A Guide to Manscaping
The holidays are over, and it’s back to the world of 9-5. For many lads out there, the self-care which the festive season was known for is also a thing of the past. For you, however, it need not be that way. That prehistoric caveman looking chest, back, and legs you’ve been scaring the ladies with, are just a few of the things that need not make it beyond this new year. And if you plan to get that ‘cookie’ later on, only a perfectly groomed body will seal the deal. As tempting as it can be, walking around like a bush just won’t cut it anywhere; not at work, and certainly not when seeking romance. Luckily, with this easy guide to manscaping, you can handle your grooming business like a boss.
Timing is Everything
For everything under the sun, there is an appointed time. A time to laugh, a time to play and even a time to manscape. Manscaping is a delicate art requiring some level of finesse. To get it right and not hurt yourself while at it, you need time. That rules out the hurried scraping of a razor across your chin just before dashing out the door to get to work. That kind of scenario has the making of multiple shaving cuts just waiting to happen. To make manscaping a breeze, either wake up a little earlier or stay up late to soak your entire body in the shower. A warm shower that is. Relaxing as those showers are, the steam, moisture and soap give the added benefit of softening your skin and hair ahead of a shave, making hair removal easier.
Shower time shaving is especially good for clean and close shaves without irritating the skin. You could even get in some quality time with your lady during shower times while she helps out with the hard to reach areas that need manscaping. What a fun and sexy way to get rid of that hairy, Fred Flintstones looking back? Better still, since a feminine touch is involved, you can be guaranteed stubble free back. If you would rather spare the lovely miss the trauma of reliving that bushy view and are willing to shell out a little cash, you can even go in for a full waxing experience. There is no hair removal method that beats that. Your ‘boys’ down below might not have the stamina for all that waxing heat, so you can exempt them and stick to your trusty safety razor for that.
Every good grooming journey starts with adequate preparation and manscaping and ‘down there’ is no exception. Your package area should always be the first stop on your manscaping journey; doing it right could literally resuscitate your sex life, having ‘Junior’ down there forever in your debt. Much as you might see ‘Junior’ as invincible, the truth is, the little or not so little guy requires some careful handling. So don’t go hacking away at the shrubs, slow down to prepare your man parts for what is coming before you hack off the important stuff in your enthusiasm.
Exfoliation is first vital when prepping your skin ahead of shaving; knowing how painful and ugly-looking ingrown hairs can be, exfoliator can spare you from that, so try not to skip that part. Wash off with warm water to open up your pores. When your skin is nice and soft, use a safety razor which can easily glide over it giving a smooth and clean shave without your skin catching on it.
Want to minimize the likelihood of injury while preparing your skin for a good shave? Simply slather on some hair removal cream and watch the hair just fall off. If your skin is prone to irritation, you might want to save the hair removal cream for your manscaping forays onto your back and legs, well away from your nether regions. For your face, the use of shaving soap or a shaving cream is best for softening the beard ahead of a shave. The thick lather you have worked up from the bar of shaving soap will make getting a close shave a piece of cake. Finish off with some body lotion over your freshly shaved face to stave off any post manscaping itching and irritation.
Different Strokes, Different Parts
The saying goes, “the manner in which you go after a fly is not the same way you go after a bee”. Well, this old saying is equally applicable to manscaping too. Your armpits, legs and back require a different kind of handling from your face and pubes. Much as you need your various bushes neatly trimmed, so you don’t stink up the neighborhood or have small animals taking up shelter there, you also don’t want to overdo a shave; you wouldn’t want wifey feeling like she is in bed with a newborn.
If you are on the hairy side with eyebrows so thick it is almost a ‘unibrow’, this will require some professional handling. Head to the neighborhood salon and have them shaped; subtle shaping only though. Or you will have to turn in your man card and join the throng of Kim K’s doppelgangers.
You might also want to keep a little stubble on your armpits and pubes as you need to look manly unless of course, you are an exotic dancer, which in that case, all hair has got to go. Back hair is a total no-no. There is yet to be a woman who has owned up to loving the primordial beast look. What woman does not appreciate the feel of smooth skin against her soft palm? She even gets the opportunity to appreciate what you are packing in all its glory without any bushy distractions, so take notes. Shave them all off, no stubble needed here and spread on some body lotion once you’re done.
Seeing as the back can be quite hard to reach all by yourself, you might have to enlist some help. Now don’t go baring that mini jungle to that new catch who is only just warming up to you. Poor thing might be traumatized for life. A time like this is what old friends are for. Or you can just spare everyone the horror and book yourself a salon appointment. Let the pros deal with it.
Be Selfish With Tools
If there are times when caring means sharing, manscaping time is definitely not one of them. That selfishness is for a good cause though. The razor used on your crotch has no business on your face. The crotch area is a melting pot for all kinds of fungi, such as ringworms, which you don’t want getting on your face or armpits.
Side note: Facial ringworm is extremely gross, a real attraction killer. To avoid any confusion on which tools went where your best bet is to pick up a shaving kit. A suitable shaving kit should include some shaving soap that can be whipped up into a thick lather to moisturize your skin and soften hairs, making the straight razor’s job much easier. Allow some time after spreading on the lather to enable it to work its magic.
A shaving brush for applying the lather to your face or any other bushy part is also needed along with a safety razor; which is a must for any standard shaving kit. A safety razor is a far better option than any other tool as it gives the closest and cleanest shave known to man. Better still, the protective device placed at the edge of the blade significantly reduces the likelihood of any nicks and cuts while manscaping.
