Lip weasel, soup strainer, nose neighbour, smasher - there are many amusing names one can use when referring to the humble moustache, the accessory of choice for discerning gentlemen through the ages.

Sadly, moustaches are a fairly uncommon sight on the faces of young men these days. The annual men's health charity event 'Movember' has certainly encouraged new growth, with a small band of men wisely deciding to keep their new whiskers after the 30 day period has expired.

I tip my hat to these hirsute heroes as I believe at one stage or another, every self-respecting gentleman should sport a sprouting of hair above their top lip.

Heeding my own advice, in March 2013 I made the bold step of attempting to grow the Holy Grail of lip weasels – the handlebar moustache. It warms my heart to think that every strand of hair found above my top lip serves as a tribute to the pantheon of moustache holders throughout history – Lord Kitchener, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Jimmy Edwards, Terry-Thomas, Leslie Phillips, Barry Chuckle.

Why don’t you join me in helping to reawaken the humble moustache and challenge the clean-shaven status quo of modernity? To assist you on your hirsute way, here is a little guide on the process of growing a handlebar moustache. Growing a lip weasel such as this will take time though so please allow twelve weeks.

Infant moustache – one to four weeks

Before embarking on your hairy journey into the unknown (Pith helmet is optional), I would mentally prepare yourself as much as possible with a one or two inspirational quotes and pictorials of moustachioed men.

This is the most difficult part of the whole cultivation process – not only will it itch a lot but you will get an onslaught of comments from family, friends, strangers, work colleagues and door to door salespeople eager to give their two-penneth.

By cunningly timing your growth with Movember, you have a ready-made and worthy excuse during the awkward early growth phase.

Adolescent moustache – four to eight weeks

You will be delighted to find that during this period you will start to proudly sport little curls on the tips – mine sprouted at the six week mark but it varies from chap to chap.

One or two pesky whiskers will attempt to sneak into your mouth or tickle your lips or nose. Whatever you do, resist the urge to trim as you will need these hairs for later. To keep the little blighter under control and aid you in twirly tip achievement, you will need to turn to the miracle that is moustache wax. I also recommend purchasing a moustache comb to help train the hairs to grow to the sides and to keep some of the more unruly hairs firmly in line.

Adult moustache – eight to twelve weeks

This is the fun stage where your moustache reaches true adulthood. The hair from the middle won’t have grown all the way to the ends yet but it will look like a fully-fledged moustache. Congratulations!

As a handlebar moustache is a fairly unusual sight these days, it is a definite conversation starter and will receive a lot of attention.

A word of caution - salespeople will love you. They will comment positively on your lip weasel as a way to ‘develop a rapport with their target market’. I thank them and continue on my daily constitutional.

If the handlebar isn't for you, there are a number of other moustache styles that you can adopt.

The Pencil 

Often associated with spivs, this caddish moustache is closely cropped and thin enough to have been traced by a pencil, hence the name. Here it is illustrated by Sir David Niven.
The English 

With hairs extremely long and pulled to the side, this style should come with its own risk assessment. Pulled off with aplomb by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
The Dali 

Named after Salvador Dali who sported this style, this is flamboyant and superbly surreal, with whiskers that literally point to the sky.

Tips and tricks

The positives of having a moustache are in abundance but it is certainly worth reading the small print before embarking on rapid hair growth of the face. Sporting a large moustache makes eating and drinking awfully difficult – food morsels become attracted to a ‘tache like bees around honey. This is par for the course unfortunately so always make sure you have a handkerchief on your person to save you from all sorts of pickles (and other food stuff). Thankfully there are little tricks to overcome this predicament. Namely, cut up your food into small pieces; if you’re eating buttery toast, turn it upside down; use tea spoons and straws; and open your mouth extra wide!

When it boils down to it though, what’s more important – eating and drinking or displaying an extravagant moustache? I know which one I’d choose.

Follow my own experiences here:

If you have any questions, please do get in touch and I will be only too happy to help - nortonofmorton@gmail.com 


  1. Brilliant article, very well penned and a pleasure to read, will continue to follow your blogs and reviews.

    Jim Sotheran ( Dipsy Doodle Vintage )

    1. That's jolly decent of you to say so, old fruit. Many thanks! If I can help at all with cultivation of the top lip, please do fire away.

  2. I'm nine weeks in to what is hopefully a lifelong moustache career. The handlebars are in place, and now I have my sights growing a lengthy Hungarian. I should have done this ages ago.

    1. Splendid news, Sir! I wish you well on your face furniture endeavours.