What is No Shave November and How is it Different From Movember?

What is No-Shave November and How is it Different From Movember?

When November is here, the beards will appear.

Why November? Because it’s the launching pad for No-Shave November, a rallying cry for men everywhere and the chance to grow a beard for a worthy cause.

No-Shave November represents a month-long journey in which participants put down their razors, let their whiskers take over, and raise cancer awareness. In other words, it’s the perfect time to grow a beard, all while helping a vital cause.

No-Shave November and how it all began

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No-Shave November’s roots trace to 2009 when a Chicago family of eight siblings, who saw their father succumb to a lengthy battle with colon cancer two years earlier, created a foundation to help raise money for cancer awareness and cancer-related organizations.

No-Shave November, a family-run, web-based organization, raises money for cancer prevention, research, and education. It’s raised over $2 million since its inception.

The movement encourages people to “embrace their hair” – particularly their whiskers – to honor cancer patients who lose their hair during vigorous medical treatments.

Even if you can’t grow a beard, either because of genetics or other roadblocks, you can still participate in No-Shave November.

For example, some hair salons offer discounts on haircuts and even donate some of the funds to an appropriate charity. Women can participate by not shaving their legs or by helping to raise cancer awareness.

No-Shave November rules

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It’s not complicated. If you want to grow a beard in November as part of the No-Shave movement, you put down your razor for 30 days and let your facial hair run free.

You can donate the money you’d normally spend on hair maintenance to the No-Shave November cause.

While none of the rules are etched in stone, per se, participants are encouraged to start with a clean slate on November 1. And that means being cleanly-shaven before the calendar turns to November.

For the rest of the month, that means no shaving, trimming, or grooming your beard. Again, the money you donate should be equal to or more than the cost of shaving products you’d normally use.

Participants also are encouraged to use their new beard as a starting point for a conversation that raises awareness about cancer and cancer research.

The bottom line is that you’ll have the perfect excuse to grow a beard – or mustache, for that matter – whether you’re a first-time grower or someone with a bearded past.

Whether you let your whiskers run wild or choose one of the many popular rocking beard styles today, you have a month for which to indulge your inner beardsman.

Are you undecided on what style of beard to wear, perhaps after the No-Shave November movement concludes on Nov. 30? Our handy beard style guide will help you to choose.

How No-Shave November is different from Movember

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November is a hairy month, thanks to No-Shave November and Movember. The latter, created in 2003 by a couple of gents in Australia, also helps raise money for worthy causes.

Movember, powered by the Movember Foundation, focuses on the mustache and encourages participants to grow a mustache during November to raise funds and create awareness for men’s health.

Specifically, the foundation raises money for projects, research, and programs related to prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and men’s mental health issues, including suicide prevention.

The Movember movement has participants in over 20 countries, raising $710 million over the years. It provides funding for over 1,200 men’s health programs.

Participants raise funds, and awareness, in a variety of ways through the Movember initiative, including by getting family and friends to donate money for every day they grow their mustache in November.

Like the No-Shave movement, Movember lasts from Nov. 1 to Nov. 30.

It’s fair to say Movember has helped the mustache become more popular after nearly vanishing, figuratively speaking, in many countries.

And it’s all about the mustache: Movember members suggest shaving your beard, or at least trimming it, to shift focus onto the mustache.

To learn more, check out the Movember Foundation website.

The organizations benefiting from No-Shave November

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The No-Shave November movement works with three organizations: the Prevent Cancer Foundation, the Fight Colorectal Cancer foundation, and the St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital.

Prevent Cancer Foundation

The PCF is among the leading voluntary health organizations in the U.S. It’s a non-profit organization focused on cancer prevention and early detection.

The PCF also emphasizes cancer research and awards grants and fellowships to promising scientists who have novel ideas for the prevention and early detection of cancer.

Fight Colorectal Cancer Foundation

Colon cancer is the second-leading cause of death (in men and women) in the United States, and the Fight Colorectal Cancer organization funds and promotes advocacy and research.

Among the many reasons why the FCC group focuses its energy on colorectal cancer is that the latter is a preventable disease, thanks to screening.

