History of the Moustache

We’ve delved into the celebrated history of the beard several times here at Men Rock. And now it’s the turn of the moustache, in no way the poor relation, which boasts an equally illustrious and fascinating past. Read on and wonder…


Who could say when the first bloke decided to scrape off his full beard leaving only a mo’ on his upper lip? So let’s jump to the 14th century and England’s medieval knights. Apparently, they had armour made specially to accommodate their full moustaches. Next time you’re in Cantebury, visit the tomb of Edward, Prince of Wales which depicts His Royal Highness in battle dress and chainmail which allow his long whiskers to flow over the top.


No idea what he used to maintain his mo’, but if Prince Charles ever decides on one, we’ve got a straight razor fit for a king.


A beard tax?


Historically, beards have generally hogged the limelight. But during the late 1600s their popularity withered under a swingeing beard tax imposed by Russian Tsar Peter the Great. The moustache came into its own and by the early 1700s, mo’s were sprouting up everywhere across Europe, until they were eclipsed by the beard. Again.


But then, the moustache developed romantic appeal. Enter the ‘mad, bad and dangerous to know’ Lord Byron .The younger generation eventually kicked out against all this hairy fashion. They wanted to emulate a poet who was ‘mad, bad and dangerous to know’.


While many around him had the full beard, Lord reduced his facial hair to a slender, curling moustache. And like a modern rock star, influenced other young people to follow suit. Were he around today, Lord Byron might wax lyrical about the moustache kit available from Men Rock. The Awakening Moustache Wax would surely have appealed to him? Although I’m sure he would have preferred our Straight Razor over our Safety Razor.


Byronic style


The Byronic style lasted for several decades before the Crimean War when massive beards won back the ground they had lost.


That’s enough history for today. Let’s move onto some of those delicious factoids that could help you win the pub quiz’. Did you know that:


  • Moustache hair grows faster than any other body hair. It sprouts more in spring and summer than in autumn and winter.


  • A moustache is capable of absorbing 20 per MRcent of its own weight in liquid.


  • Spanish artist Salvador Dali loved his super ‘stache, claiming that “like two erect sentries, my moustache defends the entrance to my real self.”


Thanks to Allan Peterkin, facial hair expert and author for the above three pub quiz gems. His book ‘One Thousand Moustaches’ makes for fascinating reading.


An historic mistake?


One thing that’s always intrigued me about the mo’ trend which has spawned many different styles is that you never see that short upper lip style favoured by Charlie Chaplin and an infamous German dictator from the 20th century. Unless you count Ron Mael of the 70s American pop duo Sparks. Ron sported a small, Chaplin style ’tache which perfectly complemented his deadpan, scowling style. Although the band achieved a cult following, and are still going today, they never managed to spark a fashion or the little ‘tache. Thank God.


There’s another person who knows more about the history of the mo’ than your humble scribe: Canadian comic and actor Kristian Reimer We hear that Kristian is about to revive and tour his amazing one-man show beginning in November. Currently we’re in transatlantic talks with Kristian and we’re hoping to bring you more mo’ magic next month.