The Guide to Manscaping: 10 Must-Know Body Grooming Rules & Tips
Men’s grooming has come a long way. Or, maybe it’s best to say that it has shifted direction, particularly in recent years.
Having hair on your chest is an example. Once a strong sign of virility, it's not nearly as popular today and many men choose to shave their chest if it has too much of a “carpet.” But it’s not just the chest, as the following manscaping guide will discuss—today’s man may also choose to shave his back, legs, arms, and privates.
This guide will cover all areas of the body aside from facial and scalp hair (don't worry, we've also got you covered on shaping your beard and hair care tips). This body grooming guide offers tips and suggestions for grooming each part.
So, groom away, fellas. If you’re ready to manscape, we’re here to help.
Manscaping ExplainedWhat is Manscaping, Anyway?
Before we dig into the mechanics of it, let’s define manscaping. Most of you probably have an idea of what manscaping is, but there’s a bit of confusion amongst many men for one major reason.
Manscaping has most often referred to trimming and grooming below the belt, where the focus is usually to prevent an overgrown forest of pubic hair. That’s how the Urban Dictionary defines it, anyway, and it also refers to styling the hair around your man parts.
But the real definition of manscaping encompasses more than just pube mowing, at least for our purposes. The smart folks at Merriam Webster refer to manscaping as “the trimming and shaving of a man’s body hair so as to enhance his appearance.” And that sums it up very well.
It’s not just about the pubes anymore, that much is clear. Many manscapers prefer to sculpt their body hair, whether it’s hair on their chest, arms, back, legs, or on their nether regions. How much you decide to remove, and from where, is up to you, but know that there’s no set routine that qualifies you as a true manscaper.
No matter how you define manscaping, it all comes down to hair control. You may include other grooming tasks in your overall routine, but trimming, removing, and keeping body hair under control is the essence of manscaping.
It’s interesting how manscaping and what qualifies as male sexiness have evolved in lockstep. In the 1970s, hirsute men like Burt Reynolds were considered more attractive to women than men who, for example, had hairless chests or chests with very little hair. Sean Connery, who played Agent 007 in the first five James Bond films, sported a furry chest that helped him earn his heartthrob status. And the list goes on.
Until things shifted, that is.
When Did Hairless Become Hot?
A recent study revealed that 60% of 16 to 24-year-old British men regularly remove their body hair. To those men, manscaping meant not only keeping their chests smooth and hair-free, but also trimming other areas of the body such as the armpits.
Men in the UK are hardly the only men maintaining a regular manscaping routine; a 2014 study showed that the number of men who removed body hair below the neck was up by 33% from 2005.
Grooming experts say that men are heavily influenced by actors and famous athletes. In 2006, Daniel Craig rocked a chiseled and hairless look while playing James Bond in “Casino Royale,” while soccer legend David Beckham is another body hair-free man who certainly has accrued his share of admiring looks.
There’s also the argument that men are less hairy today because of evolution. Not that today’s man has fewer body hair follicles than in the past, but that those follicles don’t develop as they did back when men roamed the earth resembling non-human primates.
How long the current manscaping trends last remains to be seen and, rest assured, is the subject of much speculation. What’s clear is that it’s not going away anytime soon – at least not in 2019 – and, again, it involves a whole helluva lot more than keeping the bush around your rig well-trimmed.
It’s about more than looks
Manscaping qualifies as a style trend and a means to potentially attract love interests, there are other reasons why it’s a good idea and why so many men follow a manscape routine:Better Hygiene
Many researchers believe that pubic hair evolved because it helped reduce the risk of genital infections. It also helped keep the family jewels warm back in the days when clothing was a bit scarce.
Today, it’s believed that pubic hair is often more of a barrier to good hygiene than it is a benefit because, for one, it traps moisture and causes irritation. The theory is that practicing precise skin health is easier without having to deal with an overgrown pubic pelt. Also, a less-tended man-garden tends to smell more than one that receives regular weeding. And who wants to be known as a man who stinks down there?Comfort
Comfort rates among the most important reasons why so many men follow a consistent manscaping routine. For instance, think of the hundreds (if not thousands) of times your pubes have itched? Or gotten snagged on your zipper? True, many of us deal with these things as a fact of life, but that doesn’t mean enduring them is a requirement.
By trimming or removing excess hair, such as pubic hair, you can eliminate those nuisances while giving yourself a peace of mind you may have never given much thought. The same goes for long, overgrown hair on other parts of your body. You may experience a level of comfort you never knew existed.The Ultimate Manscape Guide
Because today’s manscaping routines typically encompass many parts of the body, any guide to it needs to be comprehensive. We’ve structured our guide accordingly by providing tips and rules for grooming every part of your body.
While male grooming is more complex than it used to be, that doesn’t mean it has to be daunting. Breaking it down by different parts of the body helps simplify the routine without making it feel that you have to scale Mt. Everest to do it right.
Chest Hair Guide
If you’re an adult male, or the dude in junior high that’s already shaving, the chances are good that you have some hair on your chest. The amount of hair varies from man to man, of course, and can range from a few stragglers to a full-on jungle.
