No Shave November: Grow a thicker, stronger, less irritating beard this November.
Pretty much every self-respecting man will participate in No Shave November or Movember in some form. The amount of participation whether for a good cause, or just for an excuse not to shave for a month, has skyrocketed over the past few years.
So here lies the problem: you get a week into it and your new scruff starts to get a little itchy. By week two you're pawing at your face and scratching your neck like a dog with a new collar that's too tight. By week three you're wondering who started this ridiculous exercise and are they still alive? If they are you decide you should slap them. By week four, if you even made it that long, your face feels like a desert waste land with unruly cactus patches that are chaffing so bad you won't dare wear a black shirt because your skin is coming off in sheets!
Now, lets flip the script on an uncomfortable No Shave November and discuss why, if done correctly, you will never want to shave your beard off again.
Here are 4 tips on how to dominate this No Shave November and come out looking sharp on the other side.
1) Use a Beard Oil Early and Often - The first key when growing out your fantastic face fur is to keep the scruff, as well as the skin underneath, moisturized and conditioned. I recommend finding a beard oil that contains jojoba oil as the main carrier oil. The jojoba oil replaces the natural oils in your face that are lost when facial hair starts to grow.
For accelerated facial hair growth, I would recommend a beard oil that also contains caffeine. Caffeine will stimulate facial hair growth at the follicle while also strengthening the facial hair, making it thicker. (For more info on why your beard needs caffeine read here) If you want a beard oil that contains both jojoba oil as the main carrier and caffeine to stimulate, thicken, and strengthen, and also smells great: click here.
You will want to apply the beard oil at least twice a day: once in the morning, just after showering while your facial hair is still damp and once in the evening just before turning in for the night. Feel free to use through out the day if you feel dried out.
2) Clean up the neck and cheeks with a straight razor - as a former professional baseball player, we had an old saying: look good, feel good, play good. Yeah, I know, it's poor English. Nevertheless, it couldn't be more true.
Once you commit to growing a glorious face mane, using a straight razor to clean up your neck and cheeks will do two things: 1) It will give you cleaner lines, making your beard appear thicker (This will also give it much better shape). If you can't tell where the beard stops, it tends to look patchy and sloppy, not to mention, cleaning up your neck gives you the look of a chiseled jaw. What man doesn't want a chiseled jaw? 2) Shaving with a straight razor will give you relief from the itching. If you've never shaved with a single blade straight razor, you've probably never experienced a close shave. Post shave, be sure to use a quality after shave containing witch hazel and sweet almond oil. The witch hazel is an anti-inflammatory that will reduce irritation and razor bumps. The sweet almond oil acts as a disinfectant to prevent break outs due to clogged pores. To pick up a quality straight razor that comes with 3 free disposable blades, click here.
Check out our boy Alejandro after he cleaned up his beard with a straight razor. Looking sharp!
3) Brush or Comb your beard regularly - To make sure your beard is growing healthy, it's important to brush and/or comb it regularly. This will eliminate any dead or broken hair, giving it the space it needs to flourish and promote growth. You can pick up a sturdy metal comb here. Use this one not just to stroke your beard but also to open your beer!
4) Don't over wash your beard - The last key to crushing No Shave November is you must not over wash your beard. Washing your beard too much strips away the natural oils in your beard, drying it out. This will also cause what is known as the dreaded beardruff (aka dandruff in your beard). As previously mentioned, use a beard oil that contains jojoba oil and you will be good to go.
Is not washing your beard every day gross you ask? I don't know, let's ask your girlfriend or wife if they wash their hair everyday. Everyone knows a woman is lucky to wash her hair two to three times a week at best. For most women by the end of the week their head consists of 30% hair and 70% dry shampoo. Ha! Not washing your beard can work the same way.
My good friend, and three time National Beard Championship winner Owen Hicks, advises to just rinse your beard with warm water on the days you don't wash it. I would also try to find a beard oil that contains sweet almond oil as a carrier oil. Again, this will help cleanse and disinfect your new found facial hair. (To pick up a beard oil that contains sweet almond oil click here)
Everyone's goal in November may not necessarily be to grow a huge beard. However, take heed to the advice in this article if you want to grow a great looking beard and be comfortable while you do it. I got so comfortable using these methods, that I haven't shaved my beard completely off in over 2 years. I keep it well groomed and professional for work. It's never been more comfortable.
So I wish good luck to every gentleman participating in No Shave November and beyond. If you like the tips in this article use them. If you want to save a friend some agony, share it with them. Good luck gents!