While it flourished during the 1970s and 80s, the mustache has taken a decided dip in popularity over the past couple of decades while beards have become de rigueur. Unfortunately, the mustache can conjure up images of used car salesmen of old, or long-ago adult film stars who also sported massive amounts of body hair.
But it’s also true that mustache has never truly gone way. It may be paired with something else – such as a soul patch, or modified into different shapes – but it’s still out there, waiting for its re-emergence into the spotlight. And we’re here to fill you in on various mustache styles as well as providing you with a mustache styles chart. Let’s get started:
- The complete mustache styles chart
- The entire list of mustache styles and reference guide
- Mustache or moustache?
- The Mustache: A look back, a look forward?
The Complete Mustache Styles Chart
We’re certainly not going to shortchange you when it comes to the mustache. Here’s a chart of all mustache styles for quick reference – something you can easily refer to whenever you’re thinking of switching up your facial hair style.
The entire list of mustache styles and reference guide
1. Natural Mustache
What is it? The Natural represents the comfortable middle ground of mustaches that exists between pencil-thin types and the whole-lotta-hair versions such as the Walrus and Hungarian.
Who is it for? The Natural looks good on men with a variety of facial shapes, not the least of which is oval.
Who wears it? Actor James Franco has been spotted wearing the Natural.
2. Painter’s Brush
What is it? The Painter’s brush bears a close resemblance to the Chevron, albeit with key differences. For one, it never extends past the mouth and is capped with rounded edges by the sides of your lips.
Who is it for? The Painter’s brush is ideally suited for men with square faces.
Who wears it? Ron Swanson on the television comedy series “Parks and Recreation.” And a lot of suburban dads back in the 1970s.
3. Lampshade Mustache
What is it? The Lampshade is a close cousin of the Paintbrush but with its edges angled, giving it the look of a lampshade.
Who is it for? A Lampshade ‘stache on a square face will accentuate your strong jawline.
Who wears it? Fans of the National Hockey League have heard of longtime coach Dave Lewis (and seen his lampshade mustache).
What is it? The Chevron is a classic. Full and bushy, but not audaciously so, and trimmed so that its hairs don’t extend beneath the upper lip. It’s fierce, yet neat.
Who is it for? It looks good on most men, especially those with oval-shaped faces.
Who wears it? Actor Tom Selleck absolutely, positively rocks the Chevron look. We are not worthy.
What is it? Ah, the Handlebar. You can’t miss it – it’s long but upwardly curved at its tips. It got its name because of its resemblance to bicycle handlebars.
Who is it for? Again, men with longer faces do well with this style, although it’s worth giving a shot (if you’re really interested) no matter what type of face you have.
Who wears it? The list of men who’ve sported the iconic handlebars is long and legendary: Wyatt Earp. William Taft. Former baseball star Rollie Fingers.
6. Petite Handlebar
What is it? There’s nothing too complicated here. The Petite Handlebar is simply a shorter version of the Handlebar.
Who is it for? Men with longer faces, or an oval-shaped face (the facial shape that works well with just about any facial hair style you can name).
Who wears it? Joseph Stalin sported what could be considered a Petite Handlebar, although his was trimmed pretty short.
What is it? Also known as a biker mustache, the Horseshoe is a full mustache that has vertical extensions grown on the corners of the lips and down the sides of the mouth to the jawline. It looks like an upside down ‘U.’
Who is it for? Men with oval and rounder faces do well with this style.
Who wears it? Hulk Hogan has perhaps one of the most famous Horseshoe mustaches, at least in recent memory.
8. Horseshoe Mustache with Soul Patch
What is it? The name says it all – it’s a Horseshoe mustache combined with a soul patch. And just a note – the modern “Horseshoe” doesn’t necessarily extend all the way to the chin.
Who is it for? Men with triangular faces do well with this style.
Who wears it? Actor Johnny Depp looks great in a Horseshoe and Soul Patch.
9. English Mustache
What is it? A well-kept mustache that is parted in the middle and extends straight out into thinner strips beyond the cheeks. The corners of the mouth are kept clean to produce more visual “pop.”
Who is it for? Men with long, thin faces look great in an English Mustache because the style distracts attention away from the lower, pointier face edges.
Who wears it? The late, great actor Vincent Price sported a superb English mustache, as did Walt Disney.
10. Pencil Mustache
What is it? The Pencil Mustache consists of a thin line of hair just above the upper lip. It’s thin enough to appear as if it was drawn by a pencil.
