While facial hair has always had its supporters and critics, the mustache is, most likely, the most controversial. Some people love the “lip brow” while others wouldn’t even consider sporting one.
In the 80s, many men wore a mustache as an ode to their masculinity. They wanted to appear Magnum PI like and often donned a thick rich “stache.” Following that era, the mustache lost some of its luster in society and was often perceived as something only a dad or older gentleman would wear.
Fortunately for the mustache lover, in recent years, the mustache has made a comeback of sorts. Men like Brandon Flowers (lead singer of The Killers) and other trendsetters have made the mustache a personal staple and this trend doesn’t seem to be dissipating anytime soon.
The beauty of the recent mustache resurgence is that it isn’t confined to one particular style.
In this article, we will give a rather exhaustive list of mustache styles and tell you how to achieve each one.
The Pencil Mustache is, simply put, a thin line of hair directly above the upper lip. It gets its name from its amount of hair that is so thin it looks as if it could have been drawn with a pencil. Old movie stars such as Clark Gable as well as famous author George Orwell were easily identified by their pencil mustaches. As a result, these mustaches were associated with elegance and sophistication and often paired well with a man who often wore a suit. While the pencil mustache isn’t as popular as it once was, it has never completely faded out of popularity.
As the Pencil Mustache looks thin and simple, forming one is harder than it would initially seem.
It is best to begin with a nice, thick mustache and trim down so that their is extra hair that serves as a safeguard when grooming. When you shape your stache for the first time, grab your trimmer and trim down from the highest setting until you find a setting that works for the length you are looking for. Since the mustache carries less area than a beard, we suggest that you use a comb rather than a brush to lift up your mustache hair for cutting. When you comb upward, it allows you to see which hairs have grown faster than others and results in easier trimming. Once the hair is at a length you desire, begin to shape it by shaving the area just below the nose. Shave downward until you leave nothing more than a thin line just above your upper lip.
While there is no correct thinness to your Pencil Mustache, the general rule is the thinner the better.
For a unique variation on the Pencil Mustache try a style called the Pyramid. It has a similar thin nature to the Pencil and keeps the space between the upper lip and mustache but has the added shape of a pyramid or triangle directly below the center of the nose. This should connect into the mustache. When done correctly it looks like a hanger for a sports coat minus the hook.
Many men know this mustache style as it is one of the most recognized. As soon as you read the term Handlebar, odds are your mind instantly drifted to some of the famous wears like Captain Hook, famous pitcher Rollie Fingers, or even that little guy that comes on every Pringles can your bought.
One thing you must know is that mustache takes time. Most men will need at least 4-6 months to get any form to their mustache like the want. You can aid the growth of the hair by wetting them daily and brushing them outward toward the ears daily. The more frequently you do this, the more often the hair will be trained to grow in that direction. When you are a little more than a month into growing out the hair, you should begin to apply mustache or beard wax to the hair. Simply, dip your pointer finger into wax and then rub it into your hair using the pointer finger and thumb. Work the wax from the center of the mustache outward and as it grows begin to shape it into that curl that is the identifying characteristic of the Handlebar. You can grow your hair as long as want and some men have hair that grows beyond their cheeks and gives their face the appearance of wings.
The Petit Handlebar
This is a smaller version of the above mentioned mustache and should be shaped much of the same way but it will always be shaved off at the width of your nose. This area of hair will turn into your handlebar. As with the above style, the goal is to grow out the hair so that it becomes long enough that you can curl the tips into the recognized loops. While the length of their hair is left up to the individual, a petit mustache should have curls that don’t extend pass the width of the lips.
When you take the handlebar and don’t curl the tips up, it is considered a basic moustache. It has a decent amount of length on it and doesn’t require much styling just needs to be brushed out so it doesn’t creep down onto the lips. The basic Moustache doesn’t usually require or include wax for styling.
If you have seen a military based tv show or movie, chances are the sergeant, major, or commanding officer had a mustache identified as the Major. This mustache is identified by having two rectangular shapes that are disconnected by a shaved area below the center of the nose. Some people call this style the Double Boxcar for the shape that gives a similar appearance to the cars of a train. The mustache has become popular with military men as they have restrictions about facial hair. Many branches of the military don’t allow facial hair to extend beyond the corners of the mouth either horizontally or vertically and it can not make contact with the upper lip. Some of the more strict branches, also, restrict facial hair to be less that ½ inch in length. As a result, the Major is often the only accepted mustache style.
When shaping the Major, take your standard mustache and find the area at the corners of the mouth. With your finger trace a line at an angle to the top of the nose. Using that imaginary line as a guide, shave the hair so that it has a slight slope and does not extend beyond outside of the lips. Take a trimmer and make sure that the mustache is cut so that there is space between the mustache and the upper lip (roughly the height of a pencil moustache). Lastly, find the dip directly below the center of the nose that extends down to the lips and remove the hair in that dip. This should craft the mustache into two separate sides and make a nice tidy rectangle to each side. Trim this style often so that it keeps like line sharp and the growth uniform.
