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When it comes to hair removal for men, everyone’s got an opinion.
When I was a kid in school, I took crap from all the other kids in my class because I had “legs hairier than most kids’ dads”; like, oh thanks, welcome to the first grade… I became so self conscious about my body hair (at way too young an age) that I started to shave.
I took crap from all the other kids for shaving. That’s one way to teach young ones the meaning of Catch-22.
I think you’ll agree with me when I say:
And that’s where this guide comes in:
Nowadays, hair removal is something that people are concerned with regardless of gender, and this guide is all about disclosing the details- especially the intimate ones.
This is all the information you’ll ever need when it comes to men’s hair removal methods, options, and techniques.
The Truth About ‘Manscaping’
Here’s the deal:
Although most of our female friends probably had it down pat by the time they hit middle school, male interest in hair removal often comes on at a later stage in life, which is largely because as we get older, we experience heavier hair growth.
The bottom line?
Whether it’s for purely aesthetic reasons, or sexual ones, a sporting requirement or just a confidence boost, the fact that you’re concerned with hair removal puts you among nearly 90% of the Western male population who are doing the same.
The Challenges Men are Faced With
Although it is rapidly becoming a cultural norm, a lot of us are still cagey about the hair removal process:
Whether that means being embarrassed to ask for information in fear of being perceived negatively by our peers, or being too nervous to go to a professional salon and baring all in front of a stranger (or getting an erection during a brazilian treatment- which is, as it turns out, a lot more normal than you think).
But that’s not the end of it:
On top of the psychological challenges, there are also some very tangible problems that we are faced with, mainly:
access to and knowledge about male-suitable products.
In a nutshell: men’s skin and hair qualities are very different to that of women, and our hair removal processes need to take that into account.
For these reasons, this article is going to focus on detailing the best products and techniques for at-home hair removal for men.
Let’s look at the options available, and how best to use them.
The Options Available for Men’s Hair Removal
There are two main types of total hair removal methods, permanent and temporary.
1. Permanent hair removal for men
Laser hair removal for men
Laser hair removal is a technology that uses very focused lasers that target the hair root and “blast” it so that it is unable to grow again. It usually takes a number of sessions to see results, and the outcome is pretty close to permanent.
The process works best on people with light skin and dark hair; it is not suitable for blonde or red hairs, or dark skin (dark skinned folk can use the specialized nd:YAG laser model).
There’s something very important to note about this method that a lot of people overlook:
Each hair needs to be treated individually, so it’s a very time consuming process, and because it is the hair root that is being sizzled (as opposed to the follicle) there’s still a possibility of another hair root growing nearby it in future.
Laser hair removal is suitable for use on all parts of the body except around the eyes (so no eyebrow treatments); you can even have laser hair removal on beards.
Electrolysis for men
If you’re wondering how to stop hair growth, let me tell you now:
It’s pretty close to impossible unless you’re doing electrolysis. Electrolysis is the only 100% permanent hair removal technique, which involves inserting a hair-sized needle into the hair follicle and sending a charge in that destroys it, and renders it unable to grow hair again.
Alyssa’s comment:Electrolysis is a very time consuming process since each hair needs to be treated individually, so it works best on very small areas – eyebrows, hands, or feet.
While there are a number of home electrolysis kits on the market, I cannot recommend them as a replacement for professional treatment- the risks of skin damage and scarring are high, as are the chances of not getting a successful hair-free outcome.
Here’s the deal:
Since this article is only focusing on the best at-home hair removal methods, I’m not going to include electrolysis in any of my recommendations.
If you are interested in electrolysis, best practice is to consult a pro.
2. Temporary hair removal for men
Wokaar Rapid Melt Hair Removal Waxing Kit
Rubis 3-3/4″ Slanted Tip Tweezer
Emjoi Emagine Dual Opposed 72 Tweezer Head Epilator
Nair Men Hair Removal Cream
Men’s body waxing
Waxing is the sort of technique you’ll either love or hate.
Either way, it is one of the longest lasting and effective methods of temporary hair removal- and it can be done virtually everywhere on the body (as long as you can stand the sting).
You can wax neck hair, back hair, arms/legs, eyebrows, pubic/ass hair…like I said, pretty much anywhere.
There are a number of variations when it comes to men’s hair waxing, especially if you have it done professionally. At-home products can generally be split into two categories: strips or hot wax. Strips are the ready made versions which are comprised of 2 pieces of waxy paper which need to be warmed up between your hands and applied to the skin.
Hot wax (which I personally always find more effective) involves heating up your wax mixture separately, applying it directly to the skin and pressing some kind of muslin cloth or paper on top (or you can buy purpose made strips like these pretty cheap)- then quickly ripping it off in the opposite direction of your hair growth.
If you’re going down the hot wax route, you’re best off to buy an all-in-one kit like this one from Wokaar, which is super convenient for first-timers.
Pro tip: hot wax takes a bit of practice, and getting the right angle is paramount; try it out a few times in an easy to reach spot before you start getting adventurous.
I won’t kid you:
It’s not a pain free experience- but results last anywhere from 3-6 weeks and over time, hairs will grow back more sparsely than before. It also has less side effects than shaving (less risk of rashes and irritation), and the chance of ingrown hairs can be further reduced by gently exfoliating and using an alpha-hydroxy lotion the day after.
Waxing is suitable for large and small areas alike, although it is not a very precise method of hair removal so using it for very detailed areas like the eyebrows can be tricky if you haven’t got a lot of practice.
Tweezing for men
Tweezing as a form of hair removal is a double edged sword:
It’s precise, effective, and cheap hair removal, but because each hair has to be pulled more or less individually, it’s not an ideal method for removing hair from larger areas.
