How to Shave a Horseshoe Mustache

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Horseshoe Mustache | Image via Flickr
Horseshoe Mustache | Image via Flickr

Probably originating in the Wild West among cowboys, gamblers, and cattle rustlers, this bold mustache has graced the lips of icons like Hulk Hogan, Goose Gossage, and John Travolta. Perhaps because it makes me think of cowboys, and becoming a cowboy is my oldest childhood dream, I think the horseshoe is one of the best and just downright coolest mustache styles there is. The horseshoe mustache is also called the “biker mustache” because of its popularity amongst motorcycle enthusiasts. Pro wrestlers are fond of this style as well. But how does one sculpt a horseshoe mustache? And how can you be sure this style will even look good on you? Here is an easy step-by-step guide on how to shave a horseshoe mustache.

Horseshoe Mustache | Image via Wikipedia Commons
Horseshoe Mustache | Image via Wikipedia Commons

Before we begin, let’s make sure we all understand exactly what a horseshoe mustache is. The horseshoe mustache is a mustache…shaped like a horseshoe. Wow! Glad we had this talk.

Seriously, though, the horseshoe mustache stands out because of its unique shape. It extends to the chin but not past the jawline. Be careful not to confuse it with the Fu Manchu, which grows on the upper lip, hangs down loosely past the chin, and creates a wise, old Kung Fu instructor look. The Fu Manchu is a great look but not if you want to look like a cowboy. Also, don’t confuse the horseshoe with the Pancho Villa—a fuller, bushier mustache resembling that of the famous Mexican general. Especially steer clear of confusing the horseshoe with the slightly more dapper handlebar. The handlebar curves up on the ends while the horseshoe extends down to the chin. 

I should caution you that the horseshoe mustache doesn’t work so well for folks with long or oval faces. Horseshoe mustaches tend to elongate your face, so make sure your face doesn’t have enough elongation of its own. If you have a round or short face, by all means – proceed.

Before we get down to business, make sure you have all the necessary tools. There are billions of different options and every source I looked at recommended using a different tool or set of tools. I considered all the options and eventually decided to bring it back to the basics. Here’s what you need:

  • A full beard:  Yes, you read that right. This article isn’t called “How to Grow a Horseshoe Mustache”; it is called “How to Shave a Horseshoe Mustache” and for a reason. Unlike many other styles, this one isn’t cultivated over time; it is sculpted out of existing materials. Think of yourself as Michelangelo. You’re creating art. Two to three weeks of growth should do the trick.
  • Clear shaving gel: Ordinary shaving creams foam, making it hard to see what you’re doing when you shave. Since you want your mustache to be symmetrical and have nice, clean lines, you should consider using a clear shaving gel. Additionally, clear shaving gels soften your hair and moisturize your skin.
  • A trimmer: This handy apparatus helps you get those clean, straight lines necessary for a perfect mustache. Since trimmers aren’t blades, they are much gentler on your skin. Women often use precision trimmers for delicate shaving on their eyebrows or upper lips, but don’t be intimidated by that; they sell lots of precision trimmers for men.
  • A shaver: I recommend an electric shaver that is gentle on sensitive skin and cuts very close. In this realm, you have a choice between a foil razor and a rotary razor. A mini foil shaver is great for an overall shave and leaves a consistent pattern. A regular razor will work, but I recommend a mini foil shaver for best results. If you don’t have a mini foil shaver, or don’t want to go out and buy something new, rotary shavers are fantastic too.  The rotary shaver is great for getting into all the nooks and crannies. The round blades shape your ‘stache just the way you envisioned it. Again, you can use a regular razor, but a rotary will help you in difficult places, especially under your lower lip.
  • An edger – The edger helps clean up your look and avoid messy, jagged edges. Beard edgers are similar to trimmers, only smaller and more precise. For facial hair like the horseshoe especially, with precise lines and a defined shape, I strongly suggest using an edger over trying to make do with something else.
  • A pair of scissors – for cutting away the wiry, rebellious hairs. Look for a pair of small facial scissors. The short blades allow you to get in close to your face. 
  • Aftershave – It’s just generally good to use aftershave. It cuts back on dry skin and razor burn and, if nothing else, it makes you smell sexy.

Step 1: Make a Battle Plan

Hold it! Put that shaver down! Remember that you can always shave off more, but you can’t put back hair once it’s gone. So don’t start shaving until you know how thick you want the final product. There isn’t one perfect width for a horseshoe mustache, but if you make it too bushy, you’re bordering on having a Poncho Villa style. If you make it too thin, it’s gonna look just plain sad. Most horseshoe mustaches are about the width of your thumb.

Horseshoe Mustache | Image via Men's Journal
Horseshoe Mustache | Image via Men’s Journal

Step 2: Watch YouTube Videos

When in doubt, watch YouTube videos. Whether it’s a DIY project, a game, or a new hairstyle, there aren’t many things I try without first consulting this great ocean of knowledge. ). 

Step 3: Shave the Outside

It’s sad to shave weeks and weeks of luscious beard, but you’ll be glad you did it in the end. Start by shaving your cheeks and neck until you have a goatee. Phillips recommends you trim down to about 1mm. Once your cheeks and neck are clean, trim stray or rebellious hairs from the top of your mustache with your precision trimmer. Then start at the corner of your lip and trim a straight line all the way down to your chin. You want the edges to curve down smoothly, following the natural curve of your lip and cascading down to your jaw. Before you move on to the next step, make sure both sides are even and straight.

Step 4: Shave the Inside

Using scissors, trim along your upper lip so that none of the hair curls into your mouth (‘Cuz that’s just nasty. Who wants to kiss that?). As with the top of your mustache, you will want to angle slightly so that your mustache follows the natural curve of your mouth. Next, take your handy-dandy mini foil shaver and shave your chin and under your lower lip. The mini foil shaver should leave a nice, clean trail behind. If you want to, you can leave a soul patch, like Ben Stiller in “Dodgeball.”

Step 5: Clean It Up

Finally, take the rotary trimmer and gently go over your cheeks, neck, and chin again, this time for a close shave. Rotary trimmers are great for getting into nooks and crannies, so make sure you don’t leave patches in difficult places like under your jaw or near your ears. To ensure that the mustache isn’t too long, trim the ends along your jawline. Use your edger to clean up the inside edges of your mustache so that they aren’t crooked or jagged. Check that both sides are symmetrical and use your scissors to take care of any rogue hairs you may have missed.

Step 6: Maintain

Now that you have the look you want, wear it around and bask in the admiration of your friends and family. Make sure you trim often so your mustache doesn’t turn into a bush, and use beard gels and ointments to keep your facial hair healthy and looking groomed. If you have an important meeting, a big date, or you just have unruly hair and need a little help keeping it in line, use a mustache brush and beard wax.

Congratulations, you now know how to create one of the bossest facial hair styles in the history of America. You’ve also just upped your manliness points by 150%. Go buy yourself a leather jacket and some boots in celebration. I hope you enjoyed this article. If you found it helpful, make sure you comment and let us know what you liked best. Also, make sure you check out our other beard tutorials.