When I was first grown my beard the mustache area of my face was the first area that needed attention. It started as fine but dark hairs at the corner of my lips which then slowly spread up to the centre of my face -just under my nose. I actually ended up shaving in secret because I didn’t like the look of the hairs on the side of my mustache area. In the UK we called it “bum fluff”. Not very attractive and something that heightened the self-consciousness of having it.
If you shave your mustache too early you increase the risk of Knicks and cuts, irritation caused by shaving light hairs, ingrown hairs which can cause pimples, and the fact that you are not very experienced means that you will need guidance from an experienced shaver.
I was a late bloomer when it came to growing out my beard. However, once it grew it grew thick and strong! In this article, we will go over everything you need to know about shaving your mustache for the first time, and some of the potential side-effects that may cause you to wait just a little bit longer before shaving your mustache.
I asked my YouTube followers what age they started shaving their mustache and this is what they have to say:
You can see that the majority of people – 42% – started shaving their mustaches at the age of between 13 and 14. As long as you have something to shave I think it is important to do it if it makes you feel better.
Busting the myths of shaving early
Just so you know, there are no real serious side effects for shaving your mustache too early. Just the normal risks that are associated with shaving including Knicks and cuts, ingrown hairs, Razor bumps, and minor infections and itchy follicles.
Some online forums talk about shaving the corners of their mustache early which results in an uneven beard when they are older. Their uneven mustache or beard would have developed that way irrespective of when they started shaving.
If you are feeling self-conscious about the way your mustache looks at an early age you can simply shave it off. Later in this article, we will go over a proper shaving technique if you do not have anyone to show you how to do it efficiently.
Learning to shave is a rite of passage for many men and doing it properly, cleanly, and regularly allows you to maintain the way you want to be perceived. Once you start shaving you will need to continue shaving for the rest of your life. Unless, of course, you decide to grow a beard – which I highly recommend you do.
What happens when you shave your mustache for the first time?
When you shave your mustache for the first time it will feel very sensitive. When I first past a razor over my peach fuzz growing on my top lip it felt very strange to touch it with my fingers afterwards.
It wasn’t uncomfortable to touch but it was an area with heightened sensitivity.
When you first shave your mustache you will notice that it feels very different to touch and how the top lip feels as you are talking and moving your lips.
After you have removed the mustache for the first time with a razor it will simply continue to grow and thicken at the rate that it would have without the shave. Typically, after a couple of days of growth it will start to feel like stubble. In the early stages of growing a beard this will be very light stubble and may not be as rough and coarse as an older person.
As you continue to shave you notice your beard hairs getting thicker and darker – this is not a result of the shaving but rather the onset of puberty causing darkening of hairs that respond to hormones. In this case it is testosterone which is changed into DHT and then acts on the mustache hairs.
Will shaving upper lip make it darker?
Despite what many people will tell you shaving the upper lip does not cause it to grow back thicker or darker.
A study published in 2007, looked at all the medical myths. One of them was that shaving causes hair to grow back faster, darker, or coarser. They strong scientific evidence from as early as 1928 when a clinical trial showed that shaving had no effect on hair growth.
More recent studies have also confirmed that shaving does not affect the thickness or the rate of hair regrowth. It is a common myth because hair is naturally tapered to a point. When you cut that hair it reveals the cross-sectional thickness and as a touch of coarseness and roughness which is perceived as increased thickness. Also, the new hair has not yet been lightened by the sun or any other exposure to chemicals. This means that the hair seems a tiny bit darker that hair that has not been shaved.
All of this evidence points to the fact that shaving an upper lip will not make it darker it is just an illusion. It is the progression of puberty and the effects of testosterone and DHT on the androgen (hormone) receptors at the base of the hairs which cause the darkening of beard and mustache hairs.
At what age should you shave your mustache?
There is no set age at which you should shave your mustache. There is a social stigma about shaving to young but, in my experience, as long as a boy is guided and taught how to shave appropriately there is no issue.
This hair was very light and dark and was very obvious compared to other parts of my lip.
I ended up shaving that part of my face at the age of 12.
I didn’t tell my parents or my dad because I was embarrassed and they told me that I didn’t need to shave yet. However, I took it upon myself and my first shave resulted in a cut to my top lip which I had to lie about to my parents. Although, I’m sure that they knew what I had done.
According to the UK’s national health system puberty begins at about 12 for boys. But this is not when you can expect to see your first beard growth – it takes much longer than that!
The first signs of puberty are that the testicles get larger and there will be a small amount of hair around the base of the penis. The testicles are where testosterone is produced and is the fuel that your beard needs to grow thick and dense!
In the later stages of puberty (one to three years after initial signs) you will start to grow thicker body hair. The hair will go from a light thin type to something much more substantial.
It can take another four years after the initial signs of puberty before boys are ready to start shaving – let alone grow a beard! The hair on the body gets progressively thicker over the course of four years.
So, if you are between the ages of 12 – 17 you probably have nothing to worry about in terms of your beard growth and you certainly shouldn’t be looking at any drastic interventions.
By the time a boy reaches the age of 18 – they will have probably been through the entire process of puberty and have reached adult maturity. If however, you are still not satisfied with the quality of your beard you can always check out my other blog posts – how to grow a beard if you can’t and how to grow hair on your cheeks.
