How do you eat with a beard? [Tips and hacks to keep it clean]

Eating with a beard is something everyone gets annoyed at while growing out their fuzzy face friend. Eating with a beard is something that you learn through trial and error. Each different type of food has tricks for eating. Learning these will allow you to eat without smearing it across your face and into the depths of your beard.

The best ways for eating with a beard include always keeping a napkin handy, using a knife or fork for nearly every type of food, finding new ways to fold the food, trimming the hairs around your mouth and using a smartphone to check your beard after eating.

Most of the food transfer and collection happens on the sides of my beard and the moustache area. These are the tips that I follow when eating to minimise the amount of food in my beard and moustache.

1. Always keep a napkin handy

Always keep a napkin handy when you are eating with a beard. The beard is constantly moving as you talk and move your mouth, and it will always pick up a little bit of food throughout your meal.

If the restaurant or my friend does not offer a napkin with my food, I will often ask for one. Using a napkin for more liquid-based foods such as soup and porridge is necessary.

Coming to terms with the inevitability of getting food in your moustache and beard means being proactive with your napkin and handkerchief. There are, however, some ways of minimising the amount of food you get in your beard and crumbs the drop onto it.

A knife and fork are certainly one of the best ways to keep food out of your moustache and beard.

2. A knife or a fork is your friend

There was a point during my beard growing journey when I needed to use a knife and fork for nearly every type of meal that I was eating.

Even if I were eating a burger and fries, I would ask the restaurant or café for a knife and fork.

Chopping up your food into nice bite-size pieces is a must for eating with dignity while sporting a beard. Sometimes people strangely look at me if I eat a burger or pizza or other fast food with a knife and fork.

You soon get used to emulating the same flavours you achieved in a bite with a knife and fork.

3. Find fun ways to fold the food

One of the ways that I minimise the amount of food that goes into my beard is by folding and squashing the food in new and interesting ways to avoid the wet bits of the beard brushing up against my moustache for my beard.

For example, my friend found it hilarious when I turned my slice of garlic bread on the side and squished it flat. This action allowed me to orientate the bread so that the messiest part (the top) did not contact my moustache. The flat sides of the garlic bread were much easier for me to eat.

Pizzas are also a fun food to eat with a beard. I often find myself folding it in the middle and turning it on its side so that I can avoid the toppings and source or cheese getting into my moustache.

4. Trim the hairs near your mouth

One of the best ways to avoid and minimise the amount of food in your beard and moustache is to trim the beard hairs near your mouth. I keep a very short moustache length as I find it less irritating on my lips, making eating much easier.

Should You Shave The Middle Of Your Mustache
Trim the bottom and sides of your moustache for easier eating

Trimming up the moustache is one of the most important areas, and I focus on providing a greater clearance on the sides of my mouth. By trimming the moustache bottom line a little further to the sides, you achieve a much larger area for eating without removing too much of your moustache.

The top line of the moustache can be kept relatively short, and I keep it roughly on the top line of my lip.

5. Straws bypass the beard

Using straws to bypass liquid foods and drinks is one of the best ways to ensure that nothing ends up in your beard.

Straws can be used for thick smoothies, soups, and other liquid foods. Sometimes the small amount of liquid that remains on the tip of the straw can end up in your moustache but is much less.

6. Use a smartphone camera

Another important way of avoiding food in your beard after eating a delicious meal is using your smartphone camera to look for crumbs and food.

One of the great things about having a smartphone in your pocket is the ability to check in with yourself regularly. I use my smartphone camera to check for any remaining food and crumbs in my beard after eating.

You do not have to rely on other people to tell you that you have something in your beard.

If you do not have a smartphone carrying around a small mirror or using a reflective surface on cutlery (such as a knife) can also help you do a quick and discreet check of your beard.

7. Avoiding some foods

Lastly, I avoid some traditionally very messy foods, even for non-beard wearers. For example, I love pork ribs, but I avoid them if I am in polite company. That and any string pasta such as spaghetti or fettuccine is avoided if I eat in a professional setting.

It’s an unfortunate but real sacrifice that some beard growers have to make.

Here is how I eat some specific foods and the tips and techniques many beard growers have to develop to eat foods without getting it completely over their beard.

8. Carry a comb

I recommend carrying a small wooden or plastic comb for brushing out your moustache and beard after a nice meal. A comb works particularly well for dry crummy meals that leave very small crumbs in your beard. These crumbs can be hard to pick out with your fingers, and a quick brush (in the bathroom) often is far more effective than your fingers.

A small comb like the one provided in this set is perfect for carrying with you and keeping food out of your mouth.

How to eat specific foods with a beard

Most beard growers develop specific methods and techniques for certain foods. Luckily, most of the foods that we eat out daily can be attacked with a knife and fork or manipulated to make them much easier to eat.

How do you eat pizza with a beard?

Eating a pizza with a beard often involves folding the pizza in a particular way to minimise the chances of the moustache coming into contact with the cheese or the bread. Failing that, I use a knife and fork to minimise the chances of sauce and cheese contacting hair.

The great thing about pizza is that it has a bread base that is often not messy. Making sure that the bread base is orientated so that it does not come into contact with your moustache or your beard is the best way to eat pizza with a beard.

How do you eat a burger with a beard?

