You've still got time, but you better hurry. Things get hairy this November, but that doesn’t mean you can’t stay sharp.
No Shave November—alternately known as Movember—has become the ultimate test of a man: Originally created as a way to spread awareness of men's cancers, it is simultaneously a challenge to see which of your friends can become the scruffiest and scraggliest, all in the name of a good cause. But if you can afford to stall your shaver for a month, why not go beyond that and see what you’re really made of?
If anyone’s happy to help, it’s the guys of the popular New York City barbershop Frank’s Chop Shop. Since opening in 2006, they’ve become very aware of when No Shave November gives way to December. “All of a sudden, we have back-to-back appointments all day where guys are coming in and shaving off their beards!” owner Mike Malbon exclaims.
His guys are hardly just barbers, though—they’re groomers of some of the best-looking celebrities (everyone from Drake to Jake Gyllenhaal)—and regular guys, too. Below, Chop Shop barber Kevin Kellett gives five crucial rules for starting and maintaining the perfect beard.
Obtaining a solid beard takes at least a month, so shaving in mid-October should give you a full-figured fuzz to be proud of come November’s close. While we want you to look your best always, it’s highly recommended that you hold off any heavy-duty shaping or trimming for at least the first month. This way, you can understand how your hair naturally grows and get an idea of what kind of shapes your beard can take.
Man to man: It’s okay to admit that you’ve never done this before. And while your follicles will become the star of the show, the base player—the skin underneath—has just as important a role. If you aren’t aware of your skin type (whether dry, oily or sensitive), Kellett suggests heading to your barber, who should be able to point you in the right direction.
Understanding your facial hair and having a barber who knows his stuff are two major keys to unlocking your beard’s potential. Moisturizing daily with the right stuff is key. There are millions of products out there, but Kellett has a favorite: “In my opinion, you can’t go better than coconut oil. It’s natural, it smells good, washes out, adds all the nutrients that you would need.” Any chump can be lazy enough to grow a beard, but maintaining a healthy face won’t leave a disaster area should you ever ditch it.
At some point on your journey to facial freedom, your skin may fight back. The dreaded itch is no joke, but it’s no reason to reach for your razor. Just keep shampooing and moisturizing, and your face will eventually adjust to its newfound glory.
Once you’ve conquered a month of maintaining your skin, growing your hair and fighting the itch to shave it all off, you should have a perfect canvas with which to sculpt a facial masterpiece. “Some guys like to keep it sharp, others like to go natural,” Kellett says. “A lot of guys now are going for the full-beard look—a little bit more narrow on the cheeks, more angular towards the chin. It shapes the face a little different.”
Of course, regular check-ins with your barber will help, but you’ll save time and money by putting in work at home, with nothing but a razor and a dream. “It takes a lot of time in front of the mirror to get it right,” says Kellett. “And if you mess it up, you’re always welcome to come in!”
So if you're actually going for it, do it right with the Beardman's Grooming Kit from Beardbrand.