Should a 13 year old shave his mustache?
It is absolutely appropriate for a 13 year old to start shaving. There is no problem with a 13-year-old shaving his mustache if he is taught how to do it properly and safely and guided through the entire process.
A 13-year-old may want to shave his mustache before his parents or guardians feel like he should – however at this stage in life many societal and social pressures become unbearable and, my recommendation, would be to allow the 13 year old to shave his mustache under guidance and direction.
Is it bad to shave peach fuzz?
It is not bad to shave peach fuzz. If you are self-conscious about the light vellus hairs (commonly known as peach fuzz) you can simply remove them via shaving or use another hair removal technique such as waxing or electrolysis.
If you want to know more about a peach fuzz beard check out my other article – where I answer all of your questions including, does peach fuzz turn into a beard? When will peach fuzz turn into a beard and should you shave your peach fuzz – click here for the full answers.
Dangers of shaving too early
The only dangers of shaving too early come from inexperience and lack of guidance in shaving. Here are a few dangers which can occur from shaving too early.
Not using a clean, sharp, or suitable razor blade can cause irritation. Because the hairs are very light on the early growth of a beard a single blade razor is all that is required.
The person shaving should use light strokes in the direction of the beard hair otherwise they run the risk of over shaving an area and causing too much irritation. Each pass of the razor blade over the surface of the skin also removes some of the skin cells on the outermost layer of the skin.
Too many passages simply removes too many skin cells which can lead to an immune response – reddening of the area – causing irritation.
Knicks and cuts
Using any sharp implement near the delicate regions of the face can easily cause next and cuts. This is particularly true of the mustache part of the face where the contours of the lips can make it very easy to apply too much pressure while shaving.
On the top lip you have the philtrum and the contours of where the lip joins to the skin. These are all areas that you have to be very careful with when you are shaving your mustache for the first time. Once again, being guided through this process by inexperienced and patient shaver can help you overcome any issues and reduce the incidence of nicking and cutting your lips or mustache area.
Ingrown hairs are particularly prevalent in the early stages of growing out your mustache. When hair has been shaved or cut it can easily grow back inwards towards the follicle. This is what we commonly call ingrown hair. The irritation can inflame the follicle and it causes excessive itchiness around the site of the ingrown. They typically appear as red bumps and they can be really painful.
You can experience itchiness raging from very mild to incredibly intense.
Quite often people who have a significant number of ingrown hairs find that they resolve on their own after growing out the hairs.
Other people require some medical intervention. No matter if you experience mild or severe symptoms it’s inconvenient for everyone.
Try to avoid picking at ingrown hairs to aggressively. It could lead to infection and further irritation of the skin. Although, I know that we’ve all been there and is very very satisfying when you finally get out that trapped hair.
Pseudofolliculitis barbae is an inflammatory condition of the beard area. It seems to be more prevalent in men of an African descent and it can expect both men and women. There is a study published in 2016 which looks at the condition and also the role of facial grooming in making it worse.
Prior to this study there was not any robust clinical evidence to support recommendations about shaving or not shaving with single blade or multi-blade razers. The study highlights that daily shaving which includes a good pre-shave and post shave hydration may be beneficial to stop the development of ingrown hairs.
Daily shaving with a multi-blade razor will reduce the pressure that you put on your skin and also reduce the irritation from having to pass over the same part of the face over and over again.
Proper shaving technique for beginners
Learning the proper shaving technique is the number one way for minimising incidents and any downsides of shaving your beard too early. Here are the basic steps for shaving your mustache without incident:
- hydrate – hydrating the skin with warm water reduces irritation and it makes hairs easier to cut. Hairs that are well moisturised and contain a lot of water are weaker and therefore easier to shave.
- Apply shaving cream – my favourite shaving foam comes in a toothpaste like container. I simply squeeze a little bit of it on to my shaving brush and lather in my palm until it is thick and able to stay on my face.
- Use a sharp razor – I use a single blade safety razor however a new cartridge razor will also work well for those that are shaving their mustache for the first time.
- Past the razor over your face in the direction of the hair growth in light gentle strokes. Using light gentle strokes you are sure to minimise the irritation of the skin under the hair. You can always go over a problem area again also using light strokes.
- Rinse your blades as you are removing the hair. This will improve the efficiency of the blades.
- Shave with the grain and across the grain of the growth. Shaving against the grain will increase the chance of an ingrown hair but many mended because they like the result of super smooth skin no matter what direction you stroke it in.
- Rinse off your face and apply your favourite moisturiser or aftershave.
Using these simple steps you are able to shave your mustache at a very early age and minimise any downsides associated with razors.
In this article, we have found out what happens if you shave your mustache too early. Ultimately, it is the lack of skill and knowledge of shaving which causes the most damage. Shaving too early will not increase the thickness or darkness of the mustache hair – that will happen naturally over time as proven by science.
Learning to shave properly with supervision and guidance is the best way to learn how to shave properly with minimal impact and irritation.
Many people shave their mustache early because they are self-conscious about the way it looks. I was certainly in that boat and having an open and honest discussion with your teenager or, if you are a teenager, with your parents and guardians will mean you can feel confident about learning to shave and not have to hide it like I did.