileage out of that one in public but it’s fun nevertheless, since I’d only be making fun of my own mo-dreads.

    I would love to offer more enlightened comments on products and experiences but I think I should give these more time to give more accurate thoughts. I purchased bearded bastard’s; Woodsmans which I find to be smooth in application and w/ very good hold. I’m not sure if I deem it a campfire smell or something like a bit of cigarette. I also got Boston Beardworks, Devils Choice, for certain outdoor events. Haven’t tried it yet though.

    I couldn’t have chosen these without you, thanks for being so AFFable. Craig

  2. Craig says

    Hi again Mr. H4H

    I was rereading the tuck and roll method you describe and link to. I haven’t done it this way, perhaps I should modify my technique since you are much more experienced. What I do briefly, is to paint the underside of my moustache with warmed wax via a toothbrush. I’m using Dubs Firm wax and so far I’ve had no trouble with “fangs”. But I don’t have the gentle roll that you display either.

    My moustache is only about two inches long and it really fights to turn into a beginner handlebar by the end of the day. I mean it just wants to turn up, but I’ve had designs on a style that turns down, (fu manchu). My question is about the gentle roll down and under for the front center area of your display. Is this rolled shape an integral and mandatory component of a handlebar? Is this feature mandatory or simply best for a style (fu manchu) which endeavors to traverse the upper lip without dipping into one’s mouth or even below one’s upper lip.

    Though I’m from the states, I suppose I’m seeking a stiff upper lip towards these ends. But to be fair the Dubs has remained pliable. I’m probably splitting hairs here… a little closet perfectionism probably. Thanks for any consideration that you are able to give to this perhaps unimportant distinction. Craig

    • hirsuteforhappiness says

      Hey Craig. For the Fu Manchu you need to style the hairs downwards with the haidryer, also you may need to grow out some more hairs than you currently have , see here www.worldbeardchampionships.com/fu-manchu-2011/

      The rolling technique is probably not best for you as in rolling the hairs you are creating an upwards shift if that makes sense. However look at the first video where I style the hairs downwards with the hairdryer for the English style, this may be better for you. Craig can I ask are you on Facebook? Add me please :)

      • Craig says

        Stu, thanks!

        What a clear and enlightening answer to my somewhat convoluted question. I agree that I should be growing the stache as earnestly as I can. Not to sure how to do that without becoming red in the face however.

        The only major social site that I am on is twitter. I haven’t tweeted yet, but I do follow many olympians. It’s amazing how whenever one finds himself down, that a check with these olympian’s tweets is so overwhelmingly positive that one just has to see the world in a new light. If someone says, “Yay I GET to go run 8 miles and after that I’ll go for some weights!” It makes my stroll down to the post box seem so much more within reach for me, lol..

        I’ve also refrained from subjecting the internet to my photo, at least until my moustache is closer to my mental ideal. All of your product testing and advice have certainly been a very positive influence towards my ultimate style ends. (I’m imagining my evil Bond villain mu hahaaa laugh as I contemplate my ultimate style ends..) Craig

        • hirsuteforhappiness says


          I really do appreciate you asking questions and it makes me happy that my reviews have given you some food for thought. I can understand your reluctance to be on the social sites, I only wanted to connect with you there too but I am happy to chat here when you get back from the wine bar ;)as always thanks for taking time to have a natter

          • Craig says

            Hi Stu,

            Should one comment after a wine bar..? I suppose everyone reaches a stage where in one hand there’s the wine and in the other the scissors. Ok maybe not, but I’ve decided to order a couple more waxes based on your reviews. I wasn’t unhappy with my original choices but your descriptions seem compelling so I guess I’m curious as to what they’re like.

            Oh yeah, scissors.. My mustache is definitely reggae curly and I’m starting to think a fu manchu is not going to work. All my visions of villainy dashed! Watching your videos I get the sense that you have fairly straight hair. Anyway, I wonder if a handlebar might work for me.

            Do you have any knowledge of anyone with curly hair pulling off a handlebar stache?

            I’m leaning this way because it’s an awesome style and my moustache hairs curl upwards at the end of the day, no matter what the compilation of products that I apply. I’ve even tried “got to bglued” though I reject it’s unnatural ingredients list. (Still curled up before day’s end.)

            Thanks for providing so much inspiration via the attention that you’ve given to your reviews, etc.. Craig

          • hirsuteforhappiness says

            Hello sir, apologies for my delayed response but my calling with a number of alcoholic beverages rendered me useless for all of yesterday. Though it is of course a shame to hear that your villainous desires have been thwarted I really do like the sound of a reggae moustache, an aff-mo if you will.
            So what waxes did you opt for? In answer to your styling and my hairs I think you have to go with what you have got. I find my hairs are quite straight but this is partly due to my training and care regime as some mornings it’s a birds nest. I’d love to see a picture in order to aid you more, email me one if you wish.

            Once again thanks for stopping by

  3. NoWaxWeek - Love Your Natural Moustache | Hirsute for Happiness says

    […] or so they think!  I believe that you can create a great style using the hairdryer as in my styling article and in doing so you can enjoy the freedom of a natural but well styled […]

  4. Patrick says

    Fantastic guide! And an awesome website! Ill certainly keep myself posted to your product review:) Have just had a quick look before bed! Clean website, tidy and really easy to find everything:) And the background is a really nice touch! I am looking for a beard/moustache balm that I can use instead of the oil, just for a change. any advice?

    By the way, this is pkfardal from Instagram!

    • hirsuteforhappiness says

      Hey Patrick, Thanks for checking the site out and your kind words mean a lot to a lonely blogger! I have only tried one beard balm and it worked very well, it was by Mens Face Stuff but I haven’t done the review yet. I’m sure you could find a local balm though

  5. Justin Hartz says

    Awesome! Thanks for sharing your story!

    • hirsuteforhappiness says

      My pleasure, hope it was of some use to you

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