Unlike Handlebar moustaches, the Pyramidal family consists exclusively of moustaches that do not grow beyond the corners of the mouth. This makes for a rich group with a variety of different styles for men looking to grow something more modest.
Each style has more-or-less one feature in common to help identify them. They remain within the surface area spanning between the tips of the nostrils and the corners of the mouth.
Occasionally they may sit higher above the lip to follow the natural hairline. Nevertheless, this observation can be applied as a general guideline.
The popularity of Pyramidal moustaches has waned over recent years. However, they were all the rage from the 1920s up until the late 1940s.
The transition from Imperial styles to smaller, more manageable moustaches has often been associated with the 1st World War. With large whiskers preventing an air-tight seal on gas masks, officers would seek new styles that could fit.
Being a more reserved style, Pyramidal moustaches are ideal for men looking for a moustache but prefer something less eccentric than the alternatives. Furthermore, these short moustaches are far easier to maintain.
Most require only slight taming, which can be accomplished with a trim down with clippers. At the very most, they may need the edges touching up with a razor that can be undertaken by a professional or at home.
Note also that most of the following moustaches can feature a parting at the philtrum (the groove between the nose and lip).
A philtrum moustache parting can be achieved by:
- Combing the moustache hair outwards from the centre
- Tapering the philtrum growth short with scissors or clippers
- Shaving a hard parting down to the skin in the centre.
Bushier than its relatives, the Lampshade is a relatively recent term for an age-old moustache. Like the Chevron, it’s often referred to as a Painter’s Brush. Although this isn’t a fallacy, the difference between a Chevron and Lampshade resides in the breadth. Chevrons are larger moustaches that grow passed the corners of the mouth. Lampshades, however, are far more reserved in this sense.
It has sometimes been referred to as a Sherman or Shermanic moustache in reference to the famous general of the same name. However, there is no evidence that he ever wore one himself.
Otherwise, the Lampshade is a very natural style of moustache. Its growth is simple and follows the line from the nostrils down to the corners of the mouth. Maintaining this style is almost effortless and requires only infrequent trims.
Furthermore, the wearer can keep it slightly bushy or closely cropped if he chooses. Some men even vary between the two by growing it out then trimming it down when it becomes irritating.
As the name suggests, the Pyramid is the closest definition of the moustache family among its relatives. Nevertheless, despite being a standard bearer, its rarity relegates it beneath the Lampshade as the group’s main moustache.
The Pyramid features a wide base, which greatly narrows as it reaches the nose. Real examples of the Pyramid are rare but it was famously sported by French general and president, Charles de Gaulle. In 2009, George Clooney wore one in The Men Who Stare At Goats.
The moustache is usually closely cropped to remove accent from length but instead on dense growth. The style also depends on precision when trimming to ensure that the growth remains straight down the sides.
A slight curve can be applied to the sides of the moustache, which gives a slight flamboyant flair. However, this is infamously difficult to style and requires the touch of a professional or great determination.
The Boxcar & Double Boxcar Moustache
The Boxcar style is something of a curiosity. Unlike its relatives, it dispenses entirely with any notion of following the natural hairline. Instead, the finish is an intentionally austere box that sits across the upper lip.
Rumour has it that this style originates from the Great Depression. Barbershops were suffering due to the period of economic uncertainty and would occasionally offer deals for the poor.
In exchange for spare change or odd jobs, drifters and the homeless would get a cheap and hasty shave. The resulting moustache was a hurried rectangle, which earned its name from both the wearers and its appearance.
However, the Double Boxcar emerges from an entirely different background. Also known as the Major moustache, it is a military style that simply consists of two “Boxcar” rectangles.
These slope away from the philtrum (the groove above the lips) parallel to the lips but are otherwise unembellished.
Despite its simple appearance and association with the poor man’s Boxcar, the Major is a particularly difficult style to maintain. Being very much a straight-laced style, it requires discipline and a steady hand to trim.
Its perfectly geometric and symmetrical shape is unforgiving to slip ups and can quickly appear lopsided. Therefore, styling it requires either experience or frequent trips to the barber’s.
