All You Need to Know About Chest Hair Removal
It wasn’t so long ago when the idea of a man shaving his chest was incredibly taboo, or at least limited to swimmers, bodybuilders and other athletes. However, as Bob Dylan once crooned, “the times they are a-changing.” Nowadays, you’ll find plenty of men who prefer the look of a freshly shaven chest and belly, as well as an equal number of women who prefer this look as well.
Nonetheless, you can probably still find a larger number of men (and women) who are not so wild about taking male grooming to such a degree. That being said, we’re not here to pass judgement or to tell you what you should and shouldn’t do with your body hair (or do we?). After all, it’s your body and you’re the one who needs to be happy with it. So, if you’ve decided you want to try shaving your chest hair, the least we can do is provide you with some tips to ensure your chest hair removal is as successful and painless as possible.
Shaving Chest Hair: To Remove or Not to Remove
Before we get into the ins and outs of chest hair removal, its first necessary to go a bit further into the question of whether or not men should actually shave their chest in the first place. Again, this is really a matter of personal preference, but it’s still important to be aware of the fact that not all men look good with a shaved chest.
While we can definitely advocate shaving your back, the choice of waxing or shaving your chest hair is a decision that needs some serious deliberation. If you happen to be in excellent shape and want to show off your strong pecs and six pack abs I would definitely recommend getting rid of all that hair that’s hiding your GAINZ. On the other hand, if you happen to have a bit of extra flab or fat on your chest and belly, you should be aware of the fact that a bit of chest hair goes a long way towards hiding these issues.
However, no matter what shape or size of body you’ve got, you’re probably also aware that very few women enjoy a man who looks like he’s got a carpet sprouting from his chest. So, while we wouldn’t necessarily recommend that all men start shaving their chest hair, we would recommend that you at least give it a bit of a trim if you happen to have excessive hair on your midsection.
How to Remove Chest Hair: Smooth or Trimmed?
If you’ve decided you want to remove your chest hair, the first thing to consider is whether you want to shave it all off or simply give it a bit of a trim. As we’ve already stated, having a fully shaved, smooth chest should really be left for those men who have a strong, masculine shape, as otherwise shaving may end up accentuating your flab, or worse yet, making you look like you’ve got man boobs.
For this reason, we’d probably recommend that most men either learn to live with their chest hair or focus on giving it a basic trim instead of a full shave. The easiest and most effective way to trim your excess chest hair is to use a body hair trimmer with a short guard and simply go over the entire chest and belly until it’s at a length you like.
There are a lot of products out there. We have tested/researched virtually all of them and developed this list of the best body hair trimmers. However, there is now a growing group of men who have turned to electrolysis to help them remove some of their excess chest hair in a more permanent way. This method works well for thinning out chest and stomach hair, as it uses small electrical impulses to target individual hairs, damaging the follicle so that the hair cannot grow back. While it may be a bit expensive, the fact that it can be used on individual hairs makes it a great way to remove excess hair while not resulting in a fully smooth chest (unlike laser hair removal, which targets all of the hairs in a specific area).
- Get the best body trimmer here on Amazon: Norelco Multigroom All-in-One Grooming Kit
How to Remove Chest Hair: Shaving vs Waxing
For many men, the word waxing immediately conjures up ideas of extreme pain. However, the truth of the matter is that most men who choose to fully remove their chest hair usually end up learning that waxing is preferable to shaving. While waxing does involve a bit of pain, it’s usually not nearly as painful as you’d imagine. Not only that, but the pain of waxing only lasts a few seconds, whereas with shaving you’ll be forced to deal with uncomfortable itching for much longer.
