body shaving

WHAT UP SASQUATCH?

In the disco era, there was no greater symbol of masculinity than a positively wolverine torso. It sprouted from chests, warmed legs and cloaked backs. The hairier, the better.

In the twenty-first century, however, leaving your man growth where God intended isn’t just unfashionable, it’s positively grotesque. Tastes have changed and modern examples of masculinity – whether footballer, pop star or porn star - have become baby smooth overnight.

We’ll show you how to go about manscaping safely and effectively, wherever your hair might need taming.

CHEST

Chest hair can be a good thing. Those without gym-toned pecs or abs should depilate with caution as the sight of a physique without forgiving tufts of body hair can come as a bit of a shock. If you regularly bench-press your own body weight, however, then the best way to show off your hard work would be with a thorough waxing.

Many salons now specialise in men’s waxing and, contrary to the urban myths spread by women, the process isn’t that painful. If you can withstand regular self-inflicted pain at the gym, you can handle a wax.

As with shaving, a successful wax isn’t just about the speed or technique employed by the therapist, it’s about what you do after the treatment too. For a rash-free finish, avoid hot showers, irritating chemicals (chlorinated pools) or exercise for at least 24 hours following treatment. This is because waxing leaves the pores open and makes them more prone to irritation. Work up a sweat or let your body temperature rise in any way and your waxed chest won’t be suitable for public display.

For guys with dense chest rugs, shaving simply isn’t a practical alternative to waxing as it leaves a blunt edge to the hair. You’ll also get some itchy – really itchy – re-growth within days. Not only will the 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 the bacteria that’s hidden between the blades.

For the rest of us, trimming one’s chest hair to a more aesthetically pleasing length is often the best option. Electric clippers now come with adjustable comb attachments to take the bulk out of the thickest of chest sweaters. Rather than begin sheering at Grade 1, we recommend starting with a longer setting before decreasing the grade until you reach the desired length.

bodymap-chest
bodymap-shoulder

BACK & SHOULDERS

While some ladies might be partial to a hairy chest, few – if any – will say the same about back hair, arguably the most offensive of all body fuzz. While waxing will certainly take care of back hair for four to six weeks, it really ought to be removed permanently on the basis that it will never become socially acceptable. While several options exist for permanent hair removal, laser and IPL (Intense Pulse Light) are by far the 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 colour) in the hair and kill the blood supply to the follicle, which eventually stops hair growth altogether.

The catch with laser or IPL is that hair grows in three stages  (anagen - when they’re visible and catagen / telegen - dormant), so not all your fur will be above the skin at any one time.  In fact, 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 little blighters decide to sprout. And at around £250 per session for the back, this is a costly and lengthy process. But if you can afford it, it’s well worth the cash.

BACK, SACK AND CRACK

The infamous “back, sack and crack” (aka ‘The Boyzilian’) is only for the truly brave. Highly effective and relatively risk-free, it is not a treatment for shrinking wallflowers. In the past you would have to, ahem, ‘expose’ yourself completely but these days you can get the job done with your ego still intact.

If you think you’re hard enough for this treatment, source a spa that uses hot wax instead of traditional strip wax. Hot wax moulds 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.

bodymap-sack
bodymap-legs

LEGS

Contrary to popular belief among professional cyclists, shaving your legs doesn’t have anything to do with aerodynamics. In fact, there are no academic studies to show that a bald limb will slice through air any better than a hairy one. The resistance is simply too minimal to matter and, if professional cyclists say otherwise, then it’s simply a placebo effect of feeling and looking like they’re a real sportsman (see lurid-coloured lycra, fancy gadgets, having your lunchbox on display etc). That extra mile is all in the mind after all.
The only genuine reason for shaving your legs is to reduce road rash, those unfortunate (and sometimes rather gory) moments when a cyclist crashes and has to pick out all manner of grit from their wounds. Having a hairy leg does not make this easy, nor does it make the removal of plasters any less painful.
 The technique for shaving your legs is pretty much the same as shaving your face, though you might find it easier to do so in the shower. Beware of itchy regrowth, though – once you start shaving your legs, you might find it hard to stop.