Whether your point of reference is the beloved Captain Kangaroo or U.S. National Security Advisor John R. Bolton, it’s likely that each man’s Walrus mustache is the most memorable facial feature you recall. The Walrus mustache has an old, proud and respected heritage remembered throughout the world as being a major part of the facial hair movement men adopted during the 19th Century.
According to historical records, ‘the shaggy Walrus style’ was a favorite of fashionable men and grooming required specific attention to detail, so hair drooped dramatically over the lip and just slightly down the side of the mouth.
Like many styles, the Walrus mustache comes and goes; often the result of being adopted by a celebrity or noted public figure. Do these ‘staches come with grooming conundrums? Just ask any man sporting a walrus whose passion for beer or lattes is equally strong!
What Does a Walrus Mustache Look Like
Not every mustache appearing in the analogs of facial hair fashion is as intriguing as the Walrus because it’s so closely linked to the Chevron style that even fashion editors get them confused. The truth is that the Walrus is but one of four distinct styles belonging to the Handlebar family, say experts who keep tabs on these trends.
In terms of evolution, the Handlebar gave birth to the Chevron, which in turn fathered the Walrus, so its pedigree is somewhat complicated. Confused? Don’t be. This contemporary iteration remains as distinct as its relatives, which is why it is easy to identify, even for mustache neophytes.
Like the Chevron, the Walrus is easy to grow and groom since facial hair is brushed down to line up with the upper lip and then a scissors simply follows the upper lip line to produce the look. But here’s a quirky fact for trivia fans: while the Walrus is called “the behemoth” of ‘stashes thanks to the marine mammal from which this style originates, those walrus bristles have nothing in common with mustaches.
You’ll find the Walrus gracing the faces of everyone from German ruler Otto von Bismarck to the beloved Mark Twain, and most recently, the face of Sam Elliott, whose star turn on the most recent version of “A Star is Born” earned him a 2019 Academy Award nomination. If you’re growing one, welcome to the club.
Who Should Try A Walrus Mustache
Must you resemble Freddie Mercury to pull off a Walrus mustache? Hardly. But there is a process and experts suggest that it can take up to three months to grow enough hair to sport a properly bushy Walrus. Hanging a photo beside your mirror can help inspire you during the growth process because even if you’re a facial hair growing phenomenon, it could take that many months to reach your goal.
But before you get busy, be realistic about whether a Walrus is “your look.” This list of facial types can help you make an informed decision:
- If your face is oblong, it’s the perfect canvas for the Walrus.
- If your face is large and round and you’re eager to optically minimize its size, a Walrus can reduce facial proportions.
- A square face shape can give you the area you need to grow and groom a Walrus.
- Dudes whose faces form triangles need mustaches that minimize hard features and soften the face. A Walrus showcases the widest points of the face and could weigh it down.
- If your face is shaped like a diamond, you face a similar challenge because a Walrus can accentuate the shape of your face and you may not like the finished look that vertically expands the middle of your face.
- In general, the broader the lip, the more mustache you can sport because the area over your lips is made to show off a beautifully-trimmed Walrus.
The evolution of the Walrus
Just in case you’ve never heard of this organization before now, you’ll be happy to know about the existence of the American Mustache Institute. This organization exists to pay tribute to this area of a man’s face and if you’re a history buff, you can explain to friends that your bushy walrus has roots in ancient Egypt where Pharaoh Teqikencola (a woman) once “committed the unthinkable” by banishing mustaches under penalty of death around 1800 BC.
We have no idea what happened to her but by the time Rome was ruling the world—and on the other side of the globe where Chinese wise men grew lengthy beards and mustaches—the mustache had been returned to its formerly glorious place in history. Scythian horsemen were known for their exquisite mustaches and these nomads did plenty to spread the word about how virile and masculine men with beards and mustaches could be.
During Medieval times, mustache styles followed the proclivities of royal dynasties. With each era, that ruler’s mustache became the must-have look for men, especially those in upper society. By the late 17th Century, mustaches had become iconic, flamboyant hair affairs like the one worn by Tsar Peter the Great. In fact, he discouraged beard growth by imposing a beard tax, which encouraged men to compensate by growing mustaches.
It’s rumored that Celts and Gauls were the first mustache growers to sport the Walrus style and given the fact that they busily conquered great amounts of territory during their raids, the people forced to accept new rulers were quick to adopt many of their styles, including the introduction of the Walrus mustache.
