Howdy, Tom Selleck fans. While we’re apt to pay lip service to beards, it’s the mighty moustache that really gets our tongues wagging. They beef up any countenance and bring dignity to any lip. So perhaps it’s time you put your stubble where your mouth is and try on the manliest face mask available. That way, even if your idea of manual labour is chopping veg without the need of a blender, you’ll at least look like you know your way around a tool shed.

The main thing you need when growing a moustache is patience. That, and a style in keeping with the hipsters. Which is why we went to barbershop gurus Ruffians, experts at the frontline of ‘tache trends, to get the long and short of expert moustache growth.

If you already have a beard, you have a head start. For the rest of you, there’s some personal growth to be done. But with this definitive guide at your fingertips, your new look is in hand.

Onward, to moustache glory.

Stage 1: Can You Grow One?

It takes a long time to grow anything which isn’t a simple pencil moustache, even if you have quick-growing, thick facial hair. Generally though, you need to grow the hair out for as long as possible before you start deciding on a shape or style – it’s like pruning a hedge: you wouldn’t start working in some topiary magic before the bush is of a proper size.

You’ll hopefully produce an even thickness all over your top lip, but best practice is to compare this to the rest of your facial hair and grow a bit at the same time to avoid that awkward in between stage (more on that below). It doesn’t matter if the colours are uneven through your ‘tache but patchiness can be a problem – start with a beard and see what you’ve got.

Stage 2: Prep The Growth

So, you’re going to work from a beard, or from what facial hair you already have. If you find that your stubble barely grows beyond 8-10mm, then it’s likely that your moustache isn’t going to be anything more than a thin line above it.

But if you can grow a beard relatively easily, after a couple of weeks you’ll start to see which way the hair on your upper lip is growing, so you can decide whether you want a toothbrush moustache (Tom Selleck), a handlebar (George V), or something else entirely.

Treat your skin as you usually would: beard oil for anything longer than 15mm, and exfoliator and moisturiser for anything less. Keep it clean. Hair likes clean skin.

Beard and moustache grooming products

Taylor of Old Bond Street BEARD AND MOUSTACHE LEAVE-IN CONDITIONER - Click to buyTOM FORD BEAUTY Oud Wood Conditioning Beard Oil, 30ml - Click to buyBAXTER OF CALIFORNIA FACIAL SCRUB 120ML - Click to buyDAILY FACIAL MOISTURISER - Click to buy

Stage 3: The Early Days

Persevere through the early awkward stages by keeping your beard neat and uniform, so that your facial hair looks good even before you get to the business end of moustache growth.

Once the hairs above your lip start to descend over your upper lip, that’s when you can get your trimmers and trim a line to remove the strays. Or, if you would like a handlebar and the hair further up is longer, you can train it out to each side in order to maintain the length.

Ideally you want the hair to be longest just underneath the nose, so that it eventually catches up with the upper lip hair.

Try: Gillette Pro Fusion Styler available at Amazon, priced £13.95.

Gillette Fusion ProGlide Styler 3-in-1 (Razor, Beard Trimmer, Edging Blade)

Stage 4: ‘Tache Time

Where you go from here all depends on what style you’ve gone for and how realistic you are being with your growth. The biggest mistakes when it comes to moustache-growing are not choosing the right style for your hair, and not maintaining your style.

If you’ve got a thick and bushy beard, try out a handlebar, which can give a bit of form and shape to a mass of thick beard. If you’ve got finer facial hair and good bone structure, a smaller pencil moustache (which is essentially shaved out of a beard, rather than grown over it) can accentuate your features.

So choose your type, and trim away around the ‘tache.

Don’t go overboard on the products either – you don’t need to buy moustache wax or beard oils unless you’ve got proper length (again, that’s 15mm and longer). Sometimes a paste with a bit of water will work in keeping it nourished and glossy.

If you’re serious about growing a moustache, it’s best to go and see an expert before you start out – they will be able to tell you what would work for you, and also how to maintain it as each case is different.

Beard and moustache styling products

UPPERCUT DELUXE MEN'S MO WAX (25G) - Click to buyD R HARRIS Beard Oil, 30ml - Click to buyAMERICAN CREW DEFINING PASTE (85G) - Click to buySTYLING PASTE - Click to buy

Stage 5: Choose Your Weapon

These are the biggest ‘tache trends right now. Choose yours wisely:

1) Handlebar + Beard

A good combination, which doesn’t make too much of the moustache as the beard is in equal focus. Grow your beard for a while, and experiment with the different shapes your moustache can make. Never trim the ‘tache.

Handlebar Moustache + Beard

2) The Beardstache

Grow a beard, and then take everything down to a 3mm grade with the clippers, except the moustache for a rugged and nonchalant look.

The Beardstache

3) Pencil Moustache

Grow stubble, then wet shave around a thin sliver of hair above your lip to achieve a more elegant, refined moustache.

Pencil Moustache

4) Standard Moustache

The moustache that you kind of don’t notice – it just is. There’s no dramatic shape or style to this, it simply looks like it’s always been there. Wet shave your face every day or two for a finer finish. You can’t go wrong with this one.

Standard Moustache