Manscaping 101

The art and science of men’s body hair maintenance.

Manscaping, once practiced only by the metrosexual, has become a social norm. It is not only acceptable for men to maintain their body hair, in some cases it’s actually expected of us. Rather than buck the trend, as this one isn’t going anywhere any time soon, why not embrace it? Better to use all the tools at your disposal, I say. But, where does a guy start?

Assessment

The first step is to take a quick inventory of what you’re working with. Myself, I’m a fairly hairy guy. So I have lots of places that need grooming if I want to be presentable, and plenty of options if I want to go above and beyond the bare minimum.

However, maybe you don’t have a ton of body hair…and that’s fine. That just means you can focus in on a couple of areas and be done with it. The point is, it’s best to go in with a plan. If you start freestyling your body hair removal, it’s really easy to go overboard. Trust me, I know. I’ve been that guy that trimmed down under, couldn’t get it to look right, and before I knew it, I’d shaved my entire body. Don’t be that guy. Don’t be me, circa 2015.

Where to groom

So now that you’ve got a picture of what you’re working with, it’s time to figure out what body parts need the most attention. Generally, it’s advisable to stay close to the core when removing body hair – meaning your focus should be on your genitals (but then, when is it not?), your back, and perhaps your chest. Venture beyond that at your own peril.

Where should you not shave or trim? I would suggest staying away from the arm pits, unless you’re planning to try out for WWE or entering a body building competition. You can trim it a bit, if you have a huge bush growing under your arms, but more than that is probably going to get you side-eye from your partner.

But, at the bare minimum, you should definitely be shaving or trimming your junk, guys. It’s just the right thing to do in polite society. More on the particulars of how to go about doing that properly in a bit.

What to use

These days, men have no shortage of products made specifically for us to remove body hair with. Here’s a quick list of the options you have at your disposal:

  1. Shaving cream and razors. This one is fairly straight forward: apply shaving cream, shave hair with razor. Boom. Done. It’s the fastest, most efficient way to remove any and all body hair.
  2. Depilatory cream. Creams like Nair for men are almost as easy as shaving. Just smooth the cream over whatever body part you want to be hairless, leave it for a few minutes, then wipe it off with a damp cloth. Just a word of warning, though…do not use this stuff on your genitals. The chemicals in these creams literally burn your hair off. That makes each strand very easy to break, which is what happens when you wipe the cream away. The hair breaks and wipes off with the cream. Now…do you really want to put that kind of chemical on your balls? I’ll answer for you. No. No, you do not.
  3. Waxing/sugaring. Waxing hurts. But, it is probably the longest lasting hair removal method. If you want to reduce the thickness of your body hair, waxing is also a good method of achieving that. When you wax regularly, the hair follicle can become damaged, meaning your hair will start to grow back less dense and finer. It might be a good way to go, if your goal is long term hair removal.
  4. Laser hair removal/electrolysis. This is purely an option for those who are committed to being hair-free. Both methods are permanent, less painful than waxing, and very effective. The biggest downside here, is the cost.
  5. Trimmer/clippers. If you don’t want to be completely hairless, but do want to get that jungle under control, this is the option for you. In many cases, it is actually advisable to use these over the other options…just be sure to use a guard that will leave your hair a length that isn’t stubbley and pokey or you may find yourself with a sudden deficit of skin to skin contact with your partner.

How to groom

Ok, now you’ve got your full plan in place. Just for the purposes of this example, let’s say your plan is thus: you plan to use a hair trimmer to cut down on the length of your chest and pubic hair. Great! But…how do you make it look right?

Ah, that’s the tricky part, isn’t it? My suggestion is to start with the longest attachment that your clippers have. Then, if it’s not as short as you want it, go to the next size down. This way you can remove a little at a time incrementally until you’re satisfied.

Also, if you have a trail of hair down your abdomen, then you’ll definitely want to either cut that to match or try to blend the cut so that it transitions smoothly from one body part to the next. I recommend this for the same reason I tell people with hairy bellies and legs not to shave their pubes: it just looks awkward and weird if you have a ton of hair in one place and not the next. What we want to achieve is a nice groomed look that appears to just grow that way all on its own.

Conclusion

The most important part of grooming body hair is knowing what you want to achieve before you start. Then it’s just a simple matter of choosing the right tool for the job and going to work. Definitely talk to your partner about how their thoughts on the subject before doing anything too drastic, though. Remember how I said earlier that I had a misadventure that led to me shaving my entire body? Well, I learned that day how much my wife loves my chest hair. She actually cried over it not being there.

Do you have any manscaping horror stories, tips or commentary to share? I’d love to read them. Be sure to drop them in the comments below!

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