A moustache (US /ˈmʌstæʃ/ or UK /məˈstɑːʃ/; American English: mustache) is facial hair grown on the upper lip. Moustaches can be groomed by trimming and styling with a type of pomade called moustache wax.
The word “moustache” is French, and is derived from the Italian moustacio (14th century), dialectal mostaccio (16th century), from Medieval Latin moustaccium (8th century), Medieval Greek μοστάκιον (moustakion), attested in the 9th century, which ultimately originates as a diminutive of Hellenistic Greek μύσταξ (mustax, mustak-), meaning “upper lip” or “facial hair”, probably derived from Hellenistic Greek μύλλον (mullon), “lip”.
Shaving with stone razors was technologically possible from Neolithic times, but the oldest portrait showing a shaved man with a moustache is an ancient Iranian (Scythian) horseman from 300 BC.
In the Western cultures women generally avoid the growth of facial hair; though some are capable, the majority of these women use some form of depilation to remove it. In rare circumstances, women may choose to embrace this growth, often in the form of thin moustaches. Mexican artist Frida Kahlo famously depicted herself in her artwork with both a moustache and a unibrow. This tradition is followed by some contemporary women in the arts.
Various cultures have developed different associations with moustaches. For example, in many 20th-century Arab countries, moustaches are associated with power, beards with Islamic traditionalism, and lack of facial hair with more liberal, Secular tendencies.
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