The Complete Guide to Male Hair Removal

Male hair removal is one of the major increasing trends in health and beauty of the modern age.  More and more men are looking at ways to "smoothen" up, whether that be for purely aesthetic reasons, athletic competition (like swimming and bodybuilding) or health reasons.

Good thing you found this page, guys, because this is the only hair removal guide you'll ever need.  You'll find all the answers to your questions right on this very page.

Tweezing on male eyebrows

Unibrow / Eyebrow Hair Removal

When the two eyebrows meet in the middle to form a so-called Unibrow it can cause a lot of people to pursue hair removal methods.

Here complete and permanent hair removal is the ultimate goal.  Precision is required to ensure that the shaping of the remaining eye brows are natural.  Any hair removal method must be safe given the close proximity to the eyes.

Unibrow / Eyebrow Hair Removal Recommendations:

In the Home

You won't be able to achieve permanent hair removal in the unibrow area from home.  For that you'll need professional treatment, which for the money, is recommended.

Tweezing - This is the safest way to ensure that you target the right hairs and don't end up with an unnatural looking set of eyebrows.  Tweezers can be picked up very cheaply and have no ongoing cost associated with them.  You can target individual hairs, which is a double edged sword: high precision but at the same time highly time consuming, especially with dense hair.

At a Professional Clinic

Electrolysis - This is the most popular for of hair removal in this part of the body. Given the small treatment area, the need for precision and the fact that hair removal is permanent - electrolysis really is the winning candidate.  

The average person would initially have an electrolysis session of one hour or less with follow up treatments in the 15 - 30 minute range.  The cost would be no more than $200 and in return the unibrow hair would be permanently removed (electrolysis is the only procedure that assures no regrowth upon full treatment completion).

What We Don't Recommend:

Laser Hair Removal - Most laser hair removal practitioners won't even consider doing laser hair removal on a unibrow due to the proximity of the eyes and the lack of precision that comes with the device.  Apart from not being safe, results would be unpredictable, at best, and more costly than electrolysis

Depilatory Creams - It's ill advisable to have chemicals that are strong enough to dissolve hair so close to the eyes.  Furthermore, precision hair removal with depilatory creams is not possible.

Waxing - Difficult to target hair with precision.  It's possible to combine waxing with tweezing, although less than recommended because results aren't permanent and thus would require consistent maintenance.

Shaving / Trimming - Trying to maintain a natural pair of eyebrows while removing hair with a razor or trimmer is next to impossible.  Targeting simply isn't good enough.

Back and Shoulders Hair Removal

Male back and shoulder hair removal

One of the most regularly requested topics relating to male hair removal is how to remove unwanted hair from the shoulder, back and neck region.  

The treatment area here is large and the desired result is usually a reduction in the amount of hair held in these areas rather than complete baldness.  Hair removal treatments can be applied both at home and professionally in a hair removal clinic.

Back & Shoulders Recommendations:

In the Home

The most advisable treatment from the comfort of your own home is either waxing or home laser hair removal.​

Waxing removes the hair from the root which leads to smooth regrowth unlike shaving which blunts the hair and creates a stubbly effect (not great for the ladies).  It's also suitable for larger surface areas and has a longer regrowth time of around 4 - 6 weeks, much longer than depilatory creams and hair trimmers.

Home Laser Kits have the potential to provide longer term hair reduction.  Unfortunately, this treatment is only suitable for people with lighter skin colour and dark hair colour.  The main advantage of laser hair removal kits is their speed of use over large treatment areas and a relatively long time between sessions. 

It's worth mentioning that the long term efficacy of home laser kits isn't as good as the lasers that are used at a professional clinic​, however on the flip side you only have to make one lump sum payment for the equipment.

At a Professional Clinic

In the clinic, we recommend the same procedures.  Regular waxing sessions can be carried out or you can sign up for a series of laser hair removal sessions.  

Waxing - ​As above, you'll need to return for regular waxing sessions at 4 - 6 week intervals to keep hair growth minimal.

With laser treatment, you'll need to go for a series of around 6 - 8 sessions (usually taking 15-30 minutes)​.

In the clinic, you also have the added option of following a laser hair removal session up with a series of electrolysis sessions.  This is the only way you can achieve permanent hair removal so that there is no regrowth.​

What We Don't Recommend:

Shaving / Trimming - For back and shoulders, shaving and trimming is not a very practical method of hair removal.  For consistent results shaving would have to be done at least every week, each shaving session would take a substantial period of time and hair regrowth is sharp and not very nice to the touch.