Burgers are one of the easiest things to eat with a beard. The bread on the top and bottom creates a nice non-messy surface that can come into contact with your beard and moustache whilst leaving minimal food behind. If there is too much sauce, use a knife and fork.

Burgers can get messy when they start getting large and very saucy. I often find that the larger Saucier burgers need to be eaten with a knife and fork. The only way to eat a massive burger is to deconstruct the burger and work on the hemispheres separately.

Making sure that you have a napkin close by for mopping up any of the juice or source that gets on the side of your mouth is an important addition to eating a burger with a beard.

How do you drink coffee with a beard?

Drinking coffee with a beard is particularly difficult if you enjoy coffees with a lot of milk foam. In Australia, where I live, the flat white is a popular coffee style. The foam on top of a flat white can easily get in your moustache and penetrate deep into the hair.

For more information about how you drink coffee with a beer check out my full article, below.

How do you drink coffee with a beard?

Drinking a non-milky coffee is the only way to ensure that the milk foam does not come anywhere near your moustache. Alternatively, you can buy some devices that stop the milk from coming into contact with your moustache. Using a takeaway container with a lid can also be the best way to enjoy your daily milky coffee without ending up in your moustache.

Example of a moustache saver that you can use for drinking.

How to keep your beard out of your mouth when you eat

Keeping the beard hairs out of your mouth while you eat is tricky. It is very rarely the bottom hairs of your beard that end up in your mouth. In my experience, the beard hairs on the cheek and the sides of the beard are accidentally swept into the mouth.

The best ways to keep beard hair out of your mate while you are eating include opening wide, orientating the food differently, parting the hairs before you bite and using your tongue to push out the hairs when they get in the way.

Open wide

Even though it seems very silly to say, I think one of the best ways to keep your beard out of your mouth while eating is to open your mouth wider than you expect.

My friend often laughs at me when he sees me eating particularly messy foods. I open my mouth much larger than the food to ensure that I can get it in my mouth without any issues.

Orientate the food differently

Some parts of your food may have stickier parts than others. I always orientate my food so that the stick parts of the food are not likely to contact my beard on the sides or the bottom of the moustache.

Orientating the food differently will allow you to avoid getting the messiest parts of the food in your beard and the beard hairs out of your mouth.

Part the hairs before your bite

Parting or sweeping the beard hair away from your mouth is another way to avoid getting beard hairs in your mouth while you eat. I recommend using your dominant hand to eat and then your non-dominant hand to sweep away the beard hairs if you are worried they can get swept up with the food.

This approach can get tricky with some types of food, but taking a moment to sweep the majority of the beard away from your mouth can help even if you can’t depart the hairs as you are biting.

How do you eat with a big moustache?

I love beards with big bushy moustaches. However, my own big bushy moustache adventures are always cut short because of the hassle of growing out long moustache hairs. It itches my top lip. It gets in the way while talking and can absorb a lot of your food as you are eating.

Eating with a big moustache is certainly messy, but there is a moment during its growth where you can use hold products to keep the moustache away from the food and out of your mouth.

1. Wax to hold

Consider purchasing a moustache wax with enough hold to keep your moustache to one side. A strong moustache wax will be your best friend when trying to keep it out of your mouth.

Sometimes I find hot days can cause the moustache wax to lose its hold as it becomes more viscous. Also, hot soups and coffees can cause the wax to melt a little bit, causing it to lose its gravity-defying effect on your moustache.

2. Use your hands more

Eating with your hands is viable for some types of cuisine. I recommend using your hands as much as possible when eating with a big moustache. You can use your fingers to move the hair out of the way while eating a burger or pizza. Other types of cuisine may be harder to eat with your hands but holding the moustache to the side with your fingers is always an option.

It may not be the most polite way of eating, but maybe it is the cleanest.

3. Accept the mess

When you are growing a big moustache, I think you have to accept that it will be messy at some point during any meal. It’s just the nature of growing out a big moustache. However, cleaning up the mess you make and having a handkerchief or napkin on hand as soon as you finish will help make eating with a big moustache much more socially acceptable.

4. Clean up the mess

Excusing yourself from the table or making regular trips to the bathroom to wash out your beard and moustache is a great option for keeping your moustache dining room ready.

You may want to consider purchasing a small moustache comb to place in your wallet to help get the smallest of crumbs out of your moustache and beard.

5. Always ask a friend if you have something in your moustache

When I am eating with friends, I always ask them if I have something in my beard or moustache at the end of eating. It can be awkward when you initially ask people, but they will happily have a quick look and let you know if anything is lurking after your meal.

Summary

This article has been through everything you need to know about eating with a beard and moustache. It contains my top tips for keeping your beard clean throughout the meal and making your beard as dining room friendly as possible.

Choosing the meals you will eat, keeping the hairs away from your mouth while eating, using a knife and fork, and carrying a napkin or handkerchief with you are the easiest ways of keeping your beard socially acceptable while eating. Sometimes you have to embrace the mess and enjoy the meal without worrying about people’s thoughts.

The Author


Andy Stapleton

Andy is a writer and YouTuber with a PhD in science. He has written and/or produced videos for Science Alert, COSMOS magazine, and Australia's Science Channel among others. He is an avid beard grower and after many years of growing and trialing different beard styles, he started this blog to share the tips, tricks, and science that he has learned along the way!