What is manscaping and how do you manscape effectively?
If you haven’t already, you should be asking yourself these questions — because unless you’re Henry Cavill or Hugh Jackman, women won’t find your hairy back sexy. This is one of the main reasons most men find manscaping more and more appealing — back hair is never attractive.
In fact, in a survey done by Cosmopolitan, it was revealed that 92% of men groom and shave their body regularly, and at least 69% of them even trim their pubic hair.
The practice of shaving one’s body used to be solely ‘a woman thing’. Nowadays, however, more and more men are seeing the benefits of going hairless. Aptly called ‘manscaping’, the art of body shaving is meant to be mastered by every man.
What exactly is manscaping?
Coined from the words ‘man’ and ‘landscaping’, manscaping is simply a trendy term for shaving or trimming a man’s body hair. This includes not just the chest and back, but also the groin area.
This practice is not new. In fact, if you go to a hair removal clinic, it’s no longer surprising to see men undergoing the same hair removal treatments as women. Although most men don’t necessarily want to have all their body hair removed, most want it trimmed and tidy.
Just like women, men now spend time and money on hair removal treatments, including waxing and lasering. Although they rarely talk about it among friends, manscaping is now a regular part of men’s grooming practice.
History of manscaping
Contrary to what most people believe, manscaping was not invented by the metrosexual man. In fact, shaving has been around way back the ancient times.
In Egypt, men and women alike shaved their heads and entire body to stay cool and hygienic. While the Greeks considered the hairless body young and beautiful, as opposed to hairy bodies being considered barbarian. The Romans, on the other hand, believed it was virtuous for men to take care of their appearance. Young Romans would even celebrate their first shave with a party as a sign of entering into adulthood.
For most of the late 19th century, however, long hair and beards became trendy. The hippies of the 1960s and 1970s promoted eroticism with their untamed, long hair and hairy bodies. Free love was all the rage.
Then came the 1990s, where the idea of metrosexuality was born: well-dressed, well-coiffed, moisturised and clean-shaven.
Fast forward to today, where the term ‘manscaping’ was not only invented and became acceptable. It is now at its peak.
Why is manscaping important?
It’s a given that grooming and shaving, in general, keep men looking and feeling clean. Body odor, unwanted itches, and looking shabby are a result of poor grooming and hygiene habit. So every man is expected to have an everyday grooming routine. And manscaping, particularly shaving down south, is just going the extra mile to feel good about one’s body.
If the above does not convince you about the importance of manscaping, then you must know that women prefer their partners groomed and hygienic. In fact, the same Cosmopolitan survey also revealed that 70% of women prefer their partners shaved or trimmed down there. Although they are not very vocal about it, they see their partner’s lack of grooming habits as a potential deal-breaker.
Not only being well-groomed an additional point to satisfying sex and dating life, but a clean-shaven body also shows off toned muscles well. If you’ve been working hard regularly at the gym, why would you hide all your hard-earned muscles under an ape-like chest?
A manscaping novice? Never fret – help is here!
If you’re a manscaping virgin and haven’t shaved beyond your neck — fret not. We’re here to guide you to your manscaping journey every step of the way.
Manscaping does not necessarily mean going bare all the way. Most men prefer to trim and thin out body hair, including the pubic area. What’s important is to go for what you feel is comfortable for you.
Target areas that personally bother you, such as back and shoulders or ear and nose. If you have an extraordinarily hairy chest, then it’s best to look after it.
Below is everything you need to know about hair removal — from top to toe.
HAIR REMOVAL OPTIONS
Lasering (Laser Hair Removal)
Best For: Back, shoulders, pubic area
Cost: Depending on the clinic, it may cost between $200 and $500
Treatment Duration: About 30 minutes to one hour per treatment
Result: Almost permanent after completion of up to 8 to 10 treatments, with annual touch-ups
Procedure: Done by a professional, laser hair removal uses light energy that is absorbed by the hair pigment. This energy is converted into heat, which in turn damages the hair follicle, thereby stopping or delaying hair growth. First, a numbing cream or gel is applied to the area being treated. Then using a hand-held machine, pulses of light are being aimed at the targeted area.
Bear in mind that there will be a little pain or discomfort, depending on the machine used and the pain tolerance of the person. Once the treatment is done, a moisturizer or cooling gel is applied to the skin. You come back for your next treatment after three weeks or a month.
Best For: Eyebrows, arms, legs, underarms, ears and neck
Cost: Depending on the area being treated, it may cost between $10 and $100
Treatment Duration: About 10 minutes to 1 hour, depending on the area
Result: Hairless for 3 to 5 weeks
Procedure: A resin-based wax or other types of wax is applied to the area being treated. A strip of cloth or paper is layered over the wax. Once the wax dries the cloth is stripped, removing the hair with it. The process is repeated until all the hair are gone. Waxing removes the entire hair follicle from the root, allowing for at least four weeks of hairlessness. This is one of the most painful hair removal processes so this is not advisable to be done on the genital or bigger areas, such as the back and chest.