How to Grow, Trim and Style a Walrus Mustache
What’s the most important part of growing, trimming and styling a Walrus? The answer is patience. These types of mustaches take a long time to grow and to be honest, if your facial hair is on the thin side, even all of that patience may not be rewarded. You can learn more about growing a healthy mustache here.
On the other hand, if you’ve got a natural propensity for bushy growth, it’s best to allocate three months or so to go from clean shaven to ready for a mustache magazine cover. During that three month growth period, resist all temptation to trim the mustache until the hair has begun to interfere with your ability to down a bowl of soup successfully and then begin the trimming ritual.
Remove all of the hair in your non-mustache area and then grab a mustache comb, grooming the hair on your upper lip in downward strokes. Make sure you use well-sharpened scissors to cut back the hair, so the top lip is covered, and both “droop” ends lie below your mouth corners.
Having survived your initial shaping experience, you’ve laid the groundwork for future grooming, but before you decide to do a little more trimming, try working a little mustache wax into the hair and see if this touch gives you the look you want, especially if you worry about your ‘stache misbehaving at an inopportune time.
It’s no secret that dudes growing Walrus mustaches are a very distinct breed. Men who grow Walrus mustaches like to get to the heart of any matter because they don’t have time to waste. Dare we say that they don’t take crap from anyone, either? If you wear one, you’re somewhat rugged but you’ve got a heart of gold.
That stated you need to be extra cautious when it comes to eating if you want to leave the table looking like a kindly grandpa rather than a kid whose ice cream adventure has landed more food on his face than in his stomach.
Adopting these tips can help any guy wearing a Walrus walk away from the table looking as clean as he did when he arrived:
- Mustache wax can tame your upper lip hair and keep it from being infiltrated by food and drinks.
- Take your time every time you take a bite. Use your pointer finger to gently lift hair aside if necessary.
- Cut up your food into manageable bites so your fork can take proper aim and it avoids your mustache.
- Don’t laugh, but some guys use small hair clips and bobby pins to clear a path to the tongue.
- Ask for a second napkin so you’ve always got one in close proximity to dab at your mustache area.
- Grab a straw and you can bypass your mustache effortlessly if you drink a lot of beverages.
Walrus Mustache Grooming
Must you get up before the sun to apply due diligence to your ‘stache once it’s been established? Not if you develop a routine that has been finely honed by previous Walrus wearers. In general, best practices include:
- Using electric clippers set to the longest setting and aim for uniformity as you trim those edges.
- Make sure the sides of your mustache remains no more than an inch beyond the corners of your mouth.
- Shave rogue hairs that interrupt the line and shape of your Walrus.
- Use a mustache comb to get rid of stray hairs and do a final trim with your scissors.
Keep this in mind: No two Walrus mustaches are exactly alike, so as long as the silhouette you create meets the standard for this particular shape, your version should be unique and beautifully groomed at all times.
Famous People With Walrus Mustache
To be truthful, a quick Internet search is going to bring you face to face with a lot of marine wildlife before you get to images of men sporting this bushy mustache style, but once you do, you may find surprises on the following list.
German philosopher Friedrich Nietzche sports the most philosophical Walrus of all.
The most menacing Walrus was worn by the late dictator Joseph Stalin.
Most presidential Walrus kudos goes to Teddy Roosevelt, a genuine rough rider. You can try adding a beard with this mustache, it should look classy!
Actor Wilford Brimley’s mustache is one of the most iconic celeb ‘staches.
Mark Twain’s words were as popular as the Walrus that set him apart from other contemporary writer/philosophers.
Singer James Taylor rocked long hair and a cool Walrus throughout the 1970s.
Freddie Mercury is probably still wearing his distinct Walrus mustache in heaven.
Actor Nick Offerman’s mustache is nearly as famous as his fictional character Ron Swanson.
Jeopardy’s Alex Trebek hosted the popular TV show wearing his version of the Walrus for years.
Burt Reynolds sported one—-and not much else–when he posed nude for “Cosmopolitan” magazine around 40 years ago.
Conclusion: Is a Walrus Mustache for You?
The answer is yes, and for all of the following reasons:
- You’ll look more rugged and manly—but you won’t look scary to kids!
- People will assume that your IQ is higher because you have that distinguished look.
- If you’re in the Witness Protection Program, the Walrus mustache will definitely alter your appearance and keep your identity hidden.
- Women love guys wearing Walruses, as long as they follow proper grooming protocols.
- Grow one if you’re becoming a grandfather for the first time. You do want to look the part, right?