Barbershop Blog

THE HISTORY OF THE MOUSTACHE

October 17, 2020

With Movember fast approaching and the movement now entering its eighteenth year, we thought it would be a good time to take a closer look at the moustache and try to track down the evolution of the manly adornment through history.
Errol Flynn with his trademark pencil moustacheBritish Army Soldiers had to grow moustaches as part of the uniform from 1860 to 1916.The Pazyryk Horseman with his clear moustacheEgyptian Prince Rahotep - The earliest evidence of a moustache that we could find.
Why Moustache?

Like all the fashion trends that we see come and go, (and sometimes come again), the moustache has had a shifting popularity over time. The word "moustache" is French, and according to Encyclopaedia Britannica, it is derived from the fourteenth century Italian word “moustacio”, this in turn, can be traced all the way back to the Hellenistic Greek word for lip.


The First Moustache

From our digging around, it appears that the earliest instance of a clearly defined mo appeared on the upper lip of an ancient Egyptian prince named Rahotep. He was 4th Dynasty which dates his mo back to about 2500BC. His statue appears with wife Nofret at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.

Egyptian Prince Rahotep With Moustache


The Pazyryk Horseman

Running second to the prince by about twenty two hundred years is the Pazyryk Horseman. Hailing from high up in Siberia’s Altai Mountains is Pazyryk, a region close to the borders of China, Kazakhstan and Mongolia. The Horseman with his well defined mo appears on a felt artefact that is dated at 300BC. The felt, that was frozen in time, was excavated from a tomb and is now in the State Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg.

The Pazyryk Horseman

The Military Mo

Taking another leap forward, we find ourselves in the 1800’s and seemingly at the peak of the moustache’s popularity. The mo had become so popular within the world’s military forces that it was commonly used to tell the difference between military men and normal civilians. From 1860 to 1916, it was actually mandatory for British soldiers to grow a moustache as part of their dress regulation. It would appear that the necessity of a gas mask during the first world war likely caused a rule change.

British Army Poster - Soldier With Large Moustache


The Errol Flynn

Forward into the twentieth century and Australian born actor Errol Flynn was womanising his way to world stardom and donning a sleek and sexy looking mo along the way. By the the 60’s and 70’s the mo was well and truely hitting it’s straps again. There were numerous Hollywood celebrities that were fashioning the look before the popularity waned again.

Errol Flynn with his trademark pencil moustache


The Mo Bro

After a few relatively dormant decades, a couple of blokes got together for a quiet beer in a Melbourne pub. Subsequently, Movember was launched and it quickly took the world by storm. The Mo was back and in the interest of men’s health it now makes a comeback every November.

Movember is an annual event that is ran by The Movember Foundation. Moustaches are grown to raise much needed funds for research projects and to raise awareness of men's health issues. To get involved in this years event or for more information head over to: www.movember.com

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