Another great tip is to add some body lotion in the kit, which is perfect for post-shaving as a way to soothe irritated skin. Take the extra precaution when it comes to sanitation, by wiping down all your manscaping tools to prevent infections from occurring. This also includes rubbing some alcohol on your hands and package. It goes without saying; sharing shaving tools with others tops the list of things not to do. And yes that includes your wife of over three decades ago. Infection is no respecter of family ties. Keep your tools separate, and you won’t be a contributor to the neighborhood hospital’s profit margin.
Go to the Right Direction
Just as a skilled sailor knows when to expand and when to fold up the sails on his boat to take him in the right direction, so does a skilled ‘manscaper’ wannabe. You need to know the right direction in which to guide that razor. This means that to get a clean and close shave, glide your safety razor in the direction of hair growth. Going in the opposite direction would give you a much closer shave but could also make you more susceptible to razor bumps or ingrown hairs. So care is required in that sense.
Extra care is also required when manscaping areas with looser skin such as around your balls. Below the belt, on or around the crotch is not an area you want to get sliced open. You barging into the emergency room, bawling your eyes out, bloodied cloth pressed against your nuts with pretty nurses ogling your formerly private, now public parts, is a horrific scenario better imagined than lived.
It is easier than you think to have a razor catch on loose skin. Avoid this and save your future unborn generations by hanging on to those balls and pulling the skin tight before introducing that razor. Remember to glide the razor in the direction of hair growth. There are a whole lot of folds and crevices around your package; so make sure all your manscaping activities happen during the day or at least in a brightly lit bathroom with both a mirror and a sharp, clean safety razor.
Treat Those Cuts
Seeing as ‘downtown’ is home to a lot of nooks and crannies known to host massive amounts of bacteria (especially as that area is usually warm and moist), not getting a lot of air, on or around your shaft and balls are not areas you want to get nicked. It would have been great if shaving cuts were entirely avoidable but unfortunately, that is not the case. Harmful bacteria can very easily get in these cuts hence the need to keep your tools for each region separated to avoid spreading infection and always sterilize with rubbing alcohol before and after use.
When manscaping, especially down below, even seemingly minor cuts and nicks can very easily get infected and expose you to contracting abscesses, cellulitis, and even gangrene. A particular kind of gangrene called Fournier’s Gangrene typically goes after the balls and shaft and is caused by bacteria that kill the tissue in affected areas.
Now don’t go getting scared about getting hurt and decide to keep an untamed Amazon forest in your pants. Harmful bacteria only gets into untreated cuts and nicks; so if despite your best efforts, you still managed to get nicked, don’t give in to panic. Keep calm and thoroughly clean up the cut with soap and warm water.
When treating cuts, you can also use some alcohol for good measure. As scrotum skin is a lot thinner than that on other parts of the body, it is going to hurt more and is also more likely to cut. Hold a piece of tissue over the cut and apply some pressure on it for between 10 – 15 minutes to encourage blood clotting and subsequently stop the bleeding.
Moisturize! Moisturize! Moisturize!
Post manscape can be a super itchy experience. You can bypass all that itching and scratch with some good ole’ body lotion though. There is just something about shaving that causes dryness and skin irritation in some cases. Body lotions have been known to reduce skin irritation following shaving, so make sure to spread some all over the shaved areas generously. As freshly shaved skin is quite sensitive, stick to the unscented and unperfumed types of body lotions. Those that contain aloe vera or camphor can be quite soothing post shave.
If you are into the use of natural ingredients, you can also slather on some shea butter, olive or coconut oil as a means of relieving irritation, preventing razor bumps and ingrown hairs. When manscaping, moisturizing your skin is vital both before and after a shave. Applying coconut oil to your skin and allowing hairs to absorb and soften it will make your manscaping journey a walk in the park.
Make sure to avoid any water-based moisturizers as the water-free ones help your shave last much longer and leaves the shaved areas feeling very smooth to the touch. Your woman will hardly be able to keep her hands to herself with all that smoothness in all the right places you’ve got going on.
Treat That Rash
Rashes, bumps, ingrown hairs and basically any kind of skin irritation are all hazards of the manscaping terrain that sometimes befall even the best of manscapers, despite all precautions taken. Each of these situations needs various remedies to treat them that are different from those used on shaving cuts. For rashes, you will need to be strong and resist the urge to scratch for all its worth. Trust us on this one, giving in to the itch will only make things worse, leaving you with angry, reddish skin. You could even end up breaking open the skin making you vulnerable to all kinds of infections.
Spreading a hydrocortisone cream over the affected areas will give relief and reduce the urge to itch. For bumps, the use of natural oils really helps reduce the skin irritation. Shea butter, olive oil, and even baking soda are kryptonite for bumps. Bumps though can be a lot more unsightly than rashes. This is where growing out your hair a bit can really come in handy.
Longer hair is an excellent way to obscure the sight of bumps. More so as bumps often develop on the back of the head, growing out your hair can really spare folks seating behind you retching at the sight of your head. As skin types differ with different ethnicities, some kinds of skin are more prone to the appearance of bumps than others. If it has been your experience to somehow always manage to end up with bumps despite your best efforts, then you might have to consider reducing the frequency of your manscaping activities. Show your poor skin some mercy and shave only when absolutely necessary and use only clean and sharp razors. Dull safety razors heighten your risk of breakouts.
So you see, manscaping is only as hard as you make it out to be. With a few of these tips put to good use, you will be ready for a night on the town with no fear of anyone recoiling in horror should your shirt just happen to go off in a frenzy of excitement. And always remember that practice makes perfect, so don’t expect to be a monster manscaper overnight. A step by step process is all it takes.