February 06, 2023

So, you’ve been growing out your beard and mustache and… you see a bare strip in the very center of your upper lip. What’s that all about, eh?

It can be especially frustrating to see this mustache gap on yourself when other dudes seem to grow thick doormats under their nose. 

Dude, it’s OK! First, you're not alone in having a mustache gap.

Second, it’s totally natural. 

And third, The Rugged Bros can help with quality advice and info. We’ll show you how to live well with your mustache gap, maybe even learn to love it. 

Why Do I Have a Mustache Gap?

That vertical groove on your upper lip, directly beneath your nose, is called the philtrum. Somebody once nicknamed it Cupid’s Bow, so you may hear that term as well.

The philtrum generally has fewer follicles than other parts of your face, meaning it grows hair at a lower density. Why? The philtrum is where different parts of your face come together and it needs to be specially flexible to help with your mouth movements. 

When a guy first starts growing a mustache, like in the first month or so, that bare patch is usually most noticeable. If your philtrum is larger than average, your mustache gap may be even more prominent - and less prominent if you have a smaller one.

What Causes a Mustache Gap?

  • Genetics - If other members of your family have a mustache gap, chances are you will too.
  • Ethnicity - Different ethnic groups can tend to have larger or smaller gaps. For instance, Asian men don’t often have very thick facial hair and thus have quite noticeable gaps on their philtrums. Meanwhile, Middle Eastern or Arabic men tend to have very thick facial hair with less of a gap.
  • Philtrum Size - Having a large philtrum can mean having a more obvious mustache gap.
  • Hair Color - Lighter shades of mustache hair can sometimes make a gap look more prominent. 
  • Growth Direction - If your mustache hairs tend to point to the sides, away from the philtrum, the mustache gap might be wider.

What Can You Do About Your Mustache Gap?

Sadly, some dudes become very self-conscious about this bare patch. We’re gonna encourage you to look at it a different way and embrace it in the best way possible.

Just know this…

There is no need to do anything drastic. A mustache gap is not a “problem” and there’s nothing wrong with you! In fact, you’re in good company. Johnny Depp, Leonardo DiCaprio, James Franco and Vince Vaughn all have gaps of varying degrees. Even Jake Gyllenhaal, with his thick thatch of facial hair, sports a small gap.

So try your best not to see a mustache gap as a problem. Watch your internal narrative, because it’s easy to build the issue up in your mind - when everybody else doesn’t even notice it.

Let’s get into the things to do - and what not to do.

1. Let it Grow, Let it Grow 

A stache doesn’t reach full thickness and maturity in just one month, which you’ll know if you’ve taken part in the Movember and No Shave November challenges. Really it takes two to three months minimum, in which time that mustache gap can appear to close up.

Don’t trim in that first month or two - keep growing! Although you may experience a phase where nothing seems to be happening… patience, Grasshopper!

2. Don’t Shave!

It’s a complete myth that shaving makes hairs grow back thicker or faster. All shaving will do is remove your mustache and make the process take longer.

3. How Old Are You?

Mustache gaps are more common in teenagers or guys in their early 20s. While there’s no age where mustache gaps magically disappear, it’s true that facial hair tends to grow thicker in a guy’s 30s, 40s and beyond.

4. Retrain your Mustache Hairs

With some regular brushing using a wild boar bristle beard brush, you can slowly encourage your mustache hairs to point in a different direction so that the gap fills in. You’ll need the brush along with some beard balm to hold them in place. For stronger hold on unruly hairs, try a tiny scrape of mustache wax to give them that extra push to fall in line.

Just keep at this hair-training routine daily. It will take some dedication, but will pay off.

5. Just Go With It

This is always an option, you know. Just accept your mustache gap and let it be a feature. Or train yourself to ignore it. As we said earlier, other people aren’t noticing it at all.

6. If You’re Still Not Satisfied, Try a Different Mustache Style

  • The Fu Manchu - We’re talking the true kind of Fu Manchu mustache, not the horseshoe with hairs growing down your face below your mouth corners. The real Fu Manchu is straight and thin with a clean philtrum gap - and it hangs from the mouth corners. In other words, the corners grow long and are styled downwards with a dab of mustache wax. This takes some months, but can pay off well, and it makes a virtue of your mustache gap.
  • The Pencil - Shave below your nose so you keep a thin strip along the top of your lip. It’s debonaire in a classic old-school movie way. Plus you can let it have a decent part in the middle, or even shave a hard part.
  • The Dali - A pencil-thin stache made famous by Salvador Dali, the Spanish painter. Grow the side handles long and wax them to sharp points that point upwards. It’s best to grow out a thick handlebar first and then trim it back along the top and even shave the gap in the middle.

7. As a Last Resort…

You may be a guy who can look awesome with a beard and no mustache. Look around at some styles and see if one might work.

Just don’t shave everything off! Your facial hair is yours and yours alone - it deserves to be celebrated!

Be Sure You Keep Up All The Proper Grooming

Properly groomed and healthy facial hair looks thicker and fuller. So no matter how thick or thin your facial hair is, keep the daily routine of using a beard wash, applying beard moisturizer and beard oil, brushing with a wild boar bristle brush, and styling with beard balm and mustache wax

After all, people will notice unhealthy, lank, dry, frizzy facial hair waaaayyy more than they’ll notice a mustache gap.

We hope this helps you, bro. Your mustache gap is as natural a part of you as your eye color and height. Embrace it, work with it, employ some of the techniques mentioned here, or make a feature of it. Whatever you do, keep your facial hair and stay rugged! 

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