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Are moustaches making a comeback? Miles Teller in a still from Top Gun: Maverick. Photo: Paramount Films

Has Hollywood revived moustaches? From Top Gun’s Miles Teller to Chris Evans in The Gray Man and Jason Sudeikis’ Ted Lasso, they are everywhere

  • Love them or hate them, moustaches are making a comeback – though fans would say they never went away – as film characters and sportsmen rock the facial hair
  • Chris Evans in The Gray Man, Miles Teller in Top Gun, NFL star Travis Kelce and Australian golfer Cameron Smith all have them

There are myriad ways to style a moustache and almost as many nicknames for the top lip companion, but there is only one question that matters: are moustaches back in fashion?

Gone are the days when many a Hollywood leading man, from Errol Flynn and Clark Gable to Burt Reynolds and Tom Selleck, adorned their upper lip with one.

So has the moustache been confined to the role of ironic punchline, best suited to hipsters, live-action role players and those who compete in beard and moustache championships?

Well, no. Whether moustaches ever went out of style – and fans of the controversial facial hair would argue they did not – the muzzy is having a moment. In July men’s fashion site Gear Patrol declared in a headline that “The Mustache Is Back”.

Miles Teller as Rooster in a still from Top Gun: Maverick. Photo: Paramount Pictures

Google searches for moustaches are trending, and there has been a rise in views on YouTube of grooming videos and barbers.

“It’s definitely on the rise. It’s a very nice masculine look and acceptable in the workforce and goes well with a lot of different hair styles,” says Brian Siswojo, the head barber and founder of Hong Kong’s Handsome Factory.

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This recent surge in popularity is in part thanks to the popularity of the global smash hit Top Gun: Maverick, the sequel to the classic 1986 film that sees Miles Teller take on the moustache mantle from Anthony Edwards, playing the son of “Goose” and filling in as sidekick to Tom Cruise’s title character.

Teller’s ’tache has been something of a social media sensation. None of this was hurt by Top Gun: Maverick taking in more than Titanic at the US box office.

The look gained popularity on TikTok thanks to the Top Gun sequel – no surprise, perhaps, when figures suggest that Ray Ban’s aviator sunglasses also received a sales boost from the film – but not everyone was a fan.

Actor and director Taika Waititi attends the Sydney premiere of Thor: Love and Thunder in Sydney, Australia, sporting a moustache. Photo: Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images/TNS

“My wife made me shave it immediately [after filming],” Teller told People magazine in July.

The actor was a fan of the social media memes inspired by his moustache, with fans using hashtags such as #topgunmustache to mark their inspiration. “Big fan of it. If it makes them more confident, then more power to them,” Teller told People. “But we’ll see, maybe it’ll be a good summer trend and then die out.”
Maybe, maybe not. Moustaches were back on the agenda with the release in July of The Gray Man on Netflix, a James Bond-style spy thriller starring Ryan Gosling and Chris Evans.

It is Evans, who plays the detestable Lynch, rather than Gosling who has been seen as the style icon with his knit polos and moustache taking up column inches in the style pages. In the film, Gosling’s character, Six, describes Evans’ moustache as a “trash stash” – thoughts the actor said were his own.

“Those were my real thoughts,” Gosling – who sported a moustache of his own in 2007’s Lars and the Real Girl – told The Hollywood Reporter at the July 13 world premiere of The Gray Man.

Despite Gosling’s protestations, the moustache is arguably the star of the film directed by the Russo brothers – Netflix has been selling false moustaches via its official online store for US$15.

Chris Evans as Lloyd Hansen in a still from The Gray Man. Photo: Paul Abell/Netflix

There’s an apt symbolism to Evans’ moustache of the moment being what barbers describe as a “pyramid” style – the first evidence of hairy upper lips being fashionable comes from ancient Egpyt.

“As early as 2650BC ... Egyptian artefacts show a pencil-line moustache with no beard,” the Encyclopaedia Britannica says. The encyclopaedia notes times since then when moustaches were either forbidden or obligatory under different military regimes.

The US Air Force has recently allowed longer moustaches, a decision that cannot not be put down to Teller’s turn in Top Gun 2 (though let’s see what happens after Top Gun 3).

US actor Owen Wilson attends the New York premiere of Secret Headquarters 2 in New York sporting a moustache. Photo: Yuki Iwamura/AFP

While Evans has since joined Teller in shaving off his moustache, another actor, Owen Wilson, has retained the one he grew for the upcoming Secret Headquarters, as seen at the film’s premiere in New York. Actor-director Taika Waititi has become a low-key style icon with his ’stash and scruff combo.

Moustaches have made headlines in Hollywood in recent years, not least when Henry Cavill’s facial hair had to be digitally removed from the Superman film. Some fans used CGI to put it back.

Several characters on the small screen have had moustaches, including Bob Odenkirk’s Saul Goodman in Better Call Saul. There’s a line in the Breaking Bad spin-off when Goodman meets that series’ anti-hero Walter White: “Guy with that moustache probably doesn’t make a lot of good life choices.”

Jason Sudeikis in a still from Ted Lasso. Photo: Colin Hutton/Apple TV+ via AP

Then there is the mustachioed Ted Lasso, played by Jason Sudeikis, and Nick Offerman’s Ron Swanson in Parks and Recreation. HBO’s Winning Time, a show based on the 1980s Los Angeles Lakers, has also put moustaches back in the limelight, and current sports stars are among public figures in on the moustache moment.

Check out Major League Baseball pitchers Dylan Cease and Lucas Luetge, NFL American football star Travis Kelce, and the National Hockey League’s Filip Forsberg – whose contract renewal with the Nashville Predators was marked on social media with a mustachioed version of the team’s logo.

Then there is UFC mixed martial arts fighter Joseph “Ugly Man” Holmes and golfer Cameron Smith – the 2022 Open champion Smith rocks a mullet hairstyle for good measure. Yes, there’s no doubt moustaches are mainstream again.

Golfer Cameron Smith of Australia rocks a moustache and mullet combo in Memphis, Tennessee. Photo: Andy Lyons/Getty Images/AFP

“There is definitely a huge rise in facial hair growth overall, although it’s a bit more challenging for Asian men to achieve facial hair,” says Siswojo, who adds that its popularity peaks during the annual Movember men’s health awareness month each November when men are encouraged to grow a moustache.

Siswojo adds: “It takes maintenance to keep a proper moustache, with more grooming product options that are necessary to achieve this, and it’s quite hot in the summer months. Everyone leads a much busier lifestyle than in the past.”

No matter, it appears there’s always time for moustaches.