Another reason why waxing is usually preferable to shaving is how long it lasts. When you get your chest waxed, the entire hair will be ripped out down to the root, whereas shaving only slices it off at skin level. This means that a good wax job may last for several weeks before the hair starts to regrow, while you’ll need to continually shave your chest several times a week to keep it hair free. That being said, there are probably more men who shave their chests than there are who wax, so it’s really a matter of personal preference and what sort of pain or irritation you’re willing to put up with. Of course, there’s also the cost to consider, as there’s no doubt that shaving is much cheaper than waxing, no matter whether you go to a salon or do it at home on your own (which is obviously cheaper, but often more painful).
Another very viable option is to use depilatories. I am a big fan of using these myself. They have a bit of an awkward stench to them but you simply apply the product before or during your shower so any smell from the depilatory will be washed away. Another great advantage to using depilatories is that it is practically painless! Depilatories are not for everyone though. Some people skin just doesn’t react well to them and can leave a rash. When you first try it out, be sure to test it out on a small section of your chest to see if your skin reacts negatively.
I have tested a lot of different depilatories, waxing kit, sugaring kits, and epilators to find out which ones work. Check out the Best Hair Removal article for the best ones on the market today.
- Epilator I use: Nair Men Body Cream Hair Remover
How to Remove Chest Hair: A Step By Step Guide to Shaving Your Chest
We’re not here to judge your personal choices, so if you’ve decided you want to try shaving your chest or stomach hair, the least we can do is give you some advice to help ensure the best possible results.
- Step #1: Trim it Up. The very first step when planning on shaving your chest or belly hair is to trim all of the hair short with a body hair trimmer (e.g. Norelco Multigroom All-in-One Grooming Kit). Just as you wouldn’t try to shave off a beard without first trimming it up, you should never try to shave your chest without doing the same. Otherwise, if you don’t trim the hairs first, you’ll end up spending much more time trying to shave it off, which will most likely result in much more pain and irritation.
- Step #2: Shower Before Shaving. Once you’ve got the hair trimmed as short as possible, the next step is to take a quick shower before shaving, as the hot water will help soften up your chest hairs and open up your pores—all of which will result in a closer, less painful shave.
- Step #3: Lather It On. When shaving your chest or stomach, it’s important to use a high quality shaving cream or gel, as this will help lubricate your skin and allow the razor blade to glide gently over your chest. If you’re concerned about cutting yourself, you may want to use a clear shave gel, as this will allow you to see exactly what it is you’re doing.
- Step #4: Shave it Off. Now that you’ve got your chest prepared, you’re finally ready to begin shaving. When it comes to the actual shaving, the first thing to remember is always use a fresh, sharp razor (safety razor or cartridge/disposable razor), as this will help give you a closer shave and minimize the amount of irritation you experience afterwards. Another tip is to pull your skin taut when shaving, as this will help keep you from nicking or cutting yourself as you go over the various contours. You’ll want to make sure you’re continually washing off your razor during the shave as it will help prevent hair from sticking in the blade and thus requiring you to take more strokes. Speaking of strokes, always make sure to shave your chest with short even strokes and don’t worry about the direction. While many men believe you should never shave against the grain, this really isn’t an issue when shaving chest hair, as most men’s chest hair grows in many different angles, meaning that there’s really no such thing as going with or against the grain when it comes to chest hair. Finally, take extreme care when shaving around your nipples, as they are both extremely sensitive and extremely prone to cuts.
- Step #5: Rinse and Dry. Once you’re satisfied with your freshly shaved chest, all that’s left is to rinse and dry it off. When rinsing, always make sure to use fairly cold water, as this will help to tighten the skin and close the pores—which will help to prevent further irritation. On the same token, you should never rub your skin dry after shaving, as this will increase irritation. Instead use a clean towel and simply pat the skin until it’s fully dry. You may also want to consider using a quality aftershave balm afterwards, as this will both feel amazing and help to prevent future irritation and ingrown chest hairs.
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Ben Rose is the founder and senior editor at Prim&Prep, the definitive guide to male grooming. He is a wet shaving expert, body grooming aficionado, and skincare guru. His work has been featured on many other prominent men’s publications including AskMen, Men’s Health, and GQ.