Best for: Eyebrows, arms, legs, underarms, ears and neck
Cost: Depending on the area being treated, it may cost between $10 and $80
Treatment Duration: About 10 minutes to 1 hour, depending on the area
Result: Hairless for 3 to 5 weeks
Procedure: A gentle alternative to waxing, sugaring also removes hair from the roots of its follicles. But unlike waxing, it does not use paper strips. Instead, it uses a special mixture of melted sugar, which is applied to the area being treated. Once it’s cooled off and ready, it is ripped off together with the hair. The process is repeated until all the hair is removed.
Best For: Eyebrows, nose
Cost: Free — you can do it yourself
Treatment Duration: About 10 to 30 minutes, depending on the area
Result: Hair won’t grow back for 4 to 6 weeks
Procedure: Tweezing or plucking is the removal of individual hair using a tweezer. Since it plucks the hair from its roots, just like waxing, the hair does not usually go back until the fifth or sixth week. However, because it is done on individual hair manually, it is not ideal to use this method on larger areas.
BEST TWEEZERS FOR MEN
Best For: Face, neck, chest, back, legs, arms, groin
Cost: Free — if you do it yourself
Treatment Duration: About 10 minutes to one hour, depending on the area
Result: Hair grows back fast, so most men shave after every few days
Procedure: Shaving is done using either a manual or an electric razor. First, soak skin being treated in warm water. Or better yet, take a warm shower to soften hair. Apply shaving cream on the area, and using a razor with a sharp blade, proceed to shave in a steady stroke close to the skin as possible. Don’t forget to use aftershave lotion to keep skin sensitized and moisturized.
Shaving only removes the tip of the hair shaft that’s visible on the skin, so the hair grows back faster than the other hair removal methods. But it is the easiest and most inexpensive method. However, if you’re not careful, you run the risk of getting cut. You’re also more prone to having ingrown hair from shaving.
BEST MANUAL SHAVERS
BEST ELECTRIC SHAVERS
Best For: Face, neck, legs, arms
Cost: Free — if you do it yourself
Treatment Duration: About 15 minutes to one hour, depending on the area
Result: Hairless for 3 to 5 weeks
Procedure: Using an epilator— an electrical hair removal device — epilating is the process of removing hair by mechanically grasping multiple hairs at a time and pulling them out. Think of it as tweezing but with multiple hairs simultaneously. Just like waxing, the epilating result lasts a month. Unfortunately, because it is painful, just like waxing, this is certainly not among men’s favourite options when it comes to manscaping.
Best For: Chest, back, shoulder, arms and legs
Note: Avoid using on the genital area
Cost: $20 for a home kit; $25 to $50 in a salon
Treatment Duration: About 30 minutes to one hour, depending on the area
Result: Hairless for a week or two
Procedure: Apply a depilatory cream or hair removal on the area being treated. A depilatory cream is a hair removal cream that weakens hair roots, allowing hair to fall off the skin easily. Leave the cream for a few minutes and wipe it off using a cloth. Wash treated skin with warm water.
If you’re doing it yourself at home, remember to do a skin patch test first to make sure you are not allergic to the chemicals used in the cream. This treatment is not advisable for those with sensitive skin nor it is advisable to be used on sensitive areas like the genital.
BEST DEPILATORY CREAMS
STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE TO MANSCAPING
The first step to manscaping is to take a hard look at yourself in the mirror. Take off all your clothes and examine your body closely. Then decide which area of your body you want to focus on, and which body hair you want to trim or remove altogether.
If you’re indecisive or clueless on where to start, we have put together a simple guide below on how to tackle each body part.
Unless you want to rock a monobrow, you may want to groom your eyebrows. They’re perhaps one of the most prominent hair features, hence it helps to give them some regular love.
How to manscape your eyebrows: To groom your brows, you don’t need any fancy technique. The goal is to make them tidy. Use scissors to trim and cut long hairs, and use tweezers to pluck stray hairs. However, make sure not to overdo it — you don’t want to end up with thin eyebrows.
Some men are brave enough to use wax or razors to trim their eyebrows. But this is not advisable to beginners for obvious reasons.
Professionally, you can go to a salon that does eyebrow shaping or threading, an ancient hair removal technique using thread.
BEST FACIAL HAIR SCISSORS
Hair & Nose
Remember, ear and nose hair are there for a reason. They trap dirt, dust and pollution to keep them from entering your lungs. So unless yours are unsightly growing out of your ears and nose, it’s best to leave them alone. Or at least trim them once in a while. However, as men age, their ear and nose hair increase. Hence, as one gets older, he may have no choice but to groom them.
How to manscape your ear and nose hair: For faster and more efficient job, you can use an electric ear and nose hair trimmer. For individual stray hair, using a tweezer or a pair of scissors will do.
BEST NOSE & EAR HAIR TRIMMERS
No, you don’t need to shave or wax all your armpit hairs to be truly manscaped. What you don’t want are jungle-like armpits. If you have unruly armpit hair, you may need to neatly trim or shorten it.
How to manscape your armpits: For a beginner, it’s advisable to use a beard trimmer or hair clipper to trim your armpit hairs to about 2cm. Tidy enough to be aesthetically pleasing and short enough for hygienic purposes. Less hair means less bacteria and easier for your deodorant and antiperspirant to work.
