Body hair serves a variety of purposes: it helps us maintain skin health, keeps us warm, protects our skin from UV damage, and aids in cooling us down through sweating.
Nose hairs filter dust, pollen, and allergens away from the lungs. Eyebrows prevent sweat from entering the eyes. Despite this, men (and women) have been shaving their hair since the Stone Age, using razors made of seashells or wax made from sugar.
The art of manscaping involves removing body hair and sculpting some areas, with a focus on the eyebrows, ears, nose, arms, armpits, legs, chest, back, upper neck and intimate areas.
People remove body hair for many reasons - hygiene, aesthetics, expression of individual style, or just to be trendy. Moreover, hair traps sweat, preventing air exchange and promoting bacterial growth, which can cause bad odour.
For some athletes, it is common practice to trim or remove body hair to enhance performance. Body hair can hamper performance by creating drag or wind resistance.
Male dermatology studies report that trimming and shaving are the most popular methods for removing hair. These are relatively inexpensive and convenient compared to electrolysis, waxing, and the more long-term laser hair removal, which are offered in professional grooming salons. For those who do not wish to go to a grooming salon, there are various modern grooming tools and care products available for at-home use.
Each region of the body grows hair differently, and body hair is thicker than facial hair. The right tools are therefore crucial.
It’s important to always sanitise manscaping tools before and after by wiping with alcohol to remove and kill germs. Go a step further and invest in a sterilising box for blades, hair clips and towels. Sterilisation kills microorganisms, including spores and pathogens.
Body grooming takes time – don’t rush the process. Take care, especially around sensitive areas.
Using a razor on untrimmed hair can leave you with a razor burn, itching, and in-grown hairs. Trimmed areas are easier to shave and can prevent the in-grown hairs.
Soften Hair with Warm Water
Time your manscaping right after a warm shower to loosen dirt from your skin. Also lubricate the area to avoid hair from pulling. Use shaving gel rather than soap for further softening.
Hydrate and Soothe
Shaving is similar to exfoliation in that it removes the top layer of skin. There's a risk of razor burns and bumps caused by blunt blades, dry shaving or shaving too fast. To avoid these, together with ingrown hairs, always ensure hydration by using cream, gel or pre-shave oil. Some essential oils, used correctly, can be helpful for preventing irritation and burns.
Use a post-shaving gel or lotion with salicylic or glycolic acid to keep the skin around the hair smooth and to reduce dryness and irritation.
Delicate navigation around body parts will ensure that the follicles are not injured. Injury can lead to pseudo folliculitis, which is inflammatory and can cause bacterial, viral or yeast infection. Your groin has very sensitive skin, so be extra careful here.
Direction is Key
Shave in the direction of hair growth to guarantee a smooth finish and prevent irritation, razor bumps and ingrown hairs.
After manscaping, tempting as it is, do not scratch the area where you have just removed the hair when it itches. Rather use cooling gel such as aloe vera or the oils suggested above, and be sure to wear comfortable and loose clothes after your trim.