The good news about manscaping is that there are far more right ways to wear your body hair than there are wrong ways. But executing the task is where things get tricky; that’s because not all devices will do a fine job, and because you might want a different length of hair for each individual region of your body. But with a few simple tips, you can get the overall look that you desire, whether it’s bare as a dolphin or as fuzzy as a poodle.
Follow these 7 essential manscaping tips below, to keep your body hair in check—whatever that means for you.
1. Use dedicated devices
A lot of guys use their beard trimmer to tidy up their chest, back, pubes, armpits and the likes. And while there are ways to disinfect the trimmer after navigating through these funkier regions of the body, we’d suggest you get a dedicated device or two for the manscaping.
One of our favorite designs is a V-shaped nozzle, with the teeth running vertically instead of horizontally, as seen in Panasonic’s design. This makes it incredibly easy to trim one’s own back hairs, to dust over your shoulders, and to snip away at the awkward angles in your armpits and groin. An attachment at the head allows for different lengths—especially if you want to “customize” your body hair length in different areas. (Like, a smooth backside but a more manicured bush of an armpit.)
2. The less precise, the better
When it comes to the chest and pubes in particular, some guys take their tidiness one step too far by drawing hard lines at the perimeter of the hairy region. This isn’t the time to be doing clean lineups, so instead, allow for some middle ground. Think of it as a “fade” along the perimeters of your hair. Simply trim the outermost hairs at half the length, allowing a steady graduation into the nest of hair.
3. But the slower, the better, too
However, one way you do want to practice precision is with your speed. Take things slow. One slip of the wrist might take out a huge patch of hair that you wanted to leave in place, or simply take down a few levels. Now you’ll have to trim everything down to the skin and let it grow uniformly. Instead, by taking it slow, you can avoid these mishaps and better assess what needs to be done—like the fading mentioned in Step 2—as you go along.
4. If shaving, go with the grain
The laws of shaving your face apply to the body, too. Ideally, you’re following a routine of warming up the skin, shaving with a fresh razor, and following with some kind of post-shave disinfectant and soother. But perhaps most importantly, you should shave with the grain if you’re going to run a bar blade across your chest, pubes, shoulders, or backside. That will prevent painful and unsightly ingrown hairs, and while it may mean a slightly less-close shave, it’s only going to cost you a single day or less on the grow-out. The difference in shaving proximity is nominal, but the difference in self-inflicted agony is tremendous.
5. For waxing, always see a pro
No debates on this one. Waxing can go wrong in so many ways, from massive infection to burn to a patchy result. And those things aren’t worth it if you’re only trying to avoid shaving for another 6 weeks. Instead, visit a professional with high ratings and reviews, in order to have the most hygienic, safe, and painless procedure possible (painless on the recovery, that is; no waxing job is painless, sorry).
6. Have the necessary products at the ready
If you’re using a razor anywhere—even on the smallest of patches—then have some pre- and post-shave products ready for your skin. While it feels silly to massage pre-shave oil to your entire chest, it’s equally effective if you find a nourishing shave agent that can be applied minutes ahead of the shave—perhaps one with soothing and hydrating oils in its recipe. (We like Baxter of California’s Shave Formula, with coconut extract to condition hair and skin, as well as peppermint oil to thwart razor burn.) And have an aftershave toner, lotion, wipe, or something to neutralize bacteria and the risk of infection, as well as to calm stressed-out sin. (We love Fulton & Roark’s Aftershave Cloths).
7. If shaving, get ready for frequent maintenance
Ask anyone with a stubbly-chested lover: It hurts terribly to cuddle a sandpaper stomach. So, do yourself (and your +1) a favor by staying smooth. You can do this by keeping hairs at a movable length (upwards of a half centimeter), or by shaving so frequently that you prevent stubble from taking residence. You’ll probably need to do this every 2-3 days, whereas anybody merely trimming their hairs to a movable length can spare a couple weeks between cuts.
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Photo via Maxim