A Mustache Can Be Unbearably Hot. It Can Also Be Appalling.

A Mustache Can Be Unbearably Hot. It Can Also Be Appalling.

Let these famous men demonstrate the difference between going back in time to '70s disco, and going back in time to 1940s fascism.

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Image for article titled A Mustache Can Be Unbearably Hot. It Can Also Be Appalling.
Photo: Netflix

Rumor has it there are more “lonely, single men” than ever these days. Psychology Today recommends that men looking to avoid this fate should simply consider changing everything about themselves. Of course, the publication meant silly, frivolous changes, like therapy and learning how to become “emotionally available”—sure, try that, or whatever.

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Or maybe just grow a mustache.

We’ve been over this before: Mustaches are undoubtedly the trend of the summer, and while they’re hardly a new invention, Miles Teller arguably piloted (haha) this latest mustache renaissance when he flew onto the scene with perfectly groomed upper lip hair in Top Gun: Maverick back in May. Since, mustaches have pretty much been everywhere, and I’ve truly been living.

But as the trend spreads far and wide, there are bound to be hits and misses, creating the need for a definitive guide to the do’s and don’t’s of mustache-styling. If you’re curious about how to ensure your ‘stache inspires the same thirst as Teller’s, or, perhaps more importantly, how to avoid presenting as a certain Nazi party leader, you’ve come to the right place.

As Megan Collins, a stylist at the online men’s styling service Style Girlfriend, told Jezebel last month, the right mustache evokes nostalgia—a yearning for a more primal, sensual time: “It’s not going back to guys wanting to be meatheads, but I think that they’re getting back to this sort of more raw, sexual look.” For example, Teller with a mustache “reminds [women] of that funny, confident, borderline-cocky guy you knew in high school or college, where he wasn’t maybe the smartest guy in the room, the most athletic, or the tallest guy, but he had this confidence that was very sexy.” They aren’t called ‘70s porn-staches for nothing.

That said, I cannot emphasize this enough: There is a difference between traveling back in time to the lusty, wild days of ‘70s disco and venturing back to 1940s fascism. If you’re weighing whether a mustache is right for you, find some inspiration—and cautionary notes—from the celebrity mustaches on the following slides.

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Noah Centineo — 6/10

Noah Centineo — 6/10

Image for article titled A Mustache Can Be Unbearably Hot. It Can Also Be Appalling.
Screenshot: playboycentineo/Twitter

For whatever reason, I’m accursed with the knowledge that in the summer of 2020, while others were baking bread and learning TikTok dances, Noah Centineo tried his hand at growing a mustache. And... it was OK. Nothing to write home about. While I’m not overly enthusiastic about Centineo’s chosen expression for this selfie, like Teller’s ‘stache, I can appreciate the slight mid-part and think he generally has the right face for it.

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My main note is that not unlike another feature of the male form, girth and length can make a difference in a mustache, and Centineo’s is on the thinner, wispier side. It’s kind of giving indie art student, but if that’s your vibe, who am I to stop you?

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Chris Evans in “The Gray Man” 0/10

Chris Evans in “The Gray Man” 0/10

Image for article titled A Mustache Can Be Unbearably Hot. It Can Also Be Appalling.
Screenshot: Netflix

I want to preface this by saying that on first watch, I, personally, thought Chris Evans looked great portraying sociopathic, rogue CIA agent Lloyd Hansen in the recent Netflix hit The Gray Man. Evans—with a mustache—getting extremely violent and choking a bunch of men is pretty much a page out of my diary of embarrassing sexual fantasies, but enough about me.

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All of this is to say I enjoyed this look until my colleagues here at Jezebel pointed out that Evans was basically donning a Hitler-stache, selected to align his character with fascist totalitarianism, which is honestly a bit of a turn-off. Remember what I said earlier about length and girth mattering?? Lloyd Hansen’s ‘stache is too short in horizontal length across Evans’ upper-lip, and too thick and pyramidal in shape. It’s definitely giving Nazi, and beyond that, there’s a visibly greasy element to it that I’m not loving—which is a great reminder that like all hair, mustaches should be properly cleaned and groomed!

