A Guide to the Top Mustache Styles

Some people call it lip foliage or the grass grin. Others might refer to it as face lace or a bro-merang. You can call it upper lipholstery or a misplaced eyebrow if you want, but all slang aside, did you know that mustaches have real, technical names based on their shape? It’s true! Let’s take a look at some of them:  

The Walrus

As the name might suggest, this mustache is thick and lusciously full. It’s the sort of cookie duster you could lose a hammer in. This mustache doesn’t need a whole lot of attention save for a trim once in a while to keep your whiskers out of your beer. The walrus is most recognizably worn by the iconic Nick Offerman and Sam Elliot.  


Sam Elliott wearing the walrus, one of the most famous mustache styles
By NBC Television, Public Domain, Link  

The Chevron

This flavor saver is identifiable by its angled sides coming up to a point under the nose. It’s less round, like an arrow pointing to the heavens. This mustache shape will usually only come down to about a half-inch past the sides of the mouth and is kept trimmed to allow it to hang just a little over the top lip. The chevron is one of the easier styles to sport because, outside of the occasional trim, it requires very little maintenance. Unforgettably, Freddie Mercury rocked this look about as hard as he rocked on stage. 


Freddie Mercury wearing the Chevron mustache style   

The Handlebar 

We all know this one. It brings up images of some sinister character busting through saloon doors to The Good, The Bad and The Ugly theme song. This mustache has definitely got a vintage and costume-like feel to it, but some guys can really pull it off. A high-maintenance mustache, the handlebar often requires a fair bit of mustache wax to keep the twisted ends in place. Back in the day, you didn’t want to mess with a fella sporting the handlebar, like Wyatt Earp, Joseph Stalin and Buffalo Bill. Today, it’s more indicative of a man who loves a great craft beer. 

 Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria wearing a handlebar style of mustache

Image By Carl Pietzner, Public Domain, Link  

 The Horseshoe 

It looks exactly how it sounds. Doubling as a good luck charm, this mustache is an inverted U over the mouth. It requires frequent trimming and brushing, and a little mustache wax to keep the shape in line, but in return, you get to look like Hulk Hogan.  


Hollywood Hulk Hogan had one of the most iconic mustache styles, the Horseshoe
By  User:PaulBillets, CC BY 4.0, Link   

The Pencil Mustache 

This lip sweater is more like a scarf in that it’s just a thin line resting over the upper lip. It can be either curved above the mouth or it can be more angular, like two lines meeting under the nose. The pencil shape takes a considerable amount of trimming to keep up. Notable gentlemen who wore this iconic ‘stache are Clark Gable and Little Richard.   


The pencil is a thinner mustache type
By Trailer screenshot Licensing, Public Domain, Link 

The Dali

You know it when you see it. Named for the famed artist Salvador Dali, the thin sides of this mustache are upturned like antennae. There’s even a book about the Dali mustache published by Mr. Dali himself, featuring 28 black and white photos of his iconic ‘stache in various poses, sometimes with props. This is a wax-heavy look; you’ll need enough to fight gravity and win, but if you do, you’ll get to look like the man himself. 


The Dali is a result of unique mustache grooming  

The Imperial

 Not to be mistaken for the handlebar, the imperial is less structured, less tidy. It lends itself to a more rugged type of man who still likes a little style. You still have to use your mustache wax to curl up the sides, but it isn’t meant to be perfect. It looks refined and rustic at the same time. Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany had a textbook imperial. Check it out: 


The Imperial is a classic, masculine mustache style
By Thomas Heinrich Voigt., Public Domain, Link 

This list is, of course, not complete. There are thousands of mustache styles and mustache/beard/sideburn combos to explore, but for the solo mustache, these are the base shapes from which to draw your own style. Which shape do you prefer? Let us know in the comments!

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