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Man Back Hair

Faq / September 8, 2018

Illustration by Zohar Lazar

How to not get carried away.

Let's get one thing established: Body hair is great. Nobody—least of all us—should demand that you keep it trimmed, waxed, or shaved at all times. But charming as your hirsute situation may be it still needs periodic taming, for both aesthetic and hygienic reasons. Here are the baseline parameters to follow, even if you have no plans to hit the beach any time soon.

1. Avoid razors

Razors invite an entire skincare regimen that we’d all rather skip: constant blade replenishment, a warm shower to prep the skin, messy shave cream application, and a disinfecting post-shave wash. The best way to uphold a low-maintenance body-grooming routine stick with an electronic trimmer, and just accept that you'll always have a baseline of stubble. (Do you really want to be hairless anyway??) If you don't involve a razor, you won't break out since there's far less risk of bacterial infection. Hopefully you’ve got a significant other who can get those back patches. Check out the Philips Norelco Bodygroom Series 7100. One end of this showerproof device trims longer hairs with adjustable guards, and the other end shaves everything right to the skin (with a minimal risk of razor burn and ingrown hairs).

2. Don’t use a beard trimmer, either

The point here is to save time, without compromising hygiene. Instead of putting your beard trimmer on your balls and armpits, get a second trimmer that is specifically designed for the body. There’s a difference between the two: Most beard trimmers come with small detailing attachments that help shape facial hair and snip away at long mustaches.

3. Buy a body hair groomer

Body hair groomers are a little less precise than beard trimmers; they tend to be wider at the head since the task at hand is less cosmetic. Just don't get them mixed up.

4. Start with a higher guard setting

Just like the barber says when you get a haircut: You can always cut it shorter if the first pass is too long. And, while this might add minutes to your chest-trimming routine, it saves days (or even weeks) of trying to grow it back to your optimal length. After a while, you’ll know which guard length is best for your chest, but don’t guess it on the first few attempts—play it safe.

5. “Eyeball it”

After the initial pass on the chest—and once you’ve settled on that desired length—you may notice a few patches. It’s hard to get a uniform trim across the contours of the chest. This is where you may just have to “eyeball” it, and go in without a guard to trim away the hairs that escaped the trimmer. As a backup, you can always bring in some nose-hair trimmers for this step. Don’t rush it—the slightest slip of the wrist could lead to the opposite problem—a totally bare patch. This gets trickier with shorter hair, but there’s one good way to cheat: Use a fine-toothed comb as your guard, and comb against the grain to get the hairs to stand up—at the nipple, under the pecs, around the abs. As you trim slowly, you should have more control over the end result.

And here's how to take care of those special regions that demand a little more attention:

For the pits:

After you've got the chest and back taken care of, take off an inch of armpit hair to buy yourself a couple months of time. (Don’t take things down to a stubble here, otherwise you’re in for a week of gritty agony.) Then, rest your arm at your side, and trim away any hair that sticks out between the arm and chest. Take the clipper and just chop it off.

For the package:

It hardly needs to be said that this is where you take the utmost caution. Put a short guard on your clippers, hold your member in your less dominant hand as you carefully trim with the other. Try not to touch down on the skin if at all possible; just steady air-clipping. Don't shave your shaft or balls all the way down to the skin, because no one wants to encounter stubble down there anyway.

For the feet:

You really don’t need to trim your feet hair. Like the rest of the body, it’s a preferential thing. If you insist on keeping it all trim, then take those same nose-hair scissors (the ones with the rounded edge, instead of a sharp tip), and safely snip everything down to your desired non-Hobbit length.