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John Bolton — eh, 1/10

John Bolton — eh, 1/10

Image for article titled A Mustache Can Be Unbearably Hot. It Can Also Be Appalling.
Photo: Getty

Speaking of mustaches that align your character with fascist totalitarianism, I give you the self-admitted coup-instigator himself, John Bolton. As much as I loathe to look at him... it’s not the absolute worst mustache I’ve ever seen. It doesn’t have the same oily, skeevy energy as Chris Evans’. But its bizarre length is certainly serving dictator, and its thickness is giving the Monopoly man. If the mustache is just a prop for the whole right-wing, war-hawk personality he has going for himself, then sure, it’s a good fit—for him. I do not recommend it for you.

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But frankly, he’d probably look like this without it.

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The Weeknd — 9/10

The Weeknd — 9/10

Image for article titled A Mustache Can Be Unbearably Hot. It Can Also Be Appalling.
Photo: Getty

There’s so much I loved about The Weeknd’s 2020 album After Hours, but the mustache he acquired to promote the project might just top the list. It’s nostalgic, sensual, and the correct thickness. If I had one complaint, it would be length, as the ‘stache expands a bit far beyond the ends of Mr. The Weeknd’s upper-lip, which gives a mildly awkward vibe.

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Justin Bieber — 4/10

Justin Bieber — 4/10

Image for article titled A Mustache Can Be Unbearably Hot. It Can Also Be Appalling.
Photo: Getty

Justin Bieber also jumped on the 2020 mustache bandwagon until Hailey Bieber shut that shit down. There’s something about it that I’m trying to put my finger on—I think it’s the wiriness and scraggliness of the hairs? For what it’s worth, if he trimmed the hairs and reined in the overall length, I do feel confident Justin could pull off the right ‘stache.

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Terry Richardson — 0/10

Terry Richardson — 0/10

Image for article titled A Mustache Can Be Unbearably Hot. It Can Also Be Appalling.
Photo: Getty

Photographer Terry Richardson is a literal pervert, so unsurprisingly, he has the mustache to back it up. It’s all a little too on-the-nose for me. In any case, Richardson’s mustache is a textbook example of what not to do. His is almost a comical archetype for the kind of mustache sported by white van-driving perverts everywhere. It’s scraggly, it’s unkempt, and it’s frankly just uncomfortable to be around.

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Tramell Tillman as Milchick in “Severance” — 10/10

Tramell Tillman as Milchick in “Severance” — 10/10

Image for article titled A Mustache Can Be Unbearably Hot. It Can Also Be Appalling.
Screenshot: Apple TV+

I can’t emphasize enough that this is all subjective, but Tramell Tillman’s mustache as Milchick in Apple TV’s mystery-thriller Severance is one of the only comforting aspects of an otherwise extremely ominous (and compulsively watchable!) show. Perfect thickness, perfect length, perfect framing of the upper-lip, and as all good mustaches are wont to do, it transports captive audience members back to a simpler time. It’s the embodiment of ‘70s disco. If I were ever locked in that scary closet where Milchick psychologically torments the innies who step out of line, I’d simply pass the time staring at his mustache.

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Tom Selleck as Richard on “Friends” — 5/10

Tom Selleck as Richard on “Friends” — 5/10

Image for article titled A Mustache Can Be Unbearably Hot. It Can Also Be Appalling.
Photo: NBC

Tom Selleck’s mustache as Dr. Richard Burke—once the love of Monica Geller’s life—on Friends is a pop culture classic. And while it works well for his character, a stereotypical hot older man whose hotness is primarily derived from being an older man, I don’t know that it would translate for the general population. It’s a bit too thick, bushy, and broom-like, which takes us to our next subject...