Your reason to manscape your chest hair may be different than the next guy. The shaved chest look is currently very popular (although many people still prefer men with a hairier chest) and you may feel more confident on the beach without a Tom Selleck-like mass of chest hair. (If you feel most confident rocking that Selleck chest hair—go for it, skip this section!)
One of the advantages of keeping your chest hair closely-trimmed is that the longer hairs won’t poke through your shirt (or show while wearing a thin or lightly-colored shirt).
You may also choose to shave off entirely what hair you have on your chest, or to leave a less obvious pelt. Beardbrand’s Greg Berzinsky shaves his chest hair in the direction of growth to not cut it so close that it creates ingrown hairs. He also shaves his chest hair with a razor without any shave cream, which may be a method you prefer, as well. Either way, here are some tips for how to trim your chest hair like a professional manscaper.
Determine Your Chest Hair Length
To repeat, how long you keep your chest hair is a matter of preference. There’s no right or wrong length; chest hair is attractive to some while chest hair that’s kept in check (but not entirely removed) is a nice look, too.
You may also decide to do little more than trim back those stragglers that pop out above your shirt collar, and keep it looking like natural growth.
Trimming Chest Hair With Clippers
It’s also your choice as to what kind of grooming tool you’ll use to trim your chest hair.
Clippers? Scissors? Or, like our man Greg Berzinsky, a razor sans shave cream or foam?
A popular method for chest hair trimming is to use a quality pair of clippers with a longer guard setting, such as a quarter-inch. A longer guard is helpful as it won’t make the hair as spiky like it may with a shorter guard. If you’re not a fan of the hairless chest look, grooming your chest once a week with clippers enables you to sport some chest hair without looking like a 1970s male porn star.
Another reason why it’s important to start with a longer guard is that you’ll avoid taking off more hair than you want. If your chest hair still seems a bit lengthy after using a longer guard, you can always switch to a shorter one and repeat the steps above. Eventually, you’ll have a clearer idea of what guard works best for you the first time through.
Many men choose to shave their chest hair with the grain when using clippers, although shaving with the grain isn’t a hard-and-fast rule. Some men report having better success shaving against the grain. It’s a good idea to begin at the top of your chest and trim down its length. You don’t always have to shave your chest in straight lines, you can try coming from multiple angles depending on the direction of your hair growth. While the straight lines method works for many men, taking multiple passes in many directions may ensure that you don’t miss any hair, especially when working with a lower quality trimmer.
An Important note: Don’t shave over your nipples, unless you’re really into pain. Be careful trimming around your collarbones, as well, because their rounded surfaces can make shaving and trimming more difficult.
Trimming Chest Hair With Scissors
Using a pair of scissors to trim your chest hair has its advantages, especially if your goal is to merely lop a bit “off the top.” Scissors also work well for difficult spots, such as around the nipples.
Use a hair comb to straighten out your chest hair and make them taut before you trim with scissors. A comb gives you a handy reference for the length you want to trim your chest hair. Shaving in front of a mirror is always a good idea, especially to get an “even” look in which your chest hairs are all of the same length.Other Rules of the Road
Here are a couple of other suggestions to keep in mind for trimming your chest hair. They’re far from absolutes, mind you, but something to think about:
- It’s not a bad idea to match your chest hair with the rest of the hair on your body. That is, if you have a ton of hair on your arms and legs, then a cleanly-shaven chest may look out of place. It’s easier to maintain a more natural look if the length of the hair on your arms and legs matches the length of it on the rest of your torso.
- A hairy chest still signifies ruggedness to many men and women and if you prefer to rock that look, more power to you, brother. You may choose to keep it from becoming overly unruly. In that case, a trim once-a-week with a pair of clippers with the longest guard setting should do the trick.
- If you want the bald-chested look, using a razor to keep things bare is your best bet. To trim it to the skin, use a razor with shave cream and lotion. If you have longer hair length, you’ll likely want to trim everything down to a shorter length before shaving with a razor. Remember, you may need to trim other areas of your body to keep your bare chest from looking too out of place.
- Your chest might itch after you’ve shaved it, especially if you’ve trimmed it short. That said, feel free to apply a moisturizing aftershave to the areas you’ve just trimmed.
Don’t neglect manscaping your stomach either. You should use an electric razor on your stomach in the same way as you do on your chest. Carlos Costa demonstrates in this video, and don’t forget to trim around your navel.
Pubic Hair Guide
It’s time to get down to business… literally.
A manscaping guide wouldn’t be complete without discussing pubic hair trimming. If you shave your pubes, or are thinking about shaving them, you’re not alone. Gillette did a survey not long ago and learned that one in every five men manscape their nether regions.
Whether you prefer the bald look below the belt or just want to keep things neat and tidy, we'll give you a few things to keep in mind to ensure proper upkeep. Not the least of which is to be careful. The thought of a razor lurking around the most sensitive areas is a bit daunting.
Why Trim Down There?
Every man has his reasons for maintaining a pubic-scaping regimen. But your motivation may include:
Keeping things cooler and more comfortable. Things can get a bit sweaty around your genitals during the day, especially when they’re surrounded by pubes. Shaving them reduces the heat and sweat, and helps to keep you smelling fresh.
