If you've noticed the large numbers of men sporting a little more facial hair lately, there's a good reason for it.
During the month of November, also known as Movember, men all over the world sport a 'stache in support of men's health charities and awareness campaigns. What started in Australia in 2003 has quickly grown into a worldwide movement. Money raised from the Movember Foundation campaigns during the month goes to support men's health in four key areas including prostate cancer, testicular cancer, mental health, and physical activity.
Once you've chosen the moustache style you're going to sport, it's important to care for it correctly. We spoke with Jason Culala, owner and barber at Original Grooming Experts in Toronto to tap his 15 years of experience in the biz of caring for men's facial hair, so that you can care for your mo' like a pro.
1. Cleanse Correctly
While specially-formulated beard shampoos and washes are available, Culala says they aren't always necessary. Most men can get away with using a quality facial cleanser, or even just regular shampoo. Hair is hair, after all. There is one thing that is essential to getting a good cleanse though, and that's hot, steamy water.
"Hot water really helps softens up the facial hair, and it opens up the pores of the skin," he said. "Then you've really got to just work that cleanser into the skin in a circular motion."
Make sure you've rinsed all soap completely when finished.
2. Exfoliate Like an Expert
When it comes to exfoliating the skin underneath your mo', Culala reiterates that hot water or steam is crucial for opening the pores and softening the hair. A clean washcloth should be sufficient, and you'll want to avoid using grit-containing products as they tend to get caught in the hairs.
"It ends up looking like you've put your face in a sandbox," Culala said.
3. Moisturize that Mo'!
As we move into the colder months, skin everywhere -- including on the face -- tends to dry out, which is why moisturizing is essential.
"Putting moisturizer on your face, especially the skin that's underneath the facial hair, you've really got to work it in," Culala said.
Gently towel dry the skin, and apply an aftershave lotion. Two of his favourite brands are American Crew and Crown Shaving.
4. Trim and Shape
No matter your mo', investing in a grooming kit is key for keeping it looking good.
"If you have a full beard or wear any type of facial hair style that needs a lot of upkeep, investing in some type of clipper will definitely help keep it groomed, and help cut the unruly hairs," Culala said.
Once you've found your style, you may find you have trouble growing it in, but there's an easy fix.
"What a lot of guys do, is they let the hair kind of grow over," says Culala. "So there's going to be some parts that are going to be longer than other parts. So it kind of covers, and looks like it's full. There's a lot of guys that can't connect their beard to their mustache, so what they do is they grow the corner of the lip a little bit longer to cover the skin."
5. Use the Right Products
The beard product game is definitely strong, with everything from beard washes and waxes to beard oils and creams. Any of these are excellent picks for styling and softening your mo'.
Culala says that those with finer hair can get away with using the same styling pomade they use on their locks, but those with coarser hair will appreciate the stronger, tackier hold of a beard-specific product to tame stubborn facial hairs.
6. Care for Your Tools
If you're going through all the trouble of caring for your mo', you also need to care for your tools. At a minimum, Culala says men should swap razor blades on a monthly basis.
"You want to change it as frequently as you can," he said. "Whenever you start feeling that light tug on your face, that's a very good sign of when to switch your blade."
Don't forget to look at the condition of your blade before shaving to check for dullness or buildup. If it's not getting properly rinsed out, it won't cut well.
7. Remove with Care
Culala says that men who are typically clean shaven tend not to have problems removing their 'stache at the end of Movember, but those with longstanding facial hair will need to baby the skin a little bit more.
"Take proper precautions and care of your skin, because your skin has gotten used to not being exposed. And honestly, I would recommend that to not just guys, but to everybody, really."
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