What’s The Story Behind No-Shave November?
Wait, what the heck is No-Shave November, anyway?
It’s a valid question.
First of all, sort of like Dry January, it just has a ring to it. Marketers love loose rhymes and alliteration, after all. Perhaps because of that, it loses its meaning over time, and you’ve forgotten why you even grow it out every November.
For example, does this sound familiar?
“So you just, like, don’t shave for the whole month?”
Not a great look boys! Let’s get our credibility back.
We’re not just growing beards for the heck of it. We have a purpose here! No-Shave November DOES indeed have meaning, an important one, far deeper than those hair follicles. Let’s throw away our razors and dig into that beautiful bearded history, shall we?
What is the History of No-Shave November?
No, it isn’t just a social media trend. It all started one crispy autumn morning in a log cabin in backwoods Montana... Just kidding!
Actually, we can trace the roots of taking a month off from shaving all the way back to ancient Greece. Seriously. Greek philosopher, Plato, believed that one of the best ways to acquire knowledge was to grow a God-like beard for 30 days. His student, Aristotle, followed this teaching and even wrote about it in Nichomachean Ethics, “…no man can be trusted if he is without a beard. For that reason, beard growth training is as important as proper training in ethics.”
Beard ethics! Who knew?
Fast forward a couple of thousand years and here we are, watching each other’s beard progress on social media, just like the Greeks imagined.
Do we do it to gain knowledge? To fight the establishment? To forfeit our chance of joining the Yankees (yes, they still do have a no-beard policy and haven’t played November baseball in a while anyway).
The answer to the specific origins of No-Shave November, it turns out, is no less noble. It’s for cancer awareness. Here it is straight from No-Shave.org:
No-Shave November is a month-Iong journey during which participants forgo shaving and grooming in order to evoke conversation and raise cancer awareness. Learn more about how you can get involved and start getting hairy!
The goal of No-Shave November is to grow awareness by embracing our hair, which many cancer patients lose, and letting it grow wild and free. Donate the money you typically spend on shaving and grooming to educate about cancer prevention, save lives, and aid those fighting the battle.
That’s right! On the heels of wearing pink for breast cancer awareness, some intrepid dudes decided November should be for the boys. After all, we already get Thanksgiving for falling asleep on the couch watching football after gorging ourselves on a delicious meal like a bunch of fatties. So why the heck should we shave?
We shouldn’t. So we don’t. For cancer.
No Shave November Vs. Movember
Here’s another sub-question we weren’t sure about — is there a difference between No-Shave November and Movember or are they the same thing with different nicknames?
It turns out, they are entirely different movements that happen to have similar goals. They are separate initiatives started by different charity groups halfway around the world from each other.
Movember is nearly a decade older. The Movember Foundation was started in 2003 in Melbourne, Australia, by a group of 30 people who stopped shaving for 30 days to raise awareness for prostate cancer and depression in men. This movement grew and was then emulated around the world.
No-Shave November surely took some inspiration from our Aussie brothers. The Chicago-based Hill family started No-Shave November as a fundraising initiative two years after losing family patriarch, Matthew Hill, to colon cancer. His eight children started No-Shave.org and spearhead the American version of the movement to raise money for cancer-fighting foundations. To date, they have helped raise more than $10 million.
See? There is power in beards and strength in numbers.
But… Why The Beards?
Cancer patients often lose their hair when they undergo chemotherapy to treat their disease. Growing facial hair is an easy way to show support for your fellow man. While they’re fighting, you’re growing. It’s a pretty easy, low-effort commitment to make!
***PSA here: Are you a male over age 45? It’s time to get your colonoscopy and prostate exam. These are easy preventative measures you can take to catch something early if it’s there and live a longer, happy, healthy life with your family. Just do it!***
How To Participate In No-Shave November
No-Shave.org has rules. Read up so you don’t get disqualified.
The rules of No-Shave November are simple: put down your razor for 30 days and donate your monthly hair-maintenance expenses to the cause. Strict dress-code at work? Don’t worry about it! As always, we encourage participation of any kind; grooming and trimming are perfectly acceptable.
We love that some of us gents use this campaign to raise funds for cancer research or a loved one’s treatment. We also think it’s totally fine that many others will just grow their beard in solidarity and leave out the fundraising portion. No pressure! Remember that ice bucket challenge thing? You just took the video and didn’t donate, did you? Same thing here.
Let us also note here that there is no wrong way to grow a beard. You just kind of have to let your face work its magic. But, do NOT buy into any products that claim they can help stimulate beard growth or give you a richer, fuller beard in just a month. That’s not a thing. Beards take time and no one’s facial fur grows at the same speed or thickness. You’re mostly dealt the card you were dealt but will learn tricks over time to groom that thing into something presentable. We’re here to help.
How To Make It Through The Month Successfully (& Comfortably)
We’ve got a bit of a hot take on No-Shave November: Some trimming and grooming are absolutely allowed and encouraged.
The point isn’t to go all Methuselah and just let that thing get wild. You don’t want whiskers in your mouth whenever you take a bite of food. You don’t want fliers going full static on you.
We’re not growing beards just to say “Whelp, time to throw on my give-ups, sit here on this couch, and ditch grooming until Santa comes down this here chimney.”
That’s not really it at all, friends!
How about showing solidarity for your fellow mankind by growing a beard you (and your lady) can be proud of? One that finally earns you that mountain man cred you’ve craved. More “Yeah, that guy looks like he could swing an ax,” than “I bet he has a cat, book collection, and wears beanies in the summer.”
Let’s grow it AND groom it so that beard looks and feels the best possible. A confidence grower, if you will.
Grow yourself a glorious beard, comfortably. And if you have the means, please do participate in No-Shave November and donate to a cancer charity of your choice. Round up the boys and grow your beards out together. Have some fun with it!