Can you imagine a time when you and your woman will go get bikini waxes — together? While you likely won’t go the Brazilian route, you might be surprised (or not) to hear that men are taking it off — their body hair, that is — in all the places that’ll probably make you squirm.
Have we already arrived at this point? It looks like it. Between waxing, shaving, electrolysis, tweezing, trimming, and laser hair removal, men of all ages, sizes, sexual orientations, ethnicities, and professions are getting rid of their excess body hair.
Sure, waxed legs and chests used to be exclusive to male strippers, swimmers, cyclists, and bodybuilders, but those days are long gone. Check out what guys are doing to strip themselves of the fuzz. Who knows, maybe you’ll also give in to the buzz…
waxing & sugaring
What is it? Waxing involves spreading hot wax onto the area where you want to eliminate hair, and then applying a strip of cloth or muslin onto the desired area, rubbing it, and ripping off the strip in one fell swoop — wax, hair, root, and all. Sugaring is similar to waxing, only it uses sugar paste (which usually consists of a mixture of sugar, lemon, water, and even citric acid and gum arabic) instead of wax and is a method of hair removal that goes as far back as ancient Egypt.
According to a recent article in USA Today, men are not only waxing their backs, but also their bikini lines. The goal? Increased sex appeal and a “cleaner” feeling. Would you believe me if I told you some men are even waxing shapes into their pubic regions?
Since some men might be embarrassed about getting waxed at a salon, there are at-home estheticians who can do the job. There are even do-it-yourself waxing kits, but unless you’re a glutton for punishment, it’s pretty hard to put yourself through such torture and it can get very messy.
If you opt for waxing, I highly recommend going to a professional. If you choose to get your genital area waxed, keep in mind that most spas and estheticians simply wax the areas surrounding your crown jewels — so only the regions around and above the base of the penis get the royal treatment.
Men are also booking appointments at salons or spas for eyebrow waxes, a trend that is surely riding the “metrosexual” wave. With famous men like David Beckham boasting nicely-shaped brows, it seems men aren’t settling for less. According to the spa director at Esthetique, in Hamden, Connecticut, 86% of the male clientele get their eyebrows waxed. I don’t suggest that guys aim for a perfectly-arched eyebrow, but waxing is a good way to get rid of eyebrows that are out of control and keep that unibrow out of sight.
Ideal parts to wax: Eyebrows (unibrow), back of neck, back, chest, genital area, legs, toes, knuckles
Pain factor: 8/10
Bottom line: With repeated use, hair gradually becomes thinner because the roots are weakened. But hair will grow back, albeit at longer intervals. So if you want to lessen the hair that grows on your legs or chest without permanently abolishing it, this would be the ideal way to go.
What is it? While electrolysis sounds more threatening, the premise behind this method is that a needle zaps the hair at its root and kills it.
Electrolysis offers permanent results, but of course, there is no guarantee and effectiveness varies from guy to guy, hair follicle to hair follicle. This procedure must be performed by a professional electrologist and requires weekly appointments for optimal results. The upside is that electrolysis weakens hairs at the root and eventually eliminates growth.
Ideal parts to zap: Eyebrows (unibrow), sporadic hairs on face or neck
Pain factor: 6/10
Bottom line: Since it’s more time-consuming than waxing (it could take up to a year to eliminate hair completely), save the electrolysis for your unibrow or other small patches of hair that you want to get rid of for good.
What is it? FDA approved, laser treatment involves a laser beam basically killing the hair follicles. Results depend on your skin pigmentation and the color of your hair (dark hair absorbs the laser energy, making it easier to treat), so you will first need to find out if you are a good candidate for the procedure. The best results occur with men who have fair skin and black hair. Keep in mind that you cannot receive treatment if you are tanned, as a tan messes with your skin’s pigmentation and can lead to blistering or permanent discoloration. This is why darker-skinned men might not make good candidates, so consult with a practitioner or dermatologist first.
While laser hair removal offers a permanent reduction in quality or quantity of hair, it’s also the most expensive method, with each session possibly running you a few hundred dollars. The total cost depends on the size of the desired body part, as well as factors like hair density and number of treatments required.
Laser hair removal is one of the more popular methods out there, for both men and women. According to HairRemovalForum.com, as of 2001, men represented 17.7% of the population that opted for laser treatments, especially among the 35 to 50 age bracket — and this percentage has surely only grown exponentially since.
Laser hair removal requires several sessions and although it’s expensive, it can be considered an investment, as you will never need to worry about hair removal in the desired area again. Just ask your woman how many times she’s had to go for a wax and you’ve likely got a pretty high grand total. Laser hair removal is especially popular for athletic men who feel that their body hair hinders their performance, and even men who want a tattoo on their back, for example.
Ideal parts to laser: Back, unibrow, nape of neck
Pain factor: 7/10 (it kind of feels like an elastic band flicking your skin)
Bottom line: This is the mother of all hair removal methods in terms of price and efficiency, so keep in mind that while your back might be a good place to eliminate hair for good, you might not want to say a permanent goodbye to other hairy parts (in which case waxing might be a better alternative).
What is it? With the help of a trusty pair of tweezers (the sharper, the better), pluck away at the hairs you want to eliminate.
Unless you’ve got lots of time on your hands and can take the constant pinching sensation, save the tweezing for those smaller regions that are covered with excess hair (or for ingrown hairs). And of course, this method is far from permanent.
Ideal parts to pluck: Eyebrows (unibrow), toes, knuckles
Pain factor: 4/10
Bottom line: Spending more for high-quality tweezers is worth the price — I recommend the Tweezerman brand (approximately $20 at your local drugstore).
What are they? When it comes to ear and nose hair, and other unsightly hair you’d like to keep short, electric trimmers (like the ever-advertised MicroTouch and other specialized hair trimmers) can do the trick with no pain, fuss or mess.
Ideal parts to trim: Ear hair, nose hair, genital area, nape of neck, sideburns, eyebrows — the possibilities are endless…
Pain factor: 1/10
Bottom line: A man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do. There are so many electric and non-electric trimmers out there for a guy to choose from, ranging from $15 to $60, so go crazy.
Between the various hair removal methods available out there for men, there is no reason for a guy to let his pubic area grow out of control or his unibrow to attract attention. You could always stick to shaving, but there are some areas that require more care and shaving can cause irritation and razor burn.
Try the method that best suits your needs and your budget, and remember the best part: if you’re taking care of grooming, you’d better tell your girlfriend that she has no excuse to “let herself go”…