The Great Debate

Urban Beardsman
The Great Debate

Fall is upon us and with the changing of the seasons comes one of the greatest debates of our generation: how much and how often should you shave your face during the month of November? Now I know what you’re thinking, “I’m actually much more interested in learning the delicate art of deep frying a turkey” or “Is it socially acceptable to wear flannel everyday now?,” but Fall, particularly the month of November, offers men around the world the opportunity to be part of something that many actively avoid the other 11 months our of the year: a community solely focused on celebrating their facial hair.

These days November presents two cultural phenomena that men the world over have started embracing, in order to both support great causes and experiment with their own appearances. Movember, which encourages gents to grow out their mustaches in support of prostate cancer research, started the trend in 2004 and has since raised hundreds of millions of dollars to support men’s health. Similarly, No Shave November, which also supports amazing cancer research efforts, has become a jumping off point for lots of men to try out the bearded life in a safe and temporary setting.

With two great options to choose from, how does a guy decide which journey to take? Well, aside from possible genetic prohibitions that may limit your follicular productivity, like so many other things in life, you must decide for yourself. In the meantime though, let’s look at some of the reasons to give either mission a shot.

1. You’re Physically Capable of Growing a Beard

Sure, you might work in finance or medicine, two professions that seem to look down upon men proudly showing off their bearded capabilities, but you’re at least aware that the never ending battle with your all-encompassing stubble signals that your man mane is just itching to show what it’s capable of. Well now is the time, amigos, to lay down the razor and let nature takes its course.

Even for those of us who would describe their five o’clock shadows as “patchy,” embrace it. The longer you let your beard run wild, the less you’ll even notice such things and, as with all other things, wear your new beard with confidence and you’ll become mightier than Thor himself (well, maybe).

Verdict – No Shave November
Product – Soft Goat Stubble Beard Softener

2. You Can’t Physically Grow a Beard

Unfortunately, some guys just flat out cannot grow a beard. Period. It is what it is and although the rest of us wish they could participate in the glory of bearded bliss, we know that some things are seemingly out of your control (or so we thought). Oddly enough though, many men who are incapable of growing beards are able to summon some pretty solid mustaches and that is something that we should both celebrate and encourage.

Much like young beards, rocking a mustache, especially for the first week or two, will have its uncomfortable moments (yes, there will be jokes made at your expense, mostly having to do with your likelihood to drive a white van and offer kids candy, but just take it in stride), but once you’ve gotten over the initial hump, you’ll enter every room with an aura about you that is unachievable through any other route. One quick tip – mustaches can get unruly, make sure you keep yours under control.

Verdict – Movember
Product – Four Vices Mustache Wax

3. You’re the “Camping Guy” of Your Group

Do you love to camp? Are you the guy everyone asks for advice from when evaluating tents? Do you smell of rich cedar and pine (if not, we can help)? Well, then most likely you’ve already grown a beard at some point, but if not, now is officially THE time. Embrace your inner John Muir and let the ruggedness of your face match the landscape of the wild world around you. You know what’s manly? A guy who knows how to avoid bears in the woods by tracking their paw prints. You know what’s even manlier? The same guy, plus four weeks of untamed beard.

Verdict – No Shave November
Product – Tree Ranger Beard Oil

4. Your Dad Had/Has a Mustache

November is a month dedicated to men’s health and who better to celebrate and pay homage to then the most impactful man in your life: your dad. Obviously not every dad rocked a mustache at some point, but more likely than not, if your pops was post-pubescent anytime after 1965, he probably tried it on for size, whether he likes to admit it or not.

By growing a mustache to celebrate your family heritage, not only are you showing your family pride, but you’re also dialing into a long line of men in your family who at some point have thought, “Hmm, I wonder how cool/manly/gentlemanly/hip I’d look with a Tom Selleck across my upper lip?”

Verdict – Movember

1. You’ve Always Had a Beard

Although most of these suggestions are geared toward inexperienced growers of facial hair, don’t think we’ve forgotten about you, dedicated beardsmen of the world. No Shave November for you is just another month, much like No Shave March or August, which is all the more reason to try a mustache on for size. Don’t even worry about starting off completely shaven, just give your cheeks, chin, neck, and jaw a good sheering and take a walk on the mustachioed side of the tracks for a couple weeks. It’s amazing how people react when you suddenly only have a mustache and that feeling, along with allowing your face some much needed sun exposure, is reason enough to go for the Mo’ next month.

Verdict – Movember

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