Think of moustaches as hairy ribbons. They're not pink like the symbol for the fight against breast cancer, but last year during November nearly one million of these flavor-savers worldwide hovered over men's lips to bring awareness to a disease that affects one out of every six guys.
Movember is an international charity movement that bullies back against prostate cancer. On November 1, many manly men will shave their faces and begin to grow a fresh moustache, or "Mo," for the month. Ladies can participate by becoming "Mo Sistas," and help start fundraising teams or recruit dudes to get hirsute for 30 days.
It's been six years since the Australian-born movement moved into the United States. Talk about Mo-mentum. Worldwide, $126 million has been raised. Last year, 145,000 Americans rounded up $15 million. Movember COO Jason Hincks says brand awareness doubled in the U.S. from 2010 to 2011.
Who goes Mo? "The bulk of our audience is 18 to 35 years old, old enough to grow a Mo with their first ball of fire," says Hincks, with Aussie flair. He adds that the longer the Movember campaign exists in a country/market, the older the demographic becomes.
Growing a moustache doesn't require looking like or a slouch or a sleazy 1970s porn star. For those eyeing Movember participation, Urban Shave Barbershop owner David Obdrzalek offers these tips for how best to grow and show a mo:
Choosing a Style. "I look at how each guy's hair grows naturally," says Obdrzalek. "Is your hair fine, or do you have 'holidays' [gaps]? Guys with thin lips should definitely consider a moustache - it fills up your face and brings balance."
Upkeep. Electronic beard trimmers are the way to go, says Obdrzalek. He recommends (and happens to sell) the Panasonic Moustache & Beard Trimmer. It's cordless, you can take it in the shower and it retails for about $25.
Cleanliness. A moustache can make your upper lip dry and ruddy. Don't forget to wash it daily. Our expert says you can shampoo and condition it, and/or go the extra (s)mile by using a lava pumice soft scrub.
The Big Don't. The number-one mistake made by rookie mo-growers is slathering on too much shaving cream and using a multi-blade shaver. Hey, Fuzz-Face, you can't cut what you can't see! Instead, Obdrzalek says use a single-blade system and a clear, pre-shave solution like John Allan's Slick Water.
Urban Shave Barbershop
3774 Park Blvd, Hillcrest
At the end of the month, Movember participants are invited to attend regional Grand Partes, where mustachioed men dress up in costumes that befit their mos (think Tom Selleck, Ron Burgundy, etc.). The San Diego Parte will be held November 30 at Block No. 16 Union & Spirits (8 p.m. - 1 a.m.), in East Village. More information: us.movember.com.