Henry Cavill sported one for the Fallout film. Zac Efron channeled his inner Magnum PI to grow one. The Weeknd rocked one not too long ago.
As the Hollywood A-List are adorning their chiseled looks with facial hair, it’s safe to say the mighty moustache is having a renaissance for 2022.
And naturally, we’ll be seeing even more ‘taches than usual over the coming month as it’s officially ‘Movember’.
Having started 19 year ago, the charity fundraising effort encourages people to raise money and awareness of male-based health issues, such as prostate and testicular cancer, as well as mental health issues, by growing facial hair. Last year, all those involved in the UK raised a staggering £14.1 million.
But having once been something associated with dads, eccentrics and the man on the Pringles can, moustaches have (quite literally) grown on us in more recent years – a YouGov poll revealed that facial fuzz has risen over the past decade, with the proportion of British men having some sort of facial hair having risen to 42%.
And it’s the younger generation that are opting to grow and style moustaches, with 61% of men between 18 and 39 now say they have some form of facial hair, compared to 43% back in 2011.
Here, we spoke to three men about why they sport their lip foliage – and whether we’ll be seeing even more on display outside of Movember.
My moustache is my money maker
London-based actor and comedian Ali Brice, 36, first grew his moustache in 2011 – and found himself growing rather attached to his new facial hair.
‘I started working for Movember when I was about 25, as a temp in their offices. Obviously, working for a charity like that meant I had to grow a moustache (not literally, of course, it’s not a requirement for role, but as an employee I felt duty bound to grow one).
I didn’t think I’d be able to grow anything – I’ve always wanted to grow a beard but when I tried I only end up with a few straggly bits on my chin.
I thought I’d end up disappointed when we all shaved our faces at beginning of November to get primed for the month ahead, but after two weeks I was surprised at how much growth I’d got on my upper lip. People were coming up to me saying, ‘Oh, Ali, it looks really good!’ By the end, I was genuinely really happy to have some decent facial hair, and it’s mostly been a fixture on my face ever since.
The big ‘tache takeover – what’s behind the return of the moustache?
Lennie Law, fashion expert at bespoke-fit menswear brand, Spoke, explains:
‘The return of the moustache might be linked to the nostalgic trends we are seeing resurface across the fashion industry; from the resurgence of laid-back menswear styling of the 90s, the tight-tee and cropped-trouser combo of the 80s and evidently, the 70s moustache.
‘Moustaches typically convey a sense of maturity. Since the end of the pandemic, and men wanting to return to work in smart, well-fitting clothes, the moustache complements this professional aesthetic which is becoming popularised. Either way, it’s a trend that almost anyone can adapt to and an easy way to change up your look – without any investment.
‘Plus, if you decide the look is not for you, it’s an easy shave!’
At first, I got the p*** taken out of me quite a lot by mates, who were asking me what I was doing, but that’s the whole point of growing a moustache for Movember – it’s meant to be a conversation starter. But people have grown to quite like it. I actually dated more girls when I had a moustache compared to when I was clean shaven – beauty is in the eye of the beholder of course, but it’s safe to say that in my case, moustaches are sexy, and that’s a fact. My girlfriend at the moment would certainly be annoyed of I got rid of it altogether.
Even my mum likes it now – at first, she was uncertain, but when I got rid of my moustache for a little bit a few years ago, she said I should grow it back as it distracted from the fact I’d put on weight.
This sounds really silly, but I don’t think I had much of an identity before I had my moustache. I was in my early twenties, I was really shy and I didn’t have much confidence. My tache gave me an instant ‘thing’, it was an icebreaker that enabled people to talk to me. It gave me confidence enough to be a bit quirky.
As someone who does stand-up comedy, having a moustache fed into my act – it was something I could twiddle up and fiddle with and it instantly made me look funnier. The moustache was a major part for one of my comedy characters called Eric, this old Northerner who was lonely and looking for love. I’ve got a joke in my latest show that I look like Groucho Marx with my big glasses and full moustache.
In fact, my facial hair helps me get acting jobs. I think when you go into an audition and adverts I do want people to have a quirky face, funny people, people with odd faces. I think a moustache does help you, it does set you up and makes you that little bit more memorable and different in casting. My moustache is literally my moneymaker.
I genuinely think Movember made the tache cool again. As it’s got bigger and bigger over the years, more and more people are tempted to grow one. Fashion is cyclical anyway – things go in and out of style – but moustaches are so cool it was always going to happen at some point!’