Depilatory Creams - Again, results don't last very long and I'd be hesitant about applying such a strong chemical over such a large body part on a regular basis. Aside from this, depilatory creams are quite messy and costly.

Male Brazilian Waxing Genital

Back, Sac & Crack / Full Brazilian Hair Removal

This is an ever increasingly popular treatment that involves removing hair from the groin, penis, scrotum, buttocks and anal area.  

Brazilian Hair Removal Recommendations

In the Home

It is possible to do a full Brazilian wax at home, although if it is your first time being waxed then it may be preferable to see a professional in order to:-

  1. ​Watch and learn the technique
  2. Be in the most comfort possible

If this is your first time waxing and you want to do it yourself at home, then we recommend that you do it a week before anyone might see it, use some post-treatment cleansing and soothing products (such as Tend Skin) and use talc powder to keep the area dry.  This will ensure that side effects (such as redness and irritation) are minimised as much as possible.

Should some wax remain on the skin after a waxing session you should not pick the wax off by hand because this is likely to cause irritation.  Instead use some olive oil to gently remove it.

The day after your waxing session, we recommend that you gently exfoliate the treated area with alpha-hydroxy lotion in order to prevent ingrown hairs.

At a Professional Clinic

The advantage of going to have your Brazilian done professionally is that you're in safe hands (excuse the pun).  Trained professionals know the best technique to avoid too much discomfort and minimise any side effects.

The disadvantage is that many men are embarrassed to have this procedure performed. One particular worry for men is that they will become aroused during the session - this is quite normal and nothing that the practitioner won't have seen before - it is certainly nothing to get worked up about.

"I read several posts where guys found themselves getting erections during their sessions; this somewhat alleviated my fears and I accepted the inevitable."

Source: Hairtell.com Forum

"I am wanting to get a full male Brazilian wax - for the 1st time. I guess I am worried about the potential pain - but the thing I am most worried about is... erections!"

Source: Salon Geek Forum

Here is a beautician giving her experiences with this:-

"I do intimate male waxing and a lot of men get erections. I just carry on waxing and ignore it.

It's the biggest question I get asked by new clients. They are really worried about it but it's not sexual at all.

I've had a couple of guys that have had an erection the whole way through but most don't last too long.

I wouldn't say anything as I wouldn't want to embarrass them so I just get on with the job in hand!"

Source: Salon Geek Forum

As you can see, this is a common concern.  

Most men realise after the first session, however, that their worries were unnecessary.  Erections are normal during this procedure, as long as you behave in a professional manner there will be no issues whatsoever.

Upper Arm Male Hair Removal

The upper arm is one of the most common areas that men have hair removed from.  The ideal result is a permanent reduction in thick hair growth from this location (full and complete hair removal is not often desired since it's natural to have a certain amount of hair in this location).

Upper Arm Male Hair Removal Recommendations:

In the Home

Home laser kits aren't suitable for upper arm hair removal due to the possibility of laser induced hair growth (see the "what we don't recommend" box below).  This is because usually the hair on the upper arm (vellus hair) is not coarse enough for the laser to be effective.

Waxing - waxing, over time, generally decreases the density of hair growth in a particular area.  Through a series of wax treatments with home waxing kits over a number of months, it would be common for the density of hair to retreat.  

The flip side of waxing the upper arms is that your arms will be stripped of all the hair for 4 - 6 weeks following each treatment - sometimes this is not ideal because clients prefer to have a base level of hair.

At a Professional Clinic

Electrolysis - In most cases, electrolysis would be the preferred hair removal method of choice because the results are permanent and the electrologist can decrease the density of the hair without leaving the treated area bald.

Full electrolysis treatment can take 12 - 18 months because it's reliant on catching hairs in the anogen phase (growth)​.  After the full course of treatment, the hair reduction is permanent.  

Electrolysis is also effective on all hair and skin types as long as the density isn't too high (upper arm hair removal doesn't usually contain hair of a density that would be troublesome for electrolysis).

What We Don't Recommend:

Laser Hair Removal - The upper arm is one of the most common places for laser induced hair growth on men.  Laser induced growth is an anomaly whereby the treatment with the laser actually increases the growth of the hair as opposed to reducing it.  

Of course, laser induced growth doesn't occur with every male in the upper arm area, but it's impossible to determine ahead of time who will respond well to the treatment and who won't.  Because of this, we recommend avoiding this type of treatment for the upper arms.

