A mustache is a facial hairstyle in which hair is allowed to grow only on the upper lip, but not on the chin or cheeks, as in a beard. There are many types of mustaches, known by names such as the handlebar, the toothbrush, and the pencil. Some mustaches are bushy and confined to an area no larger than the upper lip, while other mustaches may extend down the sides of the mouth to the jawline. Many mustache wearers straighten or curl the long hairs, so that they extend from the sides of the face. Mustaches have experienced varying levels of popularity throughout history, and some claim that the wearing of this type of facial hair is, or has been, a socio-political statement.
Men are believed to have worn mustaches for aesthetic reasons for thousands of years. Some mustaches, such as Adolph Hitler's toothbrush mustache, have become iconic of the historical figure who favored that style. Other examples of iconic mustache styles include the Pancho Villa, named for the historical figure Pancho Villa who favored a bushy, dropping mustache.
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Mustaches are often shaped by shaving, especially small styles like the pencil and the toothbrush. Many mustaches are allowed to grow quite long, and wearers may use mustache wax or other styling aids to sculpt the long hairs in curlicues, points, or wholly creative shapes. There seems to be no limit to the shape a mustache can take.
Some claim that, in many Western cultures, those who wear mustaches must battle social stigma, and may be viewed as less well mannered or less intelligent than their peers. While mustaches were a popular facial hair style in earlier historical times, they are probably much less common in most cultures today. They do, however, enjoy popularity as the center of charity fundraising events, in which men wear mustaches for a period of time while collecting donations.
For those who prefer more creatively styled mustaches, the World Beard and Mustache Championships, held in different global locations every two years, recognize men of all nations with exceptional facial hair. The championship offers prizes in 18 categories of facial hairstyles. Categories include natural, imperial, freestyle and Dali.