Short and sculpted, long and wispy, or thick and curly, history has seen some truly outrageous facial hair. From Dali’s picturesque moustache to the invention of sideburns, National Geographic takes a look back at some of history’s most celebrated moustaches for this year’s Movember.
Image: General and Governor Ambrose Burnside portrait in the Rhode Island State House collection.
Civil War General, Ambrose Burnside served as a military officer in the American Civil war and later as a U.S. senator and governor of Rhode Island. However, the general was best known for his unusual choice of facial hair. Sporting a big bushy beard, moustache and a clean-shaven chin, his look was so bizarre during the time that it earned its own nickname “burnsides” in his honour. Today we call this look “sideburns.”
Image: Surrealist painter Salvador Dalí, as he appeared in December 1964. Photograph by Terry Fincher, Daily Express, Hulton Archive, Getty Images.
Perhaps one of the craziest surrealists to hit the art scene, Salvador Dali was known as much for his precisely waxed moustache as he was for his art. Dali, the pioneer of European Surrealism, revelled in “the aristocratic pleasure of displeasing.” This is evident in his art, films, and personal style—particularly his signature moustache, which remains perfectly intact since his death in 1989, according to those who exhumed his body last year.
Image:aizu, better known as Genghis Khan. Portrait cropped out of a page from an album depicting several Yuan emperors (Yuandjai di banshenxiang), now located in the National Palace Museum in Taipei.
Leader, warrior, conqueror, Genghis Khan created the largest empire in the world—the Mongol Empire. Born in central Mongolia in 1162, Genghis Khan began building his army at the age of twenty. He aimed to destroy individual tribes and unite them under his own rule, which he managed to do, making his kingdom the largest until the British Empire in the 16th century. Genghis Khan’s Empire lasted well after his death in 1227, as did his image. Painted and recreated over centuries, Genghis Khan sported a long whimsical moustache and beard, fitting for a Mongolian conqueror.
Image: Einstein relaxes at his Princeton home in 1951. Photograph by Ernst Haas, Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Einstein was the father of relativity. Awarded the Nobel prize for Physics in 1921, Einstein is one of the most loved and well-known scientists of the 20th century. While his genius is what he’s most famous for, the German physicist also had a recognisable moustache; thick, untrimmed, and wild enough to match his unruly hair.
From conquerors to artists, the course of facial hair has changed dramatically over the years. All over the country, there are Mo Bros growing Mo’s as unruly as Einstein and more iconic than Dali – even some struggling to grow some upper lip fuzz that’s more akin to Burnside’s clean-shaven chin. But no matter where their Mo inspiration comes from, they are all growing their Mo’s to change the face of men’s health. Donate now at Movember.com to help stop men dying too young.
Lead Image: Header Image: Albert Einstein is seen during a visit to Washington, D.C., in the 1920s. Photograph by Harris And Ewing, Library of Congress