• Karen Seiger

Count Justinian: A Sticky Tale of Moustache Wax

Darwin Martin and Count Justinian Moustache Wax on Display at the Frank Lloyd Wright Graycliff Estate

Here’s a story of Frank Lloyd Wright, Lake Erie, Coney Island and mustache wax. Or is it moustache wax?

Graycliff Estate: Wright on the Lake (Photo courtesy of the Graycliff Estate)

My husband and his family are from Buffalo, NY. I have been there enough times to discover the magical places and the amazing food. (Seriously.) My very favorite things in Buffalo, however, are the Frank Lloyd Wright houses, namely the fully restored Darwin Martin House and the Graycliff Estate, which was the Martin family’s summer home on Lake Erie.

A few months ago, we were up in Buffalo and paid a visit to Graycliff. I made a predictable beeline to the gift shop, where I instantly thought of several artisans from the markets who might be good additions. Ryan Gravell, the store manager, has a great eye for products, and he was wonderfully open to some of my suggestions.

Darwin Martin and His Formidable Moustache (Photo courtesy of  the Graycliff Estate)

Frank Lloyd Wright had a lion’s main of hair, and he was clean-shaven. His client Darwin Martin, however, sported a brilliant handlebar mustache. So Ryan asked me if I knew any makers of men’s grooming products for the shop. Interestingly, I did not.

However, I do know someone in the Bearding World. (Yes, there’s a world for that). Actually, he is not just anyone. He is Adam Realman, the Professa at the Coney Island USA’s Sideshow School and Master of Ceremonies of beard and mustache contests up and down the East Coast and beyond. Adam himself has impressive mutton chop sideburns and no mustache. Probably a good choice for a fire-eater.

Adam gave me three perfect recommendations for makers of artisanal mustache waxes and other grooming products. Soon, Ryan had selected and placed an order from Count Justinian Moustache Wax.

And that’s how I became curious about mustache wax. I mean moustache wax.

The Count Justinian (photo courtesy of Count Justinian)

So Count Justinian himself agreed to share some of his tales of moustachewaxery. My dad won the Best Full Beard Award in a beard and mustache contest in Xenia, Ohio circa 1972. Today, Count Justinian told me, there is a thriving bearding club in greater Dayton, known as the Gem City Gentlemen.

Count Justinian has dapper facial hair of his own, befitting his title. He found that the main drugstore brand just wasn’t what he was looking for. Some people like a firm, all-day hold, and some like a softer effect. And some, as expected, land somewhere in between.

Jersey Fresh Moustache Wax for the The Garden State Beard & Mustache Society

His solution was to make his own wax, about three years ago, for himself and for others who shared his hirsute predicament. He now has devoted fans across the US and Canada. He has sponsored numerous beard and moustache competitions across the country. In fact, Count Justinian Moustache Wax is the official wax of the Garden State Beard and Mustache Society in New Jersey. He created their very own Jersey Fresh Moustache Wax, and proceeds go to charity.

Count Justinian Moustache Wax Collection (Photo by Count Justinian)

Now this is one product where scent really matters, not only to moustache owners but also to anyone who plans on kissing them. I was curious about how these waxes smell. The Classic wax is unscented. Count Justinian released his Empire Collection in late 2013, featuring a mix of traditionally masculine scents and some brilliant choices for edible smelling waxes: Bay Rum, Pine Needle, Dark Chocolate, Butterscotch, Coffee and Peppermint. I would not personally object to any of them.

And then there is the Sticky As Hell, made with beeswax, petrolatum and medical grade lanolin. It performs as advertised, bringing much joy to handlebar aficionados, according to the product reviews. (e.g., “I love this mustache wax! So does my handlebar… and when my handlebar is happy, I’m happy.”)

Count Justinian Client Logan from Loveland, Colorado (Photo courtesy of Count Justinian)

Just don’t expect to wash this concoction off with simple soap and water. You will need some soap – liquid facial soap works best – and some elbow grease. (You wouldn’t want your carefully styled moustache to droop in the rain or every time you drink a mug of steaming hot coffee, would you?)

Men and women purchase Count Justinian’s Moustache Wax, which makes sense when you think about it. Mustaches foster appreciation among the moustachioed and those who love them. And moustache wax is one grooming product that men get really excited about. Just read Count Justinian’s rave reviews.

Count Justinian sold custom labeled, hand numbered tins of moustache wax at the 2013 Olde Time Coney Island Strongman Spectacular, which is one of my very favorite New York events. My awesome friend Steve Weiner, a financial manager by day and a strongman on weekends with a Guiness strength record or two under his belt, invited me to the last two Spectaculars.

Count Justinian’s Coney Island Strongman Spectacular Moustache Wax (Photo by Count Justinian)

A percentage of the proceeds from the moustache wax sales there went to support Coney Island USA after Hurricane Sandy raged through their building. (Sadly, Sandy keeps taking a toll, and there is no Spectacular scheduled for this year. I’ll keep you posted if that changes!)

Count Justinian Client Doc Mac with an Associate (Photo courtesy of Count Justinian)

And that is the story of how Count Justinian’s Moustache Wax came to be a featured product in the gift shop at Frank Lloyd Wright’s Graycliff Estate overlooking Lake Erie. You can get some for yourself or for your favorite mustachioed friend on Etsy from Count Justinian Moustache Wax.

For discount promotions, ordering information, bulk sales, custom orders and all other things moustache wax, follow Count Justinian Moustache Wax on Tumblr, Facebook, and Twitter.

“A moustache is iconic, not ironic.” ~ Count Justinian

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