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Maintaining an elaborate handlebar moustache or other stylized facial hair can be a challenge without the aid of a special pomade called moustache wax. Moustache wax is a blend of beeswax, white petroleum jelly (Vaseline) and/or gum arabic which can be applied to the ends of a lengthy moustache to provide a pliable stiffness while styling. When the moustache wax dries, the result should be a defined line or curl resistant to wind damage or the effects of warm breath and body heat.
Moustache wax was a much more common grooming aid during the 19th and early 20th centuries, when many men sported elaborate facial hair such as handlebar moustaches and mutton chop sideburns. The application of homemade or commercial moustache wax would keep these stylized moustaches in place as the wearers went through an average day.
Although the handlebar moustache and other highly stylized facial hair may have fallen out of popularity in recent years, there is still a subculture of men who have dedicated themselves to the preservation, and indeed the possible resurrection, of these long-forgotten fashion statements. In fact, there are still competitions held around the world in which contestants vie for awards based on their elaborate facial hair and moustaches. For these competitors, finding a quality moustache wax can literally mean the difference between first and last place.
Commercial moustache wax is generally sold in three different types of packaging: can, tube or stick. The canned version of moustache wax is a small, circular metal can similar to the old-fashioned hair pomade cans. The wax can also be squeezed out of a tube and applied to the ends of the moustache for styling. The pomade can also be sold in a tube form similar to lip balm, although application can be a little tricky.
There are also recipes available online for homemade moustache wax, if one is so inclined. The basic ingredients include beeswax, white petroleum jelly, gum arabic (found in drugstores) and an optional fragrance such as essence of rose water. The finished wax should provide an acceptable level of stiffness without looking heavy, lumpy or artificial.