GUIDE TO MANSCAPING. In the disco era, there was no greater symbol of masculinity than a forest on your chest and a thick happy trail. Back then, the hairier you were, the better.
Today, leaving your man growth where Mother Nature intended is unfashionable. Modern examples of masculinity – whether ballplayer, pop star or superhero – have tamed body hair.
We’ll show you how to go about manscaping safely and effectively, no matter where it needs to be done.
For those without gym-toned pecs or abs, chest hair can be a good thing. A less than toned physique is forgiven by a protective layer of body hair. But if you regularly bench-press your own body weight, then the best way to show off your hard work is with a thorough waxing.
Did the word “waxing” make you wince? Don’t worry, it’s not as painful as you probably think. Definitely not as painful as what it takes to accomplish those near-Olympian feats at the gym every single day. It won’t be painful to your ego either since many salons now specialize in men’s waxing. As with shaving, what you do after a wax treatment is just as important as the waxing itself. For a rash-free finish, avoid hot showers, irritating chemicals (chlorinated pools) or exercise for at least 24 hours following treatment. Waxing leaves the pores open and more prone to irritation; don’t let a rash ruin your newly manscaped pectorals.
If you’re considering shaving your chest instead of waxing, think again. Not only will your skin be more prone to irritation from chafing or sun exposure but, much like shaving your face, there’s also the risk of ingrown hairs, cutting yourself and spreading bacteria that’s hidden between the blades. And if your chest hair is as thick as a sweater, you’ll have itchy re-growth just days after shaving. Instead, use electric clippers that will cut through impenetrable walls of chest hair and give you more aesthetically pleasing length and density. Start with a longer setting, then continue decreasing the grade until you reach the desired length.
BACK & SHOULDERS
You might meet a girl or two who like a hairy chest on their man. But it’s rare to find one who digs back hair.
While waxing will handle back hair for four to six weeks, you can now ban it for life instead. Several options exist for permanent hair removal including laser and IPL (Intense Pulse Light), by far the two most advanced and effective methods. Each treatment can dramatically reduce hair growth, and most guys don’t find it painful at all. Lasers seek out melanin (natural color) in the hair and kill the blood supply to the follicle, which eventually stops hair growth altogether.
There is a catch with laser and IPL. A single treatment won’t knock out all of your back hair because it’s not all above the skin at all times. Hair has three phases of growth, and it’s only susceptible to laser/IPL during one of those stages. Also, different areas have different amounts of sleeping hairs (as much as 80 percent on the arms, for example), so you’ll have to keep shelling out for more treatments whenever the hair decides to sprout. And at around $350 per session for the back, this is a costly and lengthy process. But if you can afford it, it’s well worth the cash.
LET’S JUST CALL IT “ELSEWHERE”
The nether-regions. The down-unders. The unmentionables. Rarely seen in the light of day, these below-the-belt body parts need love, too. This calls for a highly effective and relatively risk-free procedure, known in some circles as “The Boyzillian.” It’s not for the faint of heart.
If you’re still reading, a tip before you go: find a spa that uses hot wax instead of traditional strip wax. Hot wax molds into the area (like play putty) and then sets so the hair can be removed easily. This method is not only considerably less painful but it means there’s no need for you to make “froggy legs” in order for the therapist to get into any, er, nooks and crannies.
Contrary to popular belief among professional cyclists, shaving your legs doesn’t make you bike faster. In fact, there are no academic studies to show that clean-shaven legs will slice through air any better than hairy ones. But the more important question is this: which legs look better? That’s a matter of personal taste, not science. If you’re into the smooth look, the technique for shaving your legs is pretty much the same as shaving your face, though you might find it easier to do in the shower. And beware of itchy regrowth–once you start shaving your legs, you might find it hard to stop.