Ear hair is an unsightly fact of life for many men—74 percent of them, according to a 1984 report in the New England Journal of Medicine. While you can’t fit your razor in there, you do still have multiple options for removing it. But out of trimming, plucking and waxing, which one’s the best? Melanie Mari, owner and trained manscaper at Bare Skin Studio, says it all depends on the ear and its owner:
Investing in an electric razor with an attachment specifically made for trimming in and around the ear is arguably the easiest (and least painful) way to remove ear hair. If you go down this route, Mari recommends simply running the trimmer along the edges of the ear and gently whacking any hairs protruding from the ear canal—it’s important that you don’t go poking around too deep to avoid injuring your eardrum.
There is a downside to trimming ear hair, however: You need to do it thoroughly and often. Because trimming doesn’t get to the root of the hair the way plucking or waxing does, any hairs that you mow down will likely pop back up after just a few days.
“While plucking lasts longer [plucked hair typically takes at least two weeks to grow back], it’s painful, it’s time consuming and it’s pretty difficult to do at home because you can’t see into your own ear,” Mari explains. Worse yet, plucking can potentially open up the hair follicle to infectious bacteria, although admittedly that’s uncommon: “I’ve never seen any kind of infection following plucking of ear hair, both professionally and personally,” says Mari.
If you want to give this painstaking method a go, Mari recommends proceeding with caution. “Clean the gunk out of your ear before plucking to reduce the risk of infection,” she advises. “Use a dull tweezer to only pluck the thicker hairs and do not go fishing around deep into the ear canal.” Remember, being able to hear is more worthwhile than having silky-smooth ears.
Putting hot wax in your ear hole might not sound too appealing, but it has its benefits. “Waxing gets rid of all the hair—including the peach fuzz that lines the outside of the ear—in one shot,” Mari explains. Waxing is the longest-lasting of these ear hair removal methods, too, preventing hair from sprouting for six whole weeks. Mari does, however, suggest going to a salon if you go this route, rather than using a homer ear waxing kit, since the drizzling of hot wax into the ear hole is generally best left to someone who can actually see where it’s going.