From being a tool for voting eligibility to a symbol for cancer awareness, the male beard is all significant. Now with #NoshaveNovember finally here, we explore quirky styles, accessories and influences. “Beards need as much attention as hair,” points out stylist Neeraj Gaba, also a tough mentor for participants on MTV’s India’s Next Top Model. With WHO numbers revealing that prostate and testicular cancer occurrences have increased worldwide (with cases expected to double to 1.7 million by 2030) initiatives like this are the need of the day. So this month, sport some facial hair for a cause, be it Veerappan’s vintage handlebar or Virat Kohli’s sculpted styles.
City-based designer Chaitanya Rao, who rocks a full beard himself, says, “Beard choices are individualistic and have a lot to do with your personal style.”
For the perfect full beard, Appu Dhanashekar of Vurve Signature salon, tells us, “If you’re looking at thicker facial mane, try out the Garibaldi and Bandholz styles, which are in this season.” Meanwhile Gaba warns that hygiene takes centrestage. “Unkempt greasy beards are a strict no.”
The hipster beard is a long, full beard, usually combined with a clean cut pompadour haircut. Talking about the trend, Gaba says, “Beard sculpting is in this season, so mask that double chin with a full fleshed-out beard that covers half your neck. Highlight your jawline with a sharp trim across your cheekbones or by styling your beard in a V-shape, to form a ducktail.”
For those who would like to experiment, go beyond colouring the beard and try some jewellery instead.
We like the Viking beard
rings with nature-inspired motifs. Rs 1,200 approx.
What to use
This grooming kit from Marks and Spencer is perfect for the rainy season. The pack—which includes a beard oil, styling wax, comb and a pair of scissors—helps keep your beard moisturised and tangle-free, aiding effortless taming and styling. Rs 1,250 at Express Avenue. Details: 28464408
The Man Company, known for their premium oils and washes, is celebrating Movember this year by donating Rs 15 for every order made from their page (from November 1-30) to a cancer society. Details: themancompany.com
This handy brush from DR Harris is crafted from natural wood and thick boar bristles, making it ideal for coarse hair. It comes in a designer pouch and makes a compact addition to your beard kit. Rs 2,200 approximately on mrporter.com
Pogonotrophists have a reason to cheer. Upload pictures of your beards this month to Wink Salon’s social media handles. The best one stands to win exciting offers and packages in December. Details: 4214 8555.
Basics, the apparel brand, is also out with a selfie contest. You can win a Rs 3,000 voucher, just use #Basics-Movember2016. Details: basicslife.com
With castor oil, beeswax and shea
butter, this beard softener from Ustra keeps itching at bay, apart from keeping your beard smooth and frizz free. Cedar oil extract acts as a natural deodoriser. Rs 450.
While Hindi movies like Goliyon Ki Raasleela Ram-Leela, Mirzya and, most recently, Ae Dil Hai Mushkil have showcased gorgeous bearded men, closer home, our tryst with facial hair is no less. Rajnikanth’s full beard in Kabali is our favourite. In fact, Biswajit Ramanik from Toni & Guy, Nungambakkam, tells us that it is the most asked-for style among his clientele. Following a close second is Vikram’s hipster styling in Iru Mugan and Dhanush’s take of the Van Dyke in Maari (2015) and the gruff full beard in Kodi. Let’s wait and watch if Simbu’s brooding look in his upcoming Achcham Yenbadhu Madamaiyada will also get a following.
For gentlemen who aren’t particularly fond of beards, you can still play a part in Movember by donating towards male health research. Visit no-shave.org to contribute. The page also allows you to start your own fundraising initiative.
Mochan’s Movember, the Indian wing of the Movember Foundation, is campaigning for men’s health this month with a number of activities. Head to your nearest Toni & Guy outlet for a free shave till November 7 and to Ashvin Clinics for a free screening and consultation. Details: mochansmovember.com
From the expert
A beard accentuates your look. So the aim is to avoid creating a jungle on the face. The key is to keep it neat, be it at any length. Keep it well hydrated and groomed. You don’t necessarily need to use a million products
— Neeraj Gaba, image consultant and mentor
By Lavanya Lakshminarayanan