Who is it for? A thinner mustache often suits a round face.
Who wears it? Many have carried the Pencil Mustache banner: Prince, Sammy Davis Jr., Errol Flynn, Soundgarden vocalist Chris Cornell.
What is it? Think of a Soul Patch above the upper lip.
Who is it for? Men with rounder faces and thicker lips.
Who wears it? Charlie Chaplin sported a legendary Toothbrush Mustache. It’s a style that understandably plummeted in popularity because it was worn by Adolph Hitler.
12. Dallas Mustache
What is it? The word “Dallas” calls up so many images. The Wild West. Oil barons. Football cheerleaders. Larry Hagman. The Dallas Mustache, meanwhile, happens after you clean-shave your cheeks, neck, and chin with a quality trimmer or electric razor. Let your mustache grow but trim away any stray hairs along the top edge. You can then “train” your mustache by brushing your whiskers downward.
Who is it for? Men with square faces but with some round features.
Who wears it? Actor Matthew McConaughey has been photographed while wearing a Dallas ‘stache.
13. Cowboy Mustache
What is it? The Cowboy Mustache isn’t out to impress you with its neatness. Instead, it’s meant to grow in an unkempt and rugged style for a couple of months before trimming it and shaping it a bit. But not much.
Who is it for? Guys with long triangular faces look good in a Cowboy Mustache. In fact, if Westerns are trying to tell us anything, it’s that most bad-ass cowboys were skinny or lanky dudes.
Who wears it? You’ve heard the ads for Coors beer and certain American-made trucks. That voice – which sounds like it’s thunder filtered through gravel – belongs to Sam Elliott. And Mr. Elliott has a dandy Cowboy Mustache.
14. Wild West Mustache
What is it? The best way to explain the Wild West mustache is that it’s like a Cowboy Mustache with a hint of Handlebar.
Who is it for: Men with longer and triangular faces do well with this style, although it’s often been seen on oval or rounder mugs.
Who wears it? Let’s digress for a moment and talk about the legendary “Shootout at the OK Corral.” The damn thing – which took place in 1881 in Tombstone, Arizona – lasted all but 30 seconds but has been immortalized in movies and in miles of historical text and notes. We’ll skip the details (other than Wyatt Earp and his band of good guys won) to talk instead about the mustaches of the participants. It was, simply put, an All-Star game of mustaches. Earp was sporting his distinctive mustache of course, as was his partner Doc Holiday (a heavy drinker with a steady gun hand). And Holiday often preferred the Horseshoe style. They should have been admiring each other’s mustaches instead of filling each other with lead.
15. The Gunslinger
What is it? The Gunslinger is another fuller mustache style but with sides that extend just to the corners of the mouth before extending upward.
Who is it for? Men with larger facial features.
Who wears it? You’ll find the gunslinger worn in just about any Western movie. It just might steal your girlfriend, too.
16. Super Mario
What is it? This mustache is actually two styles, a Petit Handlebar (albeit a tad bushier), and a Handlebar with scalloped edges on the bottom.
Who is it for? If you have a round or oval face, give either of these two styles a try. And be sure to send pictures in case you do. We’d love to see how you managed to do it.
Who wears it? Luigi and Mario of the Super Mario Brothers fame. They’d be unrecognizable on the street without their mustaches although their distinctive overalls and hats might quickly give them away.
What is it? The Walrus is characterized by thick, bushy hair that droops down below the upper lips.
Who is if for? The Walrus will work well if you have larger (not longer) facial features.
Who wears it? Author Mark Twain sported a distinctive Walrus while American actor Jamie Hyneman of MythBusters fame also wears one.
What is it? The Hungarian is a bold statement thanks to its styling of massive amounts of hair above the lip with a Handlebar twist. If you have the patience to let it grow – and grow some more – give it a shot.
Who is it for? As mentioned, the Hungarian is bold. A strong, square face provides a solid foundation.
Who wears it? It was made famous by Kaiser Wilhelm.
What is it? The Imperial represents another bold statement: it’s large, full, and growing both from the upper lip and cheeks. The whiskers on the cheeks are styled upwards.
Who is it for? A large square or rectangular face calls for a bushy mustache like the Imperial.
Who wears it? Mel Gibson has combined a chin puff with an Imperial mustache.
