How To Manscape: The MR PORTER Guide To Dealing With Body Hair
Illustration by Mr Joe McKendry
I have noticed recently that my friends, once buffed, waxed and polished like a new pair of Oxfords, have given up their Love Island look in favour of something a little more au naturel. Their body hair is back.
It surprised me, but it shouldn’t. How much body hair the average man favours has waxed and waned over the past few decades, and in recent years manscaping seemed to be synonymous with looking like a stripper. While I’d still give my first born to look like Mr Channing Tatum in Magic Mike, there is something to be said about looking like, well, me. Here’s how the man of today should deal with his hair down there.
Get battle ready
Even when embracing full-body foliage, there are still several parts of you that need some topiary, whether that’s clipping, wet shaving, sugaring (don’t ask) or waxing. Jump in a shower and rev up the steam, which will help open pores and loosen hair follies.
Follow with a good exfoliation, which will slough off dead skin cells that have the potential to clog follicles, which can result in ingrown hairs. A gentle body scrub that doesn’t cause microtears in the skin will generally do the trick. Aesop Redemption Body Scrub is a great shout. It’s a finely milled blend of pumice, bamboo stem and botanical oils to soften, smooth and hydrate.
Start from the top
Let’s go neck down. Even at full pelt, chest hair running up into your face isn’t manly. It’s just messy. Grab some clippers and make sure there’s a fade. Hair on your neck should never be anything other than cropped, even if you have a great beard going on.
For the chest, stomach and armpits, keep it natural but tidy with the same clippers. The longer the hair, the more odour takes hold, so if BO is something you struggle with, then properly crop the area. Do not wet shave. Nobody looks good with chest stubble as a result of using a cream or razor on the area. Think chicken skin with some kind of rash.
Top tip: you can shape the hair on your stomach to make you look more toned by going really tight around the flanks and less so around your middle. The V-like shadow will make you look slimmer and more defined.
Below the belt
Embracing your body hair doesn’t mean you can let it go to rack and ruin. If you aren’t willing to go down there, why would anyone else?
Go in with clippers around the pubic area, keeping it short, but not cropped. Where you can go shorter is around the thighs, separating your legs from your genital region. You’re not Chewbacca, so you don’t want these areas blending into one. And, if you want to trim closer to the goods, don’t be afraid to use a razor. A steady hand, a sharp blade and a shaving oil, such as Lab Series The Grooming Oil (not cream), are the essentials here. Pull the skin taut so the blade can glide over your skin without any nicks and take it slow.
Round the back
There are a few ways to handle hair around the backside. First, forget it. If no one but you is going back there, it’s not really an issue. Second, get it waxed. We know, we know, the idea of walking into a salon, dropping your underpants and bending over is pretty horrific, but the experience is really not that bad. Leave any embarrassment at the door. The therapists do this every day and have seen it all before.
Aftercare is as important in these situations as preparation, capable of soothing inflammation, microcuts or potential ingrown hairs. Run a bath and pour in an oil, such as Czech & Speake Neroli Moisturising Bath And Body Oil. The bath will help hydrate skin that’s been stripped during the process and soften the remaining hair.
Once bathed, finish with a mist. A moisturising cream is just going to get stuck in your hair, become matted and make you look like a wet dog. A spray is lightweight, gets right past the hair and absorbs into the skin. Sisley – Paris Milk Body Mist is packed with humectants, moisturising agents and even an SPF, so you can go, newly manscaped, straight to the beach.