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What Type Of Mustache Did Charlie Chaplin Wear? History & Fun Facts

What Type Of Mustache Did Charlie Chaplin Wear

If you’ve ever watched an old-school silent comedy or read a history book, you’ve probably noticed this specific style of mustache. It was quite a big deal back in the day, taking over the US and Western Europe in the late 19th century. The mustache was known throughout history as easy to style and became the symbol of comedy before it became the symbol of tragedy. This distinctive mustache is something you rarely notice nowadays, and the reason might be obvious to some, but we will dive into it more deeply in this article. So, what type of mustache did Charlie Chaplin wear?

Charlie Chaplin Mustache

The type of mustache Charlie Chaplin wore was the toothbrush mustache. The toothbrush mustache sits in between the nose and upper lip with the hairs going downwards, covering the philtrum, which refers to the skin folds between your nose and lips.

The mustache type the comedy king wore was of his choice alone. He found the mustache funny in appearance and quite easy to style.

When the British actor Charlie Chaplin began wearing it, people began calling it the Charlie Chaplin mustache. Chaplin said it was small enough not to hide his expressions like the other styles, as his toothbrush mustache was short enough and only partially covered his lips.

Aside from making the audience laugh, the toothbrush mustache is a mustache style that demands less maintenance than other mustache styles, but you first have to grow your mustache with a lot of patience. When you want such a mustache that covers the philtrum it takes time.


The toothbrush became popular in both the USA and Germany in the late 19th century. It replaced the Kaiser stache in Germany, and the walrus, handlebar, horseshoe etc. in the USA, especially when it came to factory workers and the working class in general. The workers chose toothbrush mustaches because they were easy to style. 

Over time, beginning in the early 20th century, the toothbrush style became incredibly popular in Western Europe, especially in Germany.

In 1914, Charlie Chaplin took up the toothbrush mustache for the first time. His popularity led comedians in the Soviet Union and America to adopt the same Charlie Chaplin mustache.

Hitler Mustache Controversy

Adolf Hitler

Adolf Hitler originally wore the Kaiser mustache, but as Alexander Moritz Frey wrote, Hitler had to trim it down to fit the gas mask. Hitler’s atrocities before and during World War II are what the toothbrush mustache is remembered for, leading to its downfall.

Famous People Who Wore The Toothbrush Mustache

There were plenty of notable people other than Hitler and Chaplin throughout history that sported the toothbrush mustache. The extensive list of people includes:

  • Hans Koeppen – German folk hero
  • Crown Prince Wilhelm – Prussian royalty
  • Clarence D. Martin – 11th governor of Washington state
  • Max Fleischer – American animator and film director
  • Walt Disney – One of the most famous animators of all time
  • Oliver Hardy – The man of the famous comedy duo Laurel and Hardy
  • George Orwell – Popular anti-authoritarian writer and critic
  • Mikhail Nikolayevich Rumyantsev – A Russian comedian
  • Francisco Franco – Spanish army general and dictator
  • Ron Mael – Keyboardist from the band Sparks
  • Robert Mugabe – Former Zimbabwean president 
  • Michael Jordan – One of the best NBA players 

How To Grow A Toothbrush Mustache

The trick to growing a toothbrush mustache is a lot of patience because you want it to be very thick. The mustache is undeniably short and takes up an area known to be a problem for some people, the philtrum.

Once you think it’s ready and thick enough, your mustache needs to get shaved vertically. Shave off all the parts except the hairs in between the nose and upper lip and there you have it, the toothbrush mustache.

  • If your toothbrush mustache tends to go in different directions, mustache wax can help keep them in a vertical stance (you can find out more about the best models here).
  • Applying beard oil to your facial hair and facial skin helps since beard oil gives nutrients and moisturizes.
  • Using a beard comb or brush keeps your stache tangle-free and consistently vertical.

Avoid using regular scalp shampoo on your toothbrush mustache because the volume achieved by the shampoo will be too much for the coarser hair of the stache and make it difficult to achieve the style.

Frequently Asked Questions

A toothbrush mustache is a thick mustache style that does not cover the whole upper lip, but only a small, square-like part on the philtrum, making the hairs look like the toothbrush bristles. One of the first people who popularized it was Charlie Chaplin. Unfortunately, it became the Nazi Party symbol when Hitler picked it up.

A toothbrush mustache is not illegal anywhere on the planet. What is banned in some parts of the world are the Nazi Party symbols and other items associated with the National Socialist German Workers’ Party. You wearing it today might put people off because of its association with Hitler, but that’s about it.

Charlie Chaplin’s mustache was fake. There is actually footage of behind the scenes when he was entertaining Major General Hunter Liggett at Lone Star studio’s back in 1917. He wanted to put the stache on because he found it funny, and because of its shape and position, it didn’t hide his emotions at all. 


What type of mustache did Charlie Chaplin wear? Well, the short answer would be the toothbrush mustache, the long answer would be the rich history behind it. Once a mustache of German men and American businessmen, then the mustache of European royalty and comedians. Finally, the toothbrush mustache became inextricably linked to the World War II figure whose name the mustache carries now, “Hitler’s mustache”.