Serious grooming tips for No Shave November

As No Shave November past its 5 o'clock shadow, veteran beard expert Allen Demling offers some tips for "getting past the ‘itchy’ stage.”


Fernando Alfonso III


Published Nov 4, 2011   Updated Jun 3, 2021, 1:39 am CDT

For all you out there already struggling to honor No Shave November, the Daily Dot has reached out to a facial hair aficionado to ease your concerns.

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Allen Demling is a longtime member of the Austin Facial Hair Club, second place winner at the 2010 USA National Beard Competition, and a firm believer that there “is no such thing as inferior facial hair.”

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“For those guys that are worried about how their jobs/families/friends will feel about the beard, I have one piece of advice: you probably don’t need them,” Demling told the Daily Dot.

“Growing a beard is really one of the easiest things you can possibly do. There are really only a couple of hard parts: Convincing people that you aren’t lazy/homeless/on a sports team that’s in the playoffs/hiding hideous neck tattoos, and getting past the ‘itchy’ stage.”

And in order to beat the itchy stage and move onto full blown beard glory, Demling offered the following tips:

  • Focus on the end goal: the itching only lasts a little while and once your skin is used to the beard, its smooth sailing afterwards
  • If the itching is too much, use some lotion to keep your skin moisturized
  • Keep your beard clean by shampooing/conditioning daily
  • Make sure to keep your beard tied up if you are going to be working with power tools or other heavy machinery. Side Note: Many women love braiding hair, including beards. Once yours gets long enough to braid you will be fending off the ladies who want touch that manly mane.
  • Don’t use rubber bands, they will catch on and rip out the hairs. Hair ties were made for a reason, use them.
  • Brush your beard. It keeps the dreds out and spreads the natural oils from your face to the rest of the beard. It also helps make the beard look larger, and you know what they say about dudes with big beards…
  • Once the moustache starts getting longer you will find certain foods harder to eat. Nothing is impossible to eat with a big moustache, and I have never changed my diet based on my facial hair. But you can do things to make eating easier: always keep a napkin close and use it frequently/a little moustache wax can be used to style the moustache to the sides and out of the mouth/don’t chomp down right away, often I have to take a light bite, pull the moustache hairs out of my mouth, then finish eating
  • Finally, remember that bearding is not a sport or competition, its more of a social club. Take the time to have fun, meet new people, and enjoy the new experience.

As reported on Nov. 1, the Daily Dot is sponsoring a No Shave November contest where we follow 47 different Tumblr users partaking in the event. Each Friday, starting on Nov. 11, we will update our list to see how everyone is doing. On Nov. 30, we will decide who grew the best facial hair according, but not limited, to length, number of Tumblr updates, and how dramatic your beard looks. (It’s not too late for anyone—including ladies—to enter. Tweet your Tumblr address here if interested.)

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While No Shave November strives to raise men’s health awareness, Demling hopes men partake in the event despite any stereotypes associated with facial hair.

“Beards don’t have nearly the stigma they used to, and anyways, its just a beard,” Demling said. “The beard doesn’t make the person, the person makes the beard. If you are a smarmy, insincere jerk then even the best beard in the world won’t make you a better person. But if you are a nice, genuine person who gets their job done right and takes their family and friendships seriously, then a beard won’t change that, and people will understand.”

Keep an eye out on the Daily Dot Tumblr for weekly updates on how our beards are coming in.

Photo from Austin Facial Hair Club

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*First Published: Nov 4, 2011, 4:20 pm CDT