Learning how to manscape is like a lesson in anatomy: Every body part is different, and thus, requires a distinctive type of attention. Melanie Mari, owner and trained manscaper at Bare Skin Studio, is leading today’s class: How to Manscape Your Entire Body 101.
How to Manscape Your Torso
First off, consider your hair type. “The coarser and denser the hair is, the pricklier it’s going to feel when you trim it down with your clippers,” Mari explains. This means that you typically want to leave your chest hairs just long enough to lay down flat against the skin to prevent prickliness—especially if you have particularly thick fur.
Keeping that in mind, another one of Mari’s manscape tips is to blend while trimming your chest hair, which will prevent you from looking patchy. “Trim down the happy trail using a #1 clipper, and trim down the chest and stomach hair using a #2 clipper,” she says. “Or, if you want to look extra clean [and have fine, soft body hair], trim the chest and stomach hair using a #1 clipper.”
If you decide to go completely smooth, dermatologist Anthony Rossi suggests treating manscaping the same way you treat shaving your face: “Manscape in a hot, steamy shower to soften up the hairs. Trim or shave with the grain, never against—if you’re not sure which way to go, pull the razor in the same direction that your hair seems to be pointing. That will prevent creating sharp angles. Moisturize afterwards to condition the hairs and clear up any irritation.”
If you’ve got the kind of body hair that has people mistaking you for Bigfoot, however, Mari recommends avoiding manscaping altogether and waxing instead—otherwise you’ll be prickly as a cactus.
How to Manscape Your Back
The key to manscaping your back, according to Mari, has to do with one of the tougher manscape techniques: Finding someone else willing to do it for you. If you can swing that, have them use a clipper without the guard in a hot, steamy shower to prevent prickliness, and moisturize afterwards to clear up any irritation—just like you would manscaping any other body part.
If you can’t find someone else to help you shave your back, you’re pretty much out of luck.
How to Manscape Your Arms
Manscaping your arms is a lot like manscaping your chest: Your hair type should dictate just how short you trim the hairs. Mari recommends starting with a #2 clipper, then experimenting with your trimmer and the various guard lengths that come with it until you find a length that’s both satisfying and doesn’t feel like sandpaper. “Just be sure to razor off your finger hairs,” Mari says, since these are shockingly noticeable after you’ve trimmed your arm hair.
How to Manscape Your Pubic Hair
First, use electric clippers to trim down the bulk, which will keep long hairs from getting stuck in your razor when you go to wet shave. From there, Mari recommends lathering up with either a shave butter or shave oil, so you can see exactly what you’re doing down there. This is especially important when you’re wet shaving your naughty bits, as they’re particularly prone to nicks and cuts.
The actual act of wet shaving the area above your shaft is fairly straightforward—just be sure to shave with the grain to avoid itchiness and ingrown hair. “If you’re one of those guys with hair growing on his shaft […] it might be easier to shave that area with a boner,” Mari laughs. That way, the skin will be taut—as opposed to soft and shriveled—which makes for a safer shave.
How to Manscape Your Balls
“Don’t use electric clippers directly on your balls because you’ll catch the skin,” Mari warns. “If your ball hair is really long, just float the clippers over the skin to remove some length.” Once you’ve done that, hop into a hot shower. This is especially beneficial while shaving your balls for two reasons: 1) The warm water will soften the particularly coarse pubic hairs, and 2) “It’s easier to shave your balls when they’re loose-y goose-y [which they will be in a warm shower] because the razor can’t get to the hairs stuck in the nooks and crannies when they’re shriveled up,” says Mari. For that same reason, it’s important to stretch your ball skin while shaving it.
Once your balls are completely shaven, Mari recommends using a post-shave balm, since the skin below the belt is extra sensitive and prone to irritation.
How to Manscape Your Butt
Mari says the simplest way to manscape your butt is by using a pair of electric clippers, starting with a #2 guard and working your way down each cheek. That way, you won’t risk cutting yourself while trimming blind, so to speak, but you will end up with a relatively hairless butt. Don’t follow it up with a close shave, though: Using a razor on your butt cheeks will cause a ton of unwanted prickliness when the hair regrows and rubs against your underwear.
Shaving with a razor is especially dangerous when you reach the space between your cheeks. “Running a razor down the middle of your butt crack isn’t the brightest idea,” Mari explains. “It can cause major itchiness when the hairs begins to grow back.”
So what’s the real key to a completely smooth behind? According to Mari, “Waxing is definitely the best method for taming a hairy butt, because you have someone else working on you [rather than attempting to maneuver a razor over your cheeks while looking over your shoulder in the mirror], and it’s going to be smoother, cleaner and longer-lasting.” All of which are vital, considering just how much friction runs on (and between) your cheeks day in and day out.
How to Manscape Your Legs
For those with especially furry legs and thighs, Mari suggests, “trimming from the knee up using a #1 clipper, and from the knee down using a #2 clipper.” This is especially helpful after wet shaving your pubes, as it will lessen the transition from your completely bald nether region to your extra hairy thighs. If you’re into super smooth thighs, Mari says you also have the option of completely shaving any area that’s usually covered by boxers or briefs with a razor.
Now that you know how to manscape every single body part, get your smooth self out into the world and feel the breeze run through your…wait, no, over your now-hairless skin. Or, you know, you could unite the world through manscaping by teaching other people how to manscape themselves. That’s your call.