Used to be you blokes could be as hairy as you liked and get away with it. Now, though, the world is turning and guys have to groom and shave like the rest of us! Here are some tips from Ask Men about what to do – and what not to do – when it comes to mascaping:
With the advent of the 20-inch back shaver and Matthew McConaughey’s bare body prancing around on the stage of Magic Mike, you’d think we were in the midst of an all-out war on body hair. Not the case. What we have entered is an age in which men want to avoid looking like Chewbacca in the bedroom and at the beach. And while we applaud your efforts (indeed, much manscaping is being done right), there are still a great deal of don’ts out there. We’re here to set the record straight.
Buy the right tools
A disposable razor and some shaving cream won’t cut it. The truth is, if you’re really covered in a carpet, you shouldn’t be shaving anyway. Instead, grab an electric trimmer with a guard that has adjustable settings for length. The big brands have recently repackaged these gadgets specifically for manscaping activities, but they’re really just tried-and-true beard trimmers. That’s what you want.
Trim your chest
No one needs to see a tuft of tresses creeping over your shirt collar, or worse, a complete carpet at the beach. Use that electric trimmer to thin things down to a fairly uniform density. How low you go is a personal preference, but avoid pruning yourself into massive five o’clock shadow.
Clean up your underarms
There should be some hair there, but a full-on forest isn’t recommended. Groom the grass down to a length slightly longer than the surrounding countryside. Ultimately, they should look like pits without looking like the pits.
Wax your back and shoulders
OK, OK. So McConaughey got this one right. There are places that should glide like a Slip ‘n Slide – namely, your back and shoulders. Get them waxed by a professional every six weeks or so. If you’re a member of the more hirsute set or prone to breakouts, look into laser hair removal.
Mow down the bush
You need to maintain your manhood, too. A little less lawn makes the tree appear taller. Make it look natural. Your manscaping efforts shouldn’t look manufactured. Trimming your pubic hair into a triangle, for example, is a definite no-no. Bottom line: If it’s too perfect, we’d file that as a fail.
Use at-home waxes or sprays
DIY is fine for arts and crafts or caulking a tub. But when it comes to removing body hair with a depilatory, taking matters into your own hands will likely end in blood, sweat and a nasty rash.
Clean-shave your chest, arms or legs
Attempting to clear cut what God gave you isn’t just wholly unnatural, but it can be incredibly uncomfortable and unsightly (think prickly patches with a healthy dose of razor burn). If you’ve been blessed with body hair, you should own it along with that electric trimmer we told you to buy.
Leave any defined lines
An artificial boundary of where hair ends and smooth skin begins isn’t exactly attractive. This typically happens when one has elected to partake in an unapproved method of manscaping, like, say, clean-shaving a body part with a razor. Stick with a trimmer, and you’ll never have to worry about doing this don’t.
Forget about your backside
Most men’s rears aren’t exactly follicle free. Since we’re serious supporters of a waxed back, you’ll need to make sure (with the help of a mirror, yoga classes and that handy trimmer) that there isn’t a heap of hair waiting below the waistline.
Go bare down there
You’re a man, right? Feel free to tidy up the place (in fact, we highly recommend it), but please don’t turn yourself into a prepubescent boy.
Sorting out your manscaping strategy shouldn’t include a whole host of tools or an unhealthy desire to look like a second-rate stripper. All you really need is a basic beard trimmer and enough sense to know that hairless legs are for swimmers and 6-year-olds.
Written by Adam Fox, this article originally appeared in Ask Men