Yes, gentlemen, it is truly the most wonderful time of the year — that time when we can let nature take its course, grab a few extra minutes of sleep, and skip that morning shaving ritual. As the whiskers grow in, we can point — without compunction — to our favorite social media channel and say “See! It’s No-Shave November!” Everyone will conclude that you are a community-minded, benevolent altruist and not the self-indulgent slob that you truly are.
No Shave November asks its participants (no matter the motivation) to skip shaving for the month — keeping everything from the five o’clock shadow to full-on beards, mustaches, goatees, Vandykes, love patches, horseshoes, muttonchops, etc. — to raise awareness about cancer; significant because so many cancer patients lose their hair during chemotherapy. Volunteers are then encouraged to donate the money they’d normally spend on hair care in a month to organizations that educate about and fund cancer research and treatment.
Now, you know this won’t do for a reader of The Manual. This is a whole new opportunity to try new grooming products! So let’s make a pact to match the money you’ll be spending on caring for your new facial hair care in addition to engaging in any other fundraising efforts. It’s all for a good cause: No Shave November specifically aids the Prevent Cancer Foundation, Fight Colorectal Cancer, and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
If you are trying this out for the first time, your beard and skin may require a little help to get over the first few days and weeks of hirsuteness. You may also find that to keep your job or maintain peace at the family table during the holiday season, a little upkeep is required. Here are some sage pieces of advice and a few product suggestions to take you from clean-cut to boldly bushy.
1. Don’t Over Cleanse
Avoid washing your beard every day. Use a soothing, natural soap when you do wash and always follow up with a conditioner. To get an idea of what to look for in a product, check out The Manual’s guide to winter grooming, and don’t forget to read up on beard balms.
Beard Brand Old Money Beard Wash
Well, we are talking about philanthropy after all, so something called “Old Money” seems apropos. As requested, this beard wash is natural: silicone, sulfate and paraben-free, creating a gentle lather that’s tough enough to handle coarse, curly beard hairs. And when they say it smells like old money, they meant has notes of aged oak, black pepper, and amber. Start here and you’ll practically be a Rockefeller in no time.
2. Use Lube
… on your beard, that is. As fall and winter air gets colder and drier, beard oil becomes a necessity; but if you have drier skin or a course beard, you’ll need it no matter the weather conditions. Apply product daily to a damp beard after your shower, while the skin is still relaxed from the warm water. You can explore our picks for best beard oils, but we also like this offering:
Gentlemen Farmer Beard Oil
Gentleman Farmer was recently launched by a husband-and-wife team based in Upstate New York, inspired by statesman, diplomat, inventor, lawyer, gourmand, oenophile and of course, farmer, Thomas Jefferson. This sustainable, cruelty-free, vegan formula is free of…all the bad stuff, and includes organic castor, moringa oil, and hemp oils, as well as marula oil.
3. Keep It Neat
Trim split ends. We recommend using scissors to prevent dramatic trimming accidents. It may take a little longer, but allows for more precision than an electric trimmer.
Sanguine Professional Moustache Scissors
OK, honestly? We love the black finish and gold accents, but behind those good looks is a precision mustache, beard, and eyebrow trimming machine. They’re hand-crafted from the very finest Japanese steel (just like your favorite katana) by the U.K.-based Sanguine Scissors.
4. Tame That ‘Stache
Use wax to train the mustache to part evenly to both sides of your face. This will keep the hairs out of your mouth, preventing them from becoming a part of your diet (even if those little snacks you find later help you get through long afternoon meetings.) Find our recommended waxes, or try:
Secondary Extra Strength Moustache Wax
Secondary primarily helps keep your mustache healthy and looking great with a firm, reliable hold: yes, this is the product to use if you’re going full tilt Hercule Poirot with a classic handlebar, but it’s also great just for more modest control. Ingredients include Michigan bee’s wax, USP lanolin, castor oil, coconut oil, shea butter, and vitamin E. Like your favorite whiskey, each batch is made, inspected, and packaged by hand.
5. Make It SFW
If you need to keep a more “corporate” beard so you can keep that more corporate job, keep the length spare and be sure to trim along the neck and cheek line. A good rule of thumb is to make sure neck hair is cleanly shaved from the Adam’s apple to your shirt collar, and from the cheek line up, not going any higher than the bottom of the nose — keep sideburn width at a good proportion too. Check out this guide to how to shape a beard for what it takes to get your preferred look.
Remington DuraBlade Lithium Hybrid Trimmer and Edger
The DuraBlade helps keep your bathroom as neat and tidy as your beard, allowing you to groom a full beard down to close stubble, with four guide combs providing different options for length. It lasts 60 minutes between charges.
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