Facial hair: it’s a symbol of virility, masculinity and pure, Rocky Mountain ruggedness. Regardless of your ability to manifest that mountain-man mystique, there’s no better time than November to put away your razor and join the unshaven masses as they participate in Movember, an annual campaign in which participants stop shaving to raise awareness of men’s health issues.
With 15 years of beard-growing experience on his chin, Lee Palichuk, co-organizer of the Alberta Beard and Moustache Championships, has plenty of advice on how to get the most from your Movember cultivation.
Patience is a virtue and Palichuk can’t emphasize that enough with respect to facial hair. “It’s a long journey,” he says. “It’s not like you start growing a beard and it looks awesome immediately.”
Purchase the right supplies
Anyone who has avoided shaving knows the accompanying itch. Palichuk warns you have to persevere through those awkward growing-pain stages. He recommends using a small comb, beard oils and moustache wax as growth progresses and to avoid washing the hair too often. “It’s personal preference, but facial hair is really dry so, the more you wash it, the more it strips it of oils,” he says.
Be selective about what you consume
As the hair gets longer, Palichuk suggests adapting eating and drinking habits. Want to avoid a food-speckled beard? Learn to eat with a fork. He also recommends investing in a whisker dam, a metal plate put on cups to keep moustaches out of beer.
Believe in your beard
In the case of significant others suffering from pogonophobia (fear of beards), Palichuk says to stick to your guns. If it comes down to your relationship or your muttonchops, use elements like length and style to negotiate a compromise.
If negotiations go south, Palichuk says moral support and facial hair-related conversation can be found at The Palomino at monthly meetings of the Calgary Facial Hair Club, of which he is vice-president. Someone there will surely appreciate your facial forest.
For more information about Movember visit ca.movember.com.