It’s no secret that there’s a proud communal culture around male grooming. Whether it’s a father-to-son shaving lesson, shooting the breeze at the barbershop or trading tips on one of the countless beard blogs, male relationships are as likely to be forged with a razor in hand as they are gathered around the grill. But that communal attitude stops when it comes to shaving anywhere below the neck. Any shaving tips about body grooming (also known as manscaping, a name that is either a cringe-y or clever depending on who you ask) are treated as a state secret or somehow “unmasculine.” It can make you feel like you’re the only man who’s ever considered body grooming. The truth is that studies have shown that most men have at least considered manscaping, and many regularly do some sort of down there grooming.
Every guy is different, and how much hair you want to remove depends on your (and potentially your partner’s) preferences, as well as how much hair you have to start with. The first area people think of when they hear the word manscaping is probably the forest around the tree, namely, pubic hair. It’s the hair that’s most likely to be unruly, and, like doing the dishes and taking out the trash, it can potentially be a point of friction for your partner. But even if you’re flying solo, there are benefits to taking care of your pubic hair. It can be more comfortable and breathable in the summer months, and you can prevent excess hair from getting everywhere. But at the end of the day, it’s your body. Having body hair is perfectly healthy and natural, so you should only manscape if you want to.
When it comes to manscaping, unless you’re an Olympic swimmer, you probably don’t need to overdo it. In fact, you probably shouldn’t — an alarming amount of ER visits are due to shaving mishaps. And even if your accident doesn’t result in an embarrassing conversation with an overworked nurse, nicking your crown jewels can result in infections and general discomfort. Suffice to say, caution is the name of the game. That’s why we’ve rounded up some of the best products to help you (safely) manscape. But first, we wanted to give some general pointers.
What to Know Before Manscaping
1. Never Mix, Never Worry
Maybe you’ve heard this expression used regarding alcohol — don’t mix your liquors, and you can stave off the worst hangovers. But this can also be applied to your grooming. Just like it’s generally advised against using your toenail clippers on your fingers to prevent cross-contamination, you also shouldn’t use the same razor for your face that use for your pubic hair. If you’d still rather use just one razor, sanitize it. The other benefit of getting a designated pube razor is that you can find one that performs better for difficult to reach areas while also reducing the risk of nicks.
2. Get Steamy
If you’re using a razor or trimmers, hop in the shower (if you’re using an electric razor, make sure it’s waterproof). Just like how a barber will spray your hair with water before cutting, the water from the shower will soften your pubic hair and make it easier to cut. Warm water will often soften and relax the skin. Plus, the warm water might relax you, too, so you’ll have steady hands to handle this potentially anxiety-inducing activity. You can either shave in the shower or right after you get out.
3. Keep it tight
The skin down there can be loose and wrinkly. You should pull the skin taught in whatever area you’re working to allow the blade to smoothly glide across your skin. Going with the grain (aka, the way the hair grows) will help prevent unnecessary irritation.
4. Lather up
In addition to warm water, products like shave oil or regular shaving gel will protect your skin, allow the blade to glide more easily and reduce unwanted irritation. Plus, after-shave products will help moisturize your skin as well. Some brands, like Manscaped, make products that are specifically designed for the sensitive skin down there. Speaking of products, these are some of our favorites to get the job done.
The Best Manscaping Product To Buy Right Now
Philips Norelco MG3750 Multigroom Trimmer
Best Electric Shaver
The Philips Norelco Multigroom is one of the most frequently endorsed options for body grooming. As the name suggests, it can be used for multiple grooming tasks. It has a rechargeable battery, and it comes with a variety of attachments and guards that can help with body grooming. With so many different shave heads, it’ll be easy to designate one for different parts of your body.
Equinox Professional Barber Hair Cutting Scissors
Best Grooming Scissors
Trying to get through a dense grove of hair with a manual razor isn’t easy, which is why hair cutting scissors can be a great way to deal with larger clumps of hair. If you’re going for a close shave, scissors won’t be enough. But for any man who just wants to do some forest management, scissors can be sufficient.
Lather & Wood Shaving Unscented Pre-Shave Oil
Best Pre-Shave Oil
This option is designed for beard care, but the natural ingredients and gentle formula make it a good option for more sensitive areas. Plus, it comes in a bottle with a spray nozzle, making it easier to dispense.
Fresh Balls Lotion
Best Below-the-Belt Lotion
Fresh Balls lotion is pretty self-explanatory. It’s an anti-moisture and bacteria lotion for your groin area that keeps you feeling fresh, dry and odorless, but it doesn’t clump or make a mess like powders.
Van der Hagen Shave Butter
Best Shave Gel
Although shave butter is not quite as popular as shave cream or gel, it’s our favorite when it comes to shaving downstairs. That’s because it tends to be thicker and does a better job of moisturizing. And when it comes to shaving an area you don’t tend to shave often, you’ll want that extra help. Not only is this a fantastic option, but it’s also quite affordable. For under $20, you can three bottles which should lose your undercarriage, and face, a long time.
Gillette Sensor3 Men’s Disposable Razors
As previously mentioned, it’s best not to mix your razors. And since you’re likely not shaving below the belt as often as you are above it, we recommend disposable razors. The Gillette Sensor3 Men’s Disposable Razor is a great option for shaving down below because not only is it comfortable to hold in hand (aka, no slipping) but also the three-blade setup allows for a smooth shave without causing irritation or ingrown hairs. And, once you’re done, you can toss ’em so you won’t have any accidental mix-ups.
Alcohol-based aftershave delivers a stinging sensation to your face, so we’re not too keen on finding out how it feels near the undercarriage. Witch hazel is one way to help prevent razor bumps and ingrown hairs by sanitizing the skin and preventing bacteria without quite as much of the burn that you get from alcohol.
MANGROOMER Ultimate Back Shaver
Best Back Shaver
We’ve primarily covered body grooming as it relates to your pubic area, but there are other areas to consider. If you’re dealing with back hair, and you don’t have anyone to lend a hand, this groomer from Mangroomer can be a good alternative. It features a power hinge, a flexing neck, and two different heads that provide the best back shave of any product on the market.
The Performance Package by Manscaped
Best Full Set
Looking to get everything you need with one single purchase? Trust the folks over at Manscaped for your below-the-belt grooming gear. In this set, you not only get their built-for-purpose body and ear/nose trimmers but also anti-chafing ball spray, ball spray toner, a shaving mat (because cleanup is never fun), a free pair of boxers and a travel bag. If this is your first foray into the world of manscaping, this is a fantastic place to start.