No-Shave November is right around the corner, gentleman. For the beardly-inclined this means growing unruly facial hair for the entire month while raising cancer awareness.
If you choose to take this mission, the money you normally spend on a month’s worth of haircuts, trims, and grooming products would instead be donated to cancer organizations such as St. Jude’s Research Hospital, Prevent Cancer Foundation and Fight Colorectal Cancer.
You only need to set the razor down for 30 days. But, fear not, if you are required to groom and trim your face to keep your job or your wife happy, that’s perfectly fine too.
You in? Here are some ways to maintain a beard and the pros and cons of growing it out:
Beard Trimming Tools
If your plan is to simply try growing facial hair for a month, maybe you only need your razor or scissors to tackle and tame it. You might not need to go out and buy a separate beard grooming tool — unless you decide you want to keep that bad boy going after the month of November is over. It takes a least a month to grow a solid beard.
“That’s when it’s time to get a real beard trimmer,” according to the Groom+Style beard trimmer guide. “It may not be enough to make your facial hair look as perfect as Bradley Cooper’s or Hugh Jackman’s, but it can definitely help you avoid looking like Tom Hanks in ‘Castaway’.”
Be sure to do thorough research on your manscaping tools as there are many different kinds of beard and stubble trimmers out there today. Some stubble trimmers don’t do well at trimming beards, but most beard trimmers can produce sexy stubble. Some units can do both.
Also, maybe this is obvious, but if you use your grooming tools “down there,” you run a greater risk of sexually transmitted infections than those who do not because of micro tears that can happen in the skin during extreme grooming. A BBC article states some of the findings from a survey of more than 7,500 American adults, indicating that “any type of grooming was linked to an increased risk of having a sexually transmitted infection. And the more frequent and extreme the grooming, the greater the risk. Those with the most extreme habits were three to four times more likely to contract an STI, particularly infections from skin to skin contact such as herpes and HPV (human papillomavirus).”
The Dreaded Beard Itch
It’s common for beards to get itchy, especially if you’re a newbie to beard growing. The irritation can range from mild to super annoying and distracting. Why? Hair poking out of the skin can make it itchy. Give the beard a chance to grow out beyond the follicles, which means you may have to avoid shaving or trimming it as the beard grows out.
“When you shave, you leave a sharp edge on the end of each hair inside its follicle, the tiny tube that contains and shields each hair,” according to Healthline. “When the hair grows out, this sharp edge can scratch the follicle, causing it to itch. When you’re growing out a beard after shaving for a long time, all of your follicles across your face can itch.”
Beard hair is called androgenic hair, and its growth comes from the hormone testosterone. Your beard needs to be take care of in a different manner as a result.
Moisturize Your Skin Underneath
Even if you don’t shower every day, you should wash your beard every day with a cleanser specific to beard care.
What’s the point in having kick-ass hair growth if you’re not taking care of your skin and the beard itself? Instead of fighting your skin, treat it right. Because there are so many products available for your skin and beard (oils, shampoos, conditioners, etc.), it’s a good idea to talk to a great barber who can recommend a daily moisturizer and other products that match your skin type.
“In my opinion, you can’t go better than coconut oil,” Chop Shop barber Kevin Kellett told Men’s Journal. “It’s natural, it smells good, washes out, adds all the nutrients that you would need.”
Growing a majestic beard for a good cause is a worthwhile endeavor for November — just take care of your face along the way! If you want to get involved through No-Shave November’s website, you can participate here.