While 1 in 3 people aren’t up to date with colorectal cancer screening, a 2014 American Cancer Society report showed the colon cancer incidence rates dropped 30% in the U.S. over the previous decade, because of increased and improved screening practices.

Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital

St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital treats and defeats childhood cancer, including the most aggressive forms of the disease, and families never receive a bill from St. Jude’s, whether it’s for treatment, housing, travel, or food.

What to expect when you’re growing

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Many men who participate in the No-Shave November movement are growing a beard for the first time. Good for them – and for you if you fall into that category. The beard journey is one to be enjoyed.

While growing a beard isn’t complicated, necessarily, there are some stages in the process that many men experience – stages which you may or may not have anticipated. Here’s a closer look:

Week 1

Not a lot goes on during the first week of No-Shave November, or anytime that you start from scratch and start growing a beard. You stash your razor and favorite shave cream, gel, or foam and let nature do the rest.

While your beard will grow at a different rate than a lot of men, you’ll start to notice the difference, both in how your face looks and in the time you save by not shaving every morning.

You may even notice that your new beard is a bit patchy or too thin. No worries, because you’re not alone, and it’s no time to panic.

Most men have patchiness and thin roots at this stage of the game – patchiness and thinness that’s likely to go away as your beard becomes longer.

Week 2

Something you may notice during the second week of beard growth is itchiness. Beard itch is common and, honestly, often uncomfortable enough that many men reach for their razor and shave away the issue – and their new beard.

Don’t do it.

Remember, you’re growing a beard for a good cause, and, in most cases, beard itch will vanish in a week or two. Why does it itch? In part, because your new growth of facial hair pulls the body’s natural oil (sebum) from the skin and leaves your skin feeling very dry.

All hair starts off as a fine, fuzzy hair that can be quite itchy. This is because the ends of these wispy hairs are sharp and pointed (kind of like porcupine quills). As the hair grows longer, it curls back onto itself, which makes it softer and less irritating to the skin.

You don’t have to suffer in silence, however. Week 2 is an excellent time to start applying beard oil to your whiskers.

Beard oil, a magic elixir for any beardsman, moisturizes the skin underneath your beard while relieving the dryness that leads to itchiness.

Week 3

Beard itch may persist – or start – during Week 3, but a bottle of beard oil in your grooming arsenal is a go-to option to help you get through those periods when comfort is in the rearview.

It’s important to keep your facial hair well moisturized at this point (it helps to use a product with a mild exfoliating effect), so that the dry skin underneath doesn’t cause any irritation. Try to avoid shaving during this phase, as you may end up with patchy areas and ingrown hairs.

You may also notice a few scraggly hairs, but you can keep them in check with a good beard balm. The latter helps train your whiskers to lay down instead of sticking out like a porcupine’s quills.

Week 4

The fourth week of No-Shave November represents the home stretch, and at this point you’ll notice your beard starting to take shape.

It’s a good idea to start washing your beard at this step – if you already haven’t – and we strongly recommend using a beard shampoo or wash, rather than the shampoo you use on your scalp hair.

At this point, it’s also a great idea to look ahead and start shaping your beard. Just because No-Shave November ends on Nov. 30 doesn’t mean it’s time to shave off your facial magnificence. Keep on growing, friends.

Eventually your facial hair will become softer and less prickly. That’s because the coarse outer layer of your beard has been worn away by abrasion from rubbing against your clothing or from using products on it.

When you’ve reached this point, you can start styling and shaping your beard.


Whether you’ve always wanted to grow a beard – and are looking for an excuse to start – or think it’s time to grow another, No-Shave November provides the perfect excuse to do it.

By putting down your razor for a month, you can not only rock the bearded look but also raise money for cancer-related organizations while raising awareness about the potentially-fatal disease.

Many men, and women, will take part in 2019, and there’s no stopping you from joining ranks. Why not jump on board?

We’d love to hear from you, as well. Have you ever participated in the No-Shave November movement? Do you plan to do so this year? As always, we welcome your feedback.

About The Author

Domen Hrovatin
Domen Hrovatin

Domen—a self-confessed facial hair addict—is a grooming professional, style enthusiast, and someone with deep personal experience and knowledge about male pattern baldness. His work was mentioned in countless notable men's grooming and style publications, including Beardbrand and AskMen.

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