- Less friction. Excess pubic hair can lead to pulling and tugging which can become really uncomfortable.
The Right Tools to Trim Your Tools
Your grooming arsenal probably includes everything you need to manscape your pubic region already. Here’s a checklist just in case:Electric Razor
Let’s face it, a good electric razor is a really versatile grooming tool. You can use it on almost every part of your body and the good ones come with a wide range of attachments that enable you to handle a variety of tasks easily.
Another plus is that they’re effective for trimming those hard to reach nooks and crannies. They’re also ideal for shaping your pubes, if that’s your thing. Here are some suggestions if you’re in the market for a grooming tool that’s suitable for use on your nuts.Manual Razors
The thought of using a manual razor to trim below the belt can cause some anxiety. After all, one wrong move, or a slip, and you suddenly have a nick or cut in the last place you want a nick or a cut. Nonetheless, a manual razor is an invaluable tool for trimming pubic hair, especially if you prefer the bald look and need the closest of shaves.Shaving Gel
Proper lubrication is important for many tasks in life, including shaving down under. A quality shave gel helps to prevent nicks and cuts while letting you get a closer shave. Shaving your pubes with a manual razor entails some risk, but using a shaving gel during the process helps to minimize that risk.Hand Mirror
You need a clear picture of what you’re doing when trimming your pubic area. A hand-mirror, especially one that’s fog-free and good for use in the shower, is a worthwhile investment.Body Powder
Use a body powder after manscaping your pubic region. It has a variety of benefits, including that it helps to absorb excess moisture. It also will keep things cooler, soothe skin irritation, and help reduce odors.Scissors
Scissors are handy for snipping away excess hair before you begin trimming or shaping your pubes, and before you go to work with a manual razor to achieve the bald look.
How to Trim Your Privates in 4 Steps
Never take trimming your pubic area lightly, and never approach it as if you were someone hacking away at forest undergrowth, or those pesky weeds in your backyard. Have a plan, stick with it, and, if nothing else, take your time.
1. Trim first before a close shave - Always trim back excess hair first if your goal is to achieve the smooth, no-hair look. An electric trimmer is good for this, as is a pair of quality scissors. By trimming first, you’ll reduce the pulling and tugging you might experience otherwise. It’s not a bad idea to “fluff” out your pubic hairs with a comb before you begin trimming. Then, set your trimmer’s length guide to a longer setting, especially if you’re just trimming and not shaving to the skin. You can always trim more if you still haven’t reached your desired length with the longer setting.
Stand upright when trimming and hold the trimmer or clippers in your dominant hand. Use the other hand to keep your penis and scrotum out of harm’s way. If you use scissors, you may also want to use a comb as a length guide. Press the comb flat against the skin and trim the hair that extends beyond the teeth of the comb.
2. Let the Shaving Begin - After you’ve trimmed your pubic region, i.e., the bushy region above your genitals, hop into the shower if you already haven’t. Lather up the area with shaving foam or gel, and then take light strokes with your razor or while shaving with the grain (which typically means a downward motion).
You’ll want to rinse your razor under the shower head frequently to keep the blades from becoming clogged with trimmed hair. Also, use a fresh blade whenever possible. A dull blade forces you to apply more pressure, increasing the risk of cuts and irritation.
Lastly, don’t use the same blade on your pubes that you use on your face or other parts of your body as an extra precaution.
3. Shaving Your Scrotum - Shaving your sack, or at least the idea of shaving it, is cringe-worthy to many men. And, indeed, you need to proceed with caution when shaving this very, very sensitive area of your body. But, hey, if you’re willing to shave the area above your penis, there’s no reason to leave your sack shaggy and unshaven.
Tip No. 1 – Cold water is your friend. While it’s not mandatory, a splash of cold water (or taking a cold shower) will make trimming your scrotum simpler because it helps make the skin taut and easier to shave. There’s nothing wrong with a clenched sack when it’s time to shave it.
Tip No. 2 – Keep your rig out of the way. You need to have a clear path and picture of what you’re doing when shaving your scrotum. That said, it’s always a good idea to move your penis upward toward your belly and out of harm’s way.
Tip No. 3 – Shaving the “curve.” Yes, you’ll want to shave the curvature of your sack and your preparations should include lathering it up with shave gel first. Shave with a downward motion and proceed very slowly and with all the precision you can muster. Always, always use caution, especially when shaving the sides of your scrotum.
Tip No. 4 – Shaving under the scrotum. OK, now we’re venturing into castration territory, or at least it may pose that threat mentally when shaving under your sack. But here’s how it’s done:
- Lather up the area with a shave gel.
- Crouch down, preferably in your bathtub (with the shower off), and place a mirror directly under you.
- Pull your sack upward with your free hand.
- Take your razor in your other hand and slowly shave downward with light, gentle pressure.
- Rinse your razor frequently during the process to prevent clogging.
- Use an antibacterial soap to wash the shaved areas after you’ve finished.
- Use a dry, clean towel to pat yourself dry. Don’t use rubbing motions, especially on and around the areas you’ve just shaved.
- Don’t hesitate to use an antiseptic or body powder after shaving your scrotum. Go easy on the antiseptic at first because you don’t want to overdo it and cause stinging.
