Movember Has Arrived. Here's What You Need to Know

Before you grow your mo (aka mustache), there's some essential info you should consider.

A few years back, Movember (or some variation of a scruffy theme-month) was on the unshaven lips of every cool guy who wanted to turn growing his facial hair into a movement. Granted, sometimes that conversation got a little conflated. No one was quite sure if they were doing Movember, No Shave November, or just growing out an unironic neck beard and calling it activism. The reality of it is, Movember is its own separate thing, with its own separate rules, and it is activism. (That also means that if you have a neck beard, it’s still super gross.)

But in recent years, Movember has felt a bit more quiet. Is he okay? Is he on vacation? Has he shaved recently? For every question, there is an answer, so we searched him—this anthropomorphized month of activism—out and found all the answers you could ever have about Movember.

Ron Burgundy: mustache-haver.


So, I Actually Haven’t Heard of This. That’s fine.

Movember was started in Australia in 2003. As men are wont to do, a group of guys sat around and talked about their ability to grow a mustache. Interested in bringing it back, a group of 30 guys (known as mo’ bros) set off on a journey to grow hair on their upper lip. The next year, they decided to leverage their hairy conversation pieces for good. The first year, 480 participants helped raise almost $50,000 for the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia (PCFA). Over the next 15 years, Movember moved across the ocean and is now a global event, raising massive amounts of money for men’s health causes, ranging from testicular cancer to mental health. 

Billy Dee Williams: mustache icon.

Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images.

Why Can’t I Just Grow a Beard?

Dammit, listen to me: It’s Movember. Because Australians and the British love extra vowels, the Mo in Movember comes from “moustache.” Yes, sure, you can grow a full beard, but that’s No Shave November (or just, you know, growing a beard). It’s not Movember, because there is something strangely polarizing about a mustache. The whole premise behind it is to be noticed and start a conversation about men’s health that wasn’t happening before. Long story short, you can grow a beard, but it’s not technically Movember. Movember is mustache only, y’all. 

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Milo Ventimiglia: mustache, argument for growing in 2019. 

Photo by Michael Kovac/Getty Images.

What Are the Rules?

The official Movember website lists only five rules. Simplified, they include registering at and starting the month with a clean face. From there, you must grow and groom only a mustache and use it as a conversation starter to talk about men’s health and raise donations. Also, every participant must “conduct himself like a true gentleman.” That feels like a really solid addition there at the end because I think we’ve all known a guy with a mustache who was certainly not a gentleman. Changing the narrative!

Ron Swanson: mustache enthusiast. 

What About the End of the Month?

Then you’re free to live your truth—shave it, don’t shave it, use it as a jumping point to start a full beard. Your face is your palette. Be the facial hair artist you were meant to be. Here are a couple things to help out on that front:


Mach3 Razor Gillette,


Series 5100 Beard Trimmer Philips Norelco,

This story originally appeared on Minor edits have been made by the editors.

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About The Author
Justin Kirkland
Justin Kirkland is a writer for Esquire, where he focuses on entertainment, television, and pop culture. Prior to Esquire, his work appeared in Entertainment Weekly, Hollywood Reporter, and USA Today. He is from East Tennessee and currently lives in Brooklyn, New York.
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