The Difference Between the Imperial Moustache and the Handlebar Moustache

Imperial moustache. Handlebar moustache. Are the terms synonyms or well-defined for identifying and styling the hair on the upper lip?

I’ll be the first to admit, even as the owner of an imperial moustache, the former owner of a handlebar moustache and indeed the owner of a whole moustache wax business, even I use the terms synonymous to refer to a moustache with an upwards facing curl at either side. 

If you don’t want to be taunted at your local Moustachioed Men Monthly Meet-up and run home from the ball looking like a bare-lipped normie after ceremoniously having your moustache removed on charges of upper-lip ignorance this article is for you.


Illustrations by Mushon Zer-Aviv, Yanka Modified by UrbanFox.Club under CC BY-SA 3.0 

The Handle Bar Moustache 

Style: Formal 

Tools: Moustache Wax, Fine-Tooth Comb, Hair Dryer, Beard Oil

A Handle Bar Moustache is rigid and uniformed. It has a single rounded curl at either end and has been combed from the middle outwards in either direction. The angle of the curl is neither-here-nor-there; it could be a complete circle or larger incomplete ring; the important part is the angle doesn’t stop and allow the hair to point in one direction continuously. It is likely heavily waxed into shape and is the formal suit-wearing cousin of the Imperial Moustache. 

The handlebar takes a lot more time than the others to get ready. I’m talking hairdryer a comb, and some wax.

When worn without product, the Imperial Moustache most closely resembles the Natural Style. 

The Imperial Moustache 

Style: Smart-Casual 

Tools: Moustache Wax

The Imperial Moustache is a “boxier” style and less and more smart-casual in appearance than it’s stuffy Handlebar cousin. The Imperial Moustache is more likely to “puff out” further from the lip and have a softer hold in the end curls. The centre of the imperial moustache is often softly held in place by gently pulling horizontally from the centre of the face using a small amount of moustache wax. 

When worn without product, the Imperial Moustache most closely resembles the Walrus Style.


When all is said and done, the two styles are very similar. The biggest difference can be how long it takes to grow a moustache of these kinds. In researching this article, it only became more apparent to me that there are no hard-and-fast universally agreed-upon definitions and to be honest, I’m glad to hear it. 

When I set up UrbanFox.Club it was through sheer agitation that I couldn’t find a product that satisfied my needs. The more I looked through the internet to find one; the more pretentious people got about a small patch of hair. Call it what you want. No-one in the real-world cares beyond how awesome your moustache looks. 

If you’re considering growing a moustache, I recommend trying out The Quick Brown Fox Moustache Wax (then again, I would, I have a vested interest... find what works for you.).

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