Iron age Celtics had the first recorded shaved mustaches, in about a 1000 BC, according to Siculus (60 BC), an acient Greek historian:
“The Gauls (Celtics) are tall of body with rippling muscles...always washing their hair in limewater and they pull it back from the forehead to the nape of the neck...their hair makes it so heavy and coarse that it differs in no respect from the mane of horses. Some of them shave the beard...the nobles shave their cheeks but they let the moustache grow until it covers the mouth.”
The Spartans were also well known for their beard care and long hair...in fact they considered long hair a sign of a free man...
The mustache (UK spelling “moustache”) continued to be popular through the middle ages and peaked in the USA in the late 1880s and 90s. Facial hair was just not as fashionable during the late Victorian era (late 1800’s). It was often associated with rebels and revolutionary leaders. I believe Gillette also contributed to the decline in mustaches being fashionable, by making safety razors more accessible to the every day man, as historically shaving was reserved for the wealthy. The wide spread adoption of the safety razor made shaving at home more possible and affordable and not just reserved for the uber rich who would go to a barber weekly. It was only in the early part of the 1900's that mustaches fell out of fashion.
Steve MacGordon - Aviation pioneer from the early 1900s
Throughout history, the mustache and beard have been a sign of male strength, military virtues and as an effective way to attract a mate. Mustaches were mandatory with the British Army until 1916, however the USA military believed facial hair impacted the effectiveness of gas masks worn during WWI, and it was at this time, military men were required to shave everyday.
When the soldiers returned from war, the people liked the new clean shaven look. This trend continued until the 1960’s when it came back with the hippies...again a sign of rebels and revolutionaries. How did they remove and shave throughout history? I wrote a blog on the history of shaving here.
On a side note and to dovetail the impact of gas masks, mustaches and beard styles...I will give credit to the CDC for the chart below.
Ironically this is a chart that shows which beards and mustaches are compatible with respirators. I gotta think someone at the CDC likes a good beard or mustache...they even named some of the popular styles:
The mustache has grown in popularity again recently, brought on by the “Movember” trend, an initiative to raise awareness for male mental and physical health (and maybe also a little rub to our significant others!).
In terms of being fashionable, the mustache has come and gone out of fashion throughout history, but interesting enough facial hair is still perceived as showing typical male traits including being more “attractive, higher reproductive traits, industrious, creative, masculine, dominant and mature by both men and women”. Mustaches firmly display a post pubescent stage and those with a mustache will generally be perceived as older, more mature, more dominant and aggressive. “Self confidence, non comformaty, courageous, intelligence and sincerity” are just some of the perceptions of a mustache. This does vary by culture, but I’ll take these qualities!
In terms of growing your mustache, start with growing a beard to see your options and where and how your hair grows naturally. For me I wasn’t sure what type of beard or mustache I wanted and to be honest, I wanted to try a few different types of mustaches to see how they fit with me.
Men will typically grow fuller beards in their 30’s compared to your 20’s where it might still be patchy...regardless step 1 is grow a beard. Typically a beard will grow about a half an inch per month.
I knew I didn’t want hair growing over my lip (Walrus mustache) and I wanted to keep my neck clean cut (It gets a little itchy on my neck). A pair of scissors kept hair from growing over my lip and my Cx safety razor addressed the extra growth around my neck line. I’ll talk more about the mustache types below but here was my journey:
I started with the “Gun Slinger” beard/mustache, then went to the “horseshoe" mustache, then the “Cowboy or Dallas mustache”, I woke up one morning and had decided the “Chevron mustache” was me...always liked Tom Selleck! Boom the next day I went all cop with the “Lamp Shade” mustache, I saw the Top Gun mustaches. I was like Madonna for those few months.
I had a new look every week...I am going to grow a handle bar, just to try, but as of the writing of this blog...I think I am a “horseshoe or gunslinger" mustache kinda guy. Makes me feel a little tough!
In terms of maintaining your mustache, a safety razor is one of the best tools you can use. Open up a new blade, prep your skin, whip up a rich lather (Here is a blog on shaving tips) and shave where hair shouldn’t be. The blade exposure on our Cx razors are perfect for keeping a clean, straight, tight edge. Plastic disposable razors won’t be able to keep up...they will clog quickly and pull hair. A pair of scissors or an electric trimmer are nice tools to cut the longer hairs and help shape your mustache. One recommendation about maintaining a mustache or a beard is keep it well groomed (combed, cleaned and cut) to keep yourself presented as a well kept gentleman.
I did some research to see what mustaches are going to be fashionable in 2023. While researching for this blog post, I found some of the names of these mustaches and beards blur together and can be combined to form an infinite number of combinations and styles. There is a very fine line between a beard and a mustache. Regardless you do you! Mix and match styles...don't feel you need to stay in one lane.
