Decembeard, the men's charity that grew from Movember's success

Missing Movember already? Well, hold onto your handlebar because you can roll straight into Decembeard, which this month challenges men to grow all the bits of their face they usually shave to raise money for bowel cancer.

And if you're not a man, you can still take part by making, baking or faking a bushy beard.

Now in its third year, Decembeard highlights the unglamorous fact that bowel cancer is Australia's second-biggest cancer killer, and one in 10 men develop the disease.

Bowel Cancer Australia CEO Julien Wiggins says Decembeard is a different way to raise an important conversation for all men.

"Nobody likes to talk about it," he says. "It's not just an old man's disease anymore ... 7 per cent are under the age of 50, which we consider young for cancer, and we need to ensure men are aware of the symptoms."

Beard pros and cons

Never owned a beard before? Growing a Decembeard is a sanctioned reason to rock the fuzz with pride. But a full beard is a commitment complete with a unique set of positives and negatives.

We asked 28-year-old Melbourne copywriter Ryland Summers to share the travails of life with a luxuriant beard:


· Keeps your face warm


· You can look down without giving yourself a visible double chin

· You can stroke it while thinking

· You can stroke it while not thinking

· You can stick pens in it

· A cool breeze makes your beard flutter in the wind


· Any saucy food is a struggle. The amount of mustard you have to wipe out is ridiculous

· The only thing worse than sauce is runny egg yolk – you need to shower after that

· You will be compared to/mistaken for everyone else with a long beard

· You get your own beard hair in your mouth

· You get your own beard hair in your mouth while it's still attached to your face

· Random strangers will attempt to stroke your beard

· You will read an article every month about how beards are out of fashion

The brush-off

Is Summers right? After an epic resurgence, are beards fading from fashion?

Yes and no, says beard specialist Fab Sfameni of Uncle Rocco's Barber Shop in Port Melbourne. "It's certainly backing off, because I judge it by the amount of beard oil that we sell and a year ago we'd sell out of it so quick … so it's slowed up a bit," he admits.

But to paraphrase Taylor Swift, a good beard will never go out of style. "It's amazing how much you can change someone's look when you trim up that beard just right."

Tips for a swell beard

Sfameni has been grooming facial hair for over two decades. We asked for his top five tips for fierce face foliage.

1. Brush up. Comb your beard every day to keep it free of knots and straggly ends.

2. See a pro. Get your beard professionally tapered and groomed every few weeks.

3. Invest wisely. Use products including beard oil, balm and shampoo.

4. Support your structure. If you've got a round face, square the beard off to make it look longer. Men with skinny faces should opt for a fuller style for extra girth.

5. Persistence is key. It's amazing how many people give up early when growing a beard, but you have to push through the awkward early stages.

Have a grow

Thinking of joining Decembeard? Ambassadors, chef George Calombaris and Sharks player Chris Heighington, are already on board. As, naturally, is Julien Wiggins.

"We're hoping to raise over $150,000 this year, which is our biggest year yet," he says. "Mine takes a while to cultivate but I've got some stubble, which is a start."

Join Decembeard or make a donation .