How to Trim Your Upper Beard: A Step-by-Step Guide

How to Trim Your Upper Beard

Having a mustache comes with a lot of responsibility. Maintaining it isn’t hard but it does take time and it is important to know how to do it properly otherwise you end up with one that is too thick, too thin or just plain uneven.

But don’t worry, Beard Guidance has you covered and will walk you through the steps of trimming your upper lip for the first time.

Step 1: You need to let it grow so there’s enough to trim.

Step 2: Prepare your trimming tools and your mustache hairs.

Step 3: Begin trimming by starting with the hairs hanging over your lip.

Step 4: Trim the higher sections of the mustache to keep everything neat and tidy.

Step 5: Reduce the bulkiness of your mustache to keep it cleaner and tighter looking.

Step 6: Finish up with aftercare to ensure your mustache and the skin under it stay healthy and hydrated.

These six simple steps will ensure that you have a mustache that looks fantastic rather than one that leaves people questioning your personal hygiene. We’ll answer how to trim, how often to trim, what products you need and more so stick around for everything you need to know about trimming your upper lip.

Step 1: Growing

Before you can trim your mustache you must first have one. This takes time to grow. At minimum, it is recommended that you grow for at least a month. This will give your hair time to come in. However, don’t forget that each beard grows at it its own rate (as documented in this article). This means that it might take you more than a month to grow.

It is important that you don’t start trimming too early. You want to make sure that you have a thick and even mustache first. After this first trim you can continue trimming when necessary to maintain the shape and style but to begin with you want to have a lot more mustache than the style you are looking for.

In the meantime, you can maximize your use of this time by looking for the mustache style that best suits you. Or, rather, the style you think will best suit you. Don’t be afraid to change styles if the first one you pick doesn’t work!

Step 2: Preparation

Before a doctor performs surgery, they prepare their tools and the patient. Likewise, before we trim our mustaches we prepare our tools and our facial hair.

The tools are easy. You’ll want either a pair of trimmers or an electric one. Since we are trimming and not shaving, we don’t need to worry about preparing the beard with a pre-shave treatment. But we are cutting the hairs and this can be made easier by using a hot towel press. Take a facecloth and run it under some hot water. Wring it out and press it to your face for 90 seconds.

The hot water and the heat will let your mustache hairs soak up the water and you’ll notice them looking a little thicker. This will make them easier to cut. You should also comb your mustache to straighten out the hairs so that they are easier to cut with precision.

Beyond this you will want to make sure you have somewhere for the cut hair to go. I recommend putting a plastic bag over the sink so that when you snip the hairs they fall into it. This makes it much faster to clean up after yourself.

Step 3: Trim Your Lip

Don’t make the mistake of cutting your lip itself, that wouldn’t be much fun! Instead, start by cutting the hair where it dangles over your lip. For the most part you will want to remove it so that none does but a little bit of dangling isn’t going to be an issue.

If you do nothing else when it comes to trimming your mustache, do this step. You will find that you’re chewing your mustache less and your partner won’t have to get a big mouthful of hair every time they kiss you.

For the best results, start on the edges of your lip and your way towards the middle. Once you finish with one side, reset your position and start from the other edge and work back towards the middle again. This will make it easier to keep your cuts the same length, plus it will simply be easier to cut in general because you are removing the pieces in the way each time.

Step 4: Trim the Top

Next it is time to start trimming the top part of your mustache. You want to begin with the area beneath the nose. While it is a smart idea to trim your nose hairs, that’s not our concern here. But when your beard starts to blend into your nose hairs, there’s a problem. This never, ever looks good.

Here is where your face has the most curves, as you trim you want to maintain the shape by trimming at a slight angle. Typically, you want this to be rounded so that it looks like your mustache is conforming to your face.

Avoid making harsh angles that would leave behind sharp edges. When trimming, you can start with these harsh angles to get a sense of the shape but then soften them up by trimming them to be more naturally curved.

