What is Manscaping?
Over the past few years male grooming has escalated to new levels with latest research estimating that over half of men partake in some sort of male grooming, commonly referred to as “manscaping”. A combination of the current balmy temperatures and men with more time on their hands to look in the mirror has led to “manscaping” becoming a popular past-time during lockdown.
Reality TV shows like Love Island, have fuelled the desire for smooth, or at least well-groomed chests, backs and pubic areas. Whilst some men prefer to go completely bare “down there” others just opt to keep hair in check by ensuring it is shorter or shaped.
The millennial generation forged the way in preferring complete body hair removal, keeping everything smooth and clean. However, when it comes to removing male body hair, there are many things to consider, to ensure you do not end up with unwanted shaving rashes or breakouts.
According to a survey by shaving experts Gillette, the five most popular areas for manscaping are;
Surprised that the groin area is the most popular area? Well don't be. Cosmopolitan magazine reports that when it comes to male grooming, 70% of women prefer their men to keep their pubes trimmed. 81% of women surveyed also said they would reconsider a partner if his pubes did not match her idea of what should be going on down there!
But, it is not always about the “aesthetics”, there are also practical reasons why men turn to “manscaping”.
Thick hair on the back and chest can be itchy and uncomfortable, especially during the summer months. For regular gym goers, dense body hair can lead to hot and sweaty sessions, leading to sub optimal workouts.
So, what are the 4 best options to remove male body hair?
Whilst this may seem like a quick and easy option, the reality is that shaving requires time, effort and regular repetition, not to mention assistance from a partner, friend or loved one to reach the bits you can’t. Memorably, back in 2019, Love Island’s Anton’s mum told the Sun newspaper that she regularly shaved his backside for him, proving that a mothers love really does know no bounds!
The fact is that shaving only cuts the hair down to the level of the skin, so it grows back quickly usually within 3 days, so if you choose this option you can expect to get through a lot of razors. According to Mens Health magazine the average razor lasts 5-10 shaves of the beard area, so if you’re using a razor to shave your back or chest, you can expect to need to change your blade even more frequently. If you do decide that shaving is for you, it is recommended to use separate razors for face and body hair as bacteria spreads quickly on blades, so if you cut yourself it could easily become infected.
Once only considered by male athletes, body builders, actors and models, male waxing has grown in popularity and most waxing salons will now offer male waxing including intimate areas known as “manzilians”, “boyzilians”or “brozillians”. When running for US Governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger famously declared 'It's the most important decision I've had to make since 1978 when I decided to get a Brazilian Wax”. Go Arnie!
The main benefits of waxing include reduced body odour as well as improved skin appearance and enhanced muscle definition which makes it a good option for gym goers or those looking to improve their sporting performance.
Waxing can be a little painful the first time, especially around more sensitive areas, so make sure you choose a trained hair removal therapist for best results.
The wax used can be liquid or solid and is applied hot or cold onto the skin in thin layers using a wooden spatula or a wax dispenser with a roller. Lycon is a popular choice with beauty therapists, especially for intimate areas. Hair needs to be around 1cm for best results, so if you are getting waxed for the first time, prepare to be trimmed prior to your treatment! Waxing removes hair from the root, so results usually last 4-6 weeks before the hair will start to regrow. If you don’t fancy taking a trip to a beauty or waxing salon, then you can buy home wax strips which are designed to work with coarse hair like the Nads For Men range.
Many people wonder how depilatory creams work. The science is quite simple. Basically, the active ingredients in the cream break down the keratin structure (the proteins) of the hair. This becomes thin and dissolves the base of the hairs to the point where they are weak enough to be broken off when the cream is wiped away.
The creams typically contain alkaline chemicals like thioglycolic acid and potassium hydroxide, which work together to break down these proteins. Whilst this chemistry may sound worrying, don’t worry, they are formulated to be safe for your skin. Different skins have different levels of sensitivity, so it is really important to carry out a patch test on a small patch of skin 24 hours before you attempt to remove hair over a larger area like chests or backs. If this sounds like the treatment for you byrdie.com has a great blog which covers everything you need to know about using hair removal creams including the UK’s leading brand Veet
Laser Hair Removal:
Laser hair removal is a popular option as the hair is removed permanently. Using light technology to remove unwanted hair. A laser emits and directs a light to the pigment of the hair, which absorbs it, heating up and as a result, destroying the hair follicle and disrupting hair growth. As the hair is removed permanently, you can wave goodbye to shaving rashes and ingrowing hairs if you choose this method.
There are different types of medical grade laser which can be used for specific skin types. A Diode laser is a great option for larger areas as it is quick and pain-free. For darker skin types ND:YAG may be more suitable.
Laser hair removal is a safe cosmetic procedure and currently, there is no evidence that it can cause long-term health risks.
Before you undergo any laser treatment, you should be offered a patch test for your safety and to ensure the correct starting level for your treatment. Treatment should also be carried out be a trained laser therapist, so always ask about qualifications before starting your treatment.
With laser you will need several sessions to ensure your hair growth is disrupted. The number of treatments will depend on your type hair and skin type as well as the area you are treating.
After completing your treatment, you should expect to be around 96% hair-free but top up treatments may be required a year or two down the line. Choosing a specialist skin and laser clinic will help ensure best results. You can find out more about laser treatment and if laser hair removal is right for you here