If you've tuned into NBC's "Today" show lately, you've likely noticed some new additions -- hosts with budding beards.
Matt Lauer, Al Roker, Willie Geist and Carson Daly have forgone shaving for the month in recognition of Movember, a movement to raise awareness of testicular cancer and other men's health matters by not shaving.
While their intentions are good, the results have been mixed. One month is "not enough time for the average person to grow an acceptable beard or mustache," says Adam Causgrove, president of the American Mustache Institute, which moved its headquarters from St. Louis to Pittsburgh earlier this year. In 2012, Mr. Causgrove was named the institution's annual Robert Goulet Memorial Mustached American of the Year.
But some of the hosts are off to a good start.
"Matt Lauer's is probably the most distinctive," he says. "His mustache is a little bit darker than the beard. I appreciate that they're all sticking with their natural colors and not using any performance-enhancing facial hair products."
Similarly, Mr. Daly's beard is coming in evenly and in a shade that coordinates well with his hair. Mr. Roker's new look also has potential, Mr. Causgrove says.
"I think he could pull off a pretty solid beard. His looks like he might be cheating a bit and manicuring, which goes against the grain of no-shave November."
The hair-growing gods haven't been as kind to Mr. Geist.
"His doesn't really grow in evenly," a common complaint among men, Mr. Causgrove says. "He should probably ditch the beard and just focus on growing the mustache."
If the men of Movember don't wish to shave off a month's worth of effort, there are things they can do to ease the growing pains moving forward. Step one is to do some research and decide on a desired look, Mr. Causgrove says. Next, men will need to learn how to maintain the style they're aiming for. Special combs, beard oils and waxes that help groom and moisturize facial hair and skin are essential.
"There are a lot of great resources online," he says, such as CanYouHandlebar.com.
For Pittsburghers, there's the Steel City Beard & Mustache Club (www.steelcitybeards.com), where facial hair veterans and newcomers alike can turn for support. The group meets at 7:30 p.m. the third Tuesday of each month at the Rivertowne Pour House in Monroeville. December's gathering will be a week earlier because of Christmas.
Facial hair isn't required to attend, Mr. Causgrove says. Some mustaches are worn on the heart.
Pittsburgh fashion and beauty front ...
Give hunger the boot, save on shoes: The annual Gordon Shoes food drive invites customers to drop off three nonperishable food items for the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank and save $20 on a purchase of at least $100 at Gordon Shoes in Homestead or participating New Balance Pittsburgh stores. The drive runs through the end of December.
Holiday happy hour at Shadyside Mining Co.: Each Friday through the end of the year stop by 738 Copeland St. to snack, shop and be merry. From 4 to 6 p.m., shoppers can toast the weekend and preview new pieces.
Information: www.shadysideminingco.com or 412-688-8088.