Let’s play a little game. We say ‘hipsters’ and you say the first thing that pops into your head. Was it handlebar mustache? You win! Even though they have been around for far longer than you might think, handlebar mustaches have become associated with the hipster subculture. That’s because they are the ones who wore this facial hairstyle the most in the past few years. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t or shouldn’t wear a handlebar mustache if you don’t identify with the hipster movement.
In fact, that’s exactly what we’re here to tackle in this article. The best handlebar mustache ideas that fit every man out there. But that’s not all. We’re also going to show you how to grow a handlebar mustache, some tips on how to maintain and style it, how to pair it with a beard and a goatee, and the latest trends. Let’s get started!
What is a Handlebar Mustache?
Since there are maybe some people who haven’t seen a handlebar mustache lurking around in the wild, we should start by offering a definition or a description of this facial hairstyle.
First of all, you should know that the term handlebar mustache doesn’t define a single type of mustache. In fact, it is used to represent of group an entire variety of them that are more or less similar but that retain their identity.
Broadly put, the group named handlebar mustaches consists of facial hair that must only reside on the man’s upper lip and that that is very long on its horizontal axis. That being said, the ends of this long mustache have to be curled inwards in a variety of ways until they resemble a set of handlebars, hence the name.
But here’s the catch. The way the ends are curved upward and inward determine what kind of handlebar mustache you want to wear. For example, there is an Imperial mustache, a Hungarian one, and an English one. And they all fall under the handlebar umbrella. But don’t worry, we’ll get into more details later. For now, let’s see where this whole trend started!
What Is the History of the Handlebar Mustache?
The first time we saw the handlebar mustache depicted was on statues of the Iron Age Celts. This means that the style is much more ancient than we previously gave it credit for. However, men didn’t discover it again as a fashionable style until the second half of the 19th century when prominent figures of the Wild West were wearing it. A great example of this is Wyatt Earp.
Men wore handlebar mustaches in Europe as well, mainly during the First World War. Soldiers preferred this facial hairstyle. In modern times, it has become a staple of the hipster subculture. Some believe the reason why hipsters prefer the handlebar mustache is because they like to mock all conventional fashion trends. Hipsters are all about combining this very classic type of facial hair with super unkempt clothes or urban outfits. This results in a shocking ensemble for the eye to behold. But others could also argue that, by doing this, they have more often than not, become a reason for mockery themselves.
What Are the Different Types of Handlebar Mustache?
As mentioned previously, most people wrongly believe that a handlebar mustache is simply a facial hair type that goes above your lips and curls upward. But there’s so much more to it than that. Connoisseurs will quickly point out that there are, in fact, there main types of handlebar mustaches and several other smaller kinds that stem from those. Let’s tackle the three main ones right now!
The Imperial Handlebar Mustache
We are at the end of the 1800s and the beginning of the 1900s. Facial hair was still very much in trend in the Western hemisphere. We could definitely see some handlebar mustaches on William Taft and Theodore Roosevelt, the American presidents.
But what we’re really interested in are the more flamboyant type worn by the monarchs ruling central Europe, including Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany and Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austro-Hungary. They used to style their handlebar mustaches with curls and because they were ruler, that type of facial hair gained the nickname ‘the imperial.’
If you want to grow one nowadays, you should know that trimming it is considered a major no-no. You should only comb it to the side and then use wax to shape it into those iconic curls. However, if you are keen to keep a certain length of your mustache, some trimming will need to be done. Therefore, leave it to a professional to do it for you and never attempt to do it at home.
The Hungarian Handlebar Mustache
There are quite a few people, devotees, and professionals alike who love to point out that the Hungarian style was actually a forefather to the Imperial style. You will also find it under the name the Magyar mustache.
This type of handlebar mustache is thought to have appeared in the middle of the 19th century. After the Hapsburg monarchy collapsed, the people’s nationalist feelings were stronger than ever. And they manifested themselves in men more than anyone else. They adopted this type of facial hair to show their military manliness, how virile they were as well as the fact that they were against the monarchy. It was a movement in style meant to prove male privilege at its best.
But is the Hungarian handlebar mustache the same as the Imperial then? Not at all. In fact, the Hungarian one is far bigger and bushier as it needs to prove just how manly the wearer is. It is devoid of any grooming. The man wearing it needs to let it grow naturally and simply try to shape it into place.
The English Handlebar Mustache
This is a completely different type of handlebar mustache than the ones we’ve seen above. Therefore, we could say it’s more of a niche mustache than anything else. First of all, we need to explain a little how it should look like.
The English handlebar mustache must be divided in the middle. All the hair that goes beyond the corners of your mouth has to be shaved off. Another major difference is that instead of curling the ends inward and upward, you must comb them until they are very straight.
It’s also super important to mention that this type of handlebar mustache has never been worn much throughout history. The most famous example we can give you is Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. However, beside the writer, few men have attempted it. But this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go for it yourself, especially if you feel like this is absolutely the style that would fit you best. Which brings us to this.
You might also like – 95 Handsome Goatee Styles Inspired by Celebrities in 2019
Can I Wear a Handlebar Mustache?
The short answer? Yes, it will. Now here’s the long answer. One of the main reasons why we took you on a walk through the different types of handlebar mustaches above is for you to see that there isn’t just one handlebar mustache and that’s the end of it. In fact, there’s a whole family of them. Which means you can take those basic styles, wear them or customize them as you please so that they match your facial type perfectly.
