Body Hair… Waxing Lyrical
Happy New Year to all my firefighting friends. Wishing you a healthy, safe and handsome 2016. One of the topics which I am most often get asked about is how to remove body hair. In particular areas such as chest, back, pubic and bottom hair. These days guys are more self-conscious than ever about their physiques, generally going to the gym and showing their bodies off more!
My friend Katie Hill owns Totality beauty spa in Tring, Hertfordshire and she tells me that she’s been a huge increase in the number of guys coming in for waxing over the past five years. Male waxing now constitutes around 40% of her business! Years ago guys were hesitant or embarrassed about going to a beauty salon but these days they seem to be running through the door! Especially the 18-30 age group. Perhaps the ever growing selfie trend is partly the cause as more and more guys are posting photos of themselves shirtless (and otherwise!!) on social media. So if you’re curious about the ins and outs of waxing but have never given it a go then read on!
Bloke definition: The method of getting rid of unwanted or excessive body hair.
When we see a parade of hairless, smooth-chested fashion models, sports (and porn!) stars and celebrities we can often feel self-conscious about the hair on our own bodies. Do not fear you are not alone! Most men have a certain amount of body hair so what’s the best way to deal with it? If you’re spending time at the gym then finding effective ways to trim away excess or unwanted hair can reveal those hard worked-for muscles! Most women prefer ‘men to be men’ but too much body hair can also be a real turn off.
In this article we will look at a couple of methods of tackling your body hair. There are various options depending on the amount of hair you have, its location as well as time and budget considerations.
A great way to reduce the amount of body hair you have is to trim.
An effective method of keeping body hair under control is trimming it using clippers with adjustable attachments. This is a quick and easy way of trimming away some of your body hair as it simply takes away the top section of the hair leaving part of the hair behind. Also because the trimmer has attachments the blade doesn’t actually come into contact with the skin therefore cutting your skin is avoided. This isn’t shaving. Rather, it effectively reduces the length of your body hair. There are various sizes of attachments available when you buy clippers so select one depending on how short you want the hair to be. Ideally, there shouldn’t be a prickly result as a natural/subtle effect is preferred. The effect is temporary so you’ll need to do this every few weeks, perhaps more often in the summer when more of your body is on show! There are various trimmers now available for less than the price of a takeaway so have a look around i.e. Argos, Boots, Amazon etc. Cordless (rechargeable or battery powered) is best.
If you have only have a small amount of fairly light coloured/fine body hair (chest hair for example) then shaving can be a good option. However, if you have a very hairy chest I wouldn’t recommend it as it feels very prickly when the hair grows back. For the special person in your life, cuddling up to a human hedge-hog isn’t particularly appealing or enjoyable!
There are 2 main types of waxing
1. Strip wax: as the name suggests this method uses a strip of cloth. Wax is applied to the skin and a small rectangle of fabric is pressed onto the wax, attaching itself to the hair then pulled away taking the hair with it.
2. Hot wax: hot (warm!) wax is applied directly to the skin and when it cools the wax itself is pulled away and your hair with it.
Pros and cons of waxing
1. After waxing, the hair grows back softer and over time it can grow back less.
2. Your skin feels cooler in the summer and when playing sports.
3. It’s easier and quicker to dry your body after showering.
4. The area you’ve waxed is smooth to the touch and looks attractive.
5. Reveals muscle definition.
1. It bloody hurts! Waxing is more painful than childbirth! Please don’t tell any mothers I said that!
2. When the hair re-grows it can be itchy, spotty, uncomfortable and ingrown hairs may occur.
Prices start from around £10 for armpits or eyebrows and up to £30 for chest and back areas. Often the cost reflects how hairy you are!
The whole ball-game
These days it’s increasingly popular for guys to want their gentlemanly gardens to be neat and tidy. Trimming is very popular as is having your pubic hair waxed i.e. back, sack and crack!! I’ve tried this myself and I must say this isn’t for the faint-hearted! There’s options to have all your pubic hair removed or maybe just the hair on your testicles.
If you intend to have your testicles waxed be prepared for quite a traumatic experience initially depending in the thickness of your scrotum skin! A good therapist will take things really slow and give you an occasional break to breathe and recover! Things will be very delicate for the first couple of days but the result can be very pleasing!
Top pre-waxing tips
1. If your body hair is particularly long (i.e. chest area) trim some away so it’s easier to wax off. Some therapists will do this for you but it’s worth checking first.
2. Take some painkillers an hour before you have your waxing done!
3. Depending on what areas you’re having waxed bring a loose-fitting clean, cotton t-shirt or baggy shorts to wear afterwards!
NEVER do it yourself! Use a professional therapist who is experienced in handling men (so to speak!) as male body hair is generally thicker/denser and therefore needs a different technique from women to remove the hair. Hot wax (as opposed to strip wax) reduces the likelihood of ingrown hairs. It’s very gentle because it sticks to the hair and not the skin.
Top after-care tips
1. Avoid using heavily fragranced toiletries (i.e. shower gel, body lotion) on the freshly waxed area(s). Instead use baby oil or bio oil immediately afterwards as this helps protect the skin and prevent ingrown hairs.
2. Don’t shower or have a hot bath for 24 hours to give your newly plucked skin chance to settle down. A cool shower is preferred. When you do shower use a mild, chemical-free shower gel to avoid any potential aggravation.
3. Avoid swimming and vigorous exercise for 24 hours.
4. Avoid sun exposure and fake tanning for at least 2 days after waxing.
5. Keep waxed areas really clean to avoid bacteria affecting newly waxed skin.
Waxing can be a great way of removing hair. Depending on the rate at which your hair re-grows, you can have smooth, hairless skin for a couple of weeks. However re-growth can be really uncomfortable. In the name of research, dear reader, I have had EVERY part of my body waxed!
Armpits, arms, hands and back were very straight forward with hardly any adverse reactions and the re-growth was trouble-free. My chest and bottom areas were a different matter altogether! These areas became spotty and the re-growth was really uncomfortable. How you react to waxing depends on the amount of hair you have, the skill of your waxer and your after-care.
Keeping the area clean, using witch hazel and/or aloe vera lotion to calm and soothe the skin for the first couple of days after waxing all help. Also when you notice the hair start to grow back, using a body scrub (be very gentle!) every couple of days will make the re-growth less troublesome and also minimises ingrown hairs from developing. This is particularly effective for the chest region.
A lot of guys try waxing once, have a bad experience and never go near it again! Naturally the first time will most likely be a little traumatic but to achieve the best results the key is to persevere and do it several times. Ideally every six to eight weeks. Your body will eventually get used to it, your aftercare will improve and over time the hair will hopefully grow back finer.
If you have any questions or body hair/waxing stories to share I’d love to hear from you!
Tristan Lee – 45 and STILL gets asked for ID!
Tristan is one of the UK’s leading authorities on male grooming so for more information on how to look and feel your best contact Tristan today!