Think about the Handlebar on steroids and you have the Ringmaster. It has a similar shape to the Handlebar but where the Handlebar stops the Ringmaster continues. Where the Handlebar curls and stops, the Ringmaster has another curl that extends into the sideburns. As you probably guess it, it comes from the circus ringmaster being notorious for wearing it. This is not an easy style to obtain but it is a showstopper.
It is best to start the ringmaster with a full beard. As with a Handlebar, you should allow the hair to grow out for at least four months before shaping. First, start the side burn and follow it down the jaw line. The goal is to remove the hair below this point so that their is hair that is about the width of a standard mustache that come from the top of the side burn and connects into the mustache. Make sure when you are growing out the hair that you wet and brush the mustache outward and apply wax just like with the Handlebar. When the tips of the mustache are curled it should come up to a point and then the hair that extends beyond the mustache should appear like a second curl up the check. This style will need to be redefined at least every other day to prevent the beard from growing in.
While the man who is the namesake for this mustache was Emperor of Austria and the King of Hungary for a really long time (68 Years, longest in history of Austria and Hungary), he is now well knew as the wearer of a “rockin stache.” It is a sideburn/mustache hybrid that starts with thick sideburns that run all the way from one ear to the other across the lip. The cheeks and chin are hairless. This creates the image of a thick line drawn across the face.
Most men start with a full beard and shape it into the Franz Josef. Start by removing the chin on the hair and below the lip and work outward until you get to an area that is just below the height of the lip directly below the cheekbone. Leave line of hair at the point that is equal to the width of the mustache. It should curve upward to the top of the sideburns and upward to the mustache. Remove the hair on the cheeks above this point and trim the hair that is left until it is one uniform length. When this is done correctly, the facial hair should make something similar to a lowercase W on the face.
For a period of time, the was the preferred style of royalty and warriors in Northern and Eastern European countries like Hungary. It was a symbol of power and was said to demand respect to those that wore it. Like the Handlebar, it takes months to grow and some men grow it much longer so that it extends outside of the face. It is very similar to the Handlebar but rather than curl up it just extends out. Most men wear this mustache extremely bushy and full.
When looking to get the Hungarian, follow the same steps of the Handlebar. When and brush the hair outward daily and apply wax. Where you use your fingers to curl up the tips of the Handlebar, twirl the tips of the Hungarian and pull them outward as if they are two arms reaching out as far as they can. This is a great full mustache that takes time and looks great when the chin, cheeks, and neck are shaven routinely.
The Copstach Standard
When want a mustache that requires the least amount of attention or work, look know further than the Copstach Standard. This is a style that is notorious with police officers and is often a must in portrayals of the no mercy cop. A Copstach does not extend down onto the like and usually stops at the edges of the mouth.
Most men consider this the easiest mustache. If your dad has donned a mustache, odds are it was something similar to a Copstach. To achieve the Copstach, treat it like a standard mustache and remove all the hair except that under the nose and above the lip from the face. Then simply keep the hair trimmed above the lips and shave it so that it stops at the corners of the mouth. Brush or comb the hair downward and maintain every other week.
It isn’t hard to see why the Horseshoe has that particular name as it mirrors the shape of the Horseshoe. It is a preferred choice for many motorcycle bikers and older rock musicians. It has a similar shape to the Circle Goatee and mustache but the chin hair is removed. Most men begin with a beard or goatee and shape it into the horseshoe.
After growing out a beard, shave the hair from the ears inward and downward until you reach an area that is even with the center of the eye. Go down to the chin and remove the hair off the chin but leave the area that connected the mustache to the goatee. This should give the mustache the upside down U shape that is desired. The style works better is the hair is kept shorter and combed downward.
This style is so recognised that there’s a book called Dali’s Mustache. It is a funny book by the artist (20th century Surrealist painter) and name sake of the style, Salvador Dali. His mustache is so legendary that when they just checked on the embalmed Salvador Dali, who died almost 30 years ago, his mustache was still perfectly intact. The mustache is known for being heavily waxed and style into two thin (pencil like) upward turning curves. It has always been perceived as whimsical and lighthearted for mustaches. Recent surveys called the Dali mustache one of the most famous mustaches of all time.
There is one important thing you must do when growing the Dali Mustache, let the hair grow and when you think it is long enough, let it grow some more. You want to trim the hair so that it is just a little thicker than a Pencil Mustache in height and then disconnect the hair into two sides. Do this by shaving the hair in the dip that is below the center of the nose. Then comb the hair on the right to the right and on the left to the left so that the go in opposite directions. You will need a lot of way and curl the tips upward then outward. The hair shouldn’t point up on the tips like with a Handlebar nor should it go straight out like a Hungarian. Shoot for somewhere in between. The hair should be really long and extend up to the eyes and out beyond the face when shooting for the true Dali. Still, smaller versions are still considered the Dali and perfectly acceptable as with the picture.
