Stefanie Rudolph

Movember - The "M" stands for men's health

What's your “Mo” for November?

Whoever thinks that the moustache November, we call it Movember, simply means that men decide to grow a beard for fun between 01-11 and 30-11 has missed the key point.

Behind this so-called Movember stands an organisation of by now more than 6 million members who do unique work in the battle against the most common illnesses of the male sex.

Paul kim k Fyp E z9dcw unsplash edit

But why explicitly men’s health?

In the founders’ opinion men’s health is in a critical state, or to be more precise: Men die too young - on average six years earlier than women, and too often this can be explained by the nature of their sex.

Men suffer from cancer generally 20 % more often than women. Prostate and testicle cancer are the most common ailments. Prostate cancer is the most common form of cancer in men making up a share of 13.5 % of all types of cancer after lung cancer with 14.5 % worldwide, (source) and the number of cases is expected to nearly double by 2030 and rise to 1.7 million cases. Prostate cancer is the most common malign type of cancer in men and the third most common cancer-related cause of death. The frequency rises with age up to the eighth decade. (source)

Mental illnesses, however, also affect men more than women. Nearly three quarter of all suicides are committed by men. The World Health Organisation estimates that every year 510,000 men commit suicide. That is one per minute.

Moustache November
Moustache November

What does the Movember Community exactly do against that?

They collect money in a creative way to support cancer foundations or research institutes for mental health etc. and to finance projects in these areas.

The probably best-known and still very popular campaign is in fact the Moustache November, hence the name. Men can register on the Movember platform and collect donations in the month of November by growing a beard.

As a motivation the organisation offers various support tools on its website such as the “how to grow” manual or a style guide for beards. Simply register and join in.

Pexels pixabay 235922

Run for all

If you’re not ready to commit to the bearded style, you can choose an alternative and get moving and start running - 60 km in a month - for 60 men who every hour commit suicide around the world. (This is also suitable for female supporters whose beard simply does not want to grow properly).

Matheus ferrero Rxpq ZB Bev Kg unsplash edit

Do something!

If you do not have the time and motivation to do sports and if you’re not the bearded type, there is a third alternative - a Mo-Ment-Event. It should be fun and can be a virtual or a face-to-face event.

There really is something for every one.

And last but not least, the organisation offers information on its website regarding male health with a focus on prostate cancer, testicle cancer and mental health, and offers its readers the possibility to gain insights - to understand and to learn - and ultimately know when they have to act and how.

But where does this idea come from?

Kreativ Bier
Kreativ Bier

In 2003, the two friends Travis Garone and Luke Slattery from Melbourne had a beer in the Gypsy Bar in Fitzroy and started talking about recurring fashion trends. The moustache, an important part of the past decades, had completely disappeared in recent trends. They joked about it and how they could bring it back.

The two of them decided to suggest to their friends to grow a beard again. Inspired by a friend’s mother who collected donations for breast cancer, they decided to use the idea to start a campaign about male health and prostate cancer. They set up the rules for the Movember (which are still valid today) and decided to have a donation of ten dollars for every beard. Travis came up with the first Movember logo, and they sent out an e-mail with the title” Are you man enough to be my man?” They found 30 guys who were prepared to accept the challenge.

The first 30 “Mo Bros” (moustache brothers) had so much fun growing their moustaches that it was decided in 2004 to give this idea a formal frame and all participants a serious reason to grow their beards. Adam Garone paved the way to bring Movember to the next level, and registered a company and set up a website. Justin Coghlan came on-board to lead the international campaign.

Since these first years Movember has grown at an impressive speed. By now, there are official campaigns in 21 countries, and taken together they have raised more than 730 million Australian dollars that have been used to finance more than 1200 programmes for male health. They have expanded their focus on four central subjects of male health: Prostate cancer, testicle cancer, bad mental health and lack of exercise.

“We have seen millions of moustaches grow, significant breakthroughs in scientific research and a fundamental change in the discussion about men’s health.”

Moustache Manual

Barber Shop
Barber Shop

For everyone who wants to take part in this year’s Movember and has decided for the bearded option, here are a few helpful tips when growing a beard:

Step 1: Washing

Dust, fluff, crumbs: A beard collects dirt of all type, therefore you should wash it once a day. There are special beard shampoos available. It is equally important to wash the underlying skin well to avoid itching and other incommodities.

Step 2: Combing

Beard combs are recommendable for full beards, but for short ones, brushes with natural hair are more suitable: They spread the grease of the skin into the tip of the hair to provide natural care and shine.

Step 3: Trimming

Depending on length and hair growth a beard should be trimmed once or twice per week to look neat and tidy. A wet shaver can be used for clean contours. Highest precision is achieved with a razor blade or a wet shaver. When you have finished shaving you can apply a gentle aftershave to soothe the skin.

Step 4: Caring

Unruly, brittle hair can be brought under control using beard oil. Simply spread a few drops on your palms and gently massage them into the beard and the underlying skin areas. If you find the oil too greasy, use a balsam or a moisturizing fluid.

Step 5: Styling

Whether you want to tame your beard or try out creative styles - with beard wax you have unlimited possibilities. Simply warm the wax up between your fingers and start twisting and twirling.

And if you’re looking for the ultimate experience why not visit an authentic barber?

Stefanie Rudolph