I wanted to honour the people I had lost
Danny Holden, 28, a senior account executive from Portsmouth, was moved to grow a moustache in solidarity for a friend whose father passed away.
‘I was 24 when I grew my moustache – firstly it was done just in jest, just to see what it would look like.
But then I learned an old friend’s dad, who I used to get on really well with, died of prostate cancer. I’ve grown apart from this friend a bit now, but I remember the kindness both he and his father showed to me when I was a teenager.
My family had moved to a new town for sixth form, and my friend and his dad were just so warm to me. I remember playing cricket with my mate, and his dad would come down and cheer us both on. He was a bit of a local celebrity, and we’d always see him down the pub and have a few beers with him. It was such a shock to learn that he’d died, he was only in his mid 40s or early 50s.
I also lost a friend to suicide while I was at university, it was the week before I handed in my dissertation. I didn’t know how to deal with it at the time – I remember getting completely smashed and lashing out at people because I just couldn’t process anything emotionally.
I wanted to show support, but giving condolences just didn’t seem enough, so I decided to do something meaningful, and started growing a moustache for Movember. What’s great about it is that it encourages those important conversations and gets people talking. When my friend’s father died, I started doing some reading about prostate cancer and it’s something that is highly treatable when it’s caught early, and so I want to encourage men to be more open about their health as it really can make a difference.
Last year, during Movember, I went for a prostate appointment and shared my experience on social media – I said it was quite uncomfortable but I’m doing it and here is some information and to talk to a doctor if you’re unsure. It wasn’t fun but it was good to walk away knowing you’ve been checked and you’ve done your due diligence. I just want men to not feel so squeamish around how they’re feeling as it may save their life.
I keep my moustache all year round as I feel like it quite suits me. I live in South London now and so I get quite a few compliments for it. There’s a bit of a renaissance round here for taches and dirty mullets – someone asked me if I grew my moustache after Top Gun and I had to say no, I’m an early adopter of the look.
However, when I go and visit my parents, who live outside London, people are less kind. I’ve had the odd d***head shouting homophobic slurs at me – I’m not gay, but I always reply, ‘Well, what’s your point if I am?’
Because my moustache is a permanent fixture, I now take on another task for people to sponsor me in Movember. This year, I’m doing a running challenge. I’m moving 60km this Movember for the 60 men we lose each hour of every day to health issues. I usually raise around £500 for good causes, and I hope I can encourage others to consider trying it.’
Lockdown allowed me to experiment
Birmingham-born Woody Anderson, who works in PR, followed in his father’s footsteps in growing a ‘tache.
‘I’ve always had a little bit of facial hair – some stubble, maybe a slight beard, depending on the time of the year. In 2020, when the world was in lockdown, I decided to have a play around and just grow a moustache. I wasn’t going anywhere, so no-one could take mickey out of me.
They might not have always been popular, but I’ve always found moustaches to be quite cool. It definitely runs in the family – my dad has had a moustache all his life (as well as a flatcap) and I’ve never seen him without one. It’s just kind of old school, isn’t it? Footballers from the 80s had them, Magnum had one, I just thought – maybe I’m the right person to grow one too.
I used to live out in Australia and literally everyone over there had one for Movember and it definitely encouraged me to give it a go. They were a bit of a joke when we were kids – trying to grow a bit of bumfluff to look older – but now I think things have changed a little bit. Then again, I’m still the only person in my friendship group who has one all year round.
It was a bit of a shock to most people when we came out of lockdown and I still had this moustache – but I’d grown used to it at that point. I think it looks good on me, it suits my personality. I’m always seen as the eccentric one: I wear bright shirts and colourful tracksuits and have always been experimental with my style. When I don’t have my moustache, I look and feel weird. I look more baby-faced but I just don’t like it.
Not everyone can grow a moustache and they end up looking completely ridiculous. Maybe I look ridiculous and I’m oblivious! I do try and take care of it – I put a little bit of shampoo on it to keep it clean, and I enjoy the ceremony of having a wet shave at the barbers. My facial hair grows really fast and so I have to keep on top of keeping it trim – if I’ve got a wedding, or a big event, I have to take some scissors with it.
It’s definitely a confidence thing to pull off a moustache and make it seem sexy. You need the mindset or the personality or to be eccentric enough to do it to start with. Will I keep it forever? Who knows – but while it fits with my mindset, it isn’t going anywhere.’
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