The Manscaping Manual

A study in August 2014 revealed that 39 percent of men now engage in manscaping, a new trend of trimming, waxing or shaving body hair among males. Although it’s most popular among men 20 to 30 years old, it’s becoming more common among men of all ages, and lots of ladies are getting behind the trend. Here’s what the fellas need to know about manscaping in 2015, from head to toe (and everything in between).


Go-to Tips


Not too seasoned in the art of manscaping? Here’s the nitty gritty to know before you get started:


Always trim in the same direction as the hair is growing.Doing this prevents unsightly trimming gouges and prevents ingrown hairs later on.


Use shaving gel instead of cream. When you’re shaving around sensitive areas (read: nipples), you need to be able to see, and gels are the less opaque option you need.


Not looking to go totally hairless? Use an electric trimmer with varying guard lengths, just like one for a haircut. This is perfect for getting rid of excess chest hair and not winding up with shiny, Ken-doll pecs.


However, if the super-smooth look is what you’re going for, waxing is something to consider. It lasts four to eight weeks, and hair actually grows back thinner. Just be sure to take a few OTC pain relievers before climbing onto the table. It’ll take the edge off when your aesthetician delivers the first riiiiiiip!


Remember that your personal grooming is exactly that: personal. Don’t let others influence where to trim or shave—just be sure to do it properly.


Red Alert


Most ladies know this rule by heart, but if you’re using a hair removal cream, be sure to purchase a formula meant for sensitive skin and try it on a small area of skin first before applying all over (especially near delicate areas) to prevent a rash.


Do A New ‘Do


Turn your high-and-tight marine cut into the most popular modern look for men.Keep it short on the sides and long on top. Morning people can craft the longer bits into a smooth wave on top (think Sam Smith). Keep it quick and easy by dabbing product on your fingertips and just swiping through hair to give it a little shape after towel drying. Boom. Instantly trendy.


Let it grow, let it grow, let it grow!The shaggy look is coming back, fellas. Talk to your barber, bring in a picture of your long-hair idol and decide together how best to grow out your locks. What to do when you get it long? Style your wet hair by combing a heavy gel or medium-hold paste through hair and parting where desired. And if you do decide to go longer…


Go for the man bun. It’s located at the nape of the neck in a simple, sort of messy bundle, and so far, it’s one of the biggest trends of 2015. Just comb your fingers through hair to remove any lumps or bumps and tame flyaways with a little watered down product on your fingertips. Pull it back, fasten with an elastic band and voilà—the mun.


If you’re not willing to dive into any of these ideas, a well-kept side part that’s just slightly longer on top is a great way to hint at modernity without losing too much hair or causing trouble with the office dress code.


 


Hair *Down There*


That 2014 study we mentioned before? It also revealed the groin as the most commonly manscaped area. Second was the chest, followed by the underarm area. So if you’re considering shaping things up below the belt, just know you’re not alone.


If you’re still reading, we can only assume you’ve decided to take the plunge. Don’t get crazy on us and start shaving in any fun shapes or topiary animals, but here’s the list of essential steps when manscaping near your manly bits.


1. Always try to use a new razor or one you know is sharp. Delicate skin around the pubic area can be easily irritated if you’re tugging across it with a worn out blade.


2. Use scissors to trim excess hair away before you shave so the shave itself is more effective. Take a quick shower to rinse off loose hairs and let the steam open your hair follicles so shaving is smoother.


3. Once everything is dry, be sure to use shaving cream or gel. Don’t think you can scimp on the family jewels. That’s just foolish.


4. Always follow the grain. Shaving against the direction of your hair is asking for trouble, and trouble is the last thing you need in your pants.


5. Finish the job with a healing treatment like the post-shave soother from Clinique for Men ($20, clinique.com). Coconut oil is also a good candidate for less.


 


Styling Your Profile


Just like hairdos, beards have trends, too. How can you trim yours to match the times? Start with the shadow.


