Body Hair Removal Methods for Men

man shaving his head bald
Photo © Cultura RM/Angela Cappetta | Getty Images

Both men and women have their respective opinions when it comes to how much and where men should have body hair. Of course, fashion trends and lifestyle dictate body and facial hair too. And there are men who remove their body hair for very masculine, athletic or performance reasons. For example, men who race bicycles like to keep their legs shaved to prevent rashes or ingrown hairs since they typically where skin-tight Lycra or spandex shorts and pants.

Swimmers will remove hair from their chest, backs, and arms as well as their legs to increase their speed. Bodybuilders will go as far as waxing or shaving their entire bodies to highlight the definition of their muscles. But most modern men don't go to those extremes and prefer to show a certain amount of body and facial hair.

For those guys who want to remove or trim body hair, there are a variety of methods available. Thankfully, we’ve come a long way since using a couple of seashells or some flint-stone to scrape and pluck hair like cavemen did, nor do we volcanic glass or other rudimentary razors of the past. Modern methods are much easier, but not always painless. Here is a list of hair removal methods not including permanent hair removal procedures.

Hair Removal and Grooming Methods for Men

Shaving: This can be performed with a myriad of razors, from a straight edge to a manual, and also an electric device.

Shaving is the fastest way for hair removal as it is immediate and shaves off with just a simple stroke. Be sure to have pre-moistened skin from warm water, use a good quality shaving cream or gel, and make sure you shave in the direction of the hair growth, not against it. The drawback of this method is that the hair grows back feeling coarser because of the blunt edge a razor leaves on the hair at the skin’s surface, making sensitive areas itchy and uncomfortable.


Trimming: When the goal is to trim the hair but not eliminate it, trimming is the best method. You should keep handy a pair of hair cutting scissors known as shears for longer lengths of hair such as a full beard. Have on hand a small blunt-nosed pair of scissors for areas that need more careful attention, such as the eyebrows, nose, upper lips and ears. Also, a small clipper called a trimmer is essential for cleaning up the nape hairline and sideburns in between haircuts. Trimmers are available in plug-in, disposable battery and rechargeable battery versions.

Tweezing: To dislodge a pesky ingrown hair or a stray hair on your face or body, a tweezer is incredibly handy to have. Many tweezers are small and may be difficult to handle, therefore, look for kinds that have a larger handle that is convenient for a man’s hands. Be sure not to tweeze a hair growing from a mole, as tempting as it is, due to potential irritation you can cause to the mole. Simply trim back the mole hair with a small pair of scissors.

Threading: This is a method traditionally found in Eastern Asian or Middle Eastern cultures and has recently gained great popularity in America. A thread of string is literally used to wick away the hair and is popular in grooming the eyebrows.

Many claim that it is less painful than waxing and less irritating than tweezing. You will need to visit a professional esthetician that can perform this method on your face properly.

Waxing: Different types of waxes are used for different areas of the body. Home-kits are available to purchase, however, for your first experience should be with a professional esthetician before you ever attempt to apply this method on yourself. A thin layer of warm wax is spread over a particular region, going with the growth of the hair. Then with a muslin-type strip of cloth is gently pressed over the wax and pulled in the direction against the hair growth, keeping the skin nice and taut. This is an excellent method for semi-permanently removing unwanted hair and the hair typically grows back softer. Again, I must repeat, do not attempt this method on yourself if you have not been properly trained because you can potentially burn your skin, and even tear your own skin right off.

Sugaring: This is very similar in application and method as is waxing, however, the main ingredient is different. Wax is not used, rather a sticky substance made from sugar and other food-derived ingredients is. The upside to sugaring over waxing is that you typically are not left with an uncomfortable sticky residue as the sugar removes easier than does the wax. The downside is that you have to wait longer between sugars than waxes, meaning the length of the hair needed to adhere to the sugar has to be longer than is needed for waxing.

Depilatories: A depilatory typically comes in a cream form. The active alkaline-based ingredient basically breaks down the hair follicle till it’s a mushy substance that can be wiped or rinsed away. This method is easily available in any drug store and comes in a body or facial version. Much like shaving, you are only removing the hair down to the surface of the skin; therefore you will need to use this method more frequently (unlike a wax that actually removes the hair from below the skin’s surface). Be aware that this is a chemical product and omits a strong odor. Also, be sure to do a patch test first on your skin before attempting a full application because you may find your skin is too sensitive for this kind of product.

Bleach: You will not be able to eliminate hair with this product, but rather lighten the color to diminish its appearance. Be sure you purchase bleach that is meant specifically for your face or body. Do not use bleach designed for highlighting hair or household bleach. This version of bleach is made to be gentle for the skin, but just like with a depilatory cream, be sure to perform a patch test before applying to you. Bleach can be purchased in most drug stores in a beauty supply store. You may have to repeat the process on another day to get the full lightening effect, but never apply twice to the same area in one day. Be very careful when using this product around the eyes.