The world is full of hairy-backed men, whether they like it or not. It’s totally normal–you can thank testosterone for that. However, a whopping 25% of men say that their back hair is what they dislike most about their body. Some have even avoided activities like swimming or going to the gym out of disdain for their hairy back.
First of all, I hope we aren’t the first to tell you that your back hair is totally normal. That said, if your back hair makes you feel self-conscious, you’re not alone in that, either.
If you want to get rid of your back hair - whether that’s because it’s kind of patchy, grows in like a bearskin rug, or you straight up just don’t like it, you have options. DIY "manscaping," or cosmetic hair removal of unwanted hair on a man's body, is now common among hairy-backed men.
However, trying to get rid of unwanted back hair can be tricky business, especially if you have sensitive skin. The thought of trying to shave your own back with a shaver is intimidating and, unless you’re incredibly flexible, there are probably spots that you won’t be able to reach.
If you’re committed to back hair removal, here are two ways that you can go about it.
Keep It Simple - Shave It
By far the simplest and cheapest way to ditch your back hair is to shave it. There are a few ways you can go about this.
If you grab a willing partner, you can use the standard shaving cream and razor that you already have at home and just ask someone to help you shave. The thought of asking someone to help you out with this can be kind of intimidating and can feel like a weird request, so we recommend asking your girlfriend or a close friend to help you out.
If your back hair is pretty dense then you’ll probably want to trim it down with clippers first and then follow up with the razor for a clean shave. Just remember not to shave your face with the same razor that you used on your back when you’re done - the oils from your back could cause your face to break out (in the same way that touching your face does). Lastly, apply an aftershave balm or moisturizing lotion to rehydrate the skin and soften the hair follicles. This helps avoid skin irritation.
If you’d rather go this one alone, there are products on the market that will allow you to shave your back hair on your own. Some products - like this highly rated trimmer, for example - are essentially just a razor with a long handle that helps you to reach all of the parts of your back. These products are designed to be safe to use, but if the thought of literally wielding a razor behind your back freaks you out a little, use an electric trimmer instead.
If you’re just shaving your back hair to see how you like it, then you might prefer to ask someone to help you out so that you don’t have to buy a new product. However, if you think you’ll be doing this for the foreseeable future, then one of these products might be money well spent.
Wax On, Hair Off
Shaving your back hair does come with two major downsides: your hair will start growing back right away, which means maintaining that hairless look will require a lot of maintenance.
If constantly shaving your back sounds like a lot of work, you might want to opt for something a little more lasting. Waxing, when done properly, can keep your back hair-free for upwards of a month and prevent regrowth, and many hairy-backed men have turned to waxing as a longer-term solution.
You have two options when it comes to waxing:
- Purchase an at-home wax kit and handle your hair in the comfort of your own home
- Go to a salon that specializes in men's grooming and leave it to the professionals
If you want to try waxing at home before committing to the salon life, you’ll need an assist from someone else. The process itself is pretty simple: heat the wax in the microwave, have your lovely assistant spread the wax in a thin layer for one strip of cloth and then press the cloth into the warm wax.
After a few seconds, they’ll rip the strip of cloth in the opposite direction of your hair growth. (And when we say rip, we mean rip - you want to make sure you get the hair all the way at its root.) Then repeat until you’ve conquered all of your unwanted back hair.
This can be a daunting task. Waxing is... not comfortable. In fact, it’s probably going to hurt like holy hell. Your skin will adjust a little over time, or you’ll just get used to the sensation, to the extent that one can get used to the feeling of systematically ripping out large swaths of hair all the way from the roots.
Don’t be surprised if you inadvertently start grunting or spewing profanities a la that famous scene in The 40-Year-Old Virgin with Steve Carrell.
It’s more expensive to go to a salon to get your back hair waxed but there’s nothing wrong with shelling out the extra cash for a professional’s touch. Men’s salons are popping up all over the place as male grooming becomes more mainstream, but generally, any salon can handle this for you.
Waxing at a salon comes with distinct advantages over at-home wax kits:
- A licensed salon professional knows how to minimize the potential of ingrown hairs or redness and irritation after the wax.
- Some salons even include a post-wax massage with calming oils meant to help calm your skin.
- Your wax job will last longer if the hair is properly pulled out and not just broken off at the skin.
If you do decide to wax, keep in mind that you’ll be stripping the top layer of your skin in addition to all of your unwanted body hair. The skin left behind will be extra sensitive so you’ll want to avoid baking in the sun, saunas, or super hot showers for a few days while your skin recovers.
If you’re fully committed to saying goodbye to your back hair, for whatever reason, there are several ways you can ditch that unwanted fur. Shaving is less painful and more cost-effective, even if you purchase specific products to help you trim the forest solo, but will require more consistent maintenance.
Waxing is a bit of an emotional commitment, but it will give you weeks of living that hair-free life before you need to do it again. Whatever you decide comes down to your comfort level and what makes the most sense for your routine.