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Title: Moustache  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Subject: Facial hair, Beard, Sideburns, Hairstyle, Facial hair in the military
Collection: Facial Hair, Hairstyles
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A moustache (UK ; American English: mustache, )[1] is a facial hair grown on the upper lip. Moustaches can be groomed by trimming and styling with a type of pomade called moustache wax.


  • Etymology 1
  • History 2
  • Development and care 3
  • Styles 4
  • Notable moustaches 5
    • Individuals 5.1
    • In art, entertainment, and media 5.2
      • Alias 5.2.1
      • Fictional characters 5.2.2
      • Literature 5.2.3
      • Visual art 5.2.4
    • In the military 5.3
    • In sport 5.4
  • Gallery 6
  • See also 7
  • References 8
  • External links 9


The word "moustache" is French, and is derived from the Italian moustacio (fourteenth century), dialectal mostaccio (16th century), from Medieval Latin moustaccium (eighth century), Medieval Greek μοστάκιον (moustakion), attested in the ninth century, which ultimately originates as a diminutive of Hellenistic Greek μύσταξ (mustax, mustak-), meaning "upper lip" or "facial hair",[2] probably derived from Hellenistic Greek μύλλον (mullon), "lip".[3][4]


Shaving with stone razors was technologically possible from Neolithic times, but the oldest portrait showing a shaved man with a moustache is an ancient Iranian (Scythian) horseman from 300 BC.

Various cultures have developed different associations with moustaches. For example, in many 20th-century Arab countries, moustaches are associated with power, beards with Islamic traditionalism, and lack of facial hair with more liberal, secular tendencies.[5] In Islam, trimming the moustache is considered to be a sunnah and mustahabb, that is, a way of life that is recommended, especially among Sunni Muslims. The moustache is also a religious symbol for the male followers of the Yarsan religion.[6]

Development and care

A moustache spoon, dated 1904, used in Edwardian England to protect the then fashionable moustache while eating soup.

The moustache forms its own stage in the development of facial hair in adolescent males.[7]

  • The first facial hair to appear tends to grow at the corners of the upper lip (age 11–15)
  • It then spreads to form a moustache over the entire upper lip (age 16–17)
  • This is followed by the appearance of hair on the upper part of the cheeks, and the area under the lower lip (age 16–18)
  • It eventually spreads to the sides and lower border of the chin, and the rest of the lower face to form a full beard (age 17–21)

As with most human biological processes, this specific order may vary among some individuals depending on one's genetic heritage or environment.[8][9]

Moustaches can be tended through shaving the hair of the chin and cheeks, preventing it from becoming a full beard. A variety of tools have been developed for the care of moustaches, including shaving razors, moustache wax, moustache nets, moustache brushes, moustache combs and moustache scissors.

In the Middle East, there is a growing trend for moustache transplants, which involves undergoing a procedure called follicular unit extraction in order to attain fuller and more impressive facial hair.[10]


The World Beard and Moustache Championships 2007 had six sub-categories for moustaches:[11]

  • Dalí – narrow, long points bent or curved steeply upward; areas past the corner of the mouth must be shaved. Artificial styling aids needed. Named after Salvador Dalí.
  • English moustache – narrow, beginning at the middle of the upper lip the whiskers are very long and pulled to the side, slightly curled; the ends are pointed slightly upward; areas past the corner of the mouth usually shaved. Artificial styling may be needed.
  • Freestyle – All moustaches that do not match other classes. The hairs are allowed to start growing from up to a maximum of 1.5 cm beyond the end of the upper lip. Aids are allowed.
  • Hungarian – Big and bushy, beginning from the middle of the upper lip and pulled to the side. The hairs are allowed to start growing from up to a maximum of 1.5 cm beyond the end of the upper lip.
  • Imperial – whiskers growing from both the upper lip and cheeks, curled upward (distinct from the royale, or impériale)
  • Natural – Moustache may be styled without aids.

Other types of moustache include:

Notable moustaches


The longest moustache measures 4.29 m (14 ft) and belongs to Ram Singh Chauhan (India). It was measured on the set of Lo Show dei Record in Rome, Italy, on 4 March 2010.[12]

In some cases, the moustache is so prominently identified with a single individual that it could identify him without any further identifying traits, as in the cases of Adolf Hitler or Joseph Stalin. For example, Kaiser Wilhelm II's moustache, grossly exaggerated, featured prominently in Triple Entente propaganda. In other cases, such as those of Charlie Chaplin and Groucho Marx, the moustache in question was artificial for most of the wearer's life.

