Harry Styles and the return of the moustache

Harry Styles - Backgrid

Harry Styles – Backgrid

There’s something curious happening south of Mr Styles’ nostrils. Spotted out and about, visiting his new beau Olivia Wilde in LA, the singer looked decidedly more hirsute than his usually elfin self, sporting some stubble and a fulsome moustache. I know, hold on to your hats. But the twist in the tale (sorry, ‘tache) is that Wilde’s ex, the actor Jason Sudeikis, is also a fan of a bit of upper lip tuft, and said moustache is more popular than ever thanks to the (frankly brilliant) Sky Atlantic series Ted Lasso airing now, in which Sudeikis stars as a happy-go-lucky football coach. Perhaps Styles feels he’s got to ditch the Puckish looks in favour of something more manly?

It’s certainly a departure, because the musician has up until now toyed with a kind of gender fluid androgyny, donning frothy gowns on the cover of American Vogue and looking every inch the natural successor to Mick Jagger and David Bowie in his hip-swaggering, non-conformist approach to fashion. And he’s done so, for the main part, with a jawline free of fuzz.

Ted Lasso - Alamy

Ted Lasso – Alamy

Perhaps it’s only natural that he go au naturale – he’s fresh from a summer break in Italy and feeling free and easy. And the ‘tache is more prevalent than ever. It’s always been been a perennial throughout the history of men’s grooming – in 17th century Russia, Tsar Peter I decreed a ‘beard tax’ to Westernise the country, leading to a boom in moustaches, and from Lord Byron to raffish RAF pilots in the 1940s, it’s been sported on top lips in myriad form. However, with the rise of Movember – whereby men grow moustaches in November to raise awareness (and money) for men’s cancer charities – and hipster culture whereby handlebar creations are suddenly au fait, the moustache is no longer the 70s throwback it once was.

Errol Flynn - Alamy

Errol Flynn – Alamy

That said, there are some guidelines to growing one. “It’s important to keep your maintenance consistent and regular,” says Kane Cowburn, a barber at Trim-It. In other words, don’t let it grow free and unfettered, gathering clumps of toast and egg. “Treat it like you would the hair on your head, with washing, conditioning and trimming,” says Cowburn, who also recommends products specific to facial hair. Be aware of the difference in density with a moustache compared to the hair on your head, and crucially, says Cowburn, don’t cut your moustache when it’s wet. “Hair shrinks when it’s cut wet, so it will be shorter than you anticipated. It really is about going slowly and being patient.”

Tom Selleck - Alamy

Tom Selleck – Alamy

Beard oils and balms are a way to keep your furry caterpillar soft, as well as waxes if you’re planning to shape it in any way. It’s also worth considering a strong wooden beard brush or comb to keep things neat as opposed to shaggily woodsman-like. Cowburn cites the ‘French’ style of moustache as an easy entry point, as sported on occasion by David Beckham and Zac Efron. Harry Styles is no stranger to a bit of experimentation in terms of style, so who knows what form his ‘tache may take in time – an eccentric Salvador Dali number or rakish Errol Flynn pencil line could be in the offing. And we’re sure he’ll rock it just as confidently as he does his flamboyant clothes. Just be wary of crumbs.

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