Despite the current fashion trends and the warnings from your friends and family, you decided to grow out a thick manly mustache, just to find out that it grows patchy and thin with bald spots in it.
Well, we need to make your mustache thicker and eliminate the patchiness. If you’re bold enough to rock a ‘stache, you surely are entitled to have it be as thick as it physically can be.
There are many reasons why a man can develop patchy thin mustache on his upper lip, including young age, differences in genetics, insufficient beard nutrients, and simply just being too impatient with letting your mustache grow out properly before you embark on any trimming or shaping.
NOTE: If you’re looking for a guide on how to fix a patchy beard, not just one focused on the mustache, then click that link.
Let’s take a closer look at what causes sparse mustache growth and what you can do to fix the patchiness once and for good.
Common Causes of Patchy Mustache Growth
Young Men Typically Grow Patchier Mustaches
Man’s facial hair area has tens of thousands of hair follicles from where beard and mustache can potentially grow, and in the beginning most of this growth will be in the form of translucent tiny vellus beard hairs.
Eventually when you hit puberty, your male hormones and their receptor sites will begin to become more active and that’s what causes the follicles to also mature as the male hormones (the androgens testosterone and DHT in particular) will ensure that the follicles are connected to larger sebaceous glands and receive enhanced blood flow and nutrients.
And that’s when the tiny barely visible vellus hairs on your beard and mustache area will start converting into bit thicker hairs which are commonly known as the “peach fuzz”. It’s still not the “proper” kind of facial hair, but it’s a step in the right direction.
That peach fuzz growth is what makes the mustaches of young guys look incredibly weak and patchy, as the hairs are now pigmented and more visible, but still haven’t matured into fully terminal thick mustache hairs yet.
So how can you make your peach fuzz mustache thicker as a teenager? Well, growing older is the best way, because facial hair follicles take a long time to mature.
The good news is that if you can sprout even a weak patchy mustache as a teen, you will likely also be able to grow a thick dense mustache later on in your life as you grow up more.
The Mustache Gap in the Middle is Completely Natural
Like beards, mustaches do come in all kinds of shapes and sizes, but what’s characteristic to most of them, is that there will be a distinctive gap in the middle.
You might think that this is an issue with patchy mustache growth, but it’s actually just a naturally occurring genetic trait that many guys have – even many whom have ridiculously thick mustache otherwise.
The gap in the middle of your upper lip where mustache rarely grows is well-known in science and it’s actually called the philtrum. It can be seen in humans and many animals (dogs being one popular example).
The official definition of a philtrum is as follows:
“The vertical groove between the base of the nose and the border of the upper lip.”
So if your mustache is otherwise thick and full, but there’s a bald patch right there in the middle underneath the nose, then you really shouldn’t worry about that. It’s just the philtrum where mustache typically doesn’t grow in majority of men.
Heck, some men who can grow mustache on their philtrum areas actually voluntarily cut theirselves a gap there with scissors to mimic the natural bald spot.
With that being said, there are some mustache thickening tricks that can make hair grow even on a hairless philtrum area (which we will be talking about below soon enough), so if you are wanting to fill your mustaches middle gap, then make sure to keep on reading.
Shaving Your Mustache won’t Make it Grow Back Thicker
This myth has made its way to mustache growing as well, and if you take a look at any beard forum or subreddit online, you will quickly find men asking questions like: “I decided to grow out my mustache but it came in patchy, should I try a re-grow?”.
The answer is no. You should not attempt to shave your mustache in an effort to make it thicker. That simply does not work.
There is not any reasonable mechanism of action that would somehow make the facial hair follicles think they need to spew out thicker hairs after a shave.
Heck, by the “shaving for thicker growth” logic, all the balding men around the World who shave their heads should eventually grow out thick hair, but that’s not something that happens, is it?
Blonde and Ginger Mustaches Look More Patchy
It’s an unfortunate fact that light colored mustaches will always look more patchy than darker mustaches do.
It has to do with the fact that darker mustaches absorb much more of the visible light and they tend to create a sharper contrast with most of the skin tones.
The only way to get around this mustachious issue is to either live with it or dye your beard and mustache to a darker hue – just remember that you really shouldn’t jump from blonde mustache suddenly into a jet black one, it would look absolutely unnatural and weird.
Most Men Trim their Mustache Before it Reaches Full Potential
The hair on your upper lip typically grows a bit slower than the rest of the facial hair, and it also has a much shorter terminal length.
With that being said, most men who struggle with weak mustache growth, actually don’t even have that bad of a mustache to begin with – they are just too used to trimming it short way too early.
A good mustache will take months of time to grow, and a big surprise to many newbie mustache growers is that a really nice looking thick mustaches typically completely cover and overlap with the upper lip, it’s just that they’re waxed to the side so you really don’t see that.
So if your mustache starts to overlap into your mouth after growing out your beard for one month or two months, then don’t just immediately run to trim it, instead just get some mustache wax and keep styling it to the sides. Eventually, you will have a criminally good looking thick dad-stache.
NOTE: I’m not saying you should completely abandon mustache trimming. It’s best to first let it grow for few months naturally, and then when you eventually do trim it and clean it up, make sure to first style it to the sides and then only trim the most rogue hairs.
How to Grow a Thicker Mustache Naturally
1. First Just Try Letting it Grow for Solid Four Months
Like I already said, growing a mustache is slow, in many times it seems to grow much slower than the rest of the beard.
So if you have only grown hair on your face for a month or two, and you’re starting to look at your mustache like “man, that’s one bad looking patchy mustache”, then please just don’t rush on trimming it just yet.
The secret to growing a thick and nice looking mustache is to actually let it grow out first.
So before you do any trimming on it, just let that sucker grow right out over your top lip even.
Yes it will look horrible when it’s not styled, but if you get some beard wax or mustache wax and regularly style it to the sides, it’s not that bad looking actually, and it gives your mustache the much needed time to grow into a big one.
In the most careful estimations, it will take 4 months of beard growth before your mustache will start to look good and it can take as much as 6 months of beard growth before you have enough bulk in your upper lip to properly trim out a good looking thick mustache shape.
Sure there are horribly patchy mustaches that will look bad even after half a year of growing, but even the patchiest thin mustache will look quite mean after you just let it grow out long and keep styling it to the sides.
Don’t be afraid of it drooping over your upper lip, just resist the urge to shave or trim, and style that ‘stache to the sides. You will thank me later.
This is a mustache mistake I myself made for years. I just kept looking at my otherwise thick beard and then looked over at my patchy looking mustache and always hated it, then trimmed it, and everytime I did this way too early, and then just kept trimming it.
Eventually – after years of beard growing – I just let my mustache get loose and grow wild for six months, and that’s all it took for it to look thick and good.
2. Make Sure Your Mustache Gets All the Necessary Nutrients
Growing facial hair is an energy-expensive process. It takes a lot of calories, the right vitamins and minerals, and a lot of involvement from hormones to make hair appear on your top lip.
So if you reduce your calories too much and your intake of the critical beard nutrients (vitamins A, E, D, K2 and minerals zinc, selenium, iodine, copper, magnesium) gets reduced, then what will happen is this:
- Your rate of facial hair growth will slow down, and the quality of the hair spewing out of the follicles will be weaker. In other words you will start growing wispy beard and mustache.
- At the same time the reduced calories and nutrients will ensure that the levels of your beard-growing hormones (testosterone and DHT) are also going to tank (here’s a study showcasing this), further hurting your mustache quality.
- The combination of the two factors will hinder your ability to grow a thicker mustache, and while it never completely stops your facial hair growth rate, it will still ensure that your whiskers come in patchy.
How to correct this? Very easy, just eat a balanced diet with a reasonable amount of calories, and make sure you get all the required vitamins and minerals as well. If you want to give your mustache a little extra boost, take a look at our post on the best beard growth foods.
3. Some Supplements May Help but Only a Bit
Simply because there is a massive demand for them.
Many men want to grow epic beards and mustache, and when they can’t, they want to find something that could help, and what could be easier than popping one of those flashy beard pills.
Let’s pump the brakes here though. Fact is that most of these purported beard pills don’t work at all.
Or if they do, they might have a tiny beneficial effect, but that’s just because they are most often just normal everyday kitchen-sink multivitamins with a beard-label printed on them and a massive price tag.
Out of all the tens of different beard growth supplements out there, the only ones I could honestly recommend are a good multivitamin and maybe L-Carnitine L-Tartrate.
If you want to make your patchy mustache thicker, the multivitamin can help as it can give you some of the beneficial vitamins and minerals that your diet might be otherwise lacking.
The multivitamin should be a basic one, it doesn’t need to be and shouldn’t be, a “beard vitamin”.
And when it comes to carnitine, there is some research that it can:
- Shift more hairs into the anagen phase, which is known as “the growth phase” where the follicle is spewing the strands out at its maximum potential.
- And when taken at 2g/day it can increase the sensitivity of the receptors that uptake hormones (yes, the hormones responsible for beard growth).
Please remember though: no supplement can make your beard or mustache go from super-patchy to super-thick, but with multivitamin and some carnitine, you may give yourself a small bump towards the right direction.
4. Use a Beard Roller on your Mustache
One of the most popular “underground” methods of filling a patchy mustache is to use a Derma Roller on it or which some have started calling a “beard roller”.
Beard rollers have hundreds of tiny needless on them, which you use to roll around your mustache area. If you use the recommended 0.5 to 0.75mm needle-size, then you can use the roller 2-3 times per week and not on consecutive days.
The idea is that the needless will poke tiny micro-holes into the skin, and the body then responds by shuttling in more blood and more nutrients, and at the same time ramps up the collagen production, which theoretically then improves your mustache growth as well.
So far the benefits of Derma rolling have only been proven on scalp-hair (here’s a link to that study), but it’s likely that the effects extend to facial hair as well, since the follicles are not that much different.
I’m personally a big fan of Derma rollers for beard growth and I actually wrote the first proper article about the topic little over four years ago (with now there being hundreds of them and many brands cashing in on their own “beard rollers”).
5. Minoxidil Reportedly Works on Mustaches as Well
Minoxidil is making quite a name for itself as a beard growth booster, and it works just as well on the mustache hairs as well.
But let’s back-pedal a bit here.
What the heck even is minoxidil?
Well, it’s the over-the-counter hair loss medication many guys are familiar with. It used to be a “unproven legend” that it would work just as effectively on the beard, but since there weren’t any studies on the topic, people – including many experts – shrugged it off as “probably not effective”.
Years later, it has been proven in science (here’s the study) and through thousands of anecdotes that it certainly does work on the facial hair.
And while it does have its potential side-effects, it’s still easily the most effective beard growth booster we have ever seen, most before-after results being on-par with beard transplants.
So can minoxidil make your mustache thicker? Absolutely. But we can’t straight up recommend it, as we are not medical professionals. So you should always discuss with your doctor first before considering any medication, even if it’s available OTC like minoxidil is.
Here are some further links:
- Side Effects and Safety of Topical Minoxidil
- Minoxidil for Beard: Activate NEW Growth (Scientifically Proven)
- r/minoxbeards (active subreddit with thousands of guys using minox)
- Minox Beard Spot on FaceBook (50k+ guys who use minox on beards)
6. Heavy-Duty Mustache Wax Can Give a Boost in Thickness
There’s a two-step mustache thickening effect you can get by using a strong mustache wax.
- it helps in creating the illusion of added thickness as your mustache hairs now bundle up nicely together in an uniform direction rather than just pointing everywhere.
- Mustache waxes that are strong are also typically those with thick pasty consistency that adds more weight and volume to your ‘stache. It’s purely cosmetic effect, but effect nonetheless.
There are hundreds of mustache waxes to choose from and we have listed some of the greatest ones here.
7. Choosing the Right Mustache Style Works Wonders
While you definitely don’t want to trim your mustache too early, that doesn’t mean you never should be trimming it.
Once you have enough bulk and thickness on your upper lip (typically I would say this will be around your 5th month of beard growth) you should be starting to look at different mustache styles and deciding which one best suits your face and your natural mustache growth patterns.
The mustache style on the picture above is called “the Hungarian”, it’s perfect for making your medium-sized mustache look thick as a house painting brush.
For men with a narrow gap between the nose and upper lip and a thinner mustache, a good style would be the English mustache combined with a Verdi beard style or a natural mustache that connects with the rest of the beard.
It’s really up to you, there are so many different mustache styles to choose from, just be sure to wait long enough before you start trimming your mustache.
Mustaches are magical. They can frame a face and add a lot of character to your beard style, or if you’re bold enough you can rock a ‘stache without any other facial hair as well.
When it comes to fixing a patchy mustache, patience is the key.
Most guys – even with quite good mustache growth – make the mistake of trimming their top lips too early, and then they never get to experience the full potential that the mustache would offer if they’d just let it grow longer naturally.
Of course, there are many other ways to stimulate mustache growth, such as using a beard roller, trying out minoxidil, making sure you get the right facial hair nutrients through your diet, and perhaps even trying some beard growth supplements.