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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 (US /ˈmʌstæʃ/ or UK /məˈstɑːʃ/; American English: mustache)[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 (14th century), dialectal mostaccio (16th century), from Medieval Latin moustaccium (8th century), Medieval Greek μοστάκιον (moustakion), attested in the 9th 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.[citation needed]

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. 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]

Development and care[edit]

The moustache forms its own stage in the development of facial hair in adolescent males.[9]

As with most human biological processes, this specific order may vary among some individuals depending on one's genetic heritage or environment.[10][11]

Moustaches can be tended through shaving the hair of the chin and cheeks, preventing it from becoming a full beard.[12] 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]


A Scottish Officer of the British Army, General George Campbell of Inverneill, sporting an imperial moustache.

The World Beard and Moustache Championships 2007 had 6 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. 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]

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

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 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. Every boy has a number of soft light colored hairs on his face, in the beard/moustache area and on other parts of his body. These are called vellus hairs. They are soft and light in colour, so that they are less easily visible. At the time of puberty and the beginning of genital development, the male hormone testosterone acts on the various sensors in the hair roots of the face and other parts of the body. The blood supply in the hair root increases, and hair growth from each follicle increases, resulting in faster-growing, darker and thicker hair. Thus in most boys, depending on genetic and environmental factors, in two to five years, a full beard and moustache develops. When serum testosterone declines, the hair follicle fails or shows less growth.

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".{CN}

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
Adolf Hitler's moustache 
Satirist Michael "Atters" Attree sporting his Handlebar Club tie. 
Surrealist Salvador Dalí with the flamboyant moustache he popularized. 
Ron Jeremy sporting the chevron "porn 'stache." 
John Waters' pencil moustache. 
Emiliano Zapata sporting a wide "Mexican" moustache. 
Frank Zappa in concert. 

See also[edit]

moustache growing over 30 days


  1. ^ moustache is almost universal in British English while mustache predominates in American English, except for 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. ^ "Adolescent Reproductive Health" (PDF). UNESCO Regional Training Seminar on guidance and Counseling. 2002-06-01. 
  10. ^ (Chumlea, 1982).
  11. ^ "The No-Hair Scare". PBS. Retrieved 2009-02-20. 
  12. ^ "Mustache". Authority Website. Retrieved 22 November 2012. 
  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]