November is practically here, and with it comes possibly the best time of year for those of us who sleep through alarms, wake up late, and need that second (or third) cup of coffee before we run out the door: Yes, men, it’s No Shave November or Movember as some people like to call it. Skipping the morning shaving ritual can add enough time for a (very) quick dog walk, an extra piece of toast, or possibly enough time to find your keys, wallet, phone, or whatever else has gone missing since yesterday. More importantly, the No Shave November cause asks men to skip shaving for the month to focus on raising awareness about men’s health in general, and specifically about cancer. After all, many people who are undergoing chemotherapy or radiation therapy lose hair during treatment, so what a better way to be mindful of their travails than to have a little extra hair on hand, er, on the face?
Movember, on the other hand (a charity originally founded in Australia), has a more general focus on mental health — after the past two years, we could all use a little help there — and suicide prevention, as well as prostate and testicular cancer.
Use this month as a great opportunity to start conversations: first about that fabulous beard you’re growing (obvi), and then about the icky things that men, in general, just don’t want to talk about: Mental health, how to check for testicular cancer, getting a physical, etc. The life you save may be your own. Or your father’s. Or your best friend’s. Or your college roommate’s. Even your own son’s.
If you’re not the kind of guy who is comfortable talking about those things (and trust us, we get you) then participate by putting your money where your beard grows. Set up a fundraising page through either of the websites and then promote it like nothing you have done since the hoagie sales you did in high school for the class trip (team uniforms, prom, stripper for your best friend’s birthday…you get the idea.)
Super busy this time of year? Who isn’t? Watch out for your buddies who might be fitting a few more miles into their run this month: Movember is encouraging us all to run 60 miles in November for the 60 men we lose to suicide every hour worldwide; or who are setting up pages on social media to accept financial pledges.
And hey, who doesn’t like to buy stuff? Especially if it’s fun new grooming products. Check out the aisles of your drug or grocery store for products that are donating a portion of proceeds to men’s health causes this month. You’ll see some here at The Manual, but we already know that brands like Philips Norelco, Golden Grooming Co., SELF/ish, and many more will be doing what they can to keep men healthy — and handsome — all month long.
Many programs benefit from these fundraising initiatives, including American Cancer Fund, and Fight Colorectal Cancer. Movember, a charity on its own, works with veterans and first responders, men with prostate cancer, and the GAP5 Testicular Cancer Translational Research Project.
Hey, if you’ve never done it because you were afraid of what people would say, now is the perfect time to do it! You’ve got a great opportunity to explore the world of the hirsute and be able to support these important men’s health initiatives.
- Start now by taking great care of your skin with a great skincare routine. Wash and moisturize day and night, and exfoliate regularly.
- Look into beard growing kits that can help you and your face get used to having all that fur around.
- Take vitamins! We’re big believers in supplements, so be sure to add one that has Vitamins A, B (including Biotin), C, D, Folic Acid, and Iron.
- Eat right! If you eat properly, drink lots of water, and cut back on alcohol consumption this month (hey, the focus is on health); you’re face and skin should have all the vitamins they need to grow a full, lush beard.
- Let it grow, let it grow: depending on how your beard grows in, allow it some time to thicken and grow out. Hairs grow at different lengths, so don’t be too quick to start trimming. On the other hand, before things get messy, grab a trimmer and get familiar with comb lengths and blade settings.
- Don’t take life seriously. Most of all approach this with a sense of humor. If you don’t have the genetics to grow a full beard or mustache, don’t sweat it. After all, November only lasts 30 days! We promise not to tell if you want to shave it all away before the notoriously tense Thanksgiving dinner. On the other hand, if it’s working for you, there are cold winter months ahead where some facial hair may come in handy, and — if you’re a man of a certain age and weight — we hear Santa Claus’s may be in short supply this holiday season!
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