From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - View original article

Jump to: navigation, search
This article is about the type of facial hair. For other uses, see Moustache (disambiguation).
Moustache of Panayot Hitov, Bulgarian revolutionary
Pazyryk felt artifact, ca. 300 BC horseman with moustache and partially shaved head.
A standing bodhisattva with moustache
A Pakistani security officer with clipped moustache at Gilgit Fort.

A moustache (UK /məˈstɑːʃ/; American English: mustache, /ˈmʌstæʃ/)[1] is facial hair grown on the upper lip. Moustaches can be groomed by trimming and styling with a type of pomade called moustache wax.


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.

In the Western cultures women generally avoid the growth of facial hair; though some are capable, the majority of these women use some form of depilation to remove it. In rare circumstances, women may choose to embrace this growth, often in the form of thin moustaches. Musician Jocelyn Rachel Samson is a notable example. Mexican artist Frida Kahlo famously depicted herself in her artwork with both a moustache and a unibrow. This tradition is followed by some contemporary women in the arts.[5][6][7]

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.[8] 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.[9]

Development and care[edit]

Moustache spoon, Sheffield 1904, used in Edwardian England to protect the then fashionable moustaches while eating soup

The moustache forms its own stage in the development of facial hair in adolescent males.[10]

As with most human biological processes, this specific order may vary among some individuals depending on one's genetic heritage or environment.[11][12]

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.[13]


The World Beard and Moustache Championships 2007 had six sub-categories for moustaches:[14]

Other types of moustache include:

Notable moustaches[edit]

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.[15]

In some cases, the moustaches are so prominently identified with a single individual that it could be identified with him without any further identifying traits, such as in the case of Adolf Hitler.[quantify] In some cases, such as with Groucho Marx and Charlie Chaplin, the moustache in question was artificial for most of their lives. Kaiser Wilhelm II's moustache, grossly exaggerated, featured prominently in Triple Entente propaganda.

Among professionals[edit]

Moustaches are noted among U.S. Army armor and cavalry soldiers.[16]

In art and fiction[edit]

Artist Frida Kahlo depicted with moustache in "Self-Portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird"

Moustaches have long been used by artists to make characters distinctive as with Charlie Chan, Snidely Whiplash, Hercule Poirot, or the video game character Mario. They have also been used to make a social or political point as with Marcel Duchamp's “L.H.O.O.Q.,” a parody of the Mona Lisa which adds a goatee and moustache, or the moustachioed self-portraits of Frida Kahlo. At least one fictional moustache has been so notable that a whole style has been named after it: the Fu Manchu moustache.

Salvador Dalí published a book dedicated solely to his moustache.[17]

Moustache was the alias name of a French comic actor.[18]

In sport[edit]

The Liverpool sides of the late 1970s to late 1980s were famously notable for numbers of moustachioed players, including Alan Kennedy, Mark Lawrenson, Graeme Souness, Bruce Grobbelaar, Terry McDermott, Ian Rush and David Mc Gurrin.

Formula 1 champion Nigel Mansell groomed a moustache throughout his career in the 1980s and 90s. Mansell got rid of the moustache after retiring.

For the 2008 Summer Olympics Croatia men's national water polo team grew moustaches in honor of coach Ratko Rudić.

In the early 1970s, Major League Baseball players seldom wore facial hair. As detailed in the book Mustache Gang, Oakland Athletics owner Charlie Finley decided to hold a moustache-growing contest within his team. When the A's faced the Cincinnati Reds, whose team rules forbade facial hair,[citation needed] in the 1972 World Series, the series was dubbed by media as "the hairs vs. the squares".

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 to breathe.[citation needed]

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"..[citation needed]

NHL player George Parros is well known for his moustache, of which fans can buy replicas of at the team store, with proceeds going to charity. Parros also has a line of apparel called "Stache Gear" that benefits The Garth Brooks Teammates For Kids Foundation.

During the 2012 London Olympic Games Chileans supporters painted moustaches on their skin as a sign of support of gymnast Tomás González.[19] A site called (olympicmoustache) was created to allow people create Twitter avatars and Facebook images with moustaches in support of Tomás González.[20][21]


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

See also[edit]

moustache growing over 30 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. ^ Matheson, W (2005-12-12). "Let us now praise famous mustaches". USA TODAY. 
  6. ^ Hoggard, L (2003-11-02). "Who says women can't be sexy with a five o'clock shadow?". The Observer. 
  7. ^ "Adrenal virilism". 
  8. ^ Slate: "Why Do So Many Arab Leaders Wear Mustaches?"
  9. ^
  10. ^ "Adolescent Reproductive Health" (PDF). UNESCO Regional Training Seminar on guidance and Counseling. 2002-06-01. 
  11. ^ (Chumlea, 1982).
  12. ^ "The No-Hair Scare". PBS. Retrieved 2009-02-20. 
  13. ^ "Surgery offers chance at perfect moustache". 3 News NZ. December 6, 2012. 
  14. ^ "The World Beard & Moustache Championships". Retrieved 2012-04-29. 
  15. ^ "Longest moustache". 2010-03-04. Retrieved 2012-04-29. 
  16. ^ "The Official Home Page of the United States Army | The United States Army". Retrieved 2012-04-29. 
  17. ^ Philippe Halsman & Salvador Dalí, Dalí's Moustache. A Photographic Interview by Salvador Dalí and Philippe Halsman, Simon and Schuster, New York 1954.
  18. ^ Moustache at the Internet Movie Database
  19. ^ Hinchas chilenos lucen bigote a lo Tomás en Londres
  20. ^ Guioteca. #bigoteolimpico: Ponte el bigote de Tomás González y apóyalo!
  21. ^ Las redes sociales apoyan a Tomás González usando su característico “bigote olímpico”

External links[edit]