The Men's Guide to Facial Hair

During No Shave November, brush up on everything from grooming to beard bonding.

A macro photo of a mans mouth, lips, and mustache.

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Growing a beard – and grooming it. If your chin is bare, here's how to get started: Stop shaving for four to six weeks. Don't try to shape or trim it too early, which is a common mistake newbies make. You can also encourage growth by taking care of yourself: Get enough sleep each night and eat a well-balanced diet that provides plenty of the necessary vitamins and nutrients.

Once you're showing off some whiskers, don't think your work is over – that's the No. 1 myth about facial hair, Peterkin says: "To look half decent, there is a commitment to grooming." Always keep the upper and lower margins of your facial hair clean, which means investing in a good shaving gel. (Peterkin prefers gel over soap, which can be harsh.) Work it through your beard while you're in the shower, shave the margins and then rinse and put on moisturizer, he says.

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Embracing the community. Yes, men bond over facial hair. There are hundreds of online communities dedicated to specific styles, like goatee message boards and moustache-centric groups. Not to mention men who grow "playoff beards," which are particularly popular among hockey and baseball fans. "The flipside is that guys who can't grow facial hair end up feeling a bit inadequate," Peterkin says. "It can get competitive: My beard is longer, thicker, fuller and darker than yours."

[Read: Do's and Don'ts of Healthy Hair.]

Facial hair facts. The average male has 5 million hair follicles – three times as many as gorillas. And most men have about 25,000 whiskers, Peterkin says. Shaving uses up five months of a man's life if he starts at age 14, and clean-shaven men shave about 20,000 times over a lifetime. That makes sense, considering moustaches grow 0.4 millimeters per day – speedy compared to eyebrows (.15 millimeters per day) and scalp hair (.35 millimeters).