Keep the tweezers for the small stuff; eyebrows, nose, ears, hands and feet, and the odd pubic hair you might have missed.
I swear by Rubis tweezers; thanks to their being super high quality, stainless steel, Swiss made products.
Alyssa’s comment: Invest in a good quality pair of stainless steel tweezers once in your life, and you’ll never have to buy another pair again. Ever.
Epilator for men
Here’s the deal:
Epilators combine the concept of tweezing with the technology of an electric shaver, but instead of ‘cutting’ the hairs the way a shaver would, it utilises a number of tiny tweezer-like mechanisms to pull hairs out in bulk.
Most epilators use 72 tweezers, and the good ones like this one from Emjoi, have multiple speed settings.
It’s not for the faint-hearted (or as the person in the Reddit forum so eloquently put it, “epilators are painful as shit”), but if you can handle the sting you’ll be rewarded with results that last as long as waxing that can be achieved with less technical skill.
Epilators are great for removing large amounts of hair from the legs and arms for example, but you’ve got to be brave to put them anywhere near your more sensitive regions- although if you do- remember, numbing cream is always an option.
Hair removal cream for men
Hair removal cream, or depilatory cream as it’s sometimes called, is the preferred option for many men because the results last longer than shaving and it offers painless hair removal.
How does it work?
In a nutshell: the creams contain strong chemicals that work to break down the proteins that bond your hairs together, so when applied to the hairs it will turn them into a jelly-like substance in a matter of minutes, that can then be wiped away with a washcloth or plastic spatula.
The cream works on hair just below the surface of the skin, resulting in a super smooth finish which lasts considerably longer than shaving (anywhere from a couple of days to 2 weeks depending on hair growth, although personally I’m definitely only at the ‘couple of days’ end of the spectrum).
Men’s hair removal cream is suitable for use all over the body…
BUT (yes, there’s a but):
I don’t recommend using it on beard hair, even though facial hair removal cream for men does exist…stay away from it; your skin will thank you.
One more thing:
If you plan to use it on your pubic area, there are creams specifically designed to give the best results for this purpose- use them.
Alyssa’s comment: most depilatory creams are designed for women, but some brands also carry a small range for men – extra strong and capable of dissolving coarse, thick hair.
Although many guys report great results using female products, the men’s creams are concocted specifically to work on thicker, coarser male hair (without the need to leave the ‘normal’ creams on for longer and risk damaging your skin).
But be extremely careful:
Depilatory creams do carry their own risks.
If you leave them on too long you can experience a pretty nasty chemical burn (if you have an allergic reaction you’ll also end up with a mean looking rash), which is why it’s crucial you do a patch test on a small area before going to town with the whole bottle.
These are all great options for total hair removal, but what if the bald effect isn’t what we’re going for?
Maybe you feel it would look unnatural to have absolutely no hair in a certain area, so you’re just looking to tackle a certain amount of the growth.
This is where hair thinning methods come into play.
3. Hair Thinning Methods
Remington iLIGHT Pro Clinically Proven Hair Removal System
Stop Hair 100% Natural Permanent Hair Growth Inhibitor
Philips Norelco Electric Shaver 2100, CloseCut Blade System
As mentioned above, laser hair removal targets one hair at a time.
What does that mean?
It means you can choose which hairs go and which stay- it’s an awesome method when you’re looking to thin out your hair growth as opposed to removing everything.
Remington’s iLIGHT is a perfect entry-level device if you’re new to laser.
Hair growth inhibitor
Where it may be unsuitable (or just undesirable) to use other hair removal methods- the beard, for example- you can use products that will inhibit the growth of your hair.
When it comes to hair removal products, natural is always better. Stop Grow’s hair inhibitor formula is what I usually use and it works amazingly (plus all natural ingredients!)
Here’s the bottom line:
These products will not actually remove hair, but they will help to lengthen the amount of time between your other hair removal sessions, and over time they can be very effective in discouraging overall thickness of growth.
Electric trimming for men
Electric trimmers and shavers are a great method for maintaining a ‘groomed’ look, and offer a welcome alternative for people who suffer from razor burn and irritation when shaving with a blade.
Philips pretty much set the gold standard when it comes to electric shavers. The Norelco is my ‘old-faithful’ thanks to its durability and cost effectiveness.
Traditionally, trimmers are used on the head and face, but nowadays there are more and more men trimming leg hair, pubic hair, chest hair, and even using trimmers for the finer details like ear, eyebrow, and nose hairs.
How do they work?
Electric razors work with a clipper or rotary blade that spin underneath a protective shield, which then trims the hairs it comes into contact with.
Here’s the best part:
Since the closeness of the shave can be adjusted, electric shavers are a great way to maintain a desired hair length, especially on areas like the chest, shoulders, and groin.
Just be aware:
By its nature, an electric shaver is never going to be able to give you a really smooth result because the blade does not come into direct contact with the skin.
Now we’ve laid the foundation, let’s look at how best to fight the fur on each body part:
- Ear Hair Removal 101
- Chest Hair Removal: The Short Guide
- Best Way to Get Rid of Back Hair
- Best at Home Wax Strips
- Home Laser Hair Removal for Men
- How to Remove Unibrow?
About the author Dave Levitt
Dave is a Brooklyn-based editor with a specific interest in the recent trend of men adopting beauty and self-care routines. It’s not all about the ultra-masculine-packaged, strongly-scented all-purpose shower gels anymore! Modern men are seeking the quality resources to turn to when it comes to skincare, haircare and fashion. Dave’s hard and passionate work is dedicated to building up more resources like that on the web.