No-Shave November

By Nathan Hritz

November ushers in a multitude of significant events. As I spoke about in my previous column, hunting season is now in full swing. November is also the start of the holiday season and most importantly, it is officially No-Shave November.

Men all over the nation are pitching their razors and shaving cream for a month in hopes of sprouting a healthy amount of facial hair, including me. I feel I have some leverage in sharing my thoughts on the subject.

I’m all about the concept of No-Shave November. More widely known as Movember, it was a time dedicated to men growing out their mustaches to raise awareness for men’s health issues such as prostate cancer, testicular cancer and men’s suicide. A valiant cause, if I do say so myself.

However, I believe Movember has evolved into something very different. Movember has almost become a subconscious battle for bragging rights. Two buddies challenged to see who can sport the most whiskers after a short month. I’m all about a friendly competition.

Unfortunately, facial hair is something purely genetic. Some men are unable to sport a substantial amount of facial hair throughout the entirety of their lives, or in worse cases, they have whiskers in patches.

I have personally been blessed in the facial hair department and have no issue growing facial hair whatsoever. This is mostly due in part to my genetics and heritage. I’m mostly comprised of Eastern European lineage, and with that, I am inherently hairy. A small price to pay for a magnificent beard.

To those embarking on the journey to burly looks, I can offer some advice. Facial hair is going to itch for a good while. As most of you know, facial hair is much coarser than the hair on top of your head. The best advice I can offer to you is to keep your beard-to-be shampooed and conditioned. That seems to do the trick for me, along with making for a softer beard.

Having a full beard can often take much more than a month to fully develop. Personally, I have been able to sport a full beard since I was 16. However, I did not have connectors (the segments of hair that connect the mustache to the beard) until I was 18 or so. There isn’t much you can do about that, but if you don’t mind potentially having an Old Dutch beard, then you’re sitting pretty.

There are supplements you can take to enhance the facial hair growing process, but I believe them to be a Ponzi scheme. Facial hair is either something you’ve got or you don’t. There is no suitable in-between. Once you’re sporting a full beard or a beard to a length of your choosing, it is important to take good care of it. Just like you would wash your hair, it is imperative to wash and condition your beard.

There are oils and balms which can be applied and they do work, but are not necessary. I personally go all natural, unless my barber slips me a little something under the table. With this being said, let those whiskers shine.