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 cringey 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.
How to manscape: The basics
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 actually make products that are specifically designed for the sensitive skin down there.
But before we get into the best products you need for your “learn how to manscape” journey, we wanted to give you some specific advice for grooming below the belt.
How to manscape: Grooming below the belt
Though the idea of grooming your penis and balls may seem scary, it’s actually really easy as long as you’re patient. We figure the general pointers will cover you for electric trimmers and best practices, but Jake has a ton of experience grooming below the belt with razors (having done the deed hundreds of times over the last decade). Keeping in mind the general pointers too, here’s what he had to say.
- A sharp razor is a friendly razor. Believe it or not, I actually use a safety razor to shave my penis and balls. Though the risk of a cut is pronounced when dealing with loose ball skin, a properly sharp razor blade will get the most hair in the fewest passes, minimizing the risk of cuts and skin irritation. Plus, a sharp blade requires much less effort to use, meaning any cuts you do get won’t be as severe as they could be. Though safety razors are ultra-sharp and have easily swappable blades, they’re not for everyone. So instead of using a fresh cartridge razor head every time, go for a great disposable razor instead. That’ll prevent cross-contamination and ensure you always have fresh, sharp blades.
- Hop in the shower: The shower preps facial skin for shaving and it does the same for pubic hair. Believe it not (again), I personally don’t use any kind of cream or oil because I’ve shaved my pubic area so many times. With the constant running water and patience, I’ve never had much trouble getting a good shave. But if you’d prefer, we’ve included a pre-shave oil and a shaving foam below that I’ve used before to shave my pubic region.
- Take your damn time. This isn’t the Kentucky Derby and there are no awards for finishing fast. Cuts only happen when you rush, so, don’t rush.
- You will cut yourself: Accept it before you even start that someday you will accidentally cut yourself. However, I’m here to tell you it’s not as bad as you think. And really, why would it be any worse than a nick on your face? I’ve cut my balls before and you know what happened afterward? Nothing. I finished shaving and went about my life with clean, polished genitals and I promise you will too (as long as you don’t rush!)
Now, with all of that out of the way, we think you know how to manscape and all that’s left is to check out the tools to help you do it.
The best manscaping products to buy right now
1. Philips Norelco Bodygroom Series 7000 Trimmer and Shaver
BEST BODY GROOMER
For an all-around great body groomer not specifically for pubic hair (see below), we love the Philips Norelco Bodygroom Series 7000 Trimmer and Shaver. It has a foil shaver for up-close grooming and a clipper with a guard that adjusts its height with the flick of a wheel, making achieving the right lengths a breeze. The rounded blades ensure you won’t get cut even on close shaves and trims, and you can even take this body groomer into the shower. With an 80-minute runtime, you won’t have to recharge it after every use too. So whether you’re trimming leg hair, arm hair or even pubic hair, this body groomer makes manscaping as easy as it should be.
Philips Norelco Bodygroom Series 7000 Trimmer and Shaver
2. Philips Norelco Multigroom All-In-One Series 3000 Trimmer
BEST PUBIC HAIR TRIMMER
For a dedicated trimmer for your pubic hair, you can’t go wrong with another option from Philips Norelco, the Philips Norelco Multigroom All-In-One Trimmer. It’s one of the most frequently endorsed options for body grooming, and as the name suggests, it can be used for multiple grooming tasks. But, it’s especially good for pubic hair trimming. It has a rechargeable battery, sharp blades for minimal tugging and comes with a variety of attachments and guards that can help with body grooming wherever you’ve got hair. With so many different shave heads, it’ll be easy to designate one for different parts of your body or focus all your efforts below the belt.
Philips Norelco Multigroom All-In-One Series 3000 Trimmer
3. LePinko Small Grooming Scissors
BEST GROOMING SCISSORS
When dealing with longer body or pubic hairs, scissors can help bring things down to a razor-groomable length. But you don’t just want any scissors, you want small grooming scissors, like the LePinko Small Grooming Scissors. Designed with facial hair in mind, their small size offers a ton of control if you need to trim more sensitive areas like armpits or pubic hair. Even more importantly, one pair is pointed for precision and the other pair is rounded for safe trimming when you need it most, like for your nose or below the belt.
