In the spring of 2014, inspired by photos of David Beckham and Kenneth Branaghs’ “Hamlet,” I decided to abandon my lazy-beard and wear a chevron moustache. (I think Beckham’s moustache is bordering on a handlebar with it’s side-ward growth, but we’ll just let that slide for now)
I searched high and low for a good guide on how to groom a chevron moustache, studied photos of some good examples (Tom Selleck, David Beckham, Kenneth Branagh) and was still a bit stumped on the details: best way to grow it out, whether to trim while growing, whether to shave the sparser areas, whether to cut it on a gradient or straight across the lip, whether to style it with wax, etc.
This guide is based on my own experience and as such is most applicable to people who are me. If you are not me, but have coarse, straight, dark-blond facial hair, most of this will probably apply to you.
Grow it alone?
Some people prefer to grow out a moustache with a beard to avoid the pubescent look. This wasn’t an issue for me as I have a fairly light hair and it tends to go unnoticed until there is enough of it to be firmly classified as a moustache; if you have dark hair it might be better to go beardy for the first two weeks.
Trimming while growing?
I started out by stopping my regular trimming and combing/waxing it to the sides until it was long enough that I had to make some decisions or settle for a wild looking handlebar. In retrospect, it would have been better to keep trimming at the top of my upper lip, since that way the hair would grow straight into a chevron and skip the wild handlebar phase.
Shaving the edges?
I found that it was important to keep the sparser area at the top of the moustache shaved in order to better define the upper edge. At first I was resistant to shaving anything that formed part of my precious moustache, but afterwards, I was happy that I had. A clearly defined upper border does a lot for the cleanliness of the look. I recommend using a safety razor or straight razor for doing the edge, it can be challenging to gauge the location of the blade with a cartridge razor.
Trimming at the lip?
If you choose not to trim at the upper lip, you will end up with a handlebar moustache (or possibly a walrus) and not a chevron. The ideal way that I found to trim the chevron was to use a moustache comb to hold the hairs down and small scissors to trim straight along the edge of the upper lip. The flatter you press with the comb, the more of a brush effect you will have above the lip; I pressed mine fairly flat and found the moustache comb essential for the task.
To wax or not to wax?
At first I kept my moustache waxed, but after a while I got tired of waxing it down only to have the effect last for two hours at most. Once my moustache reached full lip-length, I found it behaved well enough on its own; I think waxing better suits a handlebar style than a chevron.
I hope this guides help answer your questions on how to groom a chevron moustache. Happy moustaching!
Photos top to bottom: Tom Selleck, David Beckham, Kenneth Branagh as Hamlet, me (2014).