Photo of man with hairy chest

I Have an Excessive Amount of Body Hair and it's Ruining my Life - What can I do?

Has this always been the case for as long as you can remember or has it been a recent change?  

If you've noticed a change in your hair growth rate then you should go to your doctor who can do a full blood test to check for any irregularities and identify the root cause of your recent increase in hair growth.

If however you've always had a large amount of hair then it's likely hereditary.  The good news is that there are many treatments out there on the market that will help you reduce the amount of hair that you have.

Male Hair Removal Treatment Options for Permanent Hair Reduction

Man having laser hair removal on back

Laser Hair Removal​There are a number of different lasers on the market today that can permanently reduce the amount of hair on almost any part of the body.  The FDA has approved some of these lasers for "permanent hair reduction".  The lasers are especially effective on those with lighter skin and darker hair.

While laser hair removal is primarily for lighter skinned men, a relatively new laser called the nd:YAG laser can cater for darker skin tones.

Important:- If you have a darker skin tone and are considering laser hair removal then make sure that you got to multiple consultations and do your homework before choosing the right laser provider for you.  As someone with darker skin, you are more at risk of skin burns if the practitioner isn't properly qualified and mishandles you.

Electrolysis - ​Suitable for most body parts, electrolysis is the only method of hair removal that has FDA approval for permanent hair removal.  

Electrolysis can be used as a treatment procedure on its own or as a follow up to laser hair removal.  

The combination of the two procedures works especially well for clients with thick, dark hair.  The laser hair removal reduces the density of the hair, while electrolysis permanently denatures the hair follicle to prevent regrowth.

Cross section of a hair and hair follicle

Electrolysis: A needle is inserted into each individual hair in order to apply electric current to the base of the hair follicle. The electrical current denatures the follicle and prevents further hair regrowth.

The Tria 4x laser is one of the most popular brands of home laser hair removal devices on the market at the moment.

Home Laser Hair Removal Kits​Home laser hair removal kits offer less efficacy than the lasers that are used by practitioners in professional hair removal clinics.

The strength of the laser in home kits are very low in order to comply with FDA regulations and ensure the safety of the typical user who has no previous experience.

Results achieved with home laser kits vary quite substantially.  Some users report up to 80% hair reduction, while others show hardly any difference.

Temporary Male Hair Removal Methods

​Semi permanent male hair removal methods include waxing, tweezing (otherwise known as plucking), threading, depilatory creams, shaving and trimming.  Here are some pros and cons of each:-

Pros

Cons

Waxing
  • Fast
  • Suitable for large treatment areas
  • Can be done from home
  • Safe procedure
  • Removes hair from the root so hair grows back smoothly
  • Relatively inexpensive
  • Suitable for most areas of the body
  • Semi-permanent hair removal - hair usually decreases over time
  • Suitable for all types of hair
  • Can be painful, especially for first timers
  • Not permanent hair removal - hair usually reappears within 4 - 6 weeks
  • Not suitable for precision - for instance eyebrow shaping
  • Can be messy
  • Can cause mild skin irritation (redness, itchiness)
  • Can cause ingrown hairs (risk of this can be reduced by exfoliating with alph-hydroxy solution one day after treatment).
Tweezing
  • Accurate for fine precision hair removal (such as eye brows)
  • Doesn't require professional experience - easy to use
  • Can be done from home
  • Extremely cheap
  • Suitable for all hair types
  • Can be slow for inexperienced people
  • Not suitable for large treatment areas
  • Not permanent - hair grows back usually after around 4 weeks of treatment
  • Slow process - each hair has to be individually treated
Depilatory Creams
  • Fast
  • Suitable for large treatment areas
  • Easy to use - doesn't require professional expertise
  • Non invasive procedure
  • Can be done from home
  • Cheap form of hair removal
  • Depilatory products are pretty messy
  • Most depilatory products have a very strong and bad smell
  • Incorrect use can lead to chemical burns on the skin
  • Possibility of an allergic reaction (always do a small patch test first)
  • Not permanent hair removal - hair can reappear in as little as a few days after treatment
  • Not suitable for treatment areas where there are open wounds (for example, nicks from shaving)
Electric Trimming
  • Fast
  • Suitable for large treatment areas
  • Easy to use - doesn't require professional expertise
  • Non invasive procedure
  • Can be done from home
  • Initially expensive (to purchase the shaving unit) but long term cost is significantly less than purchasing razors.
  • Cause less ingrown hairs and skin irritation than razors
  • Less likely to cause cuts than razor shaving
  • No additional grooming items such as shaving cream required
  • Don't cut the hair as close as the traditional razor and other forms of hair removal
  • Not permanent - hair can reappear in as little as a day
  • Majority of electrical razors can't be used in the shower (or in wet conditions)
  • Require a fair amount of attention when it comes to maintenance and cleaning
  • Initial purchase price more expensive than other forms of hair removal

More and more celebrity figures are removing hair from the bodies thus changing the way male hair removal is regarded in modern day society.

