Dealing with a Molester Moustache
January 17, 2007 9:49 AM   Subscribe

I have an indefatigable Molester Moustache. Does it look as creepy as I think? Should I make a habit of shaving multiple times a day?

I have an awkward facial hair situation: the only real hair that grows is the moustache. There's nothing on my cheeks, and I couldn't grow sideburns if my life depended on it. The chin-hair wouldn't be noticeable even if I didn't shave for 3-4 days. But the moustache -- it's fierce. It's noticeable by dinnertime. Missing a day of shaving provokes people to ask whether I'm growing a moustache -- a creepy, thin, moustache. They assume I've shaved everywhere else, when in fact there's just no hair growing. Most guys can get away with the "scruffy" look, while I can only get a "possible child molester" look. Obviously I'm uncomfortable with this.

I've checked through the surprisingly voluminous amounts of information on shaving in the archives, and still have questions.

First, how common are these "my beard looks awful" feelings? (And any ladies who've actually read this far: how readily do you notice bad facial hair?)

Second, how close can a good electric shaver get? I've only gotten a close enough shave with a Mach3-type razor in the shower. Anything less than zero-length hair results in a creepy look, as it contrasts with the absence of hair elsewhere. I've bought cheap electrics that weren't close enough, and am afraid to invest much more.

Lastly, does anyone bring shaving equipment to work? I work long days, and often feel I need another shave if I go out after work. Given the lack of an electric, how strange would it be to take a quick shave in the bathroom?
posted by FuManchu to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (32 answers total)
It'll cost a bunch, but why don't you get laser hair removal and be done with it forever?
posted by suasponte at 9:52 AM on January 17, 2007

Might be a horrible ideas, but
Have you tried waxing?
Or that mustache hair removal goop that women use?
posted by milarepa at 9:57 AM on January 17, 2007

Shaving in the bathroom is completely cool.
If you can change a kid's diaper in the men's room at Starbuck's (something I did not 3 minutes ago, btw) you can certainly tidy yourself up in there.
That is what those places are for.
I took a sponge-bath in a Nordstrom's in Los Angeles years ago, and no-one said boo.
(Puddle; tuxedo; please don't laugh).
posted by Dizzy at 9:58 AM on January 17, 2007

"be horrible ideas"...not "be a horrible ideas."
Preview's for sissies.

posted by milarepa at 9:59 AM on January 17, 2007

Closest shaves will come via straight razor, and even a good electric shaver can rarely beat an average disposable razor.

There should be no problem with shaving at work, but for that purpose an electric will be faster, easier to use in a public bathroom and won't leave as much of a mess about the sink.

I had a natural goatee for years until now, when my cheeks are just starting to fill in (I'm 25). It may just take time.
posted by JeremiahBritt at 10:00 AM on January 17, 2007

Note that lasering takes a few tries-- 6-8 to be exact. What you might be able to do is lessen the growth without eliminating it, should you think that you might like a moustache later. I have had my legs and my underarms lasered. Each time, the hair grew back lighter and finer. Since I was looking for total removal, I had the full course. Maybe look into having a half course. It will set you back some, though.
posted by oflinkey at 10:02 AM on January 17, 2007

I have almost the same problem, not quite as bad as you describe, though. Since the stubble grows downward, just shave (carefully) upwards with a straight or disposable razor to get the closest shave possible.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:04 AM on January 17, 2007

1. I don't think people worry about facial hair nearly as much as you think they do.

2. I switched over to a high-end electric razor a few weeks ago. (I recently asked a question about it.) It gets quite close, and is more than satisfactory, but I have to shave more often with it. (The business about triple-blade razors lifting hair and cutting it so that it retreats beneath the skin appears to be true--electric razors will never do that.) With a blade razor I shaved every 2-3 days; with the electric I shave every morning, and sometimes once again if I'm going out in the evening. The razor I use gives me the closest shave in the moustache area and on my cheeks--less so on my neck and jaw.

I have no answer for 3, but I don't see why not. But I'd advise springing for a good electric.
posted by Prospero at 10:08 AM on January 17, 2007

Women's upper-lip hair is not the same texture as men's...waxing is unlikely to work. And lasering is more difficult, too.

Shaving at work is fine. In ye olden days (a generation or two ago, depending on the type of business) it was commonplace.
posted by desuetude at 10:11 AM on January 17, 2007

I've started using a safety razor, with consistently better results than my Sensor Excel or Mach 3.

posted by Hermes32 at 10:11 AM on January 17, 2007

Hmm.... Here's a second try on a link:
posted by Hermes32 at 10:14 AM on January 17, 2007


I agree that you're probably more aware of this than other people are when looking at you.
posted by loiseau at 10:14 AM on January 17, 2007

Response by poster: Probably can't afford lasering. I'm seriously looking into man-waxing now, but fear desuetude is correct. Anyone with stories of this? Friends, relatives?

JeremiahBritt: I'm 26 myself. I hope my other areas fill in, but the moustache has also become much stronger in the past few years.

Blazecock: Glad to hear it's not an isolated issue. I've been doing the upwards-shaving, and it's worked for a while, but it no longer lasts all day.

Loiseau: I am a happier person upon learning that word.
posted by FuManchu at 10:22 AM on January 17, 2007

I'm a woman and I can't stand mustaches. I agree-total child molester look. If you can, shave at work during lunch or something like that. Mustaches are just nasty.
posted by aacheson at 10:24 AM on January 17, 2007

Grow your moustache out and wear it proudly. Don't let the haters get you down.
posted by ludwig_van at 10:57 AM on January 17, 2007

(And any ladies who've actually read this far: how readily do you notice bad facial hair?)

I really only notice bad facial hair when it's unclean or unkempt looking, and the only facial hair I can recall that has actually creeped me out is John Waters' ...

I think a bad facial hair day for a guy is probably the equivalent of a bad hair day for us girls (we always think we look worse than we really do, and most of our friends and coworkers don't even notice).
posted by amyms at 10:59 AM on January 17, 2007

I've bought cheap electrics that weren't close enough, and am afraid to invest much more.

My first (and last) electric shaver came from a store that had a 60 day, no questions asked return policy (which I used). If you are uncertain that you will get your money's worth out of an electric shaver, buy from somewhere that will let you return it if you are not satisfied.

Given the lack of an electric, how strange would it be to take a quick shave in the bathroom?

Who cares? I frequently receive strange looks from people who must think that brushing my teeth in a public bathroom is the epitome of oddness, but it is the most polite place you can groom yourself while not at home. If that's what you need, go for it.
posted by peeedro at 11:01 AM on January 17, 2007

I'm a lady, and not a fan of facial hair in general. I definitely notice facial hair on men. If it's half as bad as you think it is, I'd probably be creeped out.
posted by clh at 11:16 AM on January 17, 2007

Especially for the mustache hair, my Norelco (a recent model) gets closer than any blade (2, 3, or 5-blade style). It's a bit weak on neck hair, but that's no concern for you.
posted by rxrfrx at 11:21 AM on January 17, 2007

Yeah, I don't think waxing would work. From what I understand of waxing, you can do fine hair on tougher areas (like legs), fine hair on more delicate areas (like eyebrows or women's upper lip), or coarse hair on tougher areas (like underarms) but coarse hair on a delicate area (like your mustache) is a recipe for a bloody mess. Additionally, waxing works best when you can hold the skin taut as the hair is pulled out; on something as elastic as your lip, all the pulling one would have to do to remove coarse hair would be doubly unpleasant.

Just do a quick shave in the washroom. If you can get an electric and keep it somewhere inconspicous so you can just do a quick referesher at the end of the day, so much the better. They don't call it five o'clock shadow for nothing.

And since you asked, my (female) opinion on mustaches: I'm not a fan, but the fact that my now-husband had one when we started dating wasn't a dealbreaker. (I did eventually convince him to shave it off though.)
posted by AV at 11:23 AM on January 17, 2007

Electric razors tend to pull hairs out, whereas razors cut them (couldn't find any online, but as I recall, there were some interesting pictures in David Bodanis's book "The Secret House").

I am convinced that soap-and-brush is key. But that is for closeness and low irritation. It sounds like your problem is fast-growing hair. FWIW, I also keep razor & soap in my kit at work. Haven't used 'em yet, so I can't comment on getting the stink eye from co-workers.

Fu - I think we need a picture! (BTW, if your 'stache is a true Fu Manchu, that would be awesome! Get some moustache wax, and go to town!)
posted by ObscureReferenceMan at 11:24 AM on January 17, 2007

Electric razors tend to pull hairs out

Razors like my Norelco work by having several spinning blades behind a fine comb. There's a little tugging action as the blade catches the hair, but the actual shaving works by cutting the hair.
posted by rxrfrx at 11:32 AM on January 17, 2007

You won't be able to wax your mustache unless you are willing to grow it out to 1/4"-1/2" length at least before getting it waxed. Meaning you'd walk around looking like a child molester for a couple days waiting for it to grow out in between waxes.

What some women do is *bleach* their mustache/whiskers hair. You might want to see if that would work for you.

But honestly, it sounds like just bringing shaving stuff to work for a lunchtime touchup might be your best choice.
posted by tastybrains at 11:48 AM on January 17, 2007

Shaving in the bathroom is completely cool.

I disagree. It may be practical, and it may not directly bother someone else, but there is a guy where I work that (apparently) has a similar issue, and he definitely gets some strange looks when he shaves in the bathroom at work. While it may be true that

If you can change a kid's diaper in the men's room at Starbuck's (something I did not 3 minutes ago, btw) you can certainly tidy yourself up in there.

There are some people that will find it strange.
posted by Doohickie at 12:40 PM on January 17, 2007

how readily do you notice bad facial hair?

The only facial hair that bothers me is that of junior high guys with weak, dark mustaches.
posted by nekton at 12:49 PM on January 17, 2007

If you're worried about looking weird shaving at work, pop out at lunch to the local ::insert coffee shop/fast food joint:: and do it there.

The only people who'll think you're odd will be randoms you don't know.
posted by zhivota at 12:53 PM on January 17, 2007

Huh - I remember a lot of movies from HK dating from the '80's.

LOTS of scenes of men shaving with a cordless electric razor while racing somewhere in an expensive car.

Sure, the electric won't be as close, but you can carry one around in a briefcase/backpack/manbag/car and shave throughout the day as needed.
posted by porpoise at 12:57 PM on January 17, 2007

Throwing in my lady two cents: I don't mind facial hair on guys unless it is bad or ill-fitting. Like if it looks more like you didn't shave because you're lazy and it's all raggedy vs. trying to cultivate a resplendent beard. If it works on you and whatever your look is then that's fine by me. For example, John Waters' ronnie doesn't creep me out at all and in fact I like it, BUT on John Waters. I've seen some guys with handlebar moustaches (trimmed and waxed, the whole nine yards) who are so committed to being "that guy" with the handlebar moustache that I think it's pretty awesome.

Another vote for shaving at work if you don't want to have facial hair. I don't think waxing is good for guys' 'taches and depending on how fine your hair is, bleaching will just make it look you have random, stray blonde hairs.
posted by kkokkodalk at 1:19 PM on January 17, 2007

I have the same problem. I'm 23 and white, and I have really dark facial hair which only grows in an unconnected moustache and in patches at the bottom of my chin. It used to drive me crazy, but I've managed to get it under control.

Things that help:
  • The more tan I am the harder it is to notice the dark moustache hairs that are growing in. Since I don't spend much time in the sun during non-summer or get fake tans, this isn't a total win... but when I am tan it's a nice perk.
  • Excellent shaving cream and a badger hair brush. Grab a brush and some Taylor of Old Bond Street from Classic Shaving.
  • A good razor. I swear by the new Gilette Fusion. After I've shaved my entire face using downstrokes with the main blades, I put some more shaving cream on the problem areas and use upstrokes with the rear single blade. Works like a charm.
I no longer worry about sketchy facial hair being there at night if I shave every morning, but I still feel sketchy if I skip a day.
posted by adamk at 1:38 PM on January 17, 2007

I keep a razor and shaving cream in my cubicle (along with a toothbrush and toothpaste), and have used them a few times (usually towards the end of the day, in the less-used bathroom on my floor). It's not something I'd personally do regularly, or in the middle of the day, but I think it's generally OK.

The "culture" of individual workplaces may vary. However, there are so many slobs and socially retarded individuals at my office, I can't imagine anyone objecting.

Digression: A few weeks ago a co-worker put his toothbrush and toothpaste on top of the urinal next to the one I was at, prior to using it. The brush fell in! He cursed and took it out, but then set it back on top of the urinal, peed, and RINSED OFF THE BRUSH AT THE SINK AND USED IT.

These cretins can't possibly be offended by me occasionally shaving after hours.
posted by Artifice_Eternity at 1:46 PM on January 17, 2007 [1 favorite]

Have you considered growing the namesake, Fu? You may even find henchmen gravitating towards you.

Failing that, just shave at work. If you're freaked out by doing that go and hide in a stationary cupboard with an electric razor. The choice seems to be worrying about the molester mo' or worrying about people thinking you're a weirdo with a kink for random shaving. You're going to have to embrace one or the other, really. I vote put a racing stripe on your Braun and have done with it.
posted by Jilder at 7:20 PM on January 17, 2007

I'm with the others who say it's okay to shave at work. However, only as long as you own it. Find your personal bathroom area. Establish a time when you will be doing your daily shaving. Bring your towel, shaver and cream. Strip down to the beater and go to work for real. Showing that you care about your personal appearance is professional. Make sure that you clean up after yourself when you're done.
posted by kookywon at 2:11 PM on January 18, 2007

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