At five days you can chalk it up to a slow start. At ten, you can blame your father's genes and laugh it off. But at twenty days in, well over midway through the ordeal, it starts to become genuinely embarrassing.
I'm talking, of course, about Movember, the annual practice that has transcended its roots as a men's health awareness campaign to become an out-and-out competition - a bristling contest of masculine supremacy.
As the eleventh month rumbles on, increasing numbers of men are abandoning the process - shaving whatever meagre wisps they've managed to muster so far and pretending that the whole awkward episode never happened. Meanwhile, those who decide to soldier on regardless do so behind the mercifully seasonal cover of turned up coat collars, opportune handkerchiefs and takeaway coffee cups.
But before you shamefully reach for the razor, save a thought for what Movember is really about. Shaving off your less-than-manly moustache won't help raise awareness for male depression or prostate cancer - so suck up your embarrassment, stick with your 'stache and take heed of these tips to rally against the mid-Movember lull.
1. Make sure you get the right vitamins
The various vitamins, minerals and nutrients in your everyday diet can have either an advantageous or adverse effect on your ability to grow facial hair.
Nutritionist Steve Grant says that "facial hair growth can be affected by both the macronutrients - proteins, fats and carbohydrates - we consume, as well as the micronutrients - vitamins and minerals."
So which foodstuffs should you stock up on, and which should you jettison from your diet in pursuit of the perfect pushbroom?
"Testosterone can play an important role," says Grant, "and it is wise to ensure you are getting adequate levels of zinc, magnesium and vitamin D to achieve optimal testosterone production."
"Your best source for vitamin D - other than sunshine - is eggs, oily fish and cod," the nutritionist continues. "Zinc can be found in red meats, broccoli, spinach, liver and oysters. And magnesium is found in almonds, cashews, halibut, mackerel and bone broths."
"Other key players would be vitamins A, C and E - and also numerous B vitamins including B3 and B7 - the latter of which can be found in salmon, dairy products, certain nuts and avocado."
"The minerals you'll need include selenium [found in Brazil nuts], iron [liver and pumpkin seeds] and calcium [milk and cheese].
Supplementation could work in some instances, but don't expect a miracle if your diet isn't up to scratch!"
2. Exercise and sleep well
As well as what you eat, your wider lifestyle choices can have a significant effect on your ability to grow a moustache. But which everyday actions make for the best bristles?
The average adult needs at least six hours sleep. The body uses these hours to rebuild, repair and grow - and that includes facial hair. So, skimp on your forty winks and you'll be forgoing precious 'tache growing time.
Whilst you sleep, your body also relaxes and this helps minimise stress. Any emotional pressure can lead to, among other health issues, a weakened immune system - and this in turn could result in slower hair growth.
So worry about your pitiful moustache at your own peril - self-deprecation is a slippery slope that'll soon turn into a vicious circle of stress-causing, stress-resulting no-growth.
Exercise is another daily activity that will coax those hairs from your top lip. Try to raise your heart rate for at least one hour every day and your testosterone levels will soar.
Just look at some of the most illustrious gold-medal winners in Olympic history. From Mark Spitz to Daley Thompson, the big winners show that when you truly push your body to its limits, facial hair should erupt from your face with ease.
3. Take testosterone supplements (at your own risk)
If you're not adept at sport, or if you're simply either too bored or busy to hit the gym, you can always get an extra hit of testosterone in pill form.
Sales of hormone supplements have sky-rocketed in the wake of the recent beard boom, with new formulas such as 'True GRIT' and 'PharmaFreak' flying off the shelves
However, Professor Joe Herbert, a hormone specialist at the University of Cambridge, believes that bald-faced buyers may be wasting their money.
"Testosterone boosters would only result in increased facial hair growth if the man's testosterone was initially below the optimal level," reveals the endocrinologist, "and this level differs somewhat between males. Additionally, the size and quality of moustache really depends on how many hair follicles there are on a man's face, their distribution, and whether or not they contain a sufficient amount of receptors to recognise the testosterone in the first place."
So whilst moustacheless men with testosterone deficiencies may benefit from the boosters, the main change the majority of us can expect to see is a lighter wallet.
"Moustaches aside, taking too many testosterone supplements can also damage your body," Herbert warns. "They can damage your liver, may increase the risk of heart attacks and lead to other vascular problems. They may also increase the size of your prostate - which would both lead to urinary infections and exacerbate the risk of prostate cancer! They are not at all a good idea!"
4. Take care of your skin
The many miracle cures for facial baldness vary from vigorous chin rubbing to the application of strange homemade salves and ointments. Whilst the efficacy of these madcap methods is questionable, one thing's for sure: they all take their toll on your skin.
I asked dermatologist Dr Ariel Haus how to best take care of your face when attempting to grow a moustache.
"A man should always care for his skin – moustache or not!" says Dr Haus. "Try to avoid washing your face with very hot water, or taking very hot showers and baths, as that will cause the skin to dry prematurely. Post-washing, when your follicles are clear, a good moisturiser should always be used.
"One of my favourite moisturisers contains Vitamin B5 – a vitamin which not only is beneficial in dry winter weather, but also increases bodily functions and circulation which is essential for growing facial hair."
The dermatologist immediately disregards many of the miracle methods as old wives' tales. "No," he tells me, "unfortunately there has been no correlation found between either massaging the follicles or moisturising specifically to encourage facial hair growth."
However, many swear by the stranger techniques. So why not try applying a mixture of cinnamon and lime juice to your face for half an hour every night? Or make a paste out of alma oil and mustard leaves and smear it where you want your 'stache to sprout?
Who knows, you might get lucky. And then again, you might not...
5. Quit smoking
Despite rarely seeing a pipe smoked out from under anything other than a luxuriant walrus moustache, having a puff can seriously affect your ability to grow facial hair. So, if you've got a sub-par handlebar, it might be time to kick the habit.
"The effects of smoking on hair growth have not been fully examined," reveals trichologist Lisa Gilbey, of the Northants Hair & Scalp Clinic. "But what we do know is that smoking has a similar effect on the hair as ageing. By impairing the circulation, and therefore decreasing the capillary blood flow to the hair’s root, this results in the cells being denied the optimum requirements for normal growth and mitosis."
"Cigarettes contain over 4800 chemicals," continues Gilbey, "and they also cause oxidative stress on all and any hair growth and pigmentation.
"Smoking depletes many vitamins with its free radicals-destroying cells, and when B vitamins are depleted they upset the metabolic pathway for melanin - the colour pigment. This can result in hair turning prematurely grey.
"Another way smoking can affect hair growth is through diet. We do not store important B vitamins in our bodies as they are water soluble so, as mentioned above, a good diet is essential. But smoking can deplete the amount of food you feel the need to consume and, as your food intake drops, so does the amount of vitamins and minerals you assimilate.""A man should always care for his skin – moustache or not!"Dr Ariel Haus
So the message is clear: every drag is another nail in the coffin of those woolly whiskers you've been silently praying will spring forth from your face with bushy vigour. Keep puffing and if you do manage to grow anything at all, it'll be a moustache as grey and wispy as cigarette smoke itself.
6. Work with what you have
When all else fails; after you've eaten your body weight in avocado and rubbed your top lip to within an inch of its life, there are certain tricks of the trade that can conceal your follicular failure. I asked some of the best stylists around what to do when you're stuck with a stunted 'stache.
"Everybody's masculinity is on the table during Movember," says Adam Brady of Ruffians Barber Shop. "But that's entirely the point! Movember was set up to encourage dialogue, increase awareness and destigmatise topics that are difficult to discuss - like the bumfluff you may have above your top lip."
"So the most important thing to remember is that confidence is key. Everyone who has done Movember properly knows that you start the month totally clean shaven so, if you're not confident that your moustache is going to make Tom Selleck jealous, then grow it out as a beard and shave the rest of your face when there's a good contrast between skin and hair."
"If your moustache is reasonably long, go for a moustache wax or beard oil, which'll help retain the hair's natural moisture and keep it looking glossy. If not, perhaps go for a pencil moustache?"
The team at Pall Mall Barbers also recommend going full David Niven.
"Short and thin, like the Clark Gable 'tache," agree the London stylists. "And that way you can thicken it up using the old fashioned method of borrowing your wife's mascara - which'll darken it down!
"We'd also recommend carrying a moustache comb," the team continues, "which you can use throughout the day to cover up all the patchy bits. A moustache comb-over, if you will.
"And, if all else fails, you could just fashion yourself a 'tache wig' from any excess nasal or ear hair you might have going spare!"
So there you have it. A fool-proof, fail-safe guide to making the most of your moustache. From homemade remedies to styling tips for the lost causes, there are no longer any excuses to throw the Movember towel in.
For the richer victims of hairlessness, there's always beard transplants - which, aside from being wildly expensive, are also rising in popularity. Dr Jeffrey Epstein, an American plastic surgeon, has seen a thirty-fold increase in facial hair transplants over the past decade.
But, with only two weeks of Movember left, forking out up to £14,500 for some extra bristles seems a little extreme.
Instead, just have pride in the 'stache you're stuck with, and be it huge and Selleckian or subtle and Nivenesque, use the force of facial hair to support Movember and raise awareness for lesser-discussed male health issues.
For more information, visit Movember.com
For more information, visit Movember.com
Source : http://www.telegraph.co.uk/men/style/how-to-make-facial-hair-grow-faster-tips-tricks-and-myths/2525