As the end of the year approaches, we’re also getting close to the “No Shave November”– a cause/movement intended to raise awareness and funds for cancer treatment. There’s also a separate organization called “Movember” which started back in 2003 to shed light on men’s health issues. In 2013, it was able to raise about $21 million and thousands of bearded dudes. So if you’re asking yourself this question: why should I grow a beard? You now have one good reason to let that stubble grow longer.
Both of these movements have one goal: encourage ladies and gents to donate the money they would spend on shaving and grooming products. The amount will then be channeled to educate and save lives. What a way to grow a scruff, right?
The principles of the movement
No Shave November isn’t just about growing a beard. It also includes skipping wax sessions and letting leg hairs sprout naturally. This allows women to take part in the cause too and donate to the American Cancer Society.
Just because it’s called No Shave November doesn’t mean you have to look like a rugged hermit. The rules of this cause still allow grooming and trimming of the beard. In fact, this is a good excuse to grow a fuzz and style it as suave as you can. You can have a beard or mustache of any kind as long as you live by the sense of the program and encourage other people to donate.
While this is an intelligent way of supporting a cause, not all men are confident to grow a beard. The good thing here is you can opt out and support a person who is willing to grow their mane.
Why should I grow a beard in the first place?
If you’re undecided as to whether you should grow a beard or not, these advantages of having a fuzz on your chin might convince you. It’s not just for added sex appeal but it also keeps you healthier more than you can imagine.
According to some studies, a thick beard can have as much as 21 UPF. It will shield your facial skin from direct sunlight and the harm that it brings. In fact, it can protect the skin beneath from about 95% of harmful UV rays. This extra protection paired with a layer of sunscreen is guaranteed to keep skin irritation away.
November is the perfect time to let the scruff sprout as you prepare for the winter months. Your beard will act as a natural scarf on your face for added insulation from the freezing temperature. So aside from your fabric wraps, sporting a beard during the cold months will spare your face from the chill.
If you have asthma or allergies triggered by pollens and dust, having a beard will help minimize the attacks. It can trap these minute irritants to prevent it from entering your lungs. Growing a mustache together with a full fuzz will be an added protection too. So why should I grow a beard? It can save your life!
Take it from Gwilym Pugh. When his barber told him to grow a beard, no one ever expected that he would be transformed from being a nerdy guy into a hot dude. His full, ginger beard highlighted his face and helped hide his extra curve. Trust me, a beard has the ability to level up your sex appeal to heights you never expected.
As much as the benefits are convincing, the question is this: how can you survive No Shave November at work and at home? Bosses, wives, and girlfriends may not be happy about your newly found obsession. But to make it look appealing, you have to keep it neat.
Taking the challenge
If you’re ready to take on the challenge of putting the razor away for 30 days, you have to be prepared. Growing a beard isn’t simply skipping the blade; it comes with a few discomforts that you have to deal with. This is true especially if you want to maintain the beard after the month of November. Besides, if you have white fuzz, it would serve a purpose on Christmas Eve.
The key here is to secure a manscaping kit. You need to have the right tools to do the job. Unless your boss can accept the fearsome forest on your face, you have to keep it look well-manicured. Here are some manscaping tips you can use as a newbie in the beard world:
1. Get the right tools
When you throw the razor away, you should replace it with a beard kit. So why should I grow a beard if I’m just going to spend? Don’t get me wrong, you don’t have to buy an expensive one; otherwise, it will defeat the purpose of No Shave November. Just get oil, shampoo, and a comb and you’ll be golden. Once the beard grew long, start grooming it with these tools.
Take note that beard products like these will usually last for at least two months. Combs, on the other hand, can be used as long as it has teeth. You can still donate to the movement while keeping the mane neat.
2. Wash it
Do you actually intend to go to work with a craggy scruff? If you do that, your No Shave November might continue with a No Job December. Come on, dude. Wash your beard with a shampoo and make sure that it looks and feels squeaky clean. Comb it nicely and see to it that the strands are right in place. Remember that there’s a fine line between being a hermit and a polished beardsman.
Depending on how soiled your beard gets, shampoo it at least three times a week. It’s not that demanding since your beard will likely be a few inches long and far from being a wizard.
3. Comb it always
Oh, the art of combing the beard. When you’re new to fuzz growing, the most important thing you have to do is groom it with a comb. This will train the strands to grow in the direction you want it to be. For that to happen, you have to comb properly. Always start from the root down to the tip. In the event of snags, be as gentle as you can. Beards are pretty sensitive. Pulling it will cause hair fall.
