Can You Use Hair Gel on Your Mustache?

Can You Use Hair Gel on Your Mustache

It’s always annoying when the whiskers of your mustache start to curl over your lip. You go to take a bite out of a sandwich and suddenly you’ve got a mouthful of hair. When stuck between the option of styling a mustache or trimming it, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that many choose styling.

The best option for styling a mustache is obviously going to be mustache wax, but who just has that lying around. Before purchasing some yourself, you might think it’s a good idea to try styling your mustache with some hair gel. It’s cheaper and easier to find, after all. But is this a good idea?

No. It is never a good idea to use hair gel on your facial hair. The chemicals in hair gel can be quite harmful to your hair, both that on your head and that on your face. With shampoo and conditioner, the effects of hair gel on your head hair can be nullified. But head hair and facial hair aren’t the same and hair gel can actually cause the hairs of your mustache to die. Hair gel hardens your hair more than mustache wax does. While this may seem like the goal of a gel, it actually hardens to a point where it is harmful to your facial hair and the skin underneath it.

For a better understanding of how hair gel can be harmful to your facial hair, stick around as we dig into it. We’ll compare mustache wax and hair gel to see how they hold up strength and health wise. Spoiler: Mustache wax is a thousand times better and healthier to use compared to hair gel.

Why Hair Gel Will Harm Your Mustache!

Hair gel was in no way made for use on facial hair. Aside from the fact that it is horribly unhealthy for your facial hair, it will also be disgusting. Hair gel leaves behind a disgusting residue, it smells like chemicals, and it tastes like them, too. Your mustache happens to be right below your nose and right above your mouth, the two places you want to keep disgusting smells and tastes away from.

Beyond that disgusting fact, hair gel is far too strong for your mustache. It needs to be this strong to hold up the hair on top of your head but definitely not your mustache. Hair gel will hold your mustache in place, this can’t be denied, but it is the worst way of achieving this goal.

Hair gel is applied wet and hardens when it dries. As it dries, it wraps around the hair follicles and cuts them off from moisture. It also creates a layer of gel over the skin which prevents the skin from being able to properly breathe and attract moisture. Pretty much everything we use beard oil to accomplish is something that hair gel affects negatively.

When you cut off your skin and facial hair from oxygen and moisture in this way, it has a very bad effect. You will find that the skin under your facial hair is more irritable and much, much flakier. The hair creates a layer over top of the skin which basically smothers it and causes cells to start drying. This not only feels like crap, but it also looks like crap. Nobody wants to see a dandruff-y mustache, after all.

As for the hairs, two things occur. One, the hair grows much more coarse. This can cause it to scratch at your face and become really itchy. But worse than just being itchy, this can cause hairs to start drying. But the second thing that happens is even worse.

In this article, we looked at the reasons why your mustache hurts. One of the key reasons is the way that your face is shaped. The hairs of the mustache need to push through more skin in order to break through and be seen. This odd shape makes it harder to pull out hairs. It isn’t that they don’t pull out but rather that they often get pulled part of the way out of the dermal layer, but not entirely. This causes massive irritation.

Hair gel gets heavier as it hardens, which means that the effects of gravity will be more noticeable. This extra weight makes it easier for mustache hairs to be plucked loose, but it doesn’t guarantee that they’ll fall away properly. In fact, the gel has the opposite effect. By sticking together a bunch of hairs, it gets harder for anyone to fall out. So, it can make it easier to pull hairs part way out of the dermal layer and cause pain.

If you absolutely must style your mustache, and I highly recommend that you do, only use natural products that are made for use with your facial hair such as beard or mustache wax.

Isn’t Mustache Wax Just Hair Gel in Disguise?

Not even in the slightest. When we speak about hair gel, we are talking about a chemically created product. They are primarily made out of polymers, typically vinyl monomers like polyvinylpyrrolidone or N-vinylpyrrolidone.