The English mustache has a similar style to the Dali but it is straightened out rather that given any sort of twist upward. Men like Walt Disney and Vincent Price were famous for their English mustaches. It should always be neatly trimmed and thin with the same divide in the middle so that the mustache has two distinct sides like the Dali. It requires constant combing outwards and quite a bit of wax. When done correctly it should look like a set of whiskers below the nose that extend as far as you would like.
The Chinese Beard
Think back to the last Kung Fu movie you saw. 9 times out of 10 the villain had this wiry mustache that takes a sharp downward turn at the corners of the mouth and runs down below the chin. Some people refer to this style as the Fu Manchu but this style is much thinner and pencil like that the full Fu Manchu. While this is a staple in Asian culture, men all over the world wear it. This mustache is a thinner, longer Horseshoe with really long ends.
We suggest you grow a beard out first when trying to get this style. This way you can avoid some of the awkward, offputting stages of growth with this beard. As the hair grows make sure to comb the mustache out above the lips then downward after it gets past the corner of the mouth. Use wax to make sure that it is growing the way you desire. When the hair gets to a decent length shave the rest of the face but leave the mustache and sides that would have connected to the goatee if it wasn’t removed. Allow the sides to go all the way down to the jaw line. You want to trim the mustache so that it is thin and above the lips like with the Pencil mustache and keep the thin lines down the face. You will need to keep up the training of the hair with the combing and waxing so that the hair begins to learn to grow downward. When this style is done correctly it should be long enough to hang down past the chin. Make sure to trim regularly as the hair should be long but not bushy.
The Fu Manchu
The Fu Manchu which was derived from the fictional Chinese bad guy, Fu Manchu. Some people incorporate the Fu Manchu with a beard but the style we are referring to has not hair except the mustache. It is identical to the Chinese Beard but the mustache side wider. It has the same shape and extends below the chin as well. A Fu Manchu should be about the width of a finger from above the lip to the area that runs down the face. A Chinese Beard should look like a pencil or thin marker drew the line. Follow the same grooming techniques as the Chinese Beard but make sure that it is allowed to grow longer.
Some men want a mustache look without actually having a mustache. The Shadow is nothing more than stubble and is the mustache version of the 5 o’clock shadow. This is a really easy style to achieve. Simply shave your entire face and trim your mustache on your lowest trimmer setting. This will give a little dark color to the upper lip without the full mustache.
If you don’t know why this particular style is called the Walrus, google pictures of a Walrus really fast. The Walrus is identified by having hair that is thick, bushy, and comes over the upper lip. Men like Teddy Roosevelt, Nietzsche, and even Stalin have worn this mustache. It is quite the impressive mustache that gives off the view of “you won’t tell me how to think.”
The best way to get a Walrus Mustache is easy, stop shaving. When you think your hair is long enough wait another two weeks. This mustache needs to be bushy and imposing to be a Walrus. We suggest that you wait four months or so. Now shave all the hair on the face but the hair under the nose and above the lip. You are done and you have a Walrus. Always brush the mustache down and it should grow over the lip. A word of warning, this mustache will collect food and spit easily. Make sure you wash and brush it regularly to keep it clean and healthy. When the hair gets to long over the lips, simply use scissors to trim.
Possibly the most quoted of all mustaches is the Pornstache. It gets its name from being the common style for most men that were involved with adult films years in the past 30-40 years. It has the reputation of making a guy look sleazy and dirty but it has made a recent resurgence and is worn by hipsters and the like ironically. This mustache is easy to obtain and should be done in many similar ways to the Walrus but should extend on the face to an area that is even with the width of the eyes rather than the corners of the mouth (Walrus). The hair should be long enough that it comes down over the top lip. Many men allow this look to cover the top lip and use scissors to trim the hair so that it is groomed to the opening of the mouth. Remember, the hardest part to getting this style is waiting for it to grow in.
A lot of us men find the Chevron style to be the easiest mustache to grow because it is a result of natural mustache growth. Stylish men to men with little flash (Mahatma Gandhi wore one) have been know to wear this style. It gets its name because its shape it identical to the Chevron symbol that is used in textiles, military and police ranks, and countless other areas.
To grow the Chevron, just grow out your mustache and it will naturally grow out and down. Use a beard trimmer to shave the hair so that it is just above the bottom lip. Then take the trimmer and give the bottom a slope. Some like more gradual while others love a sharp dramatic slope. The hair should not touch the lip and should have a little gap between the hair and lip so trim that out like with a Pencil Mustache. Make sure that each side slopes at the same angle and is wider at the top that the bottom. From that point on, trim the mustache regularly and keep the remainder of the face clean shaven.
In this article, we provided you with 19 different mustache options. These options range from thin, professional looks like the Pencil to thick, manly styles that extend as far as you want on each side like the Hungarian. We hope that you can find the perfect style for you and wish you great ‘stache days ahead. Thanks for reading.