Beardsmen know that styling facial hair requires strong products. Facial hair isn’t like the hair on your head. It’s more coarse, springy, unpredictable. Mustache hair can look especially gnarly if you don’t get some fast-holding product in there. Does that mean every guy needs to grab a canister of mustache wax? What if you don’t have any nearby?
In total, there are scores of interesting and innovative mustache wax alternatives out there. From beard balm to lip balm, Vaseline to beeswax – there are many options for mustachioed men looking past the grooming wax. As long as the product holds well and doesn’t harm your soup strainer, it’ll work.
So, without further delay, let’s break down nine mustache wax alternatives that you can try out today.
What Goes into Mustache Wax?
Before you can start looking into alternatives, you need to consider what makes mustache wax so effective, to begin with.
To start, mustache max is mainly composed of sticky, malleable material, good for taming and controlling your unruly facial hair. Most quality mustache waxes use beeswax as their base, but others use tallow, petroleum jelly, or pine sap. This is why mustache max has a consistency like hair pomade.
Normally, you will find this waxy, tactile base mixed with popular facial hair oils like jojoba, coconut, or castor oil. You will also probably find essential oils added for fragrance.
If you are a frequent reader of this site, you probably see a lot of items in the paragraphs above that can be found in other men’s grooming products. It follows, then, that you probably have other products in your home that can fill in for proper mustache wax.
What Should You Look for in Mustache Wax Alternatives?
As we have discussed before, mustache wax is a versatile facial hair product. Many of the oils in it are emollient in nature. This means they absorb into skin and hair, effectively hydrating your face and strengthening your mustache.
Unlike beard oil, though, these emollient oils are not the main carrier products. Mustache wax is primarily composed of more solid sculpting ingredients. That is because mustache wax is, in effect, a styling product rather than a moisturizing product.
As a general rule, you should consider the following criteria if you are fresh out of mustache wax but you need to get that bushy lip hair under control:
- Your alternative product should be strong enough to tame your mustache hair.
- It should be able to blend cleanly, without leaving visible clumps or streaks.
- It should be water-soluble, so you can wash it out when you’re finished.
- It should be nontoxic since it will be close to your mouth and nose.
- It shouldn’t harm the durability and health of your facial hair.
- It shouldn’t be overly fragrant or foul-smelling.
With these guidelines laid out, let’s look at the best mustache wax alternatives for you to try out!
Alternative 1 – Beeswax
This one is kind of a no-brainer since we already stated that beeswax is the base ingredient for most high-end mustache waxes. It also happens to be a popular item for nontoxic wood and shoe polish, candles, and natural salves.
So, if you live with a crafter, a woodworker, or a homeopathic healer, there’s a decent chance you have some beeswax around.
Essentially, using raw beeswax is like using mustache wax minus all tertiary ingredients. You can be confident that your mustache will retain a nice matte finish and firm hold. However, you won’t get any emollient ingredients, meaning your face won’t be hydrated and your facial hair won’t have a nice sheen.
However, your handlebar will be on point, literally! Be aware, though: you may need to warm up the wax first to make it malleable enough to blend.
Alternative 2 – Lip Balm
Hey, guess what other face product generally uses beeswax and petroleum jelly … Lip balm.
Much like with raw beeswax, using lip balm on your mustache will provide hold but not hydration. On the other hand, natural balms like Burt’s Bees use raw beeswax and even Vitamin E, which fortifies your follicles.
Also, since lip balm is supposed to be applied to skin, working it into your facial hair is a relative cinch. And since it normally goes on the mouth, you know it doesn’t contain any toxic agents.
One thing you will want to be aware of is what flavor lip balm you’re working with. Even all-natural sticks from the hippie market up the road might have vanilla or berry flavoring. This won’t hurt your mustache, but it might leave you smelling fruit all night.
Alternative 3 – Beard Butter or Beard Balm
If you’re willing to sacrifice a little sculpting power in exchange for more moisturizing, rejuvenating elements, you should consider using some of your oil- or butter-based beard products in your mustache.
Beard butter is normally a combination of shea butter, hemp seed butter, and almond butter, mixed with restorative carrier oils and aromatics.
