A guy friend of mine recently confessed to having a somewhat unusual grooming habit: he waxes his chest. Evidently, he’s been using an at home kit for a while, but has just discovered a local salon that will do it for him. He describes the salon experience as comfortable and relaxing – soothing music, hot wax, and the confidence that comes with feeling good in your own skin are well worth the money.

Not knowing many men who wax or even shave their chest hair, I had to know, why does he do it? I assumed his wife preferred a smooth chest. Not so. She actually makes fun of him for enduring the procedure, although she agrees that he looks good when all is said and done. No, my chest-waxing friend does it because it makes him feel good.

I can’t argue with that logic. I don’t curl my lashes, paint my nails, or straighten my hair because anyone else likes it. I do it for me.

The whole chest-waxing conversation got me thinking about male grooming in general, or manscaping, if you will. Our society is increasingly more open to manscaping. More and more men visit salons for basic procedures like manicures and pedicures. Some even get their eyebrows waxed. I like that men are getting to enjoy some of the pampering that we ladies have long enjoyed, but I have to admit, a guy that spends more time in the salon than I do and uses more products to get ready is a turn off. Here, some guidelines on manscaping:

Face: Whether or not you rock facial hair pretty much depends on you and your face. Some guys look good with it, some guys look good without it, but either way, you should never let your beard run wild. An electric razor works great for touching up and grooming a bearded face, but when it comes to getting super smooth, a good old-fashioned razor and shaving cream can’t be beat. My boyfriend has been using Gillette Fusion HydraGel with his disposable razors and his skin is amazingly soft. An added bonus? It smells amazing. Also, I may or may not have stolen some of the shave gel to use while shaving my legs yesterday. (Let’s just say my legs feel like satin!)

Body Hair: As my waxing friend’s decision indicates, this is really a personal choice. Honestly, if you like a smooth chest, feel free to wax. If you’re proud of your chest hair, let it grow. But a basic rule of thumb for body hair is this: if you can’t cover your chest hair with a tee-shirt, it might be time to do a little trimming. Also, if there is enough fuzz on your back to be called back hair, take care of it. We ladies shave our legs and armpits daily so nobody has to look at our unsightly hair. We don’t want to see yours either.

And as far as grooming, ahem, below the belt is concerned, I will just say this; if you expect your significant other to do it, you’d best be prepared to do it too.

Who Brought the Bearded Lady?

The other day at work I encountered a woman who clearly cared about her appearance – her hair looked as though it had just been done, her nails were neatly manicured, and her clothes were neat and stylish. Sadly, her whole look was marred by an obvious strip of  hair above her upper lip. With all of her careful grooming, how could she have forgotten her mustache?

Facial hair is, unfortunately, a fact of life for most women. We ladies are not supposed to have facial hair, and as a result it’s often left undiscussed and is frequently unaddressed. This means that, as was the case with my mustachioed client the other day, many women are letting a little bit of fuzz ruin an otherwise well-groomed face. Here, some common types of female facial hair and how to get rid of it.

Fly Hairs: Puzzling and embarrassing, these random hairs are usually dark and stiff, and are some how able to grow to abnormal lengths before you will notice one on your neck or chin. There it stands, all alone, a single long dark hair poking out like the beard of a pubescent boy. Your best bet with these babies is to leave them alone until you can tweeze them. Nothing is less attractive than catching someone twirling or pinching a random neck hair. To catch them early, grab a magnifying mirror once a week and take stock of the area. But if you do notice one while out in public, take heart; chances are nobody else will.

Upper Lip Fuzz: Probably the most prevalent and stress inducing form of facial hair, the female mustache can be as insignificant as a dusting of nearly invisible peach fuzz or as thick and dashing as Tom Selleck’s. The fact remains that, in either case, removing this particular patch of hair will do wonders for your overall look and polish. My recommendation in this case is waxing. At home wax strip kits are inexpensive, easy to use, and work well on this type of hair, as long as you follow the instructions on the package. Some people choose to tweeze errant upper lip hairs, and this is also an effective, although more time-consuming, option. I would urge readers to avoid bleaching their upper lips, as this often has the undesired effect of drawing attention to the problem: the hair often comes out too light, and if you have enough upper lip hair to bleach, you’ll just end up with a blonde mustache.

Eyebrows: I’ve touched upon them before, and for a crash course in grooming your brows you can reference my earlier post, “Taming the Beast.” There are many schools of thought regarding eyebrows, with some women essentially eliminating them while others prefer to keep them full and sometimes bushy. Regardless of your personal style, regular brow maintenance is one of the easiest ways to brighten up your face and keep yourself looking put together. If your brows are out of control, seek professional help and get them waxed. From there it’s easy to keