It’s Movember – the hairiest month on the calendar – and the challenge is on for mo’ bros to start their selfless moustache growing journeys in a bid to create positive change for men’s health.
The rules are simple, start clean shaven on the 1 November, then grow and groom your ‘stache and raise funds along the way. A regular champion for the cause, Jethro Snyders, one of Durban’s most renowned (and handsome) photographers shares his secrets about growing a Mo, keeping it cool and why he loves rocking the burly look.
“I’d say it’s been a good eight years or so that I’ve been a proud mo and beard grower. I think, as with anything, clothes, hairstyles etc. we like to express ourselves differently, and a beard and Mo has been one of those outlets for me. As life would have it, I have a few family members who have been directly affected by cancer, and while not necessarily testicular cancer, it’s all the same so, as a guy, I’m really passionate about Movember, as it offers men (and women) the opportunity to support a really worthy cause, in a more adventurous way.”
At 33, Jethro is a man of many skills. Aside from being renowned across the country as one of Durban’s top photographers whose distinguished bearded looks have also contributed to his ever-increasing social media following, he’s got some serious culinary expertise. He’s also a passionate and versatile musician who drums for the band, Fools of Fate.
“Honestly, I’m just a regular guy with a creative mind and a big love for our planet, and I love enjoying life. I dabbled in the hospitality industry for a few years before bridging over to photography. I had always had an interest in it, and it slowly evolved from a hobby into assisting a photographer on weddings and finally starting my own brand, and I’ve never looked back, especially, given the incredible city that I live in. Durban has it all, beautiful beaches, some amazing buildings and a lifestyle that is hard to beat anywhere else.”
From a work perspective, Jethro says Durban oozes creativity from all corners. “We have such a vibrant mix of people doing amazing things, and one of the best parts of my job, is getting to document all of these, and immortalize what would be an evanescent moment.”
And, as much as he loves to capture those passing moments of others, Jethro enjoys messing around with a few fun shoots of his own, mostly to update his professional profile, but also to keep a record of some of the wild and burly looks he’s rocked over the years.
“I love being different, adventurous, having a good time. When it comes to the facial hair, curling up the mo is something I enjoy doing. It is a bit of admin, some training and twirling is required, and you need a special moustache wax, but it’s worth it. What can I say? I’m a groomer… I like a daily face wash and moisturize, with no major routines. I’m a fan of Lock Stock & Barrell 85 Karats Wax for my hair and I believe wholeheartedly that all men should have a barber. Matt at The Barber Box in Durbs keeps my hair and beard looking neat and tidy all year round, and in between visits to him, I just use some clippers to keep my beard looking tidy. It’s very important to wash and condition the beard. It’s hair too! I regularly use the MVRCK Skin & Beard Lotion by Paul Mitchell with an occasional Beard Oil for some extra nourishment.”
What does his wife think about his signature bearded looks? “She loves it! Nats (Natalie) met me with a beard, and that year I raised R5000 for Movember by people actually donating towards shaving my beard off when I reached my target, and just leaving my mo. It was a very sad day for some of us… because it was also the first time Nats ever saw me without the beard. She cried on the way home.”
But the rewards of Jethro saying farewell to a huge part of his identity, far outweighed the tears and his almost naked face, and in no time, he was back to being a bearded Viking.
“I must be honest, I’m fortunate to have a very fast growing beard, so haven’t suffered too much with growth problems in the past, but the itch is real!”
The most important approach to have when attempting to grow a beard, if you aren’t a connoisseur, Jethro says, is to be brave. The first few days, even weeks, can be uncomfortable and a little awkward as your facial fuzz grows and your mo takes shape.
“Ignore the itching. Remind yourself that other men have endured worse in the past; surely you can stand a little face tickle from your mo. If it gets out of hand, a good beard oil or lotion will soften the hair and make the itch a more bearable.”
“Start to shape your moustache using proper grooming techniques. Remember to trim conservatively – you can always go over it again. A great mo comes down to great grooming. Nurture it and keep it clean with daily shampooing. As fetching as they are, moustaches collect all sorts of things, and no matter how fine the food, it doesn’t belong in your mo. Ever!”
Jethro points out that moustache hair, being coarse, benefits from regular conditioning, so be sure to work a dollop of conditioner into your Mo and rinse thoroughly.
“It will make your hairy journey that bit softer, for you and your intimate friends. Most importantly, invest in the right tools for the job. A man committed to serious moustachery should have the following: shampoo, lotion and or oil of your preference, a fine-toothed comb, a large mirror for a good view, a decent pair scissors for precise trimming, a set of clippers for trimming in between barber visits and beard shampoo and a trusty razor. With these essentials, a steady hand and a determined mind, you’ll be good to go!”
Being a seasoned cook, Jethro loves to take care of the cooking at home just as much as he enjoys putting all that effort into his appearance, but says, when it comes to food and sporting a mo, there’s an endless list of things to approach with caution.
“I am mad about roast pork belly, Thai green curry and homemade pizza, but there is literally NOTHING that escapes the clutches of a moustache and beard. Cappuccinos, milk, any brew with a fine creamy mousse, spaghetti bolognaise soups and pies. They’re all dangerous. But, my motto is this, enjoy whatever you’re eating or drinking while you’re doing it, and clean up afterwards. Otherwise you will be wiping your face after every sip or bite. Oh, and invest in wet wipes. You’ll soon discover how valuable they are to you and your circle of friends. Enough said!”