Tip No. 5 – Trimming the hair around or on your penis. Both your penis and his two pals hanging below are very sensitive. Shaving them involves similar techniques: use your free hand to flatten out a small section of skin, and shave very slowly with even strokes.
4. Other Methods For Grooming Your Genitals- You have several other options for ridding yourself of the hair on and around your genitals.
While there are DIY waxing products available, we recommend going to a salon that offers professional waxing services. Whether you have it done professionally or do it at home, always make sure to use fresh wax and clean equipment to reduce the risk of infection.
While laser treatments can cause some pain, it’s generally not the level of pain you may experience during waxing. You may notice some redness and inflammation after each session but a soothing lotion or balm will fix the issue. Something to note, you’ll probably need multiple laser sessions, up to five in most cases, to attain optimal results.
Back Hair Guide
If you’re fortunate, you don’t have a mass of back hair to worry about. But, many men do have some (or a lot of) back hair and want to do something about it. The problem is, the back isn’t an easy part of the body to groom and features many hard-to-reach sections that may make you feel like a contortionist when trying to trim them.
Manscaping your back isn’t impossible by any means. There’s just a lot to consider.
Things to Think AboutNot All Back Hair is Created Equal
One of back hair’s unique characteristics is that it doesn’t grow uniformly across its entire surface. A small tuft here, a dense forest there. The good news is that back hair tends to grow thickest in the easy-to-reach areas and is therefore much simpler to trim.
The hairier areas include the back of your neck just above your shoulder, the shoulders, and the small of your back.Think of the Aesthetics
While you may want to retain your hairy chest but shave your back, you should also consider the overall look. Would man-pelt on your chest pair all that well with a smooth back? It’s something to keep in mind when thinking about your overall manscaping routine.You May Need Some Help
Check that, you’re probably going to need some help when trimming your back. Unless you have long, double-jointed arms it’s going to be damn near impossible to shave every part of your back. That’s why you’ll sometimes need the assistance of your partner or a friend to ensure that you trim all parts of your back and not just some of them.
The Tools You’ll Need
Every part of the manscaping process requires the right tools and trimming your back is no exception. Here are your options:
If you’re going to use a manual razor to trim your back, you’re going to need some help if you want the process to go smoothly, without the nicks and cuts that may result from your DIY efforts.
You can use a multi-blade razor to trim your back or a tool dedicated to back-shaving (and it will help you to do the job more quickly). Use plenty of shaving cream for lubrication and go slowly. There's a lot more area to cover here than on other parts of your body, so you might as well settle in for the long haul if you want to do the job right.
Using an electric razor to trim your back includes all of the advantages that come with using one on other areas of your body—you’re way less likely to cut or nick the skin and it involves an efficient process by which to keep your back-scape trimmed.
Many electric razors and other electric grooming tools are versatile enough for use on most parts of your body. You can trim your back, chest, pubes, legs, whatever, without having to switch razors.
Let’s get serious. Using a manual razor or an electric razor are good options for shaving your back, especially with the assistance of someone else, but a dedicated back grooming tool such as the Mangroomer Ultimate Pro Back Shaver kicks ass and takes names.
Back groomers feature an extended handle that enables you to reach those hard-to-access areas of your back without the help of anyone else. A good back groomer also has flexible shaving heads that make it easier to navigate your back’s unique contours. Look for one with a handle that locks into place and doesn’t move around when shaving.
You should use a mirror when opting for the DIY method of shaving your back, such as with a back groomer, because it’s near impossible to see what you’re doing otherwise.
Shave Your Back in 6 Steps
1. Exfoliate - Exfoliation is the process of removing dead skin cells, which accumulate on all humans no matter what part of the body because skin constantly renews itself. The problem with the dead cells is that they can make skin look dull and lifeless, they can clog pores, and they can prevent you from getting the closest shave.
Use an exfoliating body wash on your back before you shave, or use a loofah that comes with a long handle to whisk away those cells that have accumulated over time.
2. Trim, Then Shave - If your goal is to shave your back to the skin, then you need to trim the hair before you shave it. Use a trimmer that comes with guards of different lengths; like most cases, it’s never a bad idea to start with a longer guard and trim off more only if needed.
Make sure that the blades of your trimmer are sharp. Trimming your back is hard enough with new blades, let alone with dull blades. The good news is that the best manual back shavers come with replaceable blades.
3. Use Shaving Gel or Cream - A good shaving gel or cream makes the job of trimming or shaving your back easier. While you may be tempted to use a standard bar soap as a shaving lubricant, it’s better to use something specifically formulated to work for shaving, like a gel, lotion, or our Utility Bar, because back hair tends to be thick and every bit of lubrication helps.
Make sure to apply your shave gel evenly across your back, don’t miss any areas, and use a mirror or the assistance of someone else to help you do a thorough job.
4. Shaving Your Back - You’ll usually get a smoother back shave if you shave in the opposite direction of your hair’s natural growth. For instance, you can shave the upper areas of your back by reaching over your shoulder and moving your razor or man groomer with an upward motion.
5. Rinse & Dry - Rinse your back with warm or cool (but not hot) water after you’ve finished shaving. Use a clean, dry towel to dry your back and use gentle motions so as not to irritate the skin.
