Body hair on guys is a complicated thing. Back in the Burt Reynolds era, a chest full of hair was the epitome of masculinity. But for the past decade or so, perfectly waxed models and movie stars have flipped that idea on its head.
We're not saying that it's a must, or that you've got to go completely hairless. But if you've got some especially intense body hair, doing a little bit of work goes a long way in making you look and feel more streamlined. Plus, those muscles that you've been working on will be a lot more visible if you trim things down, which is why you'll see pro bodybuilders, wrestlers, Abercrombie models, and the like rocking the hairless look.
Whether you just want to shape up your chest or go all-out on your entire body, you can go a few different ways:
Take a pair of hair clippers – the same kind you'd use to get a buzz cut – set it to a #1 or #2, and go to town. Take your time, and do multiple passes to make sure you don't miss any spots.
This gets you the best of both worlds: you still have some body hair to show off, but it's neat and in check. You'll look more groomed, but it's subtle.
You'll need to invest in a pair of clippers. Also, it can be easy to miss a spot and have a patch of too-long hair if you're not careful.
Doesn't get much easier than this. Hop in the shower, rub on some shaving cream, grab a disposable razor, and have at it. If your body hair is on the longer side, though, you might want to use a pair of clippers to do the heavy lifting before you start shaving.
It's easy, and doesn't require any special equipment or spa appointments.
You'll almost definitely get ingrown hairs, at least for the first time or two. And it won't take long to grow back, so you'll only get a couple days of looking and feeling smooth before stubble sets in.
There are at-home kits for this, but unless you have experience, your best bet is to book an appointment at your local spa. They'll rub on some sugar wax, let it set, then quickly tear it off, which pulls the hair out at the root.
You'll look and feel super smooth, since the hair is completely gone down to the root. It'll last for 2-3 weeks, and if you wax regularly, eventually your body hair will get finer and grow in less quickly.
It hurts like hell, and isn't cheap. Expect to spend $50 or more just for your chest, and a lot more if you also want to hit your arms, legs, shoulders, and back. And if you're getting two a month, that adds up fast.
This stuff is a "chemical depilatory," which is a science-y way of saying it's a cream that dissolves your body hair. It sounds intense – and it is – but you can get it at any drugstore. Just layer some on, wait a couple minutes, and then rinse it, along with whatever hair was underneath, off. But for god's sake, do not try to use this stuff below the belt (if you know what we mean). You've been warned.
It's cheap, quick, and easily available.
The first thing you'll probably notice is that it smells awful. More importantly, though, it can do some real damage to your skin if you leave it on too long, or if you're especially sensitive. So test it on a small part of your skin to make sure there are no adverse affects before going all-out. And follow the instructions carefully, since letting it sit on your skin for too long will cause a painful burning and a bright red rash.
Oh, and it's also messy. Imagine rubbing shaving cream all over yourself, except now imagine that shaving cream is a very harsh chemical that'll burn sensitive skin and stain your towels. And even if you get through that, the hair will start to come back in just a couple days. So all things considered, we think it's best to avoid this stuff.
This is the nuclear option of hair removal, which zaps your follicles to kill the hair at the root. It's not as simple as picking up something at the drugstore and spending an extra few minutes in the shower – you've got to go to a specialist's office, get a consultation, determine how many rounds you'll need, and then go through a weeks- or months-long process.
It's the most permanent option. You'll likely need touch-ups once a year or so, but for the most part, you won't have to worry about the hair coming back. You also get a little more flexibility, in that you can just get your hair thinned out rather than mowed completely clean.
It's really damn expensive. You'll need at least half a dozen appointments, which cost about $500 a pop. If you've got an especially full chest or back, you'll spend even more.
Pick whichever one best suits your needs, then go to town. Or don't. Ain't nothing wrong with a little bit of chest hair.