1. The Shadow


If you’ve got a strong jawline, the shadow is how you showcase it. Hold off on shaving for two to three days, then trim it up into a neat and tidy shape. (Be sure to stay just below the jawline for the proper outline.) At the top of the beard below the cheekbones, set the trimmer length slightly shorter than the rest and fade the hair out so it looks like a gradient. This will take a steady hand and will look better on men with darker facial hair, but can work on anyone if it’s kept tidy!


2. Short/Boxy Beard


If you’re looking for a statement style without going full beard, this is for you. The boxy beard is a short length with defined lines to highlight the cheekbones and give a stronger appearance to the jaw and chin. Although the shadow looks best on ovular faces, the boxy beard is flattering on everyone. Just be sure not to cut the neckline too high—leave it about an inch or so below the chin.


3. Full Beard (The Olde English)


The most coveted look of our day. If you can last through the itchy, scraggly phase and properly groom your whiskers into one of these masterpieces, you will garner the attention of many ladies and the envy of many bare-chinned men. Not only is it the biggest beard trend of 2015, but if you’ve never been proud of your jawline, this is the perfect way to draw it some positive attention.


 



Baby Your Beard


With great facial hair comes great responsibility. You wouldn’t leave the hair on your head unwashed, would you? Many men show their beards a little shampoo now and then, too, but that leaves your whiskers and the sensitive skin underneath dry and irritated. Enter, beard oil.


Just like conditioner for your hair, beard oil softens and strengthens beard hair and can keep wiry whiskers from sticking out every which way. Just a few drops can make almost any beard shiny and approximately 2.5 times as touchable. Bonus: It’s also good for the sensitive facial skin underneath, which still needs plenty of hydration, too. And it smells good. Here are a few good choices if you’re a first-time buyer:


Ridge Runner Beard Oil: It’s made with 100 percent natural ingredients to moisturize and prevent breakage so your beard can grow long and strong. $18, themodcabin.com.


Honest Concoctions Beard Oil: It comes in a variety of lumberjack-y scents, from pine to sunny burr oak, and they’re all full of nourishing oils like vitamin E and grapeseed. $18.50, etsy.com/shop/HonestConcoctions.


Virtu Beard Oil by Liberty Premium Grooming Co.: Made in the United States and promising a “100% Gentlemen’s Guarantee,” this is one of the most well-loved beard companies around. Their oil is all-natural, strengthening, softening and features subtle hints of eucalyptus to wake up the senses on contact. $27.99, amazon.com.


 


Trim On, Brother


A rule of thumb (for your pits): Trimming hair to around a half inch to an inch is enough to look like you have hair without looking like the missing link. Shorter underarm hair also comes with some perks. Body odor lingers in longer underarm hair, so a little trim can keep you smelling fresher, too.


 


Best For Your Body


Did you know a human hair is stronger than a copper wire of the same diameter? That’s how they test razors for sharpness in production factories, and that’s why you need the best implements to get a handle on your body hair (especially if you’ve never manscaped and have a minor deforestation project underway). These razors have been top-rated in the industry over time and should be able to handle whatever job you give them.


Philips Norelco BG2040 Bodygroom 7100: This bad boy doubles as a shaver and a trimmer with five length adjustments, so no need to clog up the bathroom counter with multiple tools. It’s hypoallergenic and has a pivoting head to fit any body contours without the ouch. $59.95, amazon.com.


Braun Cruzer 6 Body Shaver: The Braun shaver can handle any hair anywhere with three trimming combs for varying lengths and a sensitivity comb to guard delicate areas from irritation. It’s also waterproof, so shower shavers can get their groom on. $68.22, amazon.com.


Philips Norelco BG2038 Bodygroom 5100: Slightly more budget friendly than its cousin the 7100 but still loaded with features. Think five trimming length controls, two comb attachments and a good, old-fashioned razor for a close facial shave. Bonus points for self-sharpening blades. $43.95, amazon.com.


Sources: gq.com, maxim.com, womenshealthmag.com, beardinstitute.com, mensjournal.com, shavingmachine.org

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