6. Aftercare - With any manscaping process, what you do after you trim and shave is important. Applying a moisturizer to your back after you’ve rinsed and dried it will prevent your back from itching and keep your skin soft and well-hydrated. Don’t skip this step if you have dry or sensitive skin.
Waxing Your BackAn Alternative to Shaving
If you’re looking for a longer-term solution to removing your back hair then you may want to consider waxing. We’ll say it again, as we’ve said it regarding waxing other areas of the body, you can find DIY waxing kits on the market. And, again, we recommend that you leave waxing up to the professionals who know how to remove your hair without causing trauma, while reducing the chances of developing ingrown hairs.
A pro also understands how to keep the pain of waxing to a minimum. Waxing involves some pain, or at least some discomfort, although it’s nothing like, say, the pain of a kidney stone or getting kicked in the testicles. Be sure to tell your professional if you have sensitive skin; he or she will adjust the temperature and waxes accordingly.
A quality wax job on your back should last as long as six weeks, if not more, and the hair usually grows back with finer ends that cause less itching than the hairs you’ve trimmed or shaved with blades.
The good news is that waxing has come a long way and modern methods often use creamier waxes that adhere to the hair and not the skin. The professional will place strips of cloth over the cream in layers and then pull them off to remove the hair.
Applying an anti-bacterial cream for several days after you wax reduces the risk of infection.
Butt Hair Guide
As long as you’re visiting the backside of your body, there’s no reason that you shouldn’t manscape your buttocks, too. And, if you’re grooming the rest of your body, why leave your butt with a layer of hair that’s going to look more than a little out of place with your smooth back, smooth chest, smooth pubic area, and anything else you’ve manscaped?
A comprehensive manscaping guide wouldn’t be complete without talking about tips and techniques for properly shaving your ass.
The Basics of Butt Shaving
Shaving your backside isn’t unlike shaving the other parts of your body, particularly the nether regions. True, shaving your pubic area requires plenty of concentration and practice to master its techniques, but many of the same general principles apply for trimming and shaving your buttocks, including:Use a mirror
No surprise here… you have to see what you’re doing and it’s not easy to see your butt without a little assistance.Trim, then shave
If the hair on your buttocks is on the longer side, start by trimming it with a shaver or another type of electric trimming device. Doing so clears the way for any close-to-the-skin shaving that follows.Clean and disinfect your razor first
Use a fresh razor when trimming your tail feathers or, at the least, disinfect the blades already in it. Be sure to remove any existing debris found on and within the blades before you shave.It should go without saying, but still...
Don’t use the same blades you use to trim and shave your butt to trim and shave other parts of your body, such as your face. Enough said.Use a shave gel or lotion
Shaving gel reduces the odds of nicking or cutting the skin on your buttocks while providing a smoother surface upon which the blade can glide. It’s a good idea to apply the gel to one cheek at a time and then shaving that cheek before moving on to the other one.Shave in the right direction
In most cases, shaving against the grain creates a closer, smoother shave. However, if you have sensitive skin or are more prone to skin irritation, shaving with the grain may be your best option.Only use light pressure
Let your razor or trimmer handle the heavy lifting. That is, you don’t need to apply a lot of pressure against the skin while shaving your backside. Make sure to rinse the blades frequently, preferably with cold water, to get rid of any trimmed hairs that become lodged in the blades.
Shaving Between Your Cheeks
You may be a man who doesn’t consider the job “complete” after shaving his butt cheeks. If so, then you’ve probably considered shaving between the cheeks, or already have.
Let’s cut to the chase—trimming between your cheeks (and, by association, around your anus) isn’t a job for the faint of heart. Or, at the least, a job for anyone who doesn’t have a steady hand. It’s not unlike shaving around your pubic regions, especially around your scrotum.
But, like sending a man to the moon, it can be done.
Step one is to invest in a good mirror. You’ll preferably want to squat over that mirror to see exactly what you’re doing when trimming the furthest of nether regions. Squatting helps to open things up, so to speak, without requiring you to use your free hand to pull your cheeks apart.
Apply some shaving gel to the area and, whatever you do, use a blade that has a guard on it.
No, we don’t recommend using an old-fashioned straight razor for this job, unless you love to engage in high-risk activities, or consider yourself a masochist. It’s a good idea to begin with the outer edges of your butt crack and work your way to the anus. You’ll have a better sense of how comfortably you can squat, the type of strokes you can take (usually shorter ones) and the speed by which you shave.
Again, you don’t need excessive pressure to shave this most sensitive area of your body. Too much pressure will bite you in the ass, literally.
Armpit Hair Guide
What can you say about armpit hair? While it’s not as unpopular as back hair, it’s not all that attractive either. Then again, it serves some evolutionary function and, scientists say, is useful (or at least was) for communicating information that helps attract a mate thanks to its apocrine glands.
‘Pit hair isn’t useless, then, but many men are compelled to shave or trim it without giving their chances of luring a lover a second thought. According to Men’s Health, 68% of men surveyed said they trimmed their armpit hair. More than half of those men said they manscape their underarms for aesthetic reasons, while a smaller number did it for athletic reasons.
