Among the most eccentric and distinguished facial hairstyles is the handlebar mustache. Even if you can’t place the look, you’ve likely seen these classic mustaches on old portraits of Prussian royalty or wild west outlaws. While there are several ways to customize a handlebar mustache, they all share two distinct characteristics: they are large, and they extend beyond the lips. Sometimes they curl upward into curlicues and other times they sweep out and down across the lower cheeks. Regardless, they’re a part of the handlebar family.

Handlebar mustaches have made a comeback in recent years, a throwback to their classy and regal status in times past. If you’re considering one for your personal look, we have some tips for you.

How to Grow a Handlebar Mustache

The first step to growing your new mustache is deciding on a goal. Growing a handlebar can be frustrating until you’ve achieved it, so prepare yourself beforehand not to look back. Be patient while you progress through the awkward stages. It may also take a while for you to get used to the way it tickles your nose or dips into your drinks. Rest assured, eventually you won’t think about it.

The length of your mustache-growing process depends on long you want it to be, your diet and vitamin intake, and your natural hair-growing rate. However, plan on it taking at least three months. If you are worried about how it will look as it progresses, consider growing a full beard alongside it that you can choose to shave or keep later.

Choosing and Maintaining a Style

Once your mustache starts getting close to your desired length, it’s time to think about how you want to customize it. While there are no exact barriers between them, there are five styles considered popular and distinct enough to get their own names.

Imperial

The imperial-style mustache was popularized by royalty, most notably from the Prussian and Austro-Hungarian empires. These are characterized by being bushy with outward-curling tips. Think of the stereotypical villain twirling his mustache while the damsel-in-distress lies awaiting rescue on train tracks. Maintaining an imperial mustache requires massaging wax into the hair and gently combing outward into a twirl.

Hungarian

The Hungarian-style mustache is likely the oldest style on this list. Before old-school European monarchy began twirling the corners, they popularized this more compact version which stretches wider and outward. You may find that you need wax to maintain it, but with proper combing, it may maintain its state on its own.

Chevron

For an easier variant that takes less time to grow, look to Chevron. This style isn’t the strictest version of the handlebar, but the fact that it tends to extend a little bit beyond the lip means it qualifies. Freddie Mercury and Tom Selleck both famously rocked this mustache that densely covers the entire upper lip and then some. As it requires little to no maintenance, many men look to the Chevron as a stopping point before moving to more grandiose styles.

English

This thin mustache is divided at the center and combed outward into straight points. While not the most popular type of handlebar, it is one of the most distinct. For maintenance, you will definitely need mustache wax, as it will quickly droop without it. Try it out on your next trip to a fancy country club.

Walrus

The walrus mustache has also fallen out of style in modern times, but it’s due for a comeback. It’s characterized by its long, downward orientation that covers the upper, and sometimes lower, lips. As one of the longest styles, it will take patience to grow. Maintenance, however, is simple. Snip the bottom for a uniform edge and then comb downward.

Now that we have knowledge of the basics, let’s check out some variations of the same!

1/20
Thick Hungarian Handlebar Mustache
@mk_vienna_

Thick Hungarian Handlebar Mustache

Mustache is synonymous with masculinity and so is its ruggedness. This one is the best of both worlds as the mustache and the beard is rugged. The Hungarian style of mustache means that the ends are not twirled instead they are kept flat. One for sure needs a comb to keep its in shape and beard gel to keep it in place.

2/20
Asian Casual Handlebar Mustache
@efpinoy

Asian Casual Handlebar Mustache

The casual style of this handlebar mustache is what will steal hearts. The guy clearly gives old-school vibes with a glimpse into his mustache tells us further that happy-go-lucky is the motto of his personality. The key to this style is not to taper it very particularly instead let it grow on its own and then twirl the edges.

3/20
Modern Handlebar Mustache with Snow
@myhandle.bar

Modern Handlebar Mustache with Snow

This is what we go for in the modern era of handlebar mustache within the teens. The combination here is perfect with long hair and shaved cheeks. Then comes the perfectly grow, perfectly shaped thick imperial handlebar mustache that makes the show ten times better.

4/20
Afro Mini Handlebar Mustache
@iamskippernoon

Afro Mini Handlebar Mustache

Since we know afro hair might have the tendency to curl itself, this style is just perfectly suited for such texture. The mini-imperial style of handlebar mustache is very prominent and is subtly minimal. The ends are twirled with less radius so as to keep it simple yet trendy.

5/20
Twin Handlebar Mustache with Dye
@twistedwizardwax

Twin Handlebar Mustache with Dye

We have to go a tad nuts otherwise how does one innovate a style right? The handlebar mustache has a twin here that is also twirled a bit and then dyed with poppy blue dye. Not to mention, the piercing completely complimented the whole look with the same color.