In art, entertainment, and media


  • Moustache was the alias name of a French comic actor, François-Alexandre Galipedes (b. February 14, 1929 in Paris, France - d. March 25, 1987 in Arpajon, Essonne, France), known for his roles in Paris Blues (1961), How to Steal a Million (1966), and Zorro (1975)[13]

Fictional characters

  • Moustaches have long been used by artists to make characters distinctive, as with Charlie Chan, the video game character Mario, Hercule Poirot, or Snidely Whiplash.
  • At least one fictional moustache has been so notable that a whole style has been named after it: the Fu Manchu moustache.
  • Moustaches feature prominently in the television series Orange is the New Black:
    • [14] However, when seen in season 3, episode 10 ("A Tittin' and a Hairin'"), while incarcerated himself and being visited by his mother, Mendez is shown to no longer have a mustache.[15]
    • In season 1, episode 8 ("Moscow Mule"), mustachioed assistant warden Joe Caputo (played by Joseph Salvatore), asks Mendez if moustaches are considered gay. Mendez assures him: “No; Fuck, not gay. The stache is not for fags. It’s for fuckin’ men. It’s fuckin’ all beef. Fuckin’ cunt-rammin’ awesome.”[16][17]
    • Season 2, episode 10 is titled "Little Mustachioed Shit".[18]


  • In 1954, Salvador Dalí published a book dedicated solely to his moustache.[19]

Visual art

They have also been used to make a social or political point as with:

In the military

  • The Rajputana Moustache, worn in India, is famous worldwide.[20] In the Indian Army, most senior rifle Rajputana regiment soldiers have moustaches,[21][22][23] and the Rajputana Moustache is a symbol of dignity, caste status, and the lion-like fighter spirit of Rajput soldiers.[24]
  • Moustaches are also noted among U.S. Army armor and cavalry soldiers.[25]

In sport

  • Swimmer Mark Spitz won seven gold medals while sporting a moustache when swimmers usually shaved all their body hair to decrease drag. When other competitors questioned the moustache and the potential increased drag, he claimed that it helped create a pocket of air in which to breathe. Coincidently, the number of swimmers with moustaches rapidly rose following the 1972 Olympic Games.
  • Formula 1 champion Nigel Mansell groomed a moustache throughout his career in the 1980s and 90s. Mansell got rid of the moustache after retiring.
  • South African rugby union coach Peter De Villiers has a moustache and is derisively known as Piet Snor ("Peter Moustache"). In 2008, De Villiers was nicknamed "Twakkie" in a public competition held by the South African Sunday Times newspaper – in reference to a local fictional character with a similar moustache, from the SABC's The Most Amazing Show.
  • During the 2012 London Olympic Games Chileans supporters painted moustaches on their skin as a sign of support of gymnast Tomás González.[26] A site called (olympicmoustache) was created to allow people create Twitter avatars and Facebook images with moustaches in support of Tomás González.[27][28]


Moustache examples
Frank Zappa
Satirist Michael "Atters" Attree sporting his Handlebar Club tie 
Venceslau Brás, former President of Brazil, with handlebar or imperial moustache 
General George Campbell of Inverneill sporting an imperial moustache 
Adolf Hitler with toothbrush moustache 
Surrealist Salvador Dalí with the flamboyant moustache he popularized 
Richard Petty with a chevron moustache (side view) 
Emiliano Zapata sporting a wide "Mexican" moustache 
Frank Zappa in concert 

See also

Time-lapse animation of a moustache grown for thirty days.


  1. ^ moustache is almost universal in British English while mustache predominates in American English, although the third edition of Webster (1961), which gives moustache as the principal headword spelling. Later editions of Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary (from the 1973 eighth edition) give mustache.
  2. ^ μύσταξ, Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon, on Perseus
  3. ^ μύλλον, Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon, on Perseus
  4. ^ OED s.v. "moustache", "mustachio"; Encyclopædia Britannica Online – Merriam-Webster's Online Dictionary
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^ Chumlea, 1982
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^ Moustache at the Internet Movie Database
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^
  22. ^
  23. ^
  24. ^
  25. ^
  26. ^
  27. ^ Guioteca. #bigoteolimpico: Ponte el bigote de Tomás González y apóyalo!
  28. ^

External links

  • Photos of famous composers' moustaches in recognition of Movember
  • French documentary (52min) about history of moustache
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