No matter what your reason, however, you may feel the urge to join the legion of men who shave their underarms. There’s no reason to fight that urge, especially when you take a full-body approach to man-grooming, and here are a few tips to keep in mind:
The Best Armpit Shaving TipsTrim First, Shave Second
Trim the overgrowth first before you shave your armpits clean with a razor. Fire up your electric trimmer or razor, use a longer guard setting, and bring that longer underarm hair down to a more manageable stubble. The longer guard setting helps to prevent the blades from pulling and tugging on the hair as you go over it.
You can also use scissors to trim back the longer growth if you prefer.Shave in the Shower
Hot water is your friend as you prep your armpits for shaving. Your best bet is to hop into the shower after you’ve finished trimming and scrub your underarms to A) rinse away the trimmings and, B) to soften the texture of the hair, which makes it easier to trim. Massaging your underarm skin also helps to open up its pores.Use a Sharp Razor
Use a new and/or sharp razor for shaving your armpits. Dull blades can pull at the hair and cause skin irritation. Also, it’s best to use a razor with multiple blades because it removes more hair per stroke and generally provides a smoother, closer shave.Use a Shave Gel or Cream
Don’t be afraid to apply a liberal amount of shave cream to your ‘pits before wielding your razor. Shaving creams and gels help stimulate hair follicles, and you can always apply more as you shave, if needed.Shave in Multiple Directions
Start at the top of your underarm and shave in all directions: up, down, side-to-side. Take longer strokes while trying to remove as much hair as possible with each pass. Armpit hair often sprouts in multiple directions so there isn’t necessarily a “grain” to follow. Rinse your razor often during the process to help keep your blades clog-free. Excess shave gel and trimmed hair builds up quickly.Rinse With Cold Water
Splash or run some cold water over your underarms after you’ve finished shaving to wash away trimmed hair while also soothing your skin and closing its pores. Cold water also helps to cut down on inflammation that may result from shaving.Pat Dry Then Moisturize
Pat dry your underarms with a clean towel after you’ve shaved. Follow up with a moisturizer or other type of hydrating lotion to help relieve inflammation and to soothe the skin. Most moisturizers have a pleasant scent, as well, which is a nice bonus for a sometimes-smelly area of the body.
Arm Hair Guide
To Shave, Or Not to Shave
It goes without saying that some men have hairier arms than others. That’s not a bad thing, necessarily. Nonetheless, many men choose to shave their arms these days, whether it’s for athletic or aesthetic reasons. And, if you keep the rest of your body hair-free, a bear pelt on your forearms may look more than a little out of place, especially a dark, thicker pelt.
The procedure for shaving your arms is similar to the methods you use to shave other parts of your body:
The Best Way to Shave Your Arms
1. Trim first – Use electric clippers to trim your excess arm hair before you begin shaving. Jumping in with your razor before you’ve pruned the long, thick hair can be frustrating and tedious. Run your clippers or trimmer over your forearms, elbows, biceps, and even your shoulders.
2. Rinse – Rinse your arms with warm water after trimming
3. Lubricate – Apply shaving cream, lotion, or gel before you begin to shave. Besides making for a smoother shave, it also helps prevent skin irritation and cuts.
4. Shave – It’s easier to divide your arms into sections for shaving. For instance, you can shave the inside of your wrist to the top of your forearm while shaving in straight, even lines. Once you’ve finished that section, you can move on to the upper part of your arm, i.e., from your elbow up to your shoulder.
5. Rinse, again – Rinse both arms with warm water after you’ve finished shaving. Doing so washes away the excess hair while also helping to prevent skin irritation.
6. Soothe your arms with an antiseptic or aloe – You may notice a red rash on your arms, aka “razor burn,” which can occur even if you’re the most adept of shavers. If so, apply aloe vera or an antiseptic to your skin to relieve the irritation.
Leg Hair Guide
While it’s impossible to pinpoint the exact number of men who shave their legs, most experts can confidently assert that it’s a higher total than, say, a decade or two ago. Many men do, indeed, shave their legs (not as many as those who don’t mind you) but it’s something to consider adding to your overall male grooming routine. Or, not.
If you do, however, you probably have some reasons why you do it beyond simple aesthetics; for instance, maybe you just want to keep your overall total body hair to a minimum. But you could also be a bodybuilder or swimmer who shaves his body to impact overall performance.
Other athletic types, such as cyclists, gymnasts, and runners, often shave their legs, as well, because it makes them more comfortable and they feel like it generates a better outcome for their particular sport. Male professional dancers, including strippers, shave their legs (and everything else). So do male fashion models because modeling a pair of men’s shorts with bushy legs doesn’t exactly rock it on the runway or in the pages of a magazine.
Here’s another thing to keep in mind: while you may think that your legs are as tanned as the rest of you, darker hair helps create the illusion of a darker tan. You may be shocked to discover some pasty white skin underneath the hair after you trim your leg hair, especially if you have fair skin.
But even though more men are trimming or shaving their legs these days, the consensus seems to be that “trimming” is the keyword. That is, while many men trim their leg hair, fewer shave them completely. Men’s Health polled its online audience a few years ago and found out that 33% of men trimmed, not completely shaved, their leg hair. Only 15% shaved their leg hair down to the skin. So be it. Statistics and numbers aside, here’s a look at how to trim your legs, the manly way.