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10 / 16

Sacha Baron Cohen as Borat — 0/10

Sacha Baron Cohen as Borat — 0/10

Image for article titled A Mustache Can Be Unbearably Hot. It Can Also Be Appalling.
Photo: Getty

Please, just... don’t do this. Please.

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11 / 16

Jack Harlow — 10/10

Jack Harlow — 10/10

Image for article titled A Mustache Can Be Unbearably Hot. It Can Also Be Appalling.
Photo: Jeff Schear (Getty Images)

I never wanted to board the Jack Harlow thirst train, but sadly, I live in a society. And the man is, if not a musical genius, undeniably attractive. The mustache beautifully complements the whole curly-brown-hair-and-piercing-blue-eyes thing he has going, building on his whole rough-around-the-edges vibe without trying too hard. The mustache’s length and consistency are inoffensive, too. It is, unfortunately, a perfect mustache.

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Johnny Depp as Charlie Mortdecai — 0/10

Johnny Depp as Charlie Mortdecai — 0/10

Image for article titled A Mustache Can Be Unbearably Hot. It Can Also Be Appalling.
Photo: IMDB

Apologies for putting this man’s face on your screen. But please don’t style the ends of your mustache in an upward direction, a la Johnny Depp as Charlie Mortdecai in the 2015 comedy-thriller Mortdecai. It’s giving not only pervert, but weird, baguette-munching, French pervert, which is somehow worse than just regular old pervert. Don’t do it.

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Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man — 10/10

Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man — 10/10

Image for article titled A Mustache Can Be Unbearably Hot. It Can Also Be Appalling.
Photo: Marvel Studios

Look, absolutely any day of the week I’m taking Team Captain America over Team Iron Man in Captain America: Civil War. But one thing I can concede is that Robert Downey Jr. had a great mustache (iron-stache??), befitting of the Avengers leader throughout his appearances in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It’s certainly better than Chris Evans’ Hitler-stache in The Gray Man. Iron Man’s ‘stache is thick and sure of itself without giving Borat; it’s visibly well-groomed and flows effortlessly into a goatee that naturally fits his face. It just works, and has a universality and every-man-ness that suggests it’d probably work for you too!

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Miles Teller as Rooster in “Top Gun: Maverick” — 69/10

Miles Teller as Rooster in “Top Gun: Maverick” — 69/10

Image for article titled A Mustache Can Be Unbearably Hot. It Can Also Be Appalling.
Photo: Paramount/Everett Collection

What can I say?? It’s literally just... a work of art worthy of the Louvre. Impeccable in length and girth, neatly groomed, with a playful mid-part. And, as Collins emphasized, like RDJ’s ‘stache as Iron Man, Teller’s has a charming everyday quality to it: “For guys, he doesn’t feel too polished, he’s not like a nepotism baby. They see him pulling it off and think, ‘I can do that!’”

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Before donning the above mustache for Top Gun: Maverick, and consequently stealing the show and rendering Tom Cruise irrelevant, Teller was just another YA heartthrob, a mid-2010s Jacob Elordi if you will. Now he’s the face of a movement—and a very sexy face at that.

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Mandy Patinkin as Inigo Montoya in “The Princess Bride” — 10/10

Mandy Patinkin as Inigo Montoya in “The Princess Bride” — 10/10

Image for article titled A Mustache Can Be Unbearably Hot. It Can Also Be Appalling.
Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Yes, I like to credit Miles Teller with ushering in this 2022 iteration of the mustache trend, but we all know who the real pioneer was: Mandy Patinkin’s Inigo Montoya in the 1987 classic The Princess Bride. Inigo is nothing without his iconic ‘stache, utter perfection in width, length, and general styling. Seeing as it’s 2022 and not the medieval times portrayed in The Princess Bride, I might recommend making your mustache less wispy at the ends. But I don’t know—if you’re feeling bold enough, why not give it a try?

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