Due to the nature of our summer wardrobes and the fact that holiday season is upon us, more of our bodies are on show at this time of year. It’s fine during the winter when it’s only our hands and faces peaking out of our clothing, but during the summer unwanted body hair can become a more pressing concern.
Now I know what you’re thinking – body hair maintenance is a slightly strange choice of topic for an article, but lately I’ve realised that guys are much more switched on to body hair removal than your might initially think.
The main areas of concern for most guys tend to the back, chest and shoulders – and this is what most of the advice and product recommendations will be focused on in this article. However, there are obviously other areas of your body where these products can be *cough* used, but if you were hoping for a ‘man-scaping’ how to guide, you will have to look elsewhere (just be careful what you type into google).
Of course, as with any grooming practice, there are different extremes, you’ll get some guys who wouldn’t dream of anything other than ‘au naturel’, and others who’ll be perfectly au fait with whole body hair removal. Then there are the guys that would love to have some chest hair to even consider removing!
Me? I fall somewhere in the middle. It’s all about finding where you fit in that spectrum and getting the right products to do the job.
So Why Even Consider Hair Removal?
Well one of the most common reasons is that guys (or their partners) believe excess body hair to be unattractive – whether this is on the chest, back, shoulders, or anywhere else on the body. It’s obviously personal preference but as guys move towards a more groomed overall appearance, hair removal is becoming more and more popular.
DO YOU PREFER A NATURAL LOOK? IF SO, DO YOU STILL KEEP IT TRIMMED?
In addition, it’s widely believed that a hairless physique shows off more muscle definition, so many guys are opting for a close chest shave and smooth abs to help show off their gym efforts. Ever noticed that Men’s Health cover models or swimwear models have no chest hair whatsoever? It’s no coincidence.
IT IS SAID THAT A SHAVED CHEST CAN IMPROVE MUSCULAR DEFINITION – BUT IS IT AS MANLY?
Top Hair Removal Methods
If you’re hoping to keep a handle on your body hair, then there are four main methods (that don’t involve laser removal). They each have their pro’s and con’s, they each have their required pain thresholds, and they each have their unique results – but they’re all designed to leave you with a well groomed body.
Think hair removal, and most people think of waxing. Think waxing, and most people envision pain. Now I’ve had my legs waxed (for charity I might add) and I can confirm that it isn’t pleasant, but it certainly isn’t unbearable – no pain, no gain and all that.
Widely regarded as one of the most effective methods because it removes hair from the root (hence the pain), waxing involves applying a strip and a sticky substance to the skin and removing swiftly – normally in the opposite direction of hair growth.
The results for waxing are pretty impressive, and the post-wax results will normally last longer than any other method. However, in terms of at home hair removal, it isn’t the most practical solution – particularly on your back – so you’ll either have to visit a salon or get some at home assistance. If you want to have a go from home, you (and your trusty assistant) can opt for one of the effective solutions below:
Most guys shave regularly, or will have done so at some point in their lives, so shaving should be nothing new. In terms of body hair removal it’s probably the simplest method, and allows you to cover any area of your body in one go with just a razor and a shave product.
Arm yourself with a new razor (like those below), rinse regularly, shave in the direction of hair growth and you can’t really go wrong. I’d also advise using a shaving product with maximum glide and minimal foam. This will allow your razor to glide over the contours of your body, while giving you maximum visibility to reduce the chance of any unsightly cuts or nicks.
Before shaving any body hair it’s also important to shower with warm water (adding an exfoliating scrub like Anthony Logistics Sea Salt Body Scrub for maximum effect) so that you open pours and raise the hair follicles. If any of your body hair is particularly long, ensure you give the chosen area a quick trim with a pair of scissors or clippers first to prevent razor clogging.
The downsides? Well obviously shaving your chest with a blade poses nipple-slicing hazards, and your hair could grow back to be awkwardly spiky if you don’t keep the process up. But really, as long as you take care and follow the routine above, shaving will prove to be a cost effective and efficient method of body hair removal.
3. Hair Removal Cream
The less painful cousin of waxing, hair removal creams (or Depilatories) are a pain free way of removing excess body hair. They work by applying your chosen removal cream across the selected area, and then leaving for (normally) 5-10 mins while the products ‘dissolves’ the hair protein structure, before removing. Whether or not hair removal creams will work for you depends on your hair and skin type, along with the area of the body and the amount of hair you have.
If you can’t stand the thought of waxing, and shaving leaves you with cuts, nicks and razor burn, then hair removal creams are a great alternative. However, these kind of products can be a little harsh on sensitive skin, and probably won’t give the best results on thick, dark hair.
So, as a general rule of thumb, I’d avoid hair removal creams if you are prone to irritation or want to remove lots of thick hair. One word additional word of advice – be sure to follow the instructions and test any products on a small area of skin prior to application to avoid any bad reactions that could potentially occur.
Electrical trimmers are all about subtle maintenance and are perfect for hair removal beginners. Obviously it’s not going to give you a silky smooth finish, but it’s a great in-between option that allows to take baby steps and avoid a drastic transformation.
One of the best features of these kind of gadgets is that they allow you to control the length of your body hair, not simply going from ‘bear’ chest to ‘bare’ chest. This is also the best method if you’ve got sensitive skin, or don’t want to take a razor to any tricky areas. The nature of these electrical hair removers means that they’re much safer and pretty much eradicate the possibility of any skin irritation.
There are also some fantastic products on the market, like the Man Groomer Do It Yourself Electric Back Hair Shaver, that allow you to shave hard to reach areas yourself, meaning you won’t have to sheepishly ask somebody to help with your hair removal.
The Final Word
Now we’ve covered the main hair removal methods and how to avoid a post shaving rash, it’s time to hear what you guys think.
Let us know whether you prefer natural chest hair, a shaved chest or somewhere in between and why. Also share your hair removal stories and product recommendations below.