Beard balm, meanwhile, can be thought of as a beard oil with natural wax included. A good balm might contain some combination of lanolin, castor, and jojoba oils and a small amount of beeswax. The resulting product will be much oilier and more pliable than mustache wax.
Both beard butter and beard balm are hydrating products for your beard that also include some denser material for light styling.
As such, both of these items will provide much-needed nutrients to your mustache and skin. They will allow some shaping, but not nearly as much a wax.
Alternative 4 – Vaseline
As previously mentioned, many mustache oils use petroleum jelly in place of beeswax. There is perhaps no more popular petroleum-based product than Vaseline.
Vaseline is kind of a wonder product. It is great for burns, cuts, and face blemishes. If you have a small child in the house, there’s a good chance you’ve spread gobs of the stuff on their red tuckus.
As it happens, Vaseline is a pretty good styling product for a wild mustache. It’s odorless and nontoxic, and it has enough body to provide a moderate amount of shape to your facial hair.
On the other hand, since Vaseline is petroleum-based, it’s not ideal as a face and beard product. Petroleum oil is fine for your skin, but it isn’t emollient. It is occlusive, meaning that it forms a protective sealant over your skin rather than absorbing. This makes Vaseline so effective on cuts and rashes.
However, it’s lousy as a cosmetic product, leaving your face – and by extension, facial hair – with an oily shine. Bear this in mind when applying it to your mustache. Be sparing!
Alternative 5 – Dried Coconut Oil
Now, if there’s an emollient equivalent to Vaseline, it is probably coconut oil.
These days, you can use coconut oil as just about anything. You can use it in the kitchen, on the beach, in the bathroom, or in the boudoir. It’s a mainstay of beard oil, as well: a well-absorbing, nutrient-rich carrier that gives your face and hair a luxurious finish.
While the coconut oil in your beard oil is well-hydrated, you can also purchase jars of partly dried oil. Since it’s an oil, it won’t have the same strong-against-a-hurricane hold as wax. Yet, it is great for your hair and skin. It is sweet-smelling and smooth in application. Your mustache can do a lot worse.
Also, since coconut oil has so many practical uses around the house, you should consider getting a good-sized container of the stuff to have close at hand.
Alternative 6 – Got2Be Glued and Sumo Tech
We will discuss later the perils of using scalp hair products on your face. For now, let’s acknowledge that, on average, hair styling products are not a good idea for your mustache.
Yet, for every rule there can be exceptions. Here are two hair products that beardsmen swear by for their mustache needs. We will put them out there with a qualified nod. We’d love to hear how they worked for you!
Got2B Glued Styling Spiking Glue – As a brand, Got2B has a reputation for affordability and ease of use. Glued is an extra-strong product with high water content, and it contains beeswax. Fair warning: it also contains vinyl-based polymers, which are generally red flags for your face.
Sumo Tech Flexible Lo-Shine Creme Solid – This Bumble & Bumble crème has a stronger hold than you would imagine, plus it boasts lanolin wax and castor oil in its ingredient list. Does this outweigh its polymer count? You can be the judge of that.
Again, we will not state that these products are a perfect mustache wax alternative. Indeed, we have previously discussed the thorny issue of hair products in beards. All those doubts still stand, but as an emergency measure when your wax has run out, these two products might be viable.
Alternative 7 – Olive Oil
We are including this in our list of mustache wax alternatives primarily because you almost certainly have it around your house. There’s an odd connection between growing up and suddenly always having olive oil. One day, you’re eating Hot Pockets straight from the packet. Then suddenly, you have a 401(k) and a bottle of extra virgin olive oil.
Even so, beardsman young and old should know the follicle-fortifying power of olive oil. It’s a great carrier oil in beard products, so much so that you can use it to moisturize your whole face-mane!
If you have a messy mustache that needs basic taming, olive oil can do that job well. You won’t be able to accomplish an extravagantly sculpted handlebar, but you can guarantee a clean, styled, full mustache for your evening out.
Alternative 8 – Homemade Mustache Wax!
Here’s the thing: if you have several of these ingredients at home, you can make your own bespoke mustache wax. It’s a little more involved than making beard oil. You will need to melt your base wax in boiling water to combine it with carrier oils and fragrances.
