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Manscaping: To Groom Or Not to Groom
Written by Anthony Crosfield   

Nowadays, men need to pay attention to grooming, too.

photo of man's face with shaving cream on itWomen are accustomed to performing a certain level of “maintenance.” It is a significant part of one of the biggest and most profitable industries in the world. In recent years, men have slowly slipped into the regimen – some kicking and screaming more than others.

Never before in history has there been such an emphasis on youth, and this has created a culture obsessed with hairlessness. We are not talking only about the face any longer; the grooming of body hair has become the new trend. Enter the concept of “manscaping.” The Urban Dictionary (if there was one) would define manscaping as follows: “To groom a man by shaving, waxing, plucking, or otherwise cleaning up superfluous hair.”

Grooming the Bear

We’re going to focus on the straight man for the purposes of this article because, let’s face it, the gay community embraced manscaping long ago, truly understanding the value of grooming. Let’s suppose your boyfriend or husband (or you, Mr. Reader, if you are indeed a mister) was clean shaven, young and smooth when you met. Fast forward a few productive years and you start to notice hair showing up in places it never used to be. This can be a touchy subject, as there are men who exhibit “Fur Pride.” Similar to a Sampson complex, Fur Pride occurs when a natural furriness is considered to be hyper-masculine and tied to virility. Approach the subject with caution, gently and in a non-threatening environment, as you would any bear. Do not text a request for hair removal.

In general, grown men should have some body hair. The trend of over-grooming chests, backs and especially eyebrows has reached ridiculous heights. Straight men in particular need to leave their eyebrows alone, though a little help in the middle is okay when required. But please: If you do not know when to stop, do NOT start! Step away from your grooming equipment. Enlist a pro to help. Straight men get carried away and inadvertently create eyebrows that are too shaped and too far apart; seriously, you could drag a disposable razor between ‘em (oh… you probably did). Do you really play hockey with those eyebrows? How does that go over in the locker room?

There is nothing wrong with a little trim here and a pluck there, but guys, pay attention here: get a clipper set. Ensure it has a selection of guards: a VERY IMPORTANT safety feature! If you’re freaked out, enlist some help. (Your significant other might just get a kick out of it!) Always start with the longest guard on the clippers – it can be alarming enough to see all of yourself again; just imagine her shock!

Deal Breakers!

photo of razorAfter 27 years of listening to women as a hairdresser, I am qualified to let you in on the specific hairy “dealbreakers” for women. Men, if you have an excess of any of the following, deal with it now.

  1. Nose hair
  2. Ear hair
  3. Neck beard
  4. Hairy back
  5. Bellybutton lint

Servicing the Man

There are countless spas and boutiques that cater to every whim of hair removal for men. The trend is becoming more mainstream and many hair salons are offering these services to their male clientele.  Consider the volume of media – both print and television – that caters specifically to hair removal and a new ideal of beauty for men. If you don’t believe me, try a quick internet search on the topic of manscaping, and see the volume of products, services and businesses that cater to the grooming of men.

Ladies, if you want to send your man to the spa, you’ll have to do your homework. Find one that’s comfortable for him and that he’ll be willing to go to. Gents, if you’re looking for a place on your own, find a place that feels right for you. Most important is to find a salon with staff that are properly accredited. Do your research. Currently, this industry is not regulated in BC.  Unfortunately, it is buyer beware, and the risks, complications and infections that come with poorly operated businesses can be nasty and health threatening. That said, most businesses are well run and hygienic.

Now, once you arrive at the salon, what are you going to have done? Let’s have a look at some of the best manscaping options available today.

  • Electrolysis: One of the best and my current fave. Great for beard lines and hairlines at the neck. Can be a bit pricey and stings a little, but it works and is permanent.
  • Laser hair removal: Also pricey and stings a bit more than electrolysis. Both of these processes work best on dark hair, so get that nose hair zapped now before it turns grey like your “nose full of hair” grandpa.
  • Trimming: Men typically prefer to trim themselves, but if you have a trusting, daring side, assistance can be fun. After all, there are places you can’t reach that you might want to tidy up! As a hairstylist, I have had to ask more than once as I trim up the nape of the neck, “Should I stop at your chain or the neck of your T- shirt?”

Let the youth have their soft skin moment; as adults, we need to keep things “tidy” without going overboard. Good luck, and remember: “Easy on the Tweezy.”

Anthony Crosfield -

Anthony Crosfield is a co-owner of Union Salon on Granville Street in Vancouver. Winner of Slice TV’s Superstar Hair Challenge in season two, he beat out 11 of the best stylists in Canada to win the title in a challenging eight-week competition. Fresh from his win, Anthony recently returned from New York where as a Global Visionary for Wella International he dazzled editors from Cosmopolitan, Elle, Flare, In Style, O and Marie Claire with his talent and personality. For over 20 years, Anthony has been an admired and soughtafter Canadian stylist who is continuously involved in hair education.