Whiskers, lip hamster, cookie duster, macho-stache, Utah grizzly. Even if some of the monikers raise eyebrows, mustaches are growing in popularity.
In Netflix’s The Gray ManRyan Gosling calls out co-star Chris Evans’s character for his “trash-tache”.
according to Urban Dictionary, the term usually refers to “a mustache that is never shaved, but is extremely weak and little”. Gosling’s comment is meant as quite the put-down, then.
Playing bad guy Lloyd Hansen, Evans sports a mustache that is too fulsome to be considered weak, but has unfortunate 1970s overtones and comes across as more sleazy than suave.
In Top Gun: Maverickactor Miles Teller plays Lieutenant Bradley “Rooster” Bradshaw and grows a heroically bad mustache to ensure audiences grasp he is the progeny of Nick “Goose” Bradshaw from the original 1986 film.
Henry Cavill, best known for playing a chiselled, clean-shaved Superman, grew a mustache that proved rather expensive. The actor was contractually obliged to maintain it for the duration of filming Mission: Impossible – Falloutbut the problem arose when he was called back for reshoots as Superman for Justice League. Unable to shave his lip and risk being in breach of contract, the makers of Justice League were forced to remove the mustache digitally, frame by frame.
For his role in the 2008 movie Inglourious Basterds, Brad Pitt grew a mustache as twisted as his character, drawing mockery from most corners. Even George Clooney failed to pull off the terrible ‘tache he wore for the 2019 comedy series Catch-22.
Cinema, in general, has a long and often questionable history with face fluff, from the days of the silver screen — think Clark Gable, Errol Flynn and David Niven — to more recent times. In the 1975 movie The Man Who Would Be KingSean Connery, who regularly wore a mustache, had one so ample, it joined up to his sideburns, while Daniel Day Lewis made facial hair truly terrifying in his role in the 2002 film Gangs of New York.
Sacha Baron Cohen’s innocently bumbling alter ego Borat also donned a mustache, while Johnny Depp played Captain Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean with a ‘tache on top of a plaited goatee. In 2019, Robert Downey Jr stirred up a Twitter storm for the film Avengers: Endgame when he tweeted an image of himself with co-stars Chris Evans and Mark Ruffalo, all sporting a mustache and the words: “Who wore it best?”
Robert Redford finally mastered the art of the mustache in the 1969 film Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.
It’s not just the men, either. Actress Gwyneth Paltrow wore the world’s least convincing mustache for her Oscar-winning role in Shakespeare In Lovewhile Mexican artist Frida Kahlo was unflinching in including her mustache in self portraits, along with her monobrow and body splints, making it an unmistakable part of her identity.
Musicians Prince, Lionel Ritchie and Freddie Mercury grew a mustache as part of their persona, while rapper Snoop Dogg has had one on and off for much of his career. Burt Reynolds was never seen without his, while Tom Selleck, Eddie Murphy, Steve Harvey and Hulk Hogan have all made it their signature look.
And, it’s not only celebrities who are paid to grow facial hair. Some men, it seems, chose to grow a mustache because they like it. King Charles I of England had a flamboyant one, as did Mexican revolutionary Emiliano Zapata, American gunslinger Wyatt Earp, writer Mark Twain, artist Salvador Dali, scientist Albert Einstein and activist Martin Luther King.
In proof these men are not alone, the annual Mustache and Beard Championship chooses a new host city each year demonstrating the niche but global appeal. Divided into categories for mustaches, partial beards, full beards and “craft”, this is definitely not for amateurs.
Updated: August 05, 2022, 7:12 AM