Grooming tips from the man with the longest moustache
Ram Singh Chauhan of India is the proud owner of the world's longest moustache, officially recorded by Guinness World Records as 4.29m (14ft) long. But what is the secret of his success? Here he offers five tips.
1. Start growing early - as soon as you can. Chauhan, now 54, started growing his moustache in 1970 - facial hair grows fastest in one's youth, he says. "As you grow old your hormones grow weak, so the speed slows down."
And, of course, he has never cut it, "apart from trimming around the lip area".
Steve Parsons of the British-based Handlebar Club seconds this advice, as a young man's facial hair is more durable than that of an elderly man. "As moustache hair goes white it starts to become more brittle and is more likely break off," says Parsons.
End Quote Steve Parsons
Kissing a man without a moustache is like drinking champagne without bubbles”
2. Groom it well. Chauhan spends an hour every day cleaning and combing his moustache. "I massage it and oil it regularly and I wash it every 10 days which takes a long time," he says. "My wife helps me." He uses a coconut-based hair oil.
Parsons, who himself sports an elaborate handlebar moustache, recommends leave-in conditioner as an antidote for troublesome split ends. "You can also use pomades or beeswax but that requires a good wash to get it out. Our advice? Dip it in beer on a regular basis," he says.
Rod Littlewood, vice-president of the World Beard and Moustache Association, says it's best for the moustachioed to avoid eating some food in public. "Candy floss is a horror!"
3. Get your family on side. Chauhan's wife Asha says they used to fight over his moustache in the early years. "He used to take a long time to get ready, to wash and also people used to stare at him," she says. She didn't feel comfortable. But later, as he started getting recognition for his long moustache, she started to like it and to respect his commitment. Now, she says, the moustache is like a part of the family and she shares his pride in it.
Parsons, meanwhile, admits that his wife is not the greatest fan of his lip furniture, but he has a good riposte: "I always say kissing a man without a moustache is like drinking champagne without the bubbles."
Notable moustache styles
- Walrus: bushy, hanging down over the lips - worn by philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche and former US ambassador to the UN John Bolton
- Toothbrush: thick, but shaved except for a square in the centre - well-known exponents include Adolf Hitler and Charlie Chaplin
- Handlebar: bushy, with small upward pointing ends, named for its resemblance to bicycle handlebars
- Pencil: narrow, straight and thin with a wide shaven gap between the nose and moustache - worn well by Clark Gable and Errol Flynn
- Dali: narrow, long points, bent or curved steeply upward, and areas past the corner of the mouth must be shaved - named after the artist Salvador Dali
4. Endure any discomfort. Chauhan says life is not easy with such a long moustache. When it was shorter, he used to wrap it around his ears. Now it's longer, he wraps it around his neck.
Sleeping can be uncomfortable but he says there's no gain without pain and he wouldn't want it any other way. "I am special with my moustache, and I have never dreamt of being without it."
The Movember charity, which encourages men to grow their moustaches in November to raise awareness of men's health issues, acknowledges that new moustaches can be itchy when they start growing.
Movember co-founder JC advises men to ignore the itch and be brave. "Remind yourself that other men have endured worse in the past. Surely you can stand a little face tickle from your mo?"
5. Don't be a slave to fashion. When he was younger, Chauhan says, moustaches were very much in vogue in his home country. He earned a lot of respect from fellow students at college, but finds the youth of today have little interest in facial hair. "My own son doesn't have one," he says regretfully.
But in the UK, the Handlebar Club says it has noticed a resurgence in bewhiskered men. The popularity of Movember, which last year inspired more than 850,000 men in 14 countries to grow a moustache, is definitely a factor, says Parsons.
"We used to attract the older gentlemen but recently our membership has got younger. At our last AGM we had lots of men in their 20s and 30s."