Still, making home mustache wax can be done fairly quickly, and the finished product will be a fraction of the cost of a retail product.
Brit + Co. offers this awesome mustache wax recipe that only requires two ingredients: coconut oil and beeswax! Once combined, these items will form a scentless, hydrating, strong-holding wax.
You can also try out this more involved recipe from Apothecary’s Garden. This concoction unites shea butter, pine sap, and beeswax, while augmenting the resulting mix with essential oils. It’s a heady, aromatic piece of work.
We only caution you to be sparing with any recipe that involves essential oils, as these can be caustic in large quantities. You should only add them with a pipette or dropper. Never pour them directly from the bottle.
While making your own mustache wax might seem like an extreme solution, it’s also a long-term one. Rather than scrounging around your apartment for a wax alternative, you have a homemade product you can always reproduce.
Alternative 9 – Going Natural (but Controlled)
While you certainly need mustache wax if you want to accomplish something seriously structured like a Salvador Dali pointer, you can train your mustache to maintain its shape without product.
More than that, you can tease out even a luxuriously long lip curtain with a bit of beard oil and a comb. The important thing is to think of the natural mustache look like a part of a full spectrum washing and grooming regimen.
To begin, give your facial hair a full wash with a beard shampoo and conditioner. A good rule of thumb for this process is that the more hydrated your mustache is, the easier it will be to manipulate. Once you’re done washing, comb your mustache out with a low-setting hairdryer. You want the setting low so you don’t burn yourself.
Once your mustache is combed and dry, try massaging some beard oil into it. Work from center, outward, following the line you want the hair to go.
If necessary, comb out your mustache one last time. We think you’ll find that, after this comprehensive grooming session, your mustache has a pleasant shape that will hold for the day. Moreover, this styled facial hair will look totally natural.
Granted, you won’t be able to defy gravity with your whiskers, but you can tame them.
What Not to Use as a Mustache Wax Alternative
We’ve taken you through nine fine options to shape your majestic mustache without mustache wax. You might have heard of some other options, but many at-home alternatives can be harmful to your facial hair. Here are a few items not to use as a mustache wax alternative.
Hair Styling Products
We’ve written extensively about this before: it’s a bad idea to put hair products in your beard. Facial hair is not the same as scalp hair. It grows differently and requires different things to style.
Your scalp produces far more natural oils than your face. So, manufacturers of hair products can get away with including inexpensive vinyl polymers that dry out your hair and skin. If you put these in your mustache regularly, it will probably become brittle and discolored.
There’s no doubt that glue will hold your mustache in place. Holding things in place is kind of what glue does. Conversely, glue also …
- … doesn’t wash out very easily.
- … contains chemicals that can harm your hair and clog your skin.
- … smells like glue.
- … might be toxic.
- … do we need to list more reasons?
Simply put, don’t put glue in your mustache. It will be horrible for your facial hair, and you’ll ruin a perfectly good glue stick. You must have better options available to you.
Perishable Food Items
Yes, we recommended olive oil and coconut oil for your mustache. They are fantastic carriers that will absorb neatly into your skin and hair. They also aren’t perishable when left at room temperature.
On the contrary, refrigerated items like butter and egg whites are not a great idea. They will spoil in your mustache, making your face smelly. They will clog your pores, causing blemishes and rashes. They don’t belong anywhere near your facial hair!
The Bottom Line
As you can see, just because your mustache wax supply has run dry doesn’t mean you can’t style those whiskers. The nine mustache wax alternatives above can all provide a level of structure and fortification to your mustache.
Vaseline, beeswax, and lip balm all provide a lot of shaping power with limited hydration. Meanwhile, beard balm, dried coconut oil, and olive oil will rejuvenate and tame your lip hair but not do as well sculpting it.
Also remember, if you have multiple items listed above, you might be able to fashion a homemade mustache wax yourself. If you have none, it could be your opportunity to try a natural mustache look.
There are so many alternatives available to you. We’d love to hear which one works the best for you.
We’ve covered a lot of mustache-related topics on this site. Check out our article on reasons your mustache might hurt.