Choose Your Tool
Most men choose to shave their legs with an electric body groomer, such as an electric razor, or with a manual razor. Which one you choose is not only a matter of preference and comfort, but also depends on the level of smoothness that you’re trying to achieve.
If you seek the smoothest shave possible, then your weapon of choice should be a manual razor, especially if you’re not prone to skin irritation and issues such as ingrown hair. An electric groomer of some sort will give you a smooth shave but not quite as smooth as with a manual razor. The advantage of an electric groomer is that it requires less effort than a manual razor, and you don’t need to use shaving gels or lotions.
If you do use a manual razor, use a wet lubricant such as a shave gel to get the smoothest shave possible while avoiding nicks and cuts, and you can use a dry shaving powder, if you so choose, when you use an electric razor or groomer.
Choose Your Location
Shaving your legs can leave a bit of a mess and most men prefer to do it in a way that requires as little clean-up as possible. Your bathtub or shower are ideal locations for leg hair-trimming and the warm water will help soften your leg hair and make it easier to trim. Moreover, you can easily wash the trimmed hairs down the drain when you’re finished. If you use an electric razor or grooming tool in the bath or shower, just make sure that it’s waterproof.
How to Prep
A couple of things you should do before you get down to the nitty-gritty of trimming:
- Disinfect your manual razor before you use it. You can use rubbing alcohol, or another disinfectant, to kill any bacteria that may be on the razor and its blades.
- You may even want to start with a fresh blade because shaving a thick mass of leg hair with a dull razor can become problematic and a bit painful.
Also, something we repeatedly suggest, is that it’s not a bad idea to use your electric trimmer or grooming tool to cut your leg hair down to a more manageable level before you start shaving with a manual razor. It helps prevent excess hair from clogging up your blades.How to Shave Your Legs
Once you’ve trimmed your leg hair to a reasonable length and applied your go-to shave gel or lubricant, it’s time to get down to business. Here are some things to keep in mind:
- Whether you start high on your leg or down by your calves and ankles, your best bet is to shave against the grain if you want a close shave. On the other hand, if you’re prone to skin irritation you may want to shave with the grain instead. You won’t get as close of a shave, but you shouldn’t get as much irritation, either.
- Use smaller strokes when shaving your legs than you would on other parts of your body. You want to work carefully and in smaller patches, if possible. Take care to rinse your razor of clogged hair frequently because it helps ensure that you’ll get the closest shave possible.
One of the goals of trimming your leg hair is to ensure a smooth transition from your legs to your feet, so don’t forget to shave your ankles and feet – even your toes. You want to avoid the modified Cro-Magnon look in which you have smooth skin on your legs and tufts of hair on your feet.Rinse & Dry
Rinse your trimmed hairs and excess shaving lubricant down the drain once you’ve finished trimming. Then use a fresh, dry towel to dry off your legs and feet. Using a clean towel ensures that you don’t transfer bacteria to your freshly shaven legs.Use Antiseptic & Moisturizer
Applying an antiseptic or other post-shave product after you’ve shaved your legs will help prevent razor burn, ingrown hairs, and skin irritation. It will also kill any bacteria left behind while closing the pores.
If your legs feel itchy after trimming, then apply some body moisturizer to them, especially one that calms and soothes irritated skin.
Nose Hair Guide
On one hand, nose hair is essential to good health. It acts as an air filter and helps strain bacteria that enter your nasal cavity and impact your health. On the other hand, there’s nothing attractive about nose hair that dangles visibly below your nostrils.
Also, the feel of untrimmed nose hair is an aggravation in and of itself and, heaven forbid, it may latch onto a couple of nose nuggets and put them out there for the whole world to see. A quick way to spoil a job interview is to do it with a booger hanging out.
All of the above leads to the basic premise of, “trimming your nose hair is a good thing.” The key is to keep the stragglers in check and out of the public eye. Like other manscaping for other parts of the body, there is more than one way for trimming nose hair.
Nose Hair Tackling ToolsNose Hair Scissors
You can easily find scissors dedicated to the task of trimming nose hair and we strongly recommend using those rather than, say, fingernail or cuticle scissors. The latter two options may get the job done, but their sharp ends will create greater injury risk. Nose hair scissors feature smooth, rounded edges that trim nose hair gently and won’t nick the skin inside of your nostrils. They’re also easier to handle because of their shape and size.Nose Hair Trimmers
Nose hair trimmers come in manual and battery-powered varieties. The latter option typically involves a trimmer whose blades move in a circular motion and gently, but effectively, trims back your nostril hedges.
There are also non-circular battery-powered trimmers that don’t grab the nose hair quite as harshly as the circular variety. A couple of disadvantages regarding battery-powered trimmers is that they make noise, which may not be a big deal to you, and you need a supply of batteries to keep them running, although it’s not as if you have to use them every day.Nose Hair Tweezers
Nose hair tweezers get to the root of the problem, literally. They enable you to pull out nose hair one by one, which is the preferred method for some men. Keep in mind that tweezing your nose hair is painful and it may cause infection, although that’s not entirely common.Nose Hair Waxing
Waxing is a solid option if you want to keep your nose hair under control for a longer period. Warm wax is inserted into your nose with a stick in it, and you pull the wax out with the stick after the wax sets. Waxing involves similar risks as with nose hair tweezing, however— it can be a bit painful, may cause infection, and you could pull out more hair than what’s healthy for your respiratory system.