Now, you might not understand what those chemicals are or what they do. And that proves my point. Let’s take a look at the ingredients in mustache wax for a comparison. According to Wikipedia, the most common ingredients in mustache wax are beeswax, tallow, coconut oil, shea nut butter, petroleum jelly, scented oils, pine resin, and gum arabic. Petroleum jelly is chemically produced and gum arabic needs to be treated first.

But compare those ingredients. You can understand what 99% of them are with a single glance. Meanwhile, N-vinylpyrrolidone is confusing even after reading the Wiki on it. So no, mustache wax is nothing like hair gel at all. The only thing they have in common is their ability to hold hair in place.

Is Mustache Wax as Strong as Hair Gel?

Unfortunately, it isn’t. Mustache wax doesn’t need to be as strong as hair gel because the hairs that it holds are much easier to style. They naturally have a sort of spring to them and they like to stick out. So, an outward hold is easier with a beard than with your head hair. However, mustache wax is often used to keep hairs down and flat, and this doesn’t take much strength to achieve.

Hair gel is far stronger than mustache wax in terms of the hold it offers. Hair gel can be used to hold up a mohawk, but mustache wax would never be able to achieve this. However, hair gel has a more unnatural appearance. You can always tell when someone has used gel in their hair, it just has this greasy look that isn’t appealing, and it can run when the temperature is too high.

Mustache wax creates a more natural-looking appearance; however, you shouldn’t really use mustache wax for your head hair because it is wasteful. If you want a more natural look for your hair, use a pomade such as this one made by Old Spice.

Is Mustache Wax as Strong as Hair Gel

I Know I Shouldn’t Gel My Mustache, But What About My Beard?

You might think of your mustache as separate from your beard, but it isn’t. Both your beard and your mustache are what is called terminal hair. These are the body hairs that cover your body. They begin as vellus hair, those tiny white hairs that are all over your body when you are younger.

As you age and hit puberty, your vellus hairs start to be replaced with terminal hairs. We see this most clearly through an increase in armpit hair and the beginning growth of pubic and facial hair. So, you might think a mustache is different, but it is in fact same exact hair.

This means that hair gel shouldn’t be used in your mustache, in your beard, on your armpit hair, pubic hair, or any other hair on your body that isn’t found on the top of your hair. These products are designed for use with only one type of hair and you should keep it that way if you are going to stick with gels instead of pomades.

Look, I Read Everything You Wrote But I Still Want to Use Hair Gel. What Brands Can I Trust?

If nothing else, I hope that I’ve at least convinced you not to use hair gel in your mustache or beard. If you want to keep using it on your head, that’s up to you. It isn’t harmful to the hairs on the head in the same way it is to those on your face. But before you purchase any gel, take a look at this video:

Even for styling your hair, gel isn’t the best choice.

If you are going to stick with gel, you should at least pick a well-respected brand. One of the top competitors in the market is ECO. They’re cheap but effective. Another cost effective but highly rated brand is Got2b and their Ultra Glued Invincible Styling Gel. If you’re looking to do mohawks and really loud hair, then Got2b has got you covered.

Finally, if you aren’t afraid to spend a little extra money, I recommend using SEXYHAIR. It costs nearly three times as much as Got2b, but it offers the strongest possible hold with nearly the maximum amount of shine possible. If you often rock a hair gel style, then the higher cost will absolutely be worth it. If you’re newer to styling with gel, go with either ECO or Got2b.


Hair gel might hold your mustache in place for the time being, but it actually makes it much easier for those mustache hairs to be pulled out of your face. Combined with the damage it causes your skin and the way it can kill your hairs, it is best to avoid using hair gel with your facial hair.

It might be more expensive to find a good mustache wax with the level of hold you are looking for, but it will be well worth the time and money. You must be careful not to pull on your mustache too hard when applying wax, as this can also cause damage, but there are no long-term negative effects associated with mustache wax.

So, toss out that hair gel and get yourself some high-quality mustache wax instead. Your facial hair will thank you for it.


Hi, my name is Roland. I started Beard Guidance so I can share the knowledge I’ve acquired from years of beard-having experience in easy-to-read but informative and practical articles.

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