LePinko Small Grooming Scissors
4. The Art of Shaving Pre-Shave Oil
BEST PRE-SHAVE OIL
Practically speaking, outside of your face and actual genital skin, all your skin is the same. So if a grooming product works comfortably on your face skin, which is generally more sensitive, it’s likely to offer the same benefits for skin elsewhere. That’s why if you’re manscaping with a razor, we recommend using a pre-shave oil like The Art of Shaving Pre-Shave Oil to prep your skin. It’s one of the best pre-shave oils for faces, so there’s no reason it won’t offer the same slickness and skin-prep for anywhere else you might like to take a razor.
The Art of Shaving Pre-Shave Oil
5. Fresh Body Fresh Balls Lotion
Best Below-the-Belt Lotion
The Fresh Body 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.
Fresh Body Fresh Balls Lotion
6. Van der Hagen Shave Butter
BEST SHAVING PRODUCT
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 get three bottles that should take care of your undercarriage, and face, a long time.
Van der Hagen Shave Butter
7. Nivea Men Sensitive Shave Foam
BEST SHAVING FOAM
When it comes to body shaving, you definitely will want some kind of shave gel or shaving cream to prep the skin and stand the hair up. Shaving foams like the Nivea Men Sensitive Shave Foam create even more lather and foam than creams and gels, which make them perfect for shaving longer, gnarlier body hairs.
Nivea Men Sensitive Shave Foam
8. 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.
Gillette Sensor3 Men's Disposable Razor
9. The Art of Shaving Aftershave Balm
Any time you shave, you need an aftershave, whether you’ve shaved your face, back or below the belt. The Art of Shaving Aftershave Balm is one of the best aftershave balms, period, so if it can soothe millions of men’s faces, why wouldn’t it soothe arms, legs and the pubic area too?
The Art of Shaving Aftershave Balm
10. 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.
Mangroomer Ultimate Back Shaver
11. 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.
The Performance Package by Manscaped
12. Nair Men Hair Remover Body Cream
BEST HAIR REMOVAL CREAM
Before we tell you anything else about the Nair Men Hair Remover Body Cream, we warn you to NOT USE IT ON YOUR PENIS AND BALLS. Please please do not unless you want a burning sensation the likes of which you did not believe possible.
However, if you can manage to avoid that, this hair removal cream is absolutely fantastic for manscaping the other major hair culprits, such as arms, legs, back and chest (and the upper pubic area, just avoid direct contact with your genitals.)
You apply it dry to the hairy spots you want to groom — don’t rub the cream in, just spread it over the skin once — and let it work for two minutes. After that, you can hop in the shower, give it another minute or two, and then take a washcloth and attempt to wipe the hair away. If the hair falls away, proceed to wipe the rest of it away and if not, let the cream work for another minute or two, never exceeding 10 minutes. When you’re finished, you’ll have skin as hair-free as it was before you went through puberty and we know from experience.
Just be aware that the regrowth phase will be, in two words, extremely itchy, so we’d only recommend this route if you’re committed to grooming on a regular basis.
Nair Men Hair Remover Body Cream
13. Nivea Men Maximum Hydration Nourishing Lotion
BEST BODY LOTION
After all this shaving, trimming and grooming, your body skin might be a little frazzled. A body lotion like the Nivea Men Maximum Hydration Nourishing Lotion will go a long way to soothing and maintaining disturbed body skin.
Nivea Men Maximum Hydration Nourishing Lotion
14. The Mod Cabin Essential Lotion Bar
ALSO CONSIDER LOTION
As an alternative to a liquid lotion for your body, you might consider one of the best lotion bars, like The Mod Cabin Essential Lotion Bar. It’s a water-free brick of lotion that warms up on body contact, making it easy to get the lotion where you want it. Plus, a lotion bar is way easier to fly with.