You may notice that more men seem to be giving their razors a vacation this month and letting their facial hair grow longer. It might be because they are participating in an annual month-long event called No-Shave November or Movember, with the goal of raising cancer awareness. The first occurrence was in 2004 and has grown in popularity since, with many looking forward to the 30-day break.
The concept, according to No-Shave.org and the Movember Foundation, is to grow men’s health and cancer awareness by embracing your hair, which many cancer patients lose while receiving treatment. This frees up the money that you typically would spend on shaving and grooming supplies, which can be donated to non-profit organizations that provide education on cancer prevention and aid to those fighting it. It’s easy to participate; all you must do is forego shaving for a month. While it may be easier to spot the men that are participating by the increasing length of their stubble, women and those with strict dress codes are also encouraged to participate in whatever way they are able to or offer their support to those who are participating.
Whether you are participating in this annual November tradition, or simply wish to support those who are, here are some trivial facial hair facts that are great conversation additions.
- It is estimated that around 55% of men worldwide have some type of facial hair, while in the United States it is closer to 33%.
- The average beard is made up of about 30,000 whiskers.
- Shaving may have originally been a survival tactic for humans during the last ice age since a frozen beard could lead to frostbite.
- Egyptian Pharaohs, both men, and women, had clean-shaven faces, but are depicted in hieroglyphs as sporting long, metallic beards.
- The Beatles’ Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band record came with several cutouts, including paper mustaches.
- The world’s longest mustache is 14 feet long and belongs to Ram Singh Chauhan of Rajasthan, India.
- The surrealist painter Salvador Dalí published a book dedicated to his mustache, which is comprised of photos of the artist with his iconic facial hair arranged in various ways.
- Peter the Great instituted a “beard tax” in 17th century Russia. Citizens were allowed to grow a beard if they were willing to pay a small fee. Peasants and clergymen were excluded from having to pay.
- The safety razor was invented in Sheffield, England in 1828, the design was modified in 1847 and the overall shape remains the same today.
- Abraham Lincoln’s beard, a style known as a chin curtain, may have been grown in response to an 1860 letter from 11-year-old Grace Bedell, who wrote that “all the ladies like whiskers and they would tease their husbands to vote for you and then you would be President.”
- Beards can inspire strong feelings. Pogonophobia is a condition where people have an abnormal fear of beards, whereas pogonophilia is an overwhelming appreciation for beards.
- Beards grow faster in the daytime than at night.
- The king of hearts is the only king without a mustache in a deck of cards.
Sources: No-Shave.org, Movember Foundation, Rolling Stone, and Mental Floss.