You can alternate with brushing if your beard is coarse. The boar bristles will glide along the strands without the pulling force. If it’s demanding, why should I grow a beard? Trust me, it’s not.
4. Of course, trim
Like what I said earlier, No Shave November doesn’t mean you can’t trim the beard. Trimming will keep the fuzz in shape while removing some ugly split ends. A nice clipper would be excellent to achieve an even cut, especially if you’re the worst barber in the house. After that, you can detail the beard using a pair of trimming scissors. Cut the strands the clipper missed but make sure that it conforms to the length of the entire scruff.
Be careful about choosing your clipper guard. As a basis, a 4 guard will be about half an inch. Always use a bigger one if you’re not sure of what the outcome will be. You can adjust the size if you want to have a shorter finish. But why should I grow a beard if I’ll cut it off? It’s not really cutting, you’re just keeping it neat.
5. Do some neckscaping
Shaping the neck area is an important part of looking good during your No Shave November challenge. Fade from your neck and cheeks and make sure that the fade is at least one inch above your Adam’s apple. Use a small clipper guard and increase the size as you progress upward.
Tip: Stretch your neck skin a bit while clipping. It tends to be saggy which makes fading a bit tricky.
When it comes to the neckline, make sure that you define the shape and treading line before you continue clipping. This will save you from a bad beard appearance.
The journey to becoming a beardsman is haunted by bouts of dryness and itchiness. Your shield here is an affordable bottle of beard oil. It’s a moisturizer/conditioner/ and itch-remover in one. You can opt for the commercially available one or if you want to be true to the principles of the No Shave November, look for home remedies.
You can use natural aloe vera gel, virgin olive oil, and coconut milk to keep that scruff smooth while fighting different irritations. These organic options won’t just save you money for donations, it will also keep the beard manageable. So why should I grow a beard? You hit two birds with one stone!
Some rules to follow
Now that you have the picture of how it will be like growing your beard for the November challenge, you have to swear by some rules. These aren’t biblical but follow it religiously if you want to get through the awkward beard phase with fewer problems.
1. Thou shall fight the itch
As your beard starts to grow, your chin area will be itchy as hell. You might also develop ingrown hairs along the way. But no matter how unbearable it will be, fight the urge to scratch or pick on it. Like what most beardsmen say, suck it up until the discomfort subsides. You can always apply some remedy if the irritation is getting on the way of your activities.
Keep your beard clean all the time to reduce the risk of developing skin diseases. If the discomfort doesn’t go away after November, you better consult a dermatologist. You might have dermatitis.
2. Thou shall tame it
Again, if you’re boss isn’t happy about your beard growing, you should at least trim and tame it. This will make you look tidier than what your boss thinks. Also, grooming will keep the beard soft and straight. It’s easier to manage and less demanding if you’re always on the go.
I suggest that you start taming your beard as it grows. This way, the strands will start growing on the direction you intend it to be. For a span of four weeks, your beard will likely be about an inch long. It has a high tendency to stand in different directions.
3. Thou shall not splurge on products
Why should I grow a beard? Remember, you’re here because of No Shave November! Be modest on your beard grooming kit and donate the rest to charity. With this, you’ll stay true to the reason why you grew a beard in the first place. Get a few tools and products and work your way through it. Don’t purchase styling products yet. Beardsmen recommend that you start styling only after 4-6 weeks when the beard has grown a substantial length and the itchiness is already gone.
Anyway, you can expect beard gift sets come December. That’s another reason why November is the perfect month to grow your fuzz.
4. Thou shall be patient
Putting the razor away isn’t a comfortable decision. You’ll go through the awkward phase where the beard looks like pubes. But you just have to be patient and this will soon look better. Don’t rush on the styling and shaving just yet.
The discomfort will test your patience and you may think about shaving it all off. But let me tell you this: you can survive November with your beard on!
If there’s one thing beard growing will teach you, it will be patience. Just hold on to it and you’ll be fine.
5. Thou shall be prepared
Haters gonna hate, so be prepared about other people’s feedback about your beard. Don’t let it crush your confidence. Just continue with your routine and wait until your beard is longer. They might even envy your suave look in the end.
Ask yourself this: why should I grow a beard? After all the benefits and that No Shave November can bring, I think a little discomfort is a just a small sacrifice.