However, there is one thing we need to mention right here. Most types of handlebar mustaches do tend to be on the bushy side. In other words, they will be a super striking feature on your face that will dominate it. Please consider it if you want this much attention drawn to your face before you make the commitment of growing it!
So, before we delve into more details, you need to identify what kind of face shape you have. This little nugget of information will make it a lot easier to decide which type of handlebar mustache you should get.
Handlebar Mustache Types According to Your Face Shape
· If you have a square face
You are in luck because square faces can take almost any type of handlebar mustache you can think of. They are wide enough and strong featured enough to support the bushiness and heaviness of a handlebar. So dive right in and start growing that mustache!
· If you have an oblong face
Go for a full handlebar. You have a wide face in the lower region, which will support the mustache well enough. Apart from that, the handlebar will widen your cheekbones and distract the eye from the length of your face. It’s basically an optical illusion in the shape of a mustache!
· If you have a triangle face
It works in the same way as for the oblong face. The mustache will make your cheeks look wider. Still, you need to be careful about what type of handlebar you choose. Your objective here is not to take away from the length of your face but to add some more balance to it. Therefore, you could benefit from a handlebar mustache with soft finishes. Try an Imperial!
· If you have an oval face shape
Even though you might be inclined to think you can wear anything because you have a perfect face, this might actually throw you off a little bit. Why? Because a handlebar mustache is so extravagant it might actually end up messing up your perfectly proportioned face. So think carefully before you start growing one!
However, if you decide to go ahead and try one, remember to groom it and trim it very well. Try an Imperial mustache if you want but keep the style as modest as you can and style it super sharply so as not to unbalance your whole face.
How to Grow a Handlebar Mustache
Now that we’ve covered the main types of handlebar mustaches as well as which one of them will go best with your type of face, here are all the steps you need to know on how to grow one. Spoiler alert – it’s not easy! But it’s worth it!
1. Never trim the mustache
We’ve mentioned this earlier as well, but it’s worth talking about it again. Never ever trim or cut your mustache in any way. As it grows, it will become very tempting to tweak it a little here and there. But never do that.
2. Combing is the key
Wait for it grow as much as possible and then start to comb it with a special mustache comb. Once a day will be enough. Start in the middle and under your nose. Comb left and right to create that iconic gap between the two parts. This motion is what will train the facial hair to grow in what we call the handlebar. If you want, you can even get a super fancy mustache comb made by none other than Nick Offerman.
3. Wax, wax, wax!
This is the one step you need to do after you come out of the shower. Your mustache will be nice and damp. Apply a pea sized bit of wax to your mustache right in the middle. Use your fancy comb to spread it all the way to the edges. If you need more wax, apply it. It all depends on how long or bushy it is. But it is better to start with a smaller quantity and apply as needed because it will be difficult to clean it off if you’ve applied too much.
4. Shape the handlebar mustache
It’s time to twist and shout! Actually to twist and shape, but you get the joke. Here’s where you create the iconic shape we all know and love. Take a little wax between your fingers. Apply it to the ends of your mustache. Twist them and curl all the hair upward and inward. If you want to get a little more professional, twist the ends around a pen. The wax will secure them into place for you.
5. Commit to your mustache
You have to understand that having a handlebar mustache is not an easy thing to do, as we mentioned in the beginning. You will have to repeat this entire process every single day. This means washing it, combing the mustache, waxing it, and then curling it. It’s the only way in which it will actually have that look. But hey, if we ever invent time travel and go back to the 1800s, we’ll definitely choose you, so get ready!
Tips on How to Maintain a Handlebar Mustache
As we’ve mentioned before, growing and then maintaining a handlebar mustache is definitely not a choice for the weak of heart. The commitment alone will make you want to quit several times or look for ways to make things easier on Google. If that’s the case with you as well, you can start right here because we have some tips on how you can maintain your handlebar mustache.
1. Patience, grasshopper!
Of course, different men have different hair growth rates. However, it’s safe to say that it will take approximately three months to gain a minimum length at which point you can start to give your mustache a bit of shape. Apart from that, most men who have already gone through this process state that these three months are the hardest of all. Your face will feel itchy, scratchy, and sometimes even stingy. But you need to push through.
Afterward, you need to wait six months for your mustache to be fully formed. Then you can give it the handlebar shape. In the meantime, please don’t try to use any hoax pills, vitamins or hair oils that you see online and which tell you they will make your hair grow faster. That is simply not possible. Just wait until it’s naturally long enough.
2. Buy high quality mustache wax
Mustache wax is the only certified way to get your facial hair to cooperate with you. Nothing else will work. Therefore, you will need to buy a high quality product. We recommend you stick to organic wax. Remember you will have to use this product every single day very close to your mouth and nose. Try to reduce irritations and intoxications that might happen if you use low quality wax.
You can even make your own mustache wax at home. It’s easier than you think and it’s a lot safer than the ones you can find on the market. The ingredients are super available and all you need is organic and clean beeswax, coconut oil, and your preferred selection of natural oils to give it whatever smell you like!
3. Remember to wash your mustache every day
This is an absolute must mainly because you will be putting wax in it all the time. You can wash it with any dedicated beard shampoo. If you want to go a little extra, add some beard and mustache conditioner and oil to your hair care routine!
What about you?
Let us know in the comment section below how you feel about all these handlebar mustache ideas! Do you have a favorite and if so, which one is it? Moreover, if you are already sporting a handlebar mustache, write to us and let us know some more tips and tricks on how to take care of it from a real connoisseur like you!