It’s a big year for Movember. The annual month-long fundraiser, in which guys raise money for prostate cancer (among other diseases) by growing mustaches, is celebrating its tenth anniversary in the United States. Since 2007, over five million guys have defied cultural expectations—and sometimes the protests of their loved ones—and declined to shave their upper lips, all in the name of helping men living longer.
By now you might think you know everything about facial hair’s favorite holiday, but you’d be wrong. Here are 20 fun facts you likely didn’t know about Movember. And for more great trivia stories, don’t miss the 23 Old-Fashioned Etiquette Rules That Still Apply.
You can’t get a head start
It’s part of the official rules: You can’t begin Movember with even a hint of facial hair. On November 1st, you’re required to be entirely clean-shaven.
It’s mustaches only!
No beards or goatees. It’s mustaches only. You want to grow a beard, wait till “Decembeard.” (No, seriously, it’s a real thing, raising awareness for bowel cancer.)
Movember is observed in 20 different countries
No kidding. Throughout November, you’ll find mustaches in guys from Australia to Hong Kong, Denmark to Ireland, Norway to the Czech Republic.
Movember participants are called “Mo Bros”
If you join the movement and grow a mustache for charity, you’re officially a Mo Bro. Here’s where you sign up. Your mustache might get you some attention from the opposite sex. Don’t believe us? Check out our piece on our favorite mustachioed TV constable, Stranger Things’ Jim Hopper.
Women can participate, too.
Not by growing ‘staches (we hope not anyway) but by becoming “Mo Sisters.” What’s that? According to the Movember Foundation, these are the women committed to “rallying the men in their lives to join the movement, grow moustaches, and have important conversations about men’s health.”
Movember didn’t start in America
The U.S. joined the Movember movement in 2007, but it originated in Australia in 2003.
The first Movember had nothing to do with men’s health
It all started with a pair of Australian blokes in a pub, who wondered why men don’t grow mustaches anymore. They created Movember as a holiday to celebrate their favorite facial hair, and to encourage other guys to grow one for a month. Speaking of men’s health: if you’re looking for great advice, here’s how to Conquer Back Pain Forever.
The first Movember was very controversial
Movember co-founder Adam Garone says that growing a mustache in 2003, years before hipster mustaches were all the rage, was asking for trouble. “My boss wouldn’t let me go and see clients,” he says. “My girlfriend at the time, who is no longer my girlfriend, hated it. Parents would shuffle kids away from us.” Maybe you’ll all have better luck pairing your ‘stash with a stylish new hair-do. This Haircut Will Shave 10 Years Off Your Age.
Movember has raised some serious money for prostate cancer research
To the tune of $60 million in the U.S. alone. You can check the grand total here.
Canada is kicking our ass
Our neighbors to the north really love their mustaches. They’ve raised $80 million (t0 date) for Movember, despite having less upper lip square footage than the U.S.
It’s raised even more internationally
All those mustaches, from France to Norway, Austria to the U.K., have raised a staggering $769 million dollars combined to date.
You could win prizes
Raise enough money in Movember and you could win some fabulous prizes, like a trip to Aspen or Jackson Hole, or even a romantic river cruise along the Seine in Paris.
Movember staches have caused controversy
A 13-year-old boy in the U.K., who tried to join Movember in 2012 to honor his grandfather who had beaten cancer, was forbidden by school officials, who claimed that other students not yet old enough to grow facial hair would feel excluded.
Growing a mustache can help protect you from skin cancer
You might be growing a Movember stache to help others, but you might also be helping yourself. According to a study by Australian researchers, published in the journal Radiation Protection Dosimetry, facial hair actually provide an estimated 90 to 95% of protection against harmful UV rays that cause skin cancer.
Movember once had its own condom sponsor
Seriously. They donated fifty cents for each condom sales to cancer research. And came up with what might be the best advertising slogan of all time: “Cover your lip, cover your tip.”
Coffee helps grow mustaches
Worried about growing a not-embarrassing stache for Movember? You may need more caffeine. According to research from the Department of Dermatology at the University of Lübeck, caffeine can “counteract the suppression of hair shaft production.” If you want to be competitive this Movember, say yes to that third cup of coffee.
Nick Offerman created the best Movember PSA you will ever watch
Who knew growing the perfect Movember mustache involved eating a raw onion, gaining the trust of a dog, and smelling wood? Watch and learn from the mustache master.
Movember actually has made a difference
Thanks for the money raised during Movember, there have been cancer research breakthroughs. Like this one from Canada, a genetic test that helps predict the risk of recurrence from prostate cancer survivors.
Movember isn’t just about prostate cancer
Mo Bros have raised money for testicular cancer, mental health, and 1,200 different men’s health issues since 2003.
Movember’s real goal: To end early death among men
Yes, the mustaches are great. But the Movember Foundation hopes that by 2030, the funds raised by Movember will have reduced the number of early deaths in men by 25 percent. That should be reason enough to put down the razor.
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