Here are my predictions and recommendations on styles that will continue for the next year, I will note that a short 2 day beard looks great with any mustache and will continue to be a trend on its own:
The Dallas or Cowboy mustache
Who can sport it? Works well if you have a square face. Notice how the hair is grown slightly below and outside of the edge of the mouth. The hair is cut so as to not grow over the lip.
Maintenance - Requires the occasional trimming and keep it combed. Gotta keep it clean...wash it!
Famous people with this mustache - Burt Reynolds
The Chevron or Pyramid mustache aka the Paintbrush Mustache
Who can sport it? Most people can pull off this style! Unlike the Dallas mustache, hair doesn't go below the edge of the mouth. This is an iconic, classic mustache...
Maintenance - Occasional trimming and keep it combed everyday, you also need to keep it clean. Stuff will get stuck in there...
Famous people with this mustache - Tom Selleck wore it best. Mike Ditka also had an iconic one...
The lamp shade mustache - Military mustache or a cop mustache
Photo credit: Creative commons and DOD
Who can sport it? Brad Pitt can pull this off...but he could probably pull off any stache. This is a typical military mustache which requires the hair to not to go over the lip and can't extend beyond the edge of the mouth. Similar to the paintbrush mustache but shorter.
Maintenance - Fairly low maintenance but does require the occasional trimming. Easy to clean because the hair is shorter.
Famous people with this mustache - Brad Pitt, military people and the cop that pulled me over the other day!
The Horseshoe mustache - The gunslinger mustache (kind of!)
Who can sport it? A round or square face can make this style work. This stache screams tough...very similar to a gunslinger beard, just connect it to your side burns!
Maintenance - Gotta keep this one clean but you can let it grow long! A safety razor will keep the edges clean. A trim every now and again above the lip will keep the hair out of your mouth.
Famous people with this mustache - Trevor Gillie from the New York Islanders(pictured above) sported the horseshoe right..Aaron Rodgers, Hulk Hogan and John Lennon also wore this style. Very western and bad ass!
The above are my predictions for trending mustaches over the next few years but I might be wrong. Here are few that might surprise us:
The pencil mustache also known as the "Leading Man" or "Daddy" mustache.
Who can sport it? Popular in the 1930's and 40's. Clarke Gable made this one famous. Works for most people, especially well if you have thin, dark hair. Thin and trim like a pencil.
Maintenance - A shave and trim every so often to keep it short. Again a safety razor will keep the sharp edges in line.
Famous people with this mustache - A very vintage look...George Clooney and Brad Pitt made this mustache style work! You can't forget Sammy Davis Junior sporting this one.
The Handle Bar - Similar to the English mustache but with the twists up!
Who can sport it? The guy above sports this style well...hipsters might like this as well. It is definitely a vintage statement...
Maintenance - A lot of maintenance! You need to wax the tips to keep it together. Needs grooming and constant trimming to keep it looking good.
Famous people with this mustache - Stalin...kind of. Buffalo Bill had one with a goatee...
Here are a few other mustache styles:
Teddy Roosevelt sporting the Walrus mustache. Long, bushy, over the lip...a little Dallas! Mark Twains mustache was similar...
Wyatt Earp wearing a lampshade mustache, goatee and soul patch in his twenties
Wyatt Earp later in life with his famous gunslinger type mustache
A little Dallas and Chevron, complete with 2 day beard and soul patch. Photo credit: Creative commons
Tell me in the comments below what your favorite mustache is...want help, don't hesitate to reach out to us!
Misc. At CarbonShavingCo notes: Wet shaving is a bit of an artistic form. It is personal to your skin type, which dictates the type of soap and shaving brush you will be using. Opting between a straight razor or machined safety razor (disposable razors won't be the best of experiences at all). Use of some hot water to open up your pores and soften the facial hair is a good thing. When it comes to the skin condition, such as sensitive skin, razor bumps and at times hair growth in multiple directions extra care and consideration must be taken to avoid razor burn caused by dry shaving, lack of lubrication, wrong direction, etc.. At CarbonShavingCo, our construction of our machined razors aim to be bacteria-free as much as possible to help avoid allergic reactions by being polished with easy to clean surface, the design maximizes flow of debri, the pinch design reduces gaps for collection of debri and germs, we aim to help people with sensitive skin and prevent razor burn and ingrown hairs. and irritation caused by shaving. We believe that wet shaving is the best approach with a good shaving soap as opposed to using men's disposable razors. Keeping your gear clean is so important if you are sensitive. Join the community of wet shavers today to learn more so you can enjoy your personal spa experience.