Ear Hair Guide
Ear hair and nose hair are, in many ways, alike. No, not necessarily their texture or length, although both can get plenty long, but in how they can pop up and spoil the appearance of an otherwise well-groomed man.
Also, ear and nose hair growth increases with age. But it also serves an important function in that can help to keep things out of your ear, including allergens and other irritants that surround us daily. Ear hair also serves to heighten the sensitivity to the sounds around us. While trimming back unruly ear hair doesn’t necessarily deaden your hearing, it may make it harder to detect subtle, auditory changes.
All that said, while it’s a good idea to trim your ear hair if you want to look your best, it’s a healthy practice to leave some intact.
There are many methods you can use to trim ear hair. Trimming, as compared to waxing and plucking, is the gentlest, fastest way to rid your ears of unsightly hair, but you do need to do it more often.
An easy way to trim your ears is with an electric trimmer that has an attachment designed for ear hair. It’s quick, painless, and you stick it within your ear canal without shoving it in too deep to keep from damaging the ear. There are even trimmers specially designed for ear hair and they won’t break your budget.
You can use scissors to trim your ears, but proceed with caution. Use scissors with rounded edges to avoid cutting yourself, and you should always use a mirror to help give you a better idea of what you’re doing.
Removing Ear Hair With Tweezers
Tweezing your ear hair can be a bit painful, but it’s the cheapest method around. You may opt to use tweezers if you only have a few noticeable ear hairs.
A couple of guidelines for using tweezers:
- Sterilize them with alcohol first, especially if you use the tweezers for other functions, such as removing splinters or facial hair.
- Whatever you do, don’t stick your tweezers down your ear canal and risk puncturing your eardrum.
Waxing Your Ears
Yes, you can have your ears professionally waxed. You can also do-it-yourself, but it’s a task best left up to someone who knows what the hell they’re doing. It’s a longer-lasting solution to hair removal because it removes hair by the roots. You don’t have to trim your ears as frequently and the removal process doesn’t take all that long, either.
The cons? Well, ear waxing, like waxing in general, isn’t painless and your ears are a pretty sensitive area of the body. While you can also wax within the ear canal, an adverse reaction to the process may leave your ears feeling a bit clogged up for a few days.
You need to be careful of removing too much ear hair while waxing and, as mentioned, we need a certain amount of ear hair for optimal health. While waxing won’t eliminate all of your ear hair, it will remove a significant amount.
Eyebrow Hair GuideDon’t Let Them Get Out of Control
You may be old enough to remember Andy Rooney, the “60 Minutes” broadcaster, who, aside from having a sharp wit and an everyman’s perspective, had incredibly bushy eyebrows. “Bushy” may not quite cover it—after all, Rooney’s eyebrows were thick enough to get lost in.
While the eyebrows were part of Rooney’s look, you really shouldn’t feel the need to copy it. Overly bushy, untrimmed eyebrows may not be your desired look. And, like any other manscaping task, there are ways to trim your eyebrows that ensure you’ll do it correctly from the start.
The Best Eyebrow Trimming Tips
The tools – The two essential tools for trimming your eyebrows are a small comb and a tiny pair of scissors. Smaller scissors are way better for trimming eyebrows than standard-sized scissors. Your comb needs to be small enough to separate individual eyebrow hairs and make them easier to cut.
Determine how much you want to cut – Take a long look at your eyebrows and determine how much you want to trim. For most men, snipping off the loose ends and stragglers is sufficient, but you may decide to roll up your sleeves and attack the entire jungle.
Comb first – Use your comb to brush your eyebrow hair upward. Make it look as bushy as possible, because you’ll want to get a full sense of how many out-of-control hairs you have.
Snip outside-in – Start snipping at the outside end of the brow while cutting along the top line of your eyebrow. Next, comb your eyebrows downward to check for any hairs longer than the overall length of the eyebrow.
Or, you can pluck – You can always pluck your eyebrow hair out from its root, if you so desire. Keep in mind that it can be a bit painful. Also keep in mind that less is more while being careful not to pluck out too much. Over-plucking may affect the overall shape of your eyebrows.
Don’t forget the hair growing between the eyebrows – Some men’s eyebrows meet in the middle to form one lengthy unibrow. It’s not a great look, and many of those men prefer to pluck the hair in the middle to separate the intersecting eyebrow paths.
Manscaping often involves a full-body approach that leaves no stone unturned, or at least no excess hair untrimmed. It’s up to you to choose what part, or parts, of the body you want to groom.
Your reasons for manscaping may be different than another guy’s, and that’s OK. But understand your motivation before diving in and starting the job. We hope this guide will help you do your manscaping work in the best way possible, no matter how much or how little grooming you do.
We’d love to hear from you. What does your manscaping routine entail? We welcome your feedback and suggestions.
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