Marvelling at the Moustache

Man in bowtie and glasses with beach and moustache

Image source: Shutterstock
The moustache is back!

Moustache. Mouthbrow. Crumb catcher. Flavour saver. Upper lipholstery. Whatever you call it, we can all agree that the moustache is back in style.

If you’re one of the gents still sporting yours from the 70s, congratulations, you’re leading the charge. But if you’re a recent member of the moustachioed masses – welcome to the brotherhood.

 Regardless of the age of your tash, it’s fair to assume that a refresher course in moustache maintenance and appreciation is always welcome, especially with Movember fast approaching.

 So with that in mind, consider this our hat-tip to top-lip topiary.

History of the moustache

Black and white photo of man with large moustache

Image source: Wikimedia Commons
They knew how to grow eye-catching whiskers in the 19th century.

The moustache has been a hairy subject throughout history. It’s swung from mistake to must-have, and back again. One minute, there’s nothing manlier. The next, men enter the winter of whiskers. But moustaches cannot be shaved off the face of history entirely; they always return. And often more luxuriant than before.

It’s said that knights’ armour in medieval times was made to allow for their moustaches. Later, it was the facial hair of choice for kings, like James I who was particularly proud of his.

Fast forward to WW1, however, and moustaches are discarded in favour of clean-shaven faces. Facial hair prevents gas masks making a seal around the face. But with the end of the war, men could grow whiskers to their hearts’ content. So the 1920s and 1930s introduced more and more moustachioed heroes to the streets and the silver screen, and the 1940s saw the handlebar’s rise in fashion

The 1960s, 70s and 80s were pretty hairy generally, but then the moustache faded from faces again, until 2003 when Movember arrived on the scene, making a moustache the sign of a conscientious, charitably-minded man.

Today, we’re in the midst of yet another renaissance.

Benefits of moustaches

Swedish man holding moustache banner

Image source: Stephanie Watson/Flickr
Best benefit? You might look as glorious as this moustachioed Swede

It’s not hard to see why when you consider the benefits. Not only do they look great (thereby boosting your sex appeal), but they help protect the underlying skin from harmful UV rays, meaning a reduction in your risk of cancer.

Evidence even exists to suggest men with facial hair are generally considered more trustworthy.

But if all that wasn’t enough, a moustache could also save a life. A 2012 survey of Movember participants showed that 68% of men educated themselves on the men’s health issues that they could face, while 84% convinced others to take action. In fact, 1 in 5 went on to see the doctor specifically because of Movember. A moustache is a powerful thing indeed.

What’s Movember?

Moustache style guide from Movember

Image source: Movember
Movember knows its moustaches.

You could always tailor your tash according to the Movember style guide; they’re folks that know their moustaches.

An important charity for men’s health, and mental health, Movember started out in 2003 aiming to raise awareness and understanding of issues ranging from depression to testicular cancer.

One of the co-founders says that the 30 days of Movember have more than just a physically transformative effect. It’s like Clark Kent turning into Superman. After all, who couldn’t feel confident while sporting a glorious moustache?

But it doesn’t just make you feel good. As Sartorial Male points out:

Signifying your support for male cancer awareness by growing a moustache not only helps to deliver an incredibly important message, it helps to raise money to fund research and development into this all too common condition.

So remember, remember the 1st of Movember this year.

How to tap into the power of the tash

James Bond actor Daniel Craig with moustache

Image source: Everett Collection/Shutterstock
Daniel Craig understands the power of the tash

Moustache wearers like Daniel Craig, Sean Connery and Roger Moore understand the power of the tash. Is it a coincidence that three past and present Bonds know how to wield top-lip topiary in style? We think not.

So how do you tap into the power of the tash? Anyone can do it, but ‘how’ depends largely on the type of hair you have.

Most experienced moustache growers agree that it’s easier to start growing your facial hair generally, than to focus solely on the moustache. This eliminates any unfortunate patchiness or wispiness when your moustache is coming in. Then, when your hair is at the desired thickness, shave the beard off, and let your fully-grown tash sing.

Not all moustaches are created equal, of course. Some men will find that they have finer, wispier hair, better for sporting a pencil-thin number. Some will have luxuriant, bushy numbers that can be left more or less au naturel.

Once you’ve determined what kind of facial hair you have, you just need to tailor the moustache to match. The style – and the power – will follow.

Different Styles

Willi Chevalier, World’s longest moustache and beard

Image source: Demon Tweeks
Start small, but think big, and one day this masterpiece could be yours.

The Grooming Guru says of experiments with lipholstery:

Like raising a child you never quite know how your ’tache will turn out until it’s fully grown… Bottom line – there’s a moustache out there for every man – you just need to find the one that works best for you!

So try a few styles, and see how each feels before settling into a moustache.

Colour photo of Errol Flynn

Image source: Roisterer/en.wikipedia
Fancy a Flynn?

If your lip hair is a bit tentative, then style and trim it precisely, giving yourself a dapper, 30s Errol Flynn look.

Man with bushy moustache

Image source: Moustache May
Big and bushy

If yours comes in full and bushy, act like your favourite Ron (be that Swanson or Burgundy) and don’t get in its way. Simply let it grow, give it a brush, and let it be.

Man with handlebar moustache

Image source: Eduardo Gaviña/Flickr
Can you handle it?

For those who have facial hair to spare, consider the handlebar. But before you do, ask yourself if you can truly handlebar it. This style requires constant vigilance, styling and product. But it’s a bold, impactful style when done right.

Black and white photo of Clark Gable

Image source: wikipedia
Do you give a damn?

Or perhaps you’ve got more of a Clark Gable moustache? Manly and well-groomed, this is a style that doesn’t give a damn.

If you need inspiration when choosing a style, have a gander at the spectacular moustaches on display at the annual World Beard & Moustache Championships. It’s a celebration of the tash in all its multi-styled glory.

How to care for your tash

Man having beach and moustache trimmed in barber

Image source: Shutterstock
A moustache deserves proper care and attention.

You’ve got to approach a moustache with the right frame of mind and the right kit, whether you’re growing yours for Movember or for life.

The main rule? Treat your moustache as well as you treat any of the other hair on your head. That means washing it daily and considering using either a conditioner or beard oil to keep the hairs soft. This isn’t just about keeping it looking lush; it’ll also prevent itching.

And invest in some kit. Start with a moustache comb (no one likes straggly hairs) and a trimmer. Remember to aim for style, not a soup strainer.

If you’re attempting a bolder variety, like the handlebar, you should also consider a hair dryer and some specialist wax to keep your moustache in the shape it should be. You’ve gone to the effort of growing it, so make sure it always looks its best.

After all, your moustache deserves proper care and attention. As Ape to Gentleman knows:

Moustaches are, without a shadow of doubt, one of the most effective ways of giving your face character and personality. Timeless, creative and unique in their variation, moustaches are oft seen as a sign of eccentricity, comedy, elegance and at times pure evil.

But they’re eye-catching and stylish, if you commit.

Are you considering growing a moustache? Or are you already a stalwart fan? Head over to our Facebook page and share your moustachioed marvellousness with us. The world deserves to know!

Posted in Men's Grooming.