The mustache, often associated with dictatorship, power, protest, and kink, has never been a universally favored facial hair choice. Over the years, it has even fallen out of fashion.
However, in a surprising twist, the latest Hollywood blockbusters have catapulted the mustache into the forefront, surpassing even the influence of hipsters and making it the hottest trend of 2023.
Previously, only hipsters, or something close to it, seemed to fully embrace this slender strip of hair adorning their upper lips, preferably without a beard—an unbroken rule. However, the tides may be turning soon.
Tracing it to the Pandemic
The rising popularity of facial hair during the pandemic extended to mustaches. According to a spokesperson from Gillette, this trend can be attributed to a few factors.
Firstly, during the pandemic, particularly in the early stages of lockdown, individuals were more inclined to experiment with their facial hair and explore different styles. It’s plausible that trying out mustaches worth to keep was one such experiment that resonated with many, leading them to stick with the look even after the lockdown measures eased.
For instance, in October 2020, TikTok influencer Eric Sedeño joined the mustache trend. According to Eric, the popularity of the “mustache and mullets” style since the beginning of the pandemic influenced his decision.
Brian Jeong and Phillip Wong, co-founders of the men’s personal care brand Hawthorne, noted that mustache resurgence can also be attributed to a yearning for individuality.
Alongside celebrities, they highlighted influencers like Shy from Shy’s Burgers and New York Nico as influential figures setting the trend for this particular look.
Social Media and Hollywood BlockBusters Influence
Released respectively in July and May 2022, the movies “The Gray Man” and “Top Gun: Maverick” shared little in common except for a shared fondness for the mustache. This aspect and the actors’ performances ignited a buzz on social media.
Sooner, men everywhere reached for their scissors and clippers, meticulously trimming their hair and fuzz to achieve the iconic chevron mustache reminiscent of the ’80s and sported by numerous celebrities.
According to data gathered by Jack Black’s marketing team, “top gun mustache” has emerged as a popular keyword on various social media platforms. Remarkably, this term has accumulated a staggering 3.8 billion views on TikTok and has witnessed a remarkable 3,200% increase in Google searches over the past year.
Another notable figure contributing to the mustache trend is Matt Carpenter, a player for the New York Yankees. Following his decision to trim off his beard in 2022, Carpenter has become a significant influencer for mustache enthusiasts.
Searches related to his mustache have witnessed an astounding 5,000% increase, further highlighting the impact of his distinctive facial hair choice.
While this revival may be difficult to fathom for Millennials and Xennials, it undeniably struck a chord with Gen Z, the primary demographic embracing the resurgence of the mustache.
Fashion World Embraces Mustache
The mustache is also making its way into fashion, where traditionally, models have been expected to maintain a clean-shaven appearance.
However, this perception is rapidly shifting, as models like Jonathan Hayden demonstrate. He proudly sports his mustache during fashion month and in a sponsored post for Tiffany & Co., signaling a new acceptance of facial hair in the industry.
Steven Stokey-Daley, the designer behind S.S. Daley, expressed his thoughts on this shift in a press statement regarding the partnership with Braun. Steven explained that facial hair is rarely seen on the runway.
But now, he can only imagine doing a show with facial grooming. He said it brings everything together and adds a unique touch to the overall look. This acknowledgment highlights the growing recognition of the mustache as a fashionable and complementary element in high fashion.
According to street-style photographer Johnny Cirillo, neighborhoods like Greenpoint and Williamsburg in New York City have long been home to many well-groomed, less meticulously maintained mustaches. Cirillo noted that the number of mustaches he has photographed on the streets has tripled this year.
While the trend was initially concentrated in the hipster enclaves, he has recently observed a surge in the popularity of upper-lip haircuts across various neighborhoods throughout NYC.
According to data provided by Gillette, approximately 12.5 million men in the United States, accounting for 9.6% of the male population, were sporting mustaches as of September 2022.
This information was collected following the launch of Gillette’s facial hair-grooming brand, King C. Gillette, in 2020. The brand’s entry into the market aimed to cater to the growing demand for beard and mustache maintenance as razor sales experienced a decline.
Since March 2020, mustache adoption has witnessed a notable increase of 1.5%, marking the most significant growth among various facial hair styles monitored by the brand. These styles include a beard with goatee and mustache, beard, mustache, stubble, and clean-shaven.
This data suggests a rising trend in mustache popularity and reflects men’s evolving preferences regarding grooming and facial hair styles.