20. Fu Manchu
What is it: The Fu Manchu is iconic among mustaches as the Van Dyke is iconic among goatees. In other words, there’s a good chance that you know what it is without seeing an image. It’s a full, straight mustache that usually begins near the corners of the mouth and extends downward into tendrils.
Who is it for: Men with diamond-shaped faces look good with a Fu Manchu.
Who wears it: Former NFL quarterback Joe Namath sported a Fu Manchu and, well, “Broadway” Joe never had a bit of trouble with the ladies. But the name is based on a fictional character created by British author Sax Rohmer in the 1920s.
What is it? The Dali is a Handlebar taken to its very extreme. The corners of it extend nearly to the wearer’s eye sockets. If you see one, you won’t forget it.
Who is it for? Men with oblong faces may want to give it a try. Or, any man who likes to stand out in a crowd.
Who wears it? Surrealist painter Salvador Dali invented the Dali mustache style, and you’ll rarely find a picture of him without it. When asked if his mustache was supposed to be humorous or in “jest,” the ever-eccentric Dali responded by saying it was the only serious thing about him.
22. The Zappa
What is it? There’s a lot going on with The Zappa. Stubble on the cheeks. Bushy mustache that curves downward – but not as far downward as the Horseshoe. And then made complete by a square-shaped Soul Patch.
Who is for? The Zappa works particularly well on men with square faces.
Who wears it? It’s named after eccentric guitar maestro and songwriter Frank Zappa, who give us such songs as “My Guitar Wants To Kill You” and “Don’t Eat Yellow Snow.”
What is it? To get the Cantinflas look, shave off everything except the hair above the corners of your mouth. Keep those little remaining patches of hair trimmed thin while letting them curve slightly downwards.
Who is it for? Triangular-faced gents.
Who wears it? The Cantinflas is rarely seen these days. But it was made famous by Mexican comedian and actor Mario Moreno.
24. A La Souvarov
What is it? A combination of sideburns and mustache, the A la Souvarov consists of sideburns that extend to just beneath the corners of the mouth before connecting with the mustache.
Who is it for? There’s a lot going on here, so it works well on men with larger facial features.
Who wears it? It’s named for Russian general Alexander Suvorov, who popularized the style.
What is it? According to the rules of the World Beard and Mustache Championships, the Freestyle is basically any type of mustache that doesn’t fit into any standard category. In other words, you could shape your mustache into the shape of a fish and be considered a freestyler.
Who is it for? A larger face may work best for the Freestyle, but if you’re going to get that inventive, your facial shape probably doesn’t matter all that much.
Who wears it? Freestyle mustache world champion Aarne Bielefeldt, for one.
What is it? More recently popularized, the Beardstache combines a full mustache with a well-trimmed beard that may or may not be full stubble. As one critic put it, it’s the “facial hair version of the mullet.”
Who is it for: Round off the edges of your square or rectangular face with a Beardstache.
Who wears it? Actor Jamie Dornan on Netflix’s “The Fall.”
Mustache or Moustache?
You’ve probably seen the words mustache and moustache used to describe the same thing, i.e., that patch of hair above your chin. Basically, it all depends where you live. “Mustache” is used in American English while “moustache” is the preferred version in British English. But the British apparently adopted their spelling from the French.
The Mustache: A look back, a look forward?
Ancient men, if depictions of them have any validity, preferred full facial hair for a variety of reasons, not the least of which was survival in a decidedly harsh environment. When it was decided to leave only the hair on the upper lip is open to debate, although history tells us that it became particularly fashionable in England after the beard-dominant Elizabethan Era. King James I sported a dandy mustache that was immortalized in artworks.
The mustache has seeming fallen in and out of style ever since and despite some naysayers’ cries of “The Mustache is Dead!” (mind you, not quite as apocalyptic as “God is Dead”). It’s been ubiquitous – from Errol Flynn to Tom Selleck to Eddie Murphy to Charlie Chaplin to Salvador Dali – and has, at least lately in Western culture, drifted off into the background.
Today, the mustache may have a kind of “throwback” quality that is helping to bring it back into popular culture and modern living rooms and offices around the world. And some would argue that truly rocking the mustache look today involves a variety of factors, including the style you choose and the confidence you exude while wearing it. Few would argue that the preferred look one is trying to achieve with a mustache is “cool” and not “creepy.” Stay tuned, however. The mustache may represent that wave that you can see out on the horizon that’s making its way slowly to the shore.