6/20
Curly Top with Imperial Handlebar
@sagethebard

Curly Top with Imperial Handlebar

Hair to mustache is a complete contrast and that’s why this mustache shines the best. The imperial style of it makes the end twirled which again supports the curl in the hair. The best approach is to style both the elements in a way that they support each other, this one nails it.

7/20
Rugged Imperial Inspired Walrus Handlebar
@vincent.v.13

Rugged Imperial Inspired Walrus Handlebar

Doesn’t this remind of old 80’s times when a mustache was a way to judge a man? Well, this still stands tall and sturdy to show that this is an old soul with a liking towards rugged looks. The tapered beard provides a very rugged outlook whereas the mustache is grown and then ends are tamed with beard gel.

8/20
Walrus and Imperial Handlebar Mustache
@michu_the_mustached_beardman

Walrus and Imperial Handlebar Mustache

Some serious biker vibes going on here with the mustache that is a blend of two styles. First, imperial due to its twirled ends and walrus due to its long strand. The mustache here almost covers the lower lip and that’s where it blends with the beard making it a whole trend in itself.

9/20
Casual Handlebar Mustache
@moustafa.elhadary

Casual Handlebar Mustache

Let’s say you are in the mood for something casual which doesn’t make much noise but still doesn’t want a bland look. This is the mustache you should be going for. The subtle yet twirled ends speak for themselves with a slight beard makes everything very well balanced.

10/20
OG Handlebar Mustache
@artdubarbier_pogonotomie

OG Handlebar Mustache

This is as vintage it gets with the handlebar mustache. This is the way men used to rock it back in the days with long hair, shaved cheeks, and then a thin-haired imperial handlebar mustache to go with it. The key reduces the volume and then uses hair wax to shape it well.

11/20
Royal Walrus Handlebar Mustache
@shawndntx

Royal Walrus Handlebar Mustache

Walrus mustache although is a tad out of fashion but that’s the point when it can bounce back out of nowhere. This one here covers the upper and the lower lip plus it has a slight curve at the edges. One for sure has to comb it for one but use some wax to keep it in shape.

12/20
Quirky Blonde Handlebar Mustache
@roysbartevoks

Quirky Blonde Handlebar Mustache

Blonde imperial handlebar mustache with clean shave is a clear statement of a retro look fan. The perfectly tames mustache tells it all about the person that he is the one for the detail. For one such style, you have to use some beard gel to keep the mustache in that shape all day long.

13/20
Semi Hungarian Handlebar Mustache
@jraw7

Semi Hungarian Handlebar Mustache

Hungarian Handlebar Mustache is the one where the ends aren’t twirled completely instead they are waxed in a straight manner for it to draw more panache. This one here gives off those vibes with a very informal/casual touch to it.

14/20
Thick Rugged Handlebar Mustache
@garyiman

Thick Rugged Handlebar Mustache

Why not mix up imperial and walrus style of handlebar mustache? Here we see that the thick strands are both rugged but under control. In order to pull this style off, one has to let the hair grow first and then taper it to a suitable style. That’s not it, use some beard oil to keep it in check.

15/20
English Inspired Imperial Handlabar Mustache
@hairbymarselie

English Inspired Imperial Handlebar Mustache

What is there to say when the beard completely supports the mustache in terms of thickness and volume. The volume of the mustache is thick and it gives decent English vibes as it is comparatively thinner than usual. The twirl, in the end, gives an imperial feels to it.

16/20
Mature Hungarian Inspired Mustache
@the.barbell.barber

Mature Hungarian Inspired Mustache

Hungarian Handlebar Mustache doesn’t have to be straight only, this one is straight but doesn’t extend to either side. Still, very much a Hungarian handlebar mustache. This one is a modern-day normal version of it and needs comb and beard wax to keep it like this.

17/20
Walrussed Mustache with Chin Beard
@dr.g_veterinarian

Walrussed Mustache with Chin Beard

Walrus mustache is for the men who love it casual. The key is to have patience as it needs to be grown longer than usual. once grown enough one can trim the edges a little to make it seem uniform or just leave it as it is because rugged is what we’re looking for!

18/20
Viking Inspired Handlebar Mustache
@unknown.sandeep

Viking Inspired Handlebar Mustache

Viking is synonymous with rugged looks and a thick beard. Here we have both, the mustache is walrus-ed and imperial with thick strands combed down. Adding to it, the beard also is equally thick and has downward strands that support the whole feel of the style.

19/20
Perfect Imperial Handlebar Mustache
@highwaistedcut

Perfect Imperial Handlebar Mustache

If panache had a face, it would be this right here. The hair is burned on top with a mustache perfectly tamed to look imperial handlebar mustache. The beard is slightly thicker than stubble but that is what balances the face.

20/20
Rough Handlebar Mustache
@brentbrockerville

Rough Handlebar Mustache

Not everyone likes a pitch-perfect mustache and especially with the walrus handlebar mustache, it has to be let to grow in the wild. This one here is overgrown with no taming just has that rugged and informal look to it. If you want to have it a tad perfect then just comb it and there you go!