Tales from No-Shave November

The No-Shave November fad has taken the world by storm and Indian men are happily swaying along with it


Mostly famous for being the month you spend waiting for Christmas and for heralding “winter” (as if Mumbai even has one). But recently, it has turned into a favourite month for people who love growing a beard. Now, they don’t need any other excuse to go ahead and grow it. No-Shave November is reason enough.

But this isn’t just a trend. No-shave November is backed by a great cause: to embrace our hair in the context of cancer patients, who suffer severe hair loss in their fight against cancer. For this month, you give the hair on your chin free rein. The money that is saved by not shaving or grooming for an entire month is supposed to be donated to organisations that help spread awareness about cancer, for the education of its prevention, and to help save lives of those fighting cancer. But it does require a lot of time and effort to grow a well-groomed beard. We talk to young men to find out their opinion on No-Shave November, whether or not they are currently following the trend, and why.

A Chance to Grow a Beard – but only until December

Several young men have taken the challenge up as an opportunity to grow a beard. But come December, they intend to shave it all off.


Aseem Gadgil, 24, is following No-Shave November, but only because it has always been his wish to grow a beard anyway. Earlier he was unable to since he only had a few strands of facial hair then. “This year I actually have enough hair to go through with it,” he says. “I like the beard, my girlfriend likes it too. My mother doesn’t like it so much, but she’s okay with it,” he adds.

Aseem has adopted a new routine for this month to maintain his beard. “I just keep the beard in shape, wash it every day and run a comb through it once a day,” he explains. However, he plans to shave off his beard in December even though he quite likes it.
But Anant Thakur, 20, does not fancy his bearded look much. He is still following No-Shave November “as it would allow me to donate the money I save by not shaving this month to a charity, or perhaps for any other useful purpose. I also wanted to experience what it felt like to grow a beard,” he says.


Anant has received mixed responses about his mane. But of one thing he is quite sure. “The beard will definitely go on December 1,” he says.

On Maintaining the Beard


Sushant Kaw, who is 24, followed No-Shave November as a trend until last year. But this year is a little different. “I’ll actually be donating money at the end of the month this time. I’m still not sure as to which organisation yet, but I certainly will,” he says.
So what does he do to make his beard look good? Sushant says he doesn’t have a routine as such. “While I can’t shave, I trim and groom my beard, which is allowed,” he says. Sushant plans to keep the beard post November.

Too Old for Trends?


But not everyone can keep up with the challenge. Twenty-five year old Apratim Mukherjee believes that his beard game is not going as strong as others’ seem to be. “I just look like an unkempt garden right now. It’s not great and I’m going to shave it off this week itself,” he says. Apratim had only been following No-Shave November as a trend. “For the last few years, I would grow my beard during November because it made me feel cool. I felt macho when I could say out loud that I was growing a beard. I’m too old for that kind of mentality now.” Apratim neither follows any specific routine for his beard currently nor has any tools to maintain it. He probably won’t be following No-Shave November from next year onwards.