Grooming & Style
Manscaping: The Art of the Body Shave
By Greg Melville
Whether your back resembles the Amazon or you just think below-the-belt topiary’s cool, here’s what you need to know before you begin.
Remember that guy in middle school with all the back hair? He probably had a nickname like “werewolf” or “yeti.” And he had no choice but to learn the art of body shaving, better known as manscaping, at an early age (or it’s possible that he was so scarred from the locker room jokes that he turned into a recluse and didn’t bother).
Now that you’re older and pumping out more testosterone than when you sneaked into PG-13 movies, the subject of body hair isn’t quite as funny. Whether or not to shave -- and where -- is entirely personal. But being clean and tidy is definitely in.
“It is one of those things that men are finally comfortable talking about,” says Dr. Lisa Kellett, a dermatologist. “Many men are acquiring a more tailored, less hairy look.”
Successful manscaping without nicks or ingrown hairs involves somewhat different strategies than those used for shaving the face. Here are tips for clearing hair -- all the way down to the groin, where it can sometimes be hard to spot the lion in the tall grass.
Still, nicks are easier to get if you’re not meticulous. When you’re done, use moisturizer or else the area could itch for days and result in ingrown hairs -- the manscape from which there’s no escape.
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Greg Melville is a former Men's Journal editor who has written about grooming for several publications, including Men’s Health.
Related ContentCelebrity Winners of the Best Facial Hair Awards I know you're supposed to shave with the grain, but I just can't get a close shave that way. Is it possible to get a comfortable shave against the grain? I know how to treat my face to get a great shave (hydrate plus to the max). But is there any particular way I should treat my razor to get the best performance from it? I'm trying to figure out how to best manscape my frontal torso hair. (I say "frontal torso" instead of "chest" because hair grows on my entire front.) Should I completely shave the non-chest areas and trim the rest? And how long should the trimmed hair be? I want to look natural but groomed (and not gnarly). Let's say I need to clean up my 5 o'clock shadow before I leave work for a date or business dinner. Is it OK -- in terms of proper etiquette -- to shave in the men's room at work?
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