Most men pay more attention to the hair on their face than the follicles on their bodies. And that can be a mistake, as hirsute neglect leads to chests, backs and other places producing gnarly masses that need real focus. Under the guidance of Grooming Lounge's Washington, DC Skincare Expert, Whitney McGill, here are some easy tips to tame body hair with confidence as the warmer weather approaches.
Back To Basics
Before jumping into the process, it’s good to know more about the relationship between shaving and hair growth. Shaving removes hair from the skin’s surface, but does not remove the follicle underneath, which accounts for the shadowy stubble that appears. Shaved hairs grow back quicker but often run into snags, as blunted edges of the hairs made by the blade can get trapped in the skin, leading to ingrown hairs. Of course, there are ways to avoid such mishaps, which we’ll touch on later.
Wax On, Wax Off
A step up from the DIY shaving option is waxing. Waxing not only removes hair, but the root of the follicle as well, which then takes longer to grow back. Over time, the rate of regrowth will slow down, so you won’t have to fend off hair as frequently. Whitney estimates that the hair removal process should be repeated every 3-5 weeks, depending on the particular body area in question and how fast an individual’s hair grows.
Steady As She Grows
Whitney says that shaving should be reserved for the beard and that other body hair (such as eye brows, legs, back, chest, etc.) should be removed via waxing. But above all, whatever approach is choosen, keep it consistent. Once you decide on shaving or waxing, don’t deviate. Shaving or trimming between waxing sessions disrupts the pattern of hair growth. It can also lead to pesky ingrown hairs and diminishes the effectiveness of future waxing services.
Don't Get Short With Me
Whether you wax or shave, make sure it’ll be worth your time or money. Hair-to-be-waxed should be at least a quarter-inch long - about the length of beard stubble after one week. If shorter than a quarter-inch, you’ll only be shaving the surface of the skin rather than the hair. If hair is too short when waxing, the wax will only attach to the skin and not the hair, which will likely be an unpleasant experience for everyone involved. Whitney also notes that hair longer than a quarter-inch is acceptable, but can also be uncomfortable and time-consuming to remove.
Tools Out For Summer
If you’re choosing the razor route, round up the right equipment. In addition to fresh blades (which should be swapped out every 3-4 shaves), stock up on products that will keep skin healthy:
Kick Back & Rewax
As for waxing, Whitney suggests the best tool is a professional esthetician (aka, Skincare person). There's a lot more that goes into a smooth waxing experience than meets the eye. Leave the at-home kits alone and trust the pro's - it's too tricky to do on your own and too mean to ask a friend or significant other to help with. When seeing an esthetician, avoid excess sweating or exfoliating for at least 24 hours after hair take-off.