Step 5: Trim for Bulkiness

Now it is time to thin out the mustache a little bit. How thin you go is up to you but most modern styles prefer a slightly thinner mustache compared to a bulky one. This is done by trimming the main body of the hair. When we trim above the lip and the top part of the mustache, we are trimming away hairs to create a shape.

To trim for bulkiness means cutting the thickest parts of our mustache. The previous steps position your trimmers around the edges, this step sees them working through the middle. Out of each part, it is this one that is easiest to mess up.

Start slow and only make small cuts to begin with. You can always trim more off but you can’t put it back on without taking the time to grow it out again. Take your mustache comb in one hand and the trimmers in the other.

Use the comb to stretch the hair out away from your face before you cut. After the first cut, go around the rest of the mustache and cut it to this length. After you have finished the full mustache, take a look and decide if you should take some more off.

Always make sure you cut the full mustache before making a second cut for length, otherwise you won’t have an accurate sense of how it will look and it is more likely you make mistakes.

Finish up by combing your mustache again and sniping away any losing hairs you might have missed or any that are sticking out rather than falling in line with the rest of the hairs.

Step 6: Aftercare

If you cut yourself by accident then apply aftershave to disinfect the cut. Otherwise, apply a little bit of beard oil or some beard wax and style your mustache as you like. Disinfect and clean your trimmers and set them aside until the next time.

There you have it, a neat, perfectly trimmed mustache!

How Often Should You Trim Your Upper Lip

How Often Should You Trim Your Upper Lip?

How often you trim will be determined by how quickly your facial hair grows and what style you rocking. If you dig a big bushy mustache then you won’t need to trim as much, just every week or two when it starts to curl over your lip too much. A smaller, thinner style will require more upkeep, as much as two or three times a week for some.

What Should I Do If I Like a Bushy Mustache?

You should keep growing it! Just make sure that you look after it. A bushy mustache will attract a lot more dirt and grime, especially from the foods you eat. No woman wants to kiss her man, only to come away with crumbs from his beard. It’s a surefire way to get a “the mustache goes or I do.”

Wash your mustache after you eat. Use a beard balm or a beard butter to soften the hairs. Apply beard oil on a daily basis in the morning and use a beard shampoo and beard conditioner on a regular basis. So long as you maintain the mustache, you won’t have a problem. It’s when you start letting it go that things go south.

What Products Do I Need For Trimming and Maintaining a Mustache?

At the bare minimum, you need to either have a set or trimmers or an electric trimmer. While you can purchase a pair of cheap trimmers for next to nothing, I recommend sticking with quality, like this pair, since they’ll last longer. As for an electric trimmer, you can’t go wrong with a model like this one from Wahl.

If you are trimming then you don’t need to worry about pre-shave or aftershave, as you are cutting the hairs well away from the face. But if you are going to shave your mustache then get yourself a high quality aftershave. It’ll reduce redness and irritation, as well as disinfect any cuts.

Got Any More Tips or Tricks For My First Time Trimming?

Take it slow! Trying to rush a trim is a recipe for cutting too short or cutting in the wrong location. This leaves your mustache looking uneven, which causes many men to then try to fix it and only make the matter worse. Always, always take your time.

Also make sure that you take the angle of your face into account. Our faces aren’t just flat surfaces. Face shapes can be round, oval heart shaped or square. Consider your shape when trimming and make sure you trim at the appropriate angle.

If you are nervous about trimming your first mustache, don’t worry. This happens to all of us. Check out this video that walks you through the process if you need to:

While every face is different and will require its own cuts and care, watching someone else work can alleviate first time nervousness.


Trimming your mustache is a six-step process. First grow it. Then prepare it with hot water. Trim along the lip, then trim the top. Reduce the bulkiness and style as you like.

The first few times you trim your mustache, you might be nervous or even make a mistake. Don’t worry, this happens to all of us. The only way to learn properly is to get some hands on experience.  Trim ahead bravely, show no fear and in no time at all you’ll be a master of the ‘stache!




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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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