Male grooming from the neck down has become popular. It is important though you perform the right level of maintenance in the right areas or you’ll be doing yourself more harm than good. How a male should maintain his body hair varies from body part-to-body part and from person-to-person. Below is the ultimate guide on some of those areas.
Important Note: No matter what parts of your body you end up grooming it is always important you keep your body clean and moisturized so if you don’t already have them, be sure to pick up one of the best body washes or bars of soap for your skin type as well as one of the top body lotions for men.
The armpits are one of many body parts the man considers shaving. As you will see later within this article, there are multiple body parts that a man should consider shaving but the armpits is not one of them. It is unanimous among women that a clean shaven armpit is not attractive on a man. So should guys shave their armpits? I would say no. We should simply leave this form of maintenance to the women. Please do not get this advice on shaving one’s armpit confused with advice on trimming one’s armpit hair. It is completely okay and actually encouraged to trim one’s armpit hair. It is actually a necessity for somebody with excessive armpit hair. You know if you have excessive armpit hair if you can see your hair without even having to raise your arm. You can trim your armpit hair with either traditional hand clippers or an electric trimmer. If you’re going to use an electric trimmer, I would not use a comb attachment shorter then 3/4” as this will keep the hair at bay but also keep it looking reasonably natural. You do not want to have your armpits looking purposefully manicured. Check out our article on the best body hair trimmers so you don’t waste your money on a faulty product.
Additional Note: An additional pro of trimmed armpits is it will actually cause you to sweat less and thus smell better over the course of the day/night.
Conclusion: Never shave but trim may be necessary
On the same lines as armpit hair, it is unanimous amongst women that a shaved arm, especially a forearm, is not attractive and can even be considered weird. Additionally, if you shave your arm hair, you have to maintain it to keep it clean and smooth as no one wants to grab a man’s arm and be pricked by little stubby hairs. But again, just as with armpit hair, if you have excessive dark thick hair, you should take action. Besides a few women with some obscure primate fetish, most women do not like gorilla arms. In terms of maintenance, I would suggest trimming the hair with an electric trimmer as this is far more efficient and effective than using hand clippers. Determining the correct length is a personal preference and you’ll have to find what works best for you through experimentation but the key is to thin out the hair to a reasonable appearance but have it long enough to keep it looking natural and softer to the touch ( i.e. not stubby and prickly). Personally I have found a half-inch length was sufficient for my purposes. Let me know what works for you.
Conclusion: Never shave but trim may be necessary
Recommended Shaver: Bodygroom 7100 on Amazon
The topic of chest/belly hair maintenance is one of the most dubious areas in which the answer is not so black and white. There is a lot of gray area in terms of how to go about maintaining your chest hair. Based on my research online and in the field, women have a wide spectrum in terms of what they prefer. Some women definitely like a little bit of chest hair and for most women, a little bit of chest hair is definitely no serious dealbreaker. So if you are in this category and you don’t want to commit to the maintenance required to keep a clean shaven chest I’d recommend you keep it all natural. A small population of women like the grizzly bear look with a thick forest of chest hair but unless you have a significant other who has explicitly expressed her liking of such copious amounts of chest hair I would recommend you considering shaving or at least trimming your hair.
I found that most women do not mind a clean shaven chest and actually many prefer such so if you want to play it safe or you you’ve ever become self-conscious about your chest/belly hair, I would recommend going with the clean-shaven look. A pro of the clean-shaven look is that it exemplifies one’s muscular definition so if you hit the gym and got muscles, having a shaved chest will assure every gain is recognized. If you’ve got those washboard abs you worked so hard for, you should definitely shave your belly to show them off. I have used a lot of methods, but I am definitely a big fan of depilatories. Check out my article on the best hair removal for men for all the best options available. The con of the shaved look is the maintenance required to maintain such. The amount of time between shavings very from person-to-person but it is essential to keep it clean and smooth as a chest like a cactus is not something any woman will want to hold close. If you are considering getting rid of that chest hair be sure to first check out The Basics of Chest Hair Removal for a complete guide on the best methods and more.
Conclusion: Preferably Shave but at Least Trim
Now the question of whether to shave one’s back/shoulders is much more straightforward than chest hair. It is unanimous among women that a clean hairless back and shoulders is highly preferred. For some women, excessive hair on these parts of a man’s body can be a dealbreaker. For every body part that I have discussed above in which it is recommended you take some form of action if you have excessive dark thick hair whether that be trimming or shaving, maintenance of these body parts pale in comparison to the importance of maintenance of back and shoulder hair. Unfortunately, the removal of back hair is not an easy feat but it is well worth it, especially during the summer months when your back may be exposed at the beach or pool. Like with chest hair, there are many viable options to remove the hair including a razor ( by yourself or a helping hand), waxing, dipilatory ( e.g. Nair or Bikini Bare), or laser treatment.
If you’re considering removing your back or shoulder hair I recommend you check out my article on how to shave your back for detailed instructions as well as the pros and cons of each of the hair removal methods. The only gray area on this topic is if you have very minimal back and shoulder hair. This is a tough judgment call in terms of whether it is worth it to spend the time and/or money to maintain a completely hairless appearance. If you are self-conscious at all about your back hair there is no question that you should take action, but if it doesn’t bug you and you have had no complaints in the past, I wouldn’t go through the trouble as such minimal back hair is no dealbreaker.
Conclusion: Definitely shave
Recommended product: MANGROOMER Ultimate Pro Back Shaver on Amazon
As you can see, the decision on how to groom one’s hair greatly varies from body part to body part and person-to-person, but a consistent message throughout all the body parts is that if you have excessive hair, you need to maintain it by either trimming or shaving. Be sure to check out my series of manscaping articles as well as Should guys shave their legs and best body hair trimmers for more below the neck male grooming advice. If your doing a full inventory of body hair maintenance, be sure not to forget you nose and ear hairs! I have tested many products and determined which are the 3 best nose hair trimmers on the market today. We are also experts in face shaving as well, so be sure to check out our How To articles and reviews of the necessary products including the top safety razors, best shaving soaps, and more. As always I truly appreciate any comments and insights you may have as well happy to answer any follow up questions, so please submit such in the comment box below.
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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.