Synonymous with Hulk Hogan and Hell’s Angels, The Horseshoe is the quintessential tough guy moustache. Unlike some of its relatives, the Horseshoe has a relatively short history. Despite being present in Wild West folklore, it had few notable mentions until a variant was sported by Frank Zappa.
That said, Zappa’s facial hair of choice was a close relative of the Van Dyke moustache. This is due to the presence of a Soul Patch. It wasn’t until Hulk Hogan came to fame in the 1980s that the Horseshoe became a staple of popular culture.
The Horseshoe is a low-maintenance moustache that is easy to grow. However, it greatly depends on a man’s growth patterns if one can be obtained. Relying on hair down the sides of the mouth, it’s often sported by older men.
A Horseshoe is best obtained by growing out a Circle or Full beard and trimming after a few weeks to a month. This provides the wearer sufficient time for optimal hair growth in notoriously patchy areas. Once at the desired length, hair on the chin is shaved off.
The columns on the side can be adjust to varying lengths. Traditionally, the growth down the sides is kept long to stop with the jawline. Alternatively, they can shortened similar to a Handlebar moustache and even paired with a Van-Dyke.
With the more robust, traditional look, the wearer can let the sides grow out to be bushy. The latter option is more suitable for men with patchier growth or fair hair as it provide a more impressive result.
However, the wearer can choose to taper the columns and trimmed its entirety, which is known as a Tamed Horseshoe.
John Travolta is known for his Tamed Horseshoe as seen in the 2009 remake of the Taking of Pelham 123. George Michael also wore a Van-Dyke style Trimmed Horseshoe at some point in the 1990s.
Naturally, these require considerably thick and consistent hair growth to achieve, which may prove challenging for a lot of men.
The Fu Manchu
The Fu Manchu and Horseshoe are often mistaken for one another. This is probably due to the way the moustache is style down the sides of the mouth. Nevertheless, the two styles are related and find themselves associated under the Horseshoe umbrella family.
Named after the eponymous fictional character, the moustache style has a problematic past with its association with Chinese villains. The Fu Manchu is omnipresent in popular culture and has been seen on countless villains including Flash Gordon’s arch-nemesis, Ming the Merciless.
The Fu Manchu is often used to caricature Chinese ethnicity and has come under fire for being deeply stereotypical. Nevertheless, it’s recognised as an official moustache category in the World Beard and Moustache Championships.
Unlike the Horseshoe, the Fu Manchu is incredibly time-consuming and difficult to grow. The columns present on a Horseshoe are clean shaven and the length is obtained by growth from the upper lip. These tendrils are styled down and at long lengths are prone to snapping.
The Fu Manchu has a closely interconnected relationship with the Dali moustache, which is almost exactly the same in appearance. However, the Dali moustache, named after the iconic Spanish painter, is trimmed low and styled upwards.
Will a Horseshoe Moustache Suit My Face Shape?
The Fu Manchu and Dali moustaches are styles so outlandish that any face shape brave enough could try them. However, Horseshoe moustaches are considerably more common. Furthermore, they are often sought after to help improve facial morphology.
Being a strong, tough style, their shape and connotations structure the chin, jawline and cheekbones if used properly. Be sure to properly identify your face shape before reading this section.
Oblong Face Shapes
Horseshoe moustaches can be used differently to hone an Oblong face shape. By growing out the sides with columns that are wide at the bottom, Oblong face shapes can appear wider. The growth will strengthen the chin and jawline whilst increasing face width. Although it won’t make the face appear necessarily more square, it will edge it towards a tough, Triangular shape.
Square Face Shapes
Much like Hogan himself, Square face shaped men are the most adapted to adorn a Horseshoe moustache. Their strong and well-proportioned bone structure can carry the weight of a Horseshoe. Furthermore, it provides further emphasis to the chin by breaking up the jawline with textured columns. The result is a tough and masculine look that denotes virility.
Triangle Face Shapes
Similar to Square shaped faces, Triangle face shapes have strong jawlines, which can carry Horseshoe moustaches well. Likewise, a Horseshoe breaks up the chin and jawline with some welcome texture. Paradoxically, this both emphasises the pronounced jaw of a Triangle shape whilst softening it.
Oval Face Shapes
Men with Oval shaped faces are welcome to try a Horseshoe moustache. However, the abundance of volume could turn against them and cause the chin to become narrow. The result is offsetting the face shape’s harmony and it resembling a Heart face shape instead. Nevertheless, a Tamed Horseshoe could walk the fine line, which provides texture without smothering the chin.
Round Face Shape
Round face shapes run a more severe risk that Oval shapes. A traditional Horseshoe could overwhelm their soft jawline and provide an overabundance of width. However, a cleverly-trimmed Tamed Horseshoe can be used to counter-attack this and even provide bulk. By ensuring that the columns remain perpendicular to the mouth and perfectly straight, they will add strength instead. This requires a keen eye, steady hand and thick hair growth but could render the face squarer with an angular finish
Incompatible Face Shapes
Unfortunately, men with either Heart or Diamond face shapes will struggle to make the Horseshoe moustache work for them. Firstly, a Heart face shape’s small chin will dissolve under even a Tamed Horseshoe, which renders the face rounder.
Diamond face shapes on the other hand suffer from a different dilemma. The hair growth in the corners of the mouth risk clashing with the high cheekbones and concave cheeks. Growing out a Horseshoe moustache will risk creating gaunt cheeks and making the face appear thin.