Furthermore, the moustache is better complemented by regular shaving to maintain the clean and resilient look it exudes.
With that in mind, it’s an entirely appropriate style to be adorned by a stern military officer.
The Toothbrush Moustache
It’s extraordinarily difficult and perhaps impossible to disassociate the Toothbrush moustache from Adolf Hitler. Nonetheless, as British comedian Richard Herring proclaimed in 2009, “it was Chaplin’s first, then Hitler ruined it.”
In fact, the style first emerged in the USA during the late 19th Century. It became popular as an industrial and neat style that countered the flamboyance of Imperial moustaches.
As it was immensely popular among working class men, it quickly became adopted by film stars such as Charlie Chaplin and Oliver Hardy.
Hitler, however, was known to wear an Imperial moustache during the First World War. He adopted the Toothbrush not out of fandom for Chaplin but under orders as it prevented wearing a gas mask.
Needless to say, the Toothbrush moustache has been all but non-existent since the Second World War. It could be argued that it’s a shame that such a comical moustache was quashed by evil.
However, consider also that the industrial aesthetic is associated with Second World War Japanese officers. Its links to totalitarianism live on today as Robert Mugabe has been known to sport an extreme variant of it.
Most attempts to bring back the Toothbrush moustache have spectacularly backfired such as Michael Jordan’s infamous Hanes commercial. Other examples include musician Ron Mael sporting it on Top of the Pops in the 1970s.
The Toothbrush is usually no more than an inch (2.5 cm) wide and kept bushy without growing out from its contours. Although the style is often depicted as a square, the worn shape usually bears closer resemblance to a trapezium with a slight pyramidal base.
Extreme caution is advised if you’re really looking to try it out…
Will A Pyramidal Moustache Suit My Face Shape?
The various Pyramidal forms and styles available for men seeking a smaller moustaches are varied. Therefore, there is likely to be several possible solutions for men of different face shapes. As previously stated, Pyramidal moustaches offer a much more reserved and modest style than their relatives.
These may be sought after for those working in more conservative professional environments or who want a moustache that is relatively low maintenance.
We’ve identified 7 individual face shapes, which play a vital role in determining how well certain styles may suit different men. If you aren’t yet aware of yours, be sure to identify your face shape before contuing.
Diamond Face Shapes
Diamond faces benefit the most from narrow and bushy moustaches. These avoid offsetting the cheek with too much width whilst softening the features with a bushy finish. Awkwardly, the best match would be a Toothbrush moustache but it’s probably better to settle with a Pyramid moustache.
Oval Face Shapes
Like Heart faces, Oval shapes can use smaller moustaches to reinforce their chin and create height. Furthermore, angular edges can provide them with a squarer finish that emphasises their facial features.
Heart Face Shapes
Heart face shapes really shine with modest and refined moustaches such as a Pyramid or trimmed Lampshade. When kept narrow and angular, a moustache reinforces a Heart shape’s small chin by squaring off the upper lip.
Round Face Shape
Although big moustaches have an adverse effect on Round face shapes, the opposite does the contrary. Small, angular moustaches with sharpened edges heighten a Round face’s features. The face’s proportions can be lengthened by creating height between the nostrils and upper lip.
Triangle Face Shapes
Triangle face shapes can use small, understated moustaches to reduce emphasis of the jawline. It offers an alternative to large moustaches that can be used to widen the cheek width instead. Men with triangular face shapes can experiment with both to see which works best for them.
Square Face Shapes
Square face shapes tend to fare better with thick moustaches as a general rule. Smaller moustaches risk floating on a Square face’s large surface area and emphasising their surface area. However, if kept thick and bushy, Lampshades and Pyramids can work well on a Square face.
Incompatible Face Shape Matches
Oblong Face Shapes
Like Square face shapes, Oblongs require a large surface area to avoid making the face appear even bigger. Furthermore, wide moustaches such as Imperials work best as they provide much needed cheek width. Unfortunately, Pyramidal moustaches will have an adverse effect and only create height.