November is a time for good craft beers, hearty meals, and of course, “No-Shave November.” There comes a time in every man’s life where he must put himself to the test to see where he stands among other men. Some ancient cultures put men against each other in bloody and arduous feats of strength, many of which proved to be deadly and dangerous to say the least. Luckily, for us modern men, one of our feats of strength is a little less dangerous: growing the most epic beard in just one month.
What are “No-Shave November” and “Movember”?
They are two fantastic public health charities that are aimed at building awareness and raising money for cures for men’s health issues, including prostate cancer and other cancers men face. While both are great causes, they are different in some substantial ways. “No-Shave November” was started by Americans from Chicago in 2009, according to their website No-Shave.org:
No-Shave November has been a tradition for many years, but it wasn’t until the fall of 2009 that members of the Chicagoland Hill family decided to use it as a means to raise money for charity. It was a project that held special meaning to the eight Hill children after their father, Matthew Hill, passed away from colon cancer in November 2007.
Their aim is to encourage participants to join in a “month-long journey during which participants forgo shaving and grooming in order to evoke conversation and raise cancer awareness. Learn more about how you can get involved and start getting hairy!”
“Movember” is actually an Australian charity started by two gentlemen from Melbourne, Travis Garone and Luke Slattery, which started over a conversation in a pub about the power of mustaches and their ability to garner attention and start conversations. According to their website:
Inspired by the moustache's ability to generate a conversation, the crew decide to take things to the next level. Adam Garone steps up to register the Movember Foundation and create a website. Justin Coghlan (JC) comes on board to kickstart things in Queensland [in 2004].
Funds raised go to the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia (PCFA). At the time, that first Movember check was the largest single donation the PCFA had ever received.
Thus, two different charitable organizations were born together under a unique cause: awareness for men’s health and supporting fathers, husbands, and all the other special men in your life and around the world as they face serious health challenges.
In many ways, hair is the great uniter. It says a lot about you and helps you say your piece to the rest of the world. In order to honor these two charities, we have put together an appropriately epic guide to help your beard (or ‘stache!) dominate this year. Beards are great on their own, but when we use their power to help people in need, everybody wins.
Our Beard Growth GuideWhile our bodies will grow hair whether we want them to or not, there are a few things we can control when it comes to how quickly your body, and your face specifically, grows it. We can also take steps to ensure that the hair that does grow is thick and healthy and strong (just like us!).
Start with diet. You can give yourself a competitive edge by eating well and getting more exercise. The amount and the quality of your beard hair depends on the amount of dihydrotestosterone (DHT) in your system and lifting weights and eating a protein rich diet can help keep those levels high. Make sure you’re eating beard-friendly foods like: oysters, sweet potatoes, spinach, eggs, and cinnamon. Your body needs a mix of nutrients like zinc, beta carotene, calcium, iron, and biotin, which those foods provide in spades. Eat up for beard health!
Next, you want to get lots of sleep while growing out your beard for “No-Shave November,” because rest is also a significant factor to overall health and beard growth. If you really want to go above and beyond, take a ZMA supplement and eat a scoop of high casein protein powder each night. The ZMA will contribute to beard health and can help you sleep better and more restfully. Casein protein is a slow release protein that will feed your muscles all night long while you sleep.
While your beard is coming in, you’ll want to get in the habit of taking care of it. Get yourself a good beard owner’s starter kit: beard oil, beard comb, beard balm. These three products are an essential part to any beard owner’s success. Start with the oil as your new beard is coming in. Apply it every day after you shower to keep your skin moist and to avoid itchy irritation. Once your beard is long enough, you should start combing it regularly after every shower and one other time during the day, either just before bed or just after waking up. This will help you tame your flyaways and help guide the hairs as they grow in. Finally, integrate the balm into your routine. Take it with you and apply daily as necessary as your beard starts to dry out or become itchy. It’s great to always have on hand!
After your month of power growth, set up an appointment with your local barber who specializes in beards. They can help you get it to the shape and length that is best for your face and style. Then, keep their number and set up a recurring appointment every two to three weeks to keep your beard game on point! Growing your beard for “Movember” or “No-Shave November” is the perfect time to try your hand at producing some sweet facial hair and to help raise awareness for an important cause. Get out there and start growing!