This week’s tutorial is for the guys! Each November, herds of men toss their razors and embark on a month without shaving, growing beards that rival those of the greats — Abraham Lincoln, Santa Claus, Jerry Garcia. The reason? No Shave November.
No Shave November is a month-long exercise in not shaving to help raise awareness about and money for cancer research. The rules, according to the non-profit No-Shave November, are to put down your razor for 30 days and donate your monthly shaving expenses to the cause. And, if beards aren’t your thing, you can try growing a ‘stache for Movember, or donating to raise funds for men’s health. Ladies, you can also support these causes by donating to the campaign of a friend or family member, or by joining Movember’s MOVEment challenge!
To help you on your 30-day beard or mustache journey, we gathered some advice from our resident beard expert, Warren. Read on for his advice for keeping a well-groomed beard without shaving.
Tell us about the beard — when did the grooming begin?
I grew my first beard (if you could call it that) in college. We had an on-and-off relationship for years after that, mostly on during the winter and off during the summer. During that time, I’ve worn full beards, moustaches, and at least one goatee/van dyke style.
I’ve now been almost permanently bearded for two years, which coincides with my beginning to care for my beard in earnest. Both my fiancee and I decided that we prefer my face with a full beard.
What’s the hardest part about not shaving for a month?
The first month — specifically weeks 3-4 for most people — is, unfortunately, the hardest. Short, new beards tend to be itchy, especially when not cared for properly. Growing a new beard successfully starts with beard care from Day 1; it helps keep the beard soft, supple and itch-free.
How do you groom your beard? What’s the routine?
Starting on Day 1, the last day you shave, try this routine for a comfortable and well-groomed face.
- Beard Soap (any gentle, oil-based, natural bar soap will work. Avoid shampoo or soaps like Dial and Dove, which are more harsh)
- Boars Hair Beard Brush
- Beard Balm
Wash with a simple, gentle, organic soap 2-4 times per week. I find that not washing my beard every single day gives the best combo of cleanliness and softness for me. Many beard-specific soaps are great for this — they are oil-based and gentle, which results in softer whiskers and beard (plus, less itch in the early going). Don’t use face wash on your beard – or even your freshly shaved face the last day you shave. No face wash may touch your whiskers!
Apply beard balm to a freshly-washed and still damp beard with your fingertips. Use a dime- or quarter-sized amount, depending on your beard’s length. Massage it in from skin to beard-tips. Start the balm (in smaller amounts) between weeks one and two, depending on how fast your whiskers grow. You might not feel like you need it that early, but you’ll be glad you used it when your fledgling beard is less itchy!
Brush with circular motions to spread balm. Use your boars hair brush to distribute the balm through your beard. Then, brush your beard back into place.
How do you help raise money and awareness for men’s cancers during November?
I support Movember, which raises money in support of mens’ health initiatives, including prostate cancer research, which is sorely underfunded. Movember encourages November mustache growth rather than a beard, but it’s a great cause. Men’s cancers don’t get much attention in the media, unfortunately, so I’d love to encourage people to donate there.
There you have it! Let us know in the comments what advice you’ll be following or passing on to the men in your life. And happy No-Shave November!