Some men who want all the hair off either shave it themselves or they go to a salon for professional waxing or lasering. The former is easy and inexpensive but may be itchy when the hair grows back. Meanwhile, the latter is expensive and can be painful, depending on your pain tolerance. But both offer immaculate hairlessness.
BEST HAIR CLIPPERS
Just like the rest of the areas in your body that you consider manscaping, your chest does not necessarily have to go totally hairless. Unless that’s what you aim for. The goal for manscaping your chest is to make it look tidy and less jungle-like.
The first thing you need to do is to decide on your manscaping style. You can either go bare or you may want to get a neatly-trimmed look. If you want the latter, there are a few popular styles you can try. The most common of which are the following:
The Tree. The upper chest has a fair amount of well-trimmed hair, with a small trail leading down to the stomach.
The Trail. The upper chest is almost smooth with only a small trail of hair across the stomach.
The Rug. The chest and stomach are full of hair, well-defined with an occasional trim.
The Top Heavy. The top half of the chest has a well-trimmed mat of hair, while the bottom half is almost bare.
How to manscape your chest.: If you prefer to go bare, the best options are shaving, waxing or depilating. Of course, you can always opt to have it professionally done via laser hair removal or professional waxing or sugaring.
If you just want to trim and tidy your chest hair and you’re doing it yourself, you will need a quality electric hair trimmer. First, set the desired guard according to how short the hair you want to be. You may adjust it accordingly as you go. Trim according to the desired style.
If you prefer to be totally hairless, use shaving cream and a manual razor for a close and clean shave.
- To avoid cutting hair short, trim when hair is dry.
- For a balanced look, keep stomach hair the same length.
- To create a more V-shaped look of your body, a tree-style trim works best.
- Exfoliate twice weekly using an exfoliating body wash or body scrub to reduce the risk of ingrown hairs.
Back & Shoulders
Most men opt to have totally hairless back and shoulders. It’s not only aesthetically appealing, but it is also hygienic. Not to mention most women are turned off by hairy back and shoulders. Enough said.
How to manscape your back and shoulders: Again, you can always opt to get it done by a professional either by waxing, sugaring or laser hair removal. However, if your shoulders and back hair can be managed on your own at the comforts of your bathroom, the better.
You will need a quality razor with an extended handle for obvious reasons. After a warm shower when the hair is soft, lather up an ample amount of shaving cream on your back and shoulders and proceed to gently and thoroughly shave. Make sure you don’t miss a spot.
Alternatively, you may use depilatory or hair removal cream. Simply apply the cream thoroughly on your back and shoulders. Leave it for five to 10 minutes, depending on the package instruction, and rinse off using a washcloth or loofah. The hairs will be rinsed off together with the cream.
Pro Tip: It better if you have someone to help you trim or shave your back.
BEST BACK HAIR SHAVERS
We’ve come to the most important, albeit most sensitive part (pun intended) of manscaping — the genital area. Now, there are three common reasons why men manscape their groin area. Number one, it is hygienic and aesthetically pleasing. Number two, a lot of surveys prove that the opposite sex prefers their partner to be tidy, neat and more hygienic down there. And three, many believe that trimming your junk gives it that extra yet very necessary optical inch.
How to manscape your genital area: Pruning your pubes is a serious task. It certainly takes a man to do it. Again, some men prefer to have all hair off. Others just want a nice trim. And as always, you can always go to a professional for waxing or lasering. But most men shave their private area on their own. What you will need is a reliable body groomer with special guards that won’t give your privates nicks and cuts.
Now let’s get down to business.
Bush. To trim or shave your bush, pull your skin taut and start shaving/trimming using a body groomer.
Balls. Apply an ample amount of shaving cream to your balls. Using a wet razor, very gently shave the area.
Base of the Shaft. Some men believe that keeping the base of the shaft of their penis hair-free gives it an extra optical boost, making it look bigger. To shave the area, use the same gentle technique as you’ve done with your balls. Alternatively, as there’s not a lot of hair in the area, you can use a pair of scissors to cut the hairs individually.
Backside. If you don’t mind the cost and if you have the time, it is best to leave the job of keeping your backside and the perineum area hair-free to the professionals. You can either opt for waxing or laser hair removal. If you prefer to do it at home yourself, make sure to set your body groomer to low and shave very carefully.
BEST BODY GROOMERS
Arms & Legs
Most men, even those who have been manscaping for years, opt to leave their arms and legs au naturel. Some, of course, prefer to include them in their manscaping routine.
How to groom your arms and legs: If you find your arms and legs a little on the hairy side and want to trim and tidy them, use an electric trimmer with a #1 or #2 guard. If you want them totally hair-free, you may use a depilatory cream, or you may try waxing if your pain tolerance is high.
MANSCAPING FINAL TOUCHES
There you have it, gentlemen. It wasn’t so bad, was it? Manscaping can be daunting at first. But before you know, you’ll be a pro at it. All you need to do is invest in good shaving tools and products and take your time doing it.
Allot a certain time each week for your manscaping routine. I assure you, it’s all worth it. And your partner will definitely thank you for it.