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If it seems like more men are walking around with smooth legs, arms and chests, you’re not imagining things. Hairlessness has been on an upward trend for some time, with a wave of male celebrities and athletes opting for smoother bodies. Yet, manscaping chest hair isn’t for everyone — nor is there one correct way to do it.
Some men have embraced their body hair while others shave or wax. If you’re exploring your options, this guide to manscaping includes everything you need to know.
Should You Keep Your Chest Hair?
Removing your chest hair — or any other hair on your body — is a personal choice. It won’t improve your health in any significant way — although it can help prevent ingrown hair, reduce infection and inflammation and lead to fewer acne outbreaks.
Athletes often shave their legs and body hair for performance and safety reasons. For instance, runners and swimmers may shave their legs and thighs to prevent chafing and friction. Otherwise, hair follicles can trap sweat and debris, causing skin infections.
Of course, if you’re not much of an athlete, you might like how a groomed body looks — and there’s nothing wrong with that. Those considering removing their chest hair should ask themselves the following questions:
- Does my chest hair bother me physically or mentally?
- Why do I want to remove my chest hair?
- Do I want an ultra-smooth surface or some hair remaining?
- Is my chest hair thin and light or thick and coarse?
- How much hair do I have on my chest?
- What is my current body grooming routine?
- Am I willing to maintain a manscaping technique long-term?
These questions are important when deciding whether to begin grooming your chest hair. Not everyone’s hair grows the same in similar amounts. Additionally, whatever method works for someone else may not be most effective for you.
Do Women Like Men’s Body Hair?
Many women love a bit of scruff — whether a bit of stubble around the face or a full-on lumberjack beard. However, it’s been a long-standing debate whether women prefer men with body hair or without. The answer may surprise you.
According to a Men’s Journal survey of 105 women, only 27% say they prefer hairless men. Yet, of the 73% of those who like hairy guys, they expect it to be well maintained.
The women responded that they preferred it if men didn’t resemble wild animals, yet they weren’t into the prepubescent look either.
However, if you’re removing body hair for any reason other than liking it yourself, you’re not doing it for the right reasons. Other people’s opinions shouldn’t dictate whether you remove, keep or maintain your chest hair.
Some men prefer going au natural. Yet, those who want their chests smooth have some options. Typically, men with unruly chest hair try these four body grooming techniques.
Shaving may seem like the most straightforward method of manscaping your chest hair, but it can be a process. You’ll need to prep your skin before starting — a warm shower will help open the follicles.
Likewise, it’s best if you always use a fresh, unused razor. Cartridge razors come with three quality blades in various shapes and sizes. Safety razors are another alternative, with one blade that touches the skin. The fewer blades there are, the less you risk damaging the skin.
Some men might argue that shaving isn’t the best way to remove body hair, except for your neck and legs. For one thing, it’s time-consuming, from prep to applying messy shaving cream and aftershave lotion. Additionally, there’s an increased chance of razor burn, cuts and infections.
An electric razor is a much better recourse than a manual razor. Regardless, shaving means you’ll have to contend with regular stubble.
Trimming may be more efficient than shaving — just don’t use a beard trimmer. You’ll want a body hair trimmer with adjustable guard lengths for cleaner movement over chest hair, sensitive areas and comfort.
Always begin with the highest guard setting. If it doesn’t trim your chest hair to a length you like, gradually shorten it.
Trimming may take longer than other body grooming methods. However, a slow and steady pace makes your chest hair look its best.
Fortunately, waxing isn’t nearly as bad as Steve Carrell having it done in The 40-Year-Old Virgin. However, it doesn’t mean the method is pleasant, either.
Waxing isn’t necessarily a painless experience. Many men feel discomfort while having their chest hair removed through waxing methods. Likewise, they usually have irritation and itchiness when the hair breaks through the skin a few weeks later.
Some men prefer waxing their chest hair because it lasts much longer than shaving — this is because the hair gets plucked from the follicle. Over time, the hair may also grow back lighter and slower.
Once you begin waxing, you usually want to stick with it — mainly since stubble can annoy you and a partner. However, you don’t have to continue waxing if it isn’t right for you. Allow your hair to grow back out, and find a different method of manscaping.
Hair removal is a more dramatic method of body grooming. If you no longer want chest hair, seeking a more permanent outcome is possible.
Laser hair removal comprises laser pulses to penetrate and kill the hair follicle, lasting months or years after the final treatment. Yet, laser heavily requires pigment to zap the follicle — meaning it isn’t suited for every race or hair color. It is most effective for those with fair skin and dark hair.
Laser is also expensive, costing between $100 and $800 per session, of which you’ll need four to six. However, some people require even more. You’ll also likely need to schedule maintenance appointments to catch future hair growth.
Electrolysis is the only FDA-approved hair removal procedure. If you’re looking for a truly permanent solution to your chest hair, electrolysis may be the right choice.
Your Chest Hair Your Way
What you do with your chest hair is a personal preference. It shouldn’t matter what people think or say about your manscaping habits. Whatever makes you feel your best should be the look you’re after. If that means keeping your chest hair, waxing or trimming, do it for you — not others.
Jack Shaw is a senior writer at Modded. Jack is an avid enthusiast for keeping up with personal health and enjoying nature. He has over five years of experience writing in the men's lifestyle niche, and has written extensively on topics of fitness, exploring the outdoors and men's interests. His writings have been featured in SportsEd TV, Love Inc., and Offroad Xtreme among many more publications.