What Is a Milk Mustache?

Malcolm Tatum

A milk mustache is the fanciful name for a half ring of milk residue that is left on the upper lip after drinking a glass of milk. Strictly speaking, this type of mustache can be created using several different types of milk or even ice cream. While a milk mustache will usually occur when milk deposits on the upper lip while drinking from a glass or cup, it is also possible to deliberately create a mustache by keeping the lips closed while lifting the cup or glass to the lips.

A milk mustache is residue left over after drinking a whole glass of milk, usually in one or two gulps.
A milk mustache is residue left over after drinking a whole glass of milk, usually in one or two gulps.

Creating a milk mustache requires nothing more than an open container of milk. Some people prefer to create a mustache using buttermilk rather than whole or skim milk products, noting that the consistency of the buttermilk can help produce a fuller line on the upper lip. Others prefer the use of soy or rice milk to produce a mustache. Other competitive types find that allowing vanilla ice cream to soften slightly before consumption using an ice cream cone produces an impressive milk mustache.


Young children are more likely to develop a milk mustache by accident, especially when still developing the skills to hold a cup and drink. It is not unusual for parents and other adults to deliberately create this type of mustache as a way of amusing young children. In this respect, having a family contest to see who can come up with the best milk mustache can serve as a way of bonding while having a little fun.

Over the years, many companies that offer dairy products have used the milk mustache as a whimsical addition to their advertising. People of all ages and walks of life have been captured in print and video advertisements sporting a mustache composed of milk, along with a broad smile. There has even been a formal milk mustache campaign and a number of contests inviting people to do their best to create the most impressive mustache using milk-based products or milk substitutes like soy milk or soy-based frozen desserts.

Considered an enduring part of culture, the milk mustache has been a popular pastime for decades and is likely to continue amusing children and adults for many years to come. Owing to the ongoing use in commercial advertising as well as being a part of family fun at mealtimes, teaching children how to create a mustache and also using the stunt to amuse friends will likely remain something that just about everyone does from time to time. Considered harmless, fun, and accessible to people of all ages, the mustache serves to demonstrate how even the simplest things can help generate a smile.

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Discussion Comments


I remember reading an interview with one of the actors who did a "Got Milk?" ad, and he said they didn't give him a glass of milk to make his own milk mustache. He said it was painted on with heavy cream and other ingredients to make it camera-ready.

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