Movember returns: How the hairy challenge supports men’s health


Movember Moustache
2023 marks 20 years of the annual Movember event, where men are encouraged to grow moustaches to support men's health awareness and funding.

About this time of year, upper lips start twitching as men everywhere prepare to take part in Movember.

For those that love a man with clean-shaven face, you may well be out of luck, at least for 30 days. The hairy movement, asks men to grow a moustache during the month of November, while raising funds and and being a ‘walking, talking billboard’ for awareness around men’s health issues.

The sprouting facial hair is intended to spark crucial conversation, encouraging those that may not readily discuss health and wellbeing, to reach out and share their experiences or seek support. One of the biggest barriers in regards to men’s health is a reluctance to have open and candid conversations about health issues they face. In order to change this, Movember is a light-hearted occasion to help many deal with what can be serious topics to face.

Movember focuses on three key areas of men’s health challenges – mental health and suicide, prostate cancer and testicular cancer and uses money raised each year to help fund initiatives to improve outcomes in these areas.

Beyond growing the facial hair, men are encouraged to be brave in approaching and discussing things like any family history of cancer, refresh their understanding of the signs and risk factors of prostate cancer and testicular cancer or improve confidence and skills around reaching out to support a mate whose may be struggling or behavior may have changed, or seeking held themselves.

The history of Movember

This year marks 20 years of the movement that was first founded in 2003 when two Australians, Travis Garone and Luke Slattery, decided to start a joke amongst their friends by bringing back the fashion of growing a moustache. Inspired by a friend’s mother who was fundraising for breast cancer, they decided to make the campaign about men’s health and prostate cancer.

The pair designed the rules of Movember (which are still in place today) and agreed to charge ten dollars to grow a Mo. Garone designed the first Movember logo, and they sent around an email titled ‘Are you man enough to be my man?’ They found 30 guys willing to take up the challenge.

Over the years since, Movember has funded more than 1,320 projects around the world. Among a variety of initiatives this year the organisation says it has helped support mental fitness in young athletes, boosted peer support for men with testicular cancer, funded research and trials around prostate cancer and scaled promising mental health projects.

Although growing a Mo is generally restricted to the men among us, Movember encourages women to get involved too, by donating online, championing a Movember participant throughout the month, and helping spread the men’s health message.

Five key men’s health tips

The Movember website shares a range of information to help men better understand and actively seek to manage their health in order to live healthier, happier and longer lives.

Though health is evolving and requires continual consideration, to inspire action, Movember shares the top 5 things for men to know and do:

Spend time with people who make you feel good
Stay connected. Your mates are important and spending time with them is good for you. Catch up regularly, check in and make time.

Talk, more
You don’t need to be an expert and you don’t need to have the sole solution, but being there for someone, listening and giving your time can be life-saving.

Know the numbers
At 50, talk to your doctor about prostate cancer and whether it’s right for you to have a PSA test. If you are African or Caribbean descent or have a father or brother with prostate cancer, you should be having this conversation at 45. Know your numbers, know your risk, talk to you doctor.

Know thy nuts
Get to know what’s normal for your testicles. Give them a check regularly and go to the doctor if something doesn’t feel right.

Move more
Add more activity to your day. Do more of what makes you feel good. Take a walking meeting. Park further away from the station. Get off the bus a stop earlier. Take the stairs instead of the lift. Cycle to work instead of driving.

Best advice to grow your moustache

Choose a style
There are various moustache styles to choose from, such as the classic “Tom Selleck” or a trendy “Handlebar.” Research different styles and pick one that suits your face shape and personal style. Moustaches may grow at different rates for different people. Be patient and resist the urge to trim or shape it too soon.

Maintain proper nutrition
Eating a well-balanced diet with vitamins and nutrients and drinking enough water can promote healthy facial hair growth. Consider including foods rich in biotin, such as eggs and nuts. 

Maintain good facial hygiene
Keep your face clean and moisturised. Using a mild facial cleanser and moisturiser can help prevent skin irritation.

Use beard oil
Applying beard oil can help keep your moustache hair soft and manageable as it grows.

Trim and shape
Once your moustache has grown to a decent length, you can trim and shape it using small, sharp scissors or a moustache trimmer for precision. Don’t forget the rest of your face – keep your cheeks and neck clean-shaven or neatly groomed for a polished look. Regularly brush your moustache to train the hair to grow in the desired direction and to prevent it from looking unruly.


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