There’s nothing manlier than facial hair. No matter how much we advance in the equality of the sexes, growing a thick beard or mustache is something that only men will be able to do (Okay, so some women can grow impressive facial hair, but they end up in sideshows). Some men have felt that facial hair wasn’t getting the respect it deserved, so they decided to dedicate a month to the manly glory of beards and mustaches. First, in the United States, November is officially National Beard Month. Men across the United States are encouraged to grow a beard in preparation of the cold winter ahead. Second, a non-profit charity group from Australia has declared November Movember. In Australia, mustaches are called “Mo’s.” The idea of Movember is to get men all over the world to grow mustaches in order to raise money and awareness to fight prostate cancer.
In honor of National Beard Month and Movember, we’ve decided to pull together a list of the 20 Manliest Mustaches and Beards From Facial Hair History. I sent out a message on Facebook and Twitter (follow me) asking people for suggestions. We’ve included them and a few of our own. Enjoy.
General Ambrose Burnside
You know your facial hair is manly when they name a certain type of it after you. General Ambrose Burnside was a politician, inventor, railroad exec, Union general, and the Father of Sideburns.
Whether acting in Magnum PI or Three Men and a Baby, Tom Selleck brought a healthy dose of manly testosterone with that awesome stache of his. Sadly, in 1997 he shaved off his manly nose mane. He kept it off for several years after that. Thankfully, he came to his senses and has since brought it back.
Besides developing biological theories that changed the way humans view themselves and the world, Charles Darwin’s other talent was growing awesome facial hair. Perhaps intent on discovering himself as the the missing link, Darwin grew a beard any ape would envy.
What Art of Manliness list would be complete without an appearance by Teddy Roosevelt? TR was so freaking manly that his mustache could judo chop assailants, and shout “Bully!” at would-be attackers.
For Nietzsche, God may have been dead, but his mustache lives on. In letters unearthed by historians, it was discovered that Nietzsche believed that his mustache made him a superman. While critics laughed at him, looking at this mustache, I think he was on to something.
Anytime the movie industry needs a mustached cowboy, Sam Elliot is their go-to guy. With movies like Tombstone and Gettysburg under his belt, Sam Elliot has proven that his mustache has the talent to make it in Hollywood. Of course Sam Elliot is a talented actor, too.
When leading a religion or overseeing a household with 55 wives (holy crap! 55!) you need to muster all your resources to establish your authority. Mormon prophet Brigham Young busted out this mustacheless beard to let people know that he was in charge. Sadly, the university that bears his name (Brigham Young University) prohibits beards among its male students. You can only get an exception to this rule if you have a “Beard Card,” given sparingly to those with medical or religious exceptions. Brigham Young, and his beard, would be rolling over in the grave.
Fact: Chuck Norris was born with a beard. When doctors tried to shave it, he roundhouse kicked them in the face with his precociously strong baby legs, knocking them all unconscious.
Wow. All I have to say is that this is quiet possibly the scariest beard I’ve ever seen. UFC fighter Kimbo Slice puts the fear of God into his opponents with powerful punches and his thick black beard. While Kimbo Slice may be 3-1 in UFC fights, his beard is still, and will always be, undefeated.
What happened to you Kenny Rogers? In this picture, you look so damn manly. Now you just look like a plastic-faced freak. Out of respect to your beard, I’ll always remember you the way you looked in 1985.
There are no harder working beards in the music industry than the beards on ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons’ and Dusty Hills’ faces. Ironically, the band’s beardless drummer is named Frank Beard.
Alright. I’m exercising a bit of editorial privilege here and adding my dad, Tom McKay to the list of manliest mustaches and beards. Just look at that thing. Pretty dang manly if you ask me. And of course the three piece 1979 suit only accents the mustache. My dad’s a retired federal game warden, and I’m sure he had poachers shaking in their boots when they took one look at his stache. I’ve only seen my dad without a mustache twice in my 26 years of existence. And both times he shaved it off, it freaked me out. For about a month it would feel like some stranger that sounded like and dressed in the same clothes as my dad moved into our house. Thankfully, he always grew it back.
Santa Claus’ beard is iconic. Not only is it a part of his personal brand (so much so that children give it a yank to test a Santa’s authenticity), his beard also has a practical purpose. When you live in the North Pole and fly a sleigh at high altitudes, you need a thick, full beard to keep your face warm and free from wind chapping. Oh yeah, and it’s also magical.
Mark Twain is one of America’s greatest humorists, satirists, and writers. He’s also one of America’s finest mustacheers. Face it. Mark Twain’s mustache will always be wittier than you.
Thanks to Karl Marx we have Communism, an awesome example of a beard, and annoying college dudes who think if they grow a beard like Marx and quote a few lines of Das Kapital, they’re automatically experts on the plight of the working class. But back to this beard. It’s awesome. No, it’s freaking awesome. I can see why this man was able to kick start revolutions and inspire the proletariat to shake off the shackles of capitalism. It wasn’t his ideas of communism. It’s the beard, stupid.
From 1967-1977, Walter Frazier led the New York Knicks to two NBA Championships. (What the? There was a time when the Knicks were actually good?) Frazier’s success on the court can be attributed to two things. First, his defensive talent. Second, his awesome mutton chops. Look at this image above. In a match up between a man with broad, sweeping mutton chops, and a man with wisps of hair that are a pathetic excuse for a sideburn, who do you think will win? I’m putting my money on number ten. Perhaps the Knicks should consider requiring their players to grow awesome mutton chops like Walter Frazier. Maybe then they’ll stop sucking.
Wyatt Earp is famous for his infamous gunfight at the OK Coral. He’s also famous for having a bad ass mustache. With it, he struck fear into the hearts of cowboys from Dodge City to the the Dakota Territory.
In addition to having one of the best names in sports history, Rollie Fingers also has the best mustache. With his turn of the century curly mustache, Rollie Fingers pitched his way into the Baseball Hall of Fame. After his career in baseball, he made a second career out of tying damsels in distress to railroad tracks.
Salvador Dali needed a crazy mustache to match the craziness of his surreal paintings and his love of walking his pet lobster. So he decided to go with this pointy get-up. I think it works for him. He looks crazy as all hell.
Can you imagine a man named Grizzly Adams, a man who befriends a bear, having a clean shaven, soft-as-a-baby’s-behind face? Neither can I. This man’s beard is so thick that the bear actually thought he was one of them. That’s probably why it didn’t maul his face off.
Anybody you think should be on the list? Drop a line in the comment box and let your voice be heard.
Donate to Movember
One of our Aussie readers, Shaun Daws, is participating in this year’s Movember. Here’s his before pic, all clean shaven and baby faced.
Hopefully, by the end of the month he’ll have a mustache that would make Tom Selleck jealous. Maybe something like this:
If you’d like to donation under Shaun’s name and help contribute to the cause of fighting prostate cancer you can use this form to do so by credit card or PayPal.
If you’d like to keep up with Shaun’s mustache progress, check out his Movember blog page.
And finally, if you’d like more info about Movember and how you can participate in battling prostate cancer, check out the official webpage.
Last updated: September 28, 2015