Manscape Like a Pro
Photos: Kerry Degman for Braun cruZer
While the stigma of trimming your chest, back, legs, pits and pubes has gone away over the years, manscaping can still make some men cringe. This reaction often stems from the misunderstanding that you’re shaving bare all your hair, and that’s not necessarily the case.
Grooming the sexiest areas of your body should be about defining the look you want to present, a visual representation of your current mood, personality and style. So if you’re into having a smooth back and hairy chest, great! Loving that love patch at the base of your back but wanting to keep your pecs perfectly plain? Go for it. And if you think a close-cropped crotch shows off your assets in the best light, then pick up the clippers and get to work.
It’s also about style evolution. For example, gays in the 1990s were all about bald chests and backs, then in the early 2000s trimmed body hair returned. Now there’s a mixture of these two alongside a hipster natural vibe, and all of these options are perfectly fine. Try something out, see if you like it, and if you don’t then try something new. There are no rules when it comes to body hair (or lack thereof).
The one thing you should be conscious of is doing it right, so we turned to Saida Staudenmaier for advice. She’s done hair and makeup for clebs ranging from Dita von Teese to The Jonas Brothers, so she knows how to take care of your hair, even “down there.”
Prep Your Skin
“The most important thing to remember when you’re shaving is that the hair follicles and pores have to be very open and soft,” Staudenmaier says. “If you shave dry skin, you could end up with razor burn or actually take skin off, so take a hot shower or get a massage in a warm room first.” The next step is to exfoliate with a loofa or body scrub to get rid of dead skin. “This helps you get the closest shave possible,” she says. “It also ‘frees up’ the hair, pushing the skin back from the follicle.”
When it’s time to trim, Staudenmaier recommends using good quality clippers. Don’t remove too much hair, especially if you’re looking to clean up unruly hair. “You can always take off more but you can never put it back,” she says. “Use attachable clipper guides so you don’t go straight to that tender skin.” After you’ve clipped the area, check it out and see if that’s enough for your tastes. Guys often realize they don’t need to do any shaving because a trim makes everything look clean and tidy.
For those who do want to razor everything off, trim the hair first. Once your hair is close-cropped, apply the same thickness of shaving cream as you would put on your face. No matter what surface you're working on, pull your skin tight, and always remember to head south. “You want to go in the direction the hair grows,” Staudenmaier advises. “There’s a higher risk of razor burn, cutting, and in-grown hairs if you go against it. You can also shave sideways after you’ve gone down a couple of times.”
If you regularly shave, a loofa can help prevent in-grown hairs, but don’t do it every day or you risk irritating the skin.
“You’ve taken some dead skin off so you want to re-hydrate with lotion and moisturize,” Staudenmaier says. Prevent irritation by giving bare skin a couple days to recover. “You want your hair to be at least an eighth of an inch thick before shaving again,” she adds. “You can trim as often as you like, but don’t shave every day. If you’ve got a date on Friday night, plan to shave the Monday before and then do it again Friday morning.”
DON’T use shaving cream that has a minty, astringent (tingly) or numbing quality. It could easily turn into a painful burning sensation.
DO change your razor blades often. Staudenmaier advises to throw it out after 6 or 7 uses. “Always be on the safe side.”
DON’T exfoliate after you manscape. “You wouldn’t put salt in a fresh wound, would you?” Staudenmaier asks.
DO see if your style is drawing attention from guys you like. You never know, maybe one of them will offer to help you hit that hard-to-reach spot some time in the future.