Is Male Hair Removal Socially Acceptable Today?

Lots of men who are considering hair removal are concerned about their masculinity and whether it's socially acceptable for men to go ahead with hair removal procedures.  

The good news is that hair removal for men is becoming far more socially acceptable in the mainstream media with more and more high profile celebrities admitting to hair removal practices.  

Here are some recent surveys that show how much more common it is for men to take part in hair removal practices:-

Recent Survey: Male Hair Removal by Body Part

According to a study by Skin Health Alliance, whereby 140 respondents answered an online survey, 31.7% of men admitted to using hair removal methods such as waxing, shaving, plucking or depilating in the groin region.  The study also revealed that only 28.8% of the participants didn't do any form of hair removal.

28.8%
Eyebrows
10.1%
Backside
20.1%
Chest
12.9%
Back
41%
Nasal or Ear Hair
28.8%
No Hair Removal

Recent Survey: Male Groin Hair Removal

According to a study by Michael Boroughs in 2009, 59% of males trim their groin hair and 41% completely remove it.

59%

Trim their groin hair

Trim Groin Hair

41%

Remove their groin hair

Remove Groin Hair

It's clear from these statistics that male hair removal is no longer something that only a few people do - it's actually become mainstream for modern day society in the Western world.

"I Have Dark Skin" - Hair Removal Options for Men with Dark Skin

The only form of hair removal that is somewhat dependent on your skin type is laser hair removal.  To determine your skin type classification (and thus your eligibility for laser hair removal), you should use the Fitzpatrick chart below:

The Fitzpatrick Scale for Skin Type

Use the descriptions in the right columns to determine your skin type number in the left column.

Skin Type

Skin Colour

Hair Color (darkest)

Eye Colour

Description

1

White or very pale

Blonde

Blue, grey, green

Always burns, never tans

2

Pale white with beige tint

Chestnut or dark blond

Blue

Always burns, sometimes tans

3

Beige to light brown (olive)

Dark brown

Dark brown

Sometimes burns, always tans

4

Light to moderate brown

Black

Brown

Rarely Burns, always tans

5

Medium to Dark Brown

Black

Brownish black

Rarely burns, tans more than average

6

Dark brown to black

Black

Black

Never burns

The only form of hair removal that depends somewhat on skin colour is laser hair removal.  Most lasers are effective for people up to type 3 on the Fitzpatrick scale above. However, there is a new(ish) laser called the Nd:YAG laser that's been shown to be effective on skin types 4 and 5.

Important: If you have darker skin colour and you are investigating whether it's safe to go ahead with laser hair removal then you must make sure that you do your homework and choose a reputable laser hair removal clinic.

Laser hair removal on dark skinned individuals can cause bad skin burns if the incorrect laser type, strength or rest period between sessions is used.  With a darker skin complexion, you are simply more at risk than white skinned individuals.

Hair Removal for Male Athletes

Many male athletes remove their hair for performance in their various sports.  The most common athletes being swimmers, bodybuilders, cyclists and triathletes.

​Recently, Olympic swimmer Ricky Berens was asked about what he did for hair removal before jumping into the pool:

"Women’s shaving cream. We always just shave. Once or twice a year. No special waxes or anything. We do our own thing. We’ve always heard that the women’s extra-hydrating is best for us, because it makes our skin soft, instead of men’s shaving cream, because that’s for the face."

Ricky Berens - Olympic Swimmer
Vanity Fair Magazine

Given that hair removal only needs to be temporary to last through the competition, most athletes stick to the more basic hair removal methods of shaving, depilatory creams and waxing.

Paul
 

I'm a computer science graduate, have a passion for self development and created this site as a side project due to the lack of complete, understandable, helpful and truthful information about hair removal available online. Over the next few years, I want to develop this site into being the place to visit for hair removal consumer information. Got any questions? Write to us below: