“You look funny,” my 15-year-old niece said as I stepped into the living room, rocking what I thought was a perfectly shaped, sexy-looking, manly mustache. “It looks like a rat died below your nose.”
“Well, I’m not exactly trying to look good,” I replied, although in my mind I thought I looked rather dashing. “I’m half way through Movember!”
“Movember. It’s a super cool thing some men do across the world to raise awareness for men’s cancer and mental health,”I responded proudly, temporarily forgetting that I was talking to a 15-year-old.
I could sense that she wanted to ask a million questions, yet she only said one thing: “That’s very brave of you. It doesn’t look good at all, but I’m glad you’re doing it for a good cause.”
That was part of my first experience doing Movember, or as some people call it, “No Shave November.” Looking back, I hate to admit that my niece was right: I looked ridiculous with that mustache. What I’ve learned after doing Movember for a few years now—aside from the rising health problems that plague men, of course—is that growing a mustache or beard is not as easy as it sounds: It actually takes some serious grooming and styling skills. While there’s no such thing as the perfect mo/stash or beard, there’s a lot of things to consider, from the kind of grooming tools and products you’d need to maintain it to the kind of clothes that you’d wear with it. I want to share with you a little bit about the grooming and styling techniques I’ve learned along the way, hoping you’d learn a thing or two to get you through Movember and No Shave November with as little effort (or ridicule) as possible.
The Shave Before the Storm
Electric razor or the good old-fashioned blade? This is the million-dollar question most of us are confronted with—and it’s not always an easy one to answer. For me, it all comes down to comfort and results. I’ve been very lucky with my electric razor but I don’t really shave every day. I kind of like my 5 o’clock shadow, but If you prefer to start the challenge with a baby face, using the manual razor might be a better option. Either way, I recommend prepping your skin with a good cleanser, like Triumph & Disaster Ritual Face Cleanser, and condition the shaving area with a pre-shave oil or scrub like The Art of Shaving’s Unscented Pre-Shave Oil or Anthony Pre-Shave Oil.
When it comes to shaving, I’ve discovered that there are virtually two ways to shave: downwards and upwards (never sideways, ouch!). But what makes or breaks a good shave is the shaving cream or gel and the after shave. When it comes to the cream there’s nothing like going back to a brand that’s been there the longest time and has never failed, the Italian Proraso, I strongly recommend their Refresh Shaving Cream Tube. For the perfect after-shave, I strongly recommend something that will help you grow a healthy stash or beard and will help you avoid redness, bumps and ingrown hairs, like Proraso Refresh After Shave Lotion or if you prefer a good moisturizer try one of my newest obsessions Baxter of California Oil Free Moisturizer.
Ooooh, We’re Half Way There…
It’s been two weeks since the challenge started and you are at that point of my story above, that really awkward stage when you look more like Frida Kahlo than Robert Downey Jr. It might look awful and you might be thinking about quitting, but I strongly recommend that you keep going. Things will get better, trust me. Plus, remember you’re doing it for a good cause.
Now, if you are one of those guys who grows hair like crazy and you’re already starting to look like big foot’s younger brother, I would recommend to trimming a little at this point. For this, I use a fabulous machine, its name says it all: The Virtually Indestructible Barbershop Clipper by Remington. The great thing about this tool is you’ll be able to use it on your head as well.
This Is the End… or the Beginning
This is the point when you get to decide whether you want to take the lumberjack look to the next level and rock it through the holidays (surprising your whole family and making them believe you’re keeping the look forever because you realized how well you look with a beard and stash but in reality you’re definitely shaving before summer starts). Or maybe you’re done and it’s time to go back to your usual baby face or 5 o’clock shade. If you’re going with the lumberjack look, I would recommend conditioning your beard and/or mo with a good beard oil like Jack Black’s Beard Lube or go all out with Billy Jealousy’s Beard Envy 3 Piece Kit. But if you’re ready to say good bye to your hairy face, start by trimming it first and then go back to step one.
Whatever you guys decide to do before, after or during this challenge, don’t forget what this social movement is all about: showing physically (or facially) what you’re supporting morally, and maybe financially: the fight against men’s cancer and mental health problems. If you wish to take this challenge to the ultimate level, here are some links where you can show your support beyond the Mo. Happy Movember and No Shave November!