We are now in November. Or, as most follicle-wielding activists know it: Movember.
In case you have no idea what the hell I’m talking about, Movember is a yearly event that takes place during the whole month of November, organised world-wide by a foundation with the same name, which traces its origins back to a bunch of well-intended guys in Adelaide Australia.
You see, these guys, around the turn of the millennium met in a pub and came-up with the idea that they could raise awareness about cancer and make people donate towards research on it and towards aiding sufferers by using a very simple, efficient yet adequately symbolic thing that every male has on his person: his follicles.
That’s right. The tiny hair producing skin organs spread all around your body. But in this case, they were interested in facial hair. Because being on one’s face, it is immediately visible as the face tends to be the focus of another person’s glances when we communicate. And facial hair also has fashion value which can also be used.
So, in short, they decided to try and convince people to let their facial hair grow during the month of November in order to draw attention to the fact that cancer patients lose their hair as a consequence of the disease and chemotherapy. So, in essence Movember adherents, in sympathy, would grow theirs long.
Initially Movember started with the idea of every male interested in the event just growing a mustache during the month (hence the name: Mustache + November = Movember). But it evolved in time, to the point at which now, any form of facial hair can be grown in November if you want to show support.
In case you do, here’s 4 facial hair options for Movember.
Let’s start with the original proposal. If you have the right genes to grow it in the first place, and it also fits your facial features well, maintaining a mustache is easy. You just have to shave everything else. However, do be careful when you get around the actual mustache. The best advice is to leave it alone completely and not try to “adjust” it if it tends to “spill” over the side of your cheeks, or if it’s too wide in your opinion etc. In other words, try and follow the natural lines it has when growing on your face without intervention and just leave it at that.
As a note, you might want to use a trimmer at some point to give it a uniform length of your choice, especially if it starts getting too bushy and there’s too great an “elevation” difference between your mustache and the rest of your face, making it seem like you have some form of deceased furry mammal on your upper lip.
If all goes well and you manage to get a proud ‘stache that fits you, you’re set for respect. Because traditionally, a mustache is associated with an authoritative, no-nonsense person that is confident and mentally strong. As a hint, the world’s militaries tend to allow only the mustache as permitted facial hair for their soldiers and officers and as facial hair goes, the mustache is a traditional favorite of policemen everywhere.
2. Goatee (with or without connected mustache)
Initially, a goatee was considered to be just the hair growing on your chin, with nothing else like mustache, jawline, neck hair etc, with the name coming from the look of the chin being similar to that of a goat.
However, in time (around the 1990s) the goatee started being misdefined by the inclusion sometimes of a connected mustache. This problem of different definitions for the goatee lasts to this day. But it doesn’t really matter unless you’re a pogonologist (a beard researcher).
If you feel that a mustache is too much for you, or not your style, just try the goatee in its traditional definition. You can also keep it from going on your entire chin and leave it only directly under your mouth like a strip. This is called a Chin Puff.
If on the contrary, you like the mustache but would like something else beside it to balance it, try growing chin hair. And here you have two choices again: if you grow just the chin hair and mustache without the connecting lines between the two, that is considered by most to be a Van Dyke (named after a 17th century Flemish painter), although the traditional Van Dyke involved the chin hair to be a Chin Puff, so not over the entirety of your chin and the mustache to be big, extended and curled (using wax, or in present times hair gel).
If you grow the chin hair and mustache while connecting them, you get what is sometimes called (apart from a modern goatee), a circle beard. If you make the chin hair in the shape of an inverted T and leave everything else the same (chin hair + connected mustache), you get a Balbo.
In any of these cases, regardless of the variations, a goatee is a type of facial hair that will say you are edgy and confident, and don’t care about people judging you, you don’t let their opinions influence you because you take your own decisions. Also, it is not as conservative and respectable as a simple mustache, but is still a sign that you take care of yourself and are conscious of your appearance because of the care you take of your facial hair shape. Also worth noting is that the goatee was very popular in the 1990s (and still is today), with rock and metal stars, rebels by definition.
3. Chin Curtain
This one is great if you don’t want a mustache but would appreciate a fuller type of facial hair. In short, you shave your upper lip as well as your neck. Anything else (chin, jaw, cheeks, sideburns) you let grow to your desired length.
Regarding the variations on this one, if you trim the sideburns and hair really short, as well as shaving the hair on your jawline and cheeks and chin to be really close to the jaw (or the bottom line of your face), you get a Chin Strap.
If, on the contrary you leave everything like in a traditional curtain, but also let your neck hair grow and trim it into a square, box shape, you get the Old Dutch.
In any case (with the exception of the chin strap), the chin curtain is easy to maintain and can serve to help complement your facial features, compensating for a missing presence where necessary. But be careful that the lines accentuated by the chin strap are not already accentuated naturally by the shape of your face. For example, round face people or those with a prominent square jaw, will only make their jaw more accentuated and prominent.
As regards the feel of this style, let’s just say that Abraham Lincoln is the probably most popular wearer, so that’s the kind of vibe you’ll be giving: warmer than a full beard, but still more rough than less hairier styles. The fact that your upper lip isn’t covered also creates an impression of being relatable, as you can smile and the facial hair won’t detract from this.
4. Full Beard
The all-out version. And, if you’re going for it in the traditional sense, the absolutely easiest thing to grow and maintain. Because you just don’t have to do anything. No adjustments, no trimming, no shaving. Just cleaning and hygiene (which applies for all the others as well). With this style, you just let your facial hair grow all over: mustache, chin (and connection between these two, jaws, cheeks, side burns and neck.
Important to note here is that, again, due to genetics, some men can’t grow a full beard, with the possibility of different patches remaining hair free. But, it’s up to you if you think that you like the look even with those patches, as they tend to grow symmetrical and usually “in-tune” with the rest of the face.
So, that shouldn’t be an obstacle. Especially since a full grown beard is historically considered a sign of manliness, virility, aggression, a tendency to disregard authority but also a sign of wisdom (due to the image of elders), fatherly protection and dependability. So if any of this sounds like you, go for a full beards.
In closing, there are many more variations of facial hair, but these should be sufficient to get you through your first Movember.