By Colleen McTiernan | Photo by Jimmy Ho Photography

November is finally upon us, and you know what that means. No, I’m not talking about Thanksgiving, fall weather or even Black Friday, but rather No-Shave November! Yes, the month of grown out beards, full mustaches and even long leg hair is here. But what is the purpose of No-Shave November? Aside from the fun pictures that usually accompany the month, the point of putting away the razor is actually to raise cancer awareness and support men’s health issues.

No-Shave November and Movember

Since 2004 the Movember Foundation, founded in Australia, has used mustache growth as a means to support often overlooked men’s health issues, like prostate and testicular cancers. According to the American Cancer Society, prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in American men, after skin cancer. Movember also seeks to bring men’s mental health issues to light, given that men are 3.5 times more likely to die by suicide than women, according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

Movember made its way over to the United States in 2007 and now, during the month of November, participants grow out their mustache, increase awareness and raise money for the foundation. In 2016 alone, the foundation raised $80 million to benefit men’s health.

“I haven’t shaved in almost 8 years so I guess I’ve been a participant of Movember a lot, but haven’t done it specifically for that reason,” Brad Stumpff, manager of operations at UF Mover Guys, said. “I love that men can do something as simple as growing facial hair to raise awareness and support for health conditions and cancer that specifically have an effect on men such as prostate and testicular cancer.”

No-Shave November, a non-profit organization dedicated to increasing cancer awareness and raising funds for cancer research and prevention, was founded in Chicago, Illinois in 2009 by the Hill family. After their father passed away from colon cancer, the family decided to use the already hairy month as a way to raise money.

No-Shave is similar to Movember, except that it focuses on generalized hair growth instead of just mustaches. Those interested in participating need simply to stop shaving (beards, mustaches, leg hair, you name it!) come Nov. 1 and donate the money that they would usually spend grooming. Over $5 million has been raised through No-Shave November in the nine years since it was formed. You can register to fundraise at No-shave.org

Not Just for Men

Although they may not be growing out luxurious beards or twirling their mustaches, women are encouraged to participate in No-Shave November as well. So, ladies, put down the razor and skip those waxing appointments! Instead donate the money you would have spent grooming throughout the month to one of the programs No-Shave November works with, like St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, or to the charitable cause of your choice.

If growing out your hair is not your style, you can still support men’s health through Movember’s initiatives. Not only does the foundation promote the growth of mustaches throughout the month of November, but it also promotes getting active. Put the move in Movember and set a running, walking, swimming or cycling goal for the month. Spread the word about why you set your goal, and then ask for donations for every few miles of your goal that you meet. The Movember Foundation also recommends hosting fundraiser events during November as a third way to raise money for their cause.

Whether you are rocking a Fu Manchu or a handlebar, a full beard or just a goatee, letting your facial (or otherwise!) hair grow out this month is an easy way to advocate for important health-related issues while having fun!

Most Popular Beard and Mustache Styles

The Balbo

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To achieve this sculpted look, grow out a full beard and then shave your facial hair into  the desired shape.

The Full Beard

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Just let your hair grow out and trim to maintain a clean look.

The Stubble

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For those who are not ready to maintain a fuller beard, let your beard grow out ever so slightly then trim to maintain the length.

The Standard/Circle Beard

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Keep the cheeks clean shaven to achieve this tidy beard/mustache combination.

The Handlebar Mustache

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This full ‘stache curls upward at the ends with the help of styling wax.

The Chevron

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For this basic mustache, simply allow your mustache to grow until it just about covers the top lip, then trim to maintain.

The Walrus

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Let your mustache completely cover your upper lip in this bushy extension of the Chevron.

The Horseshoe

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Channel your inner Hulk Hogan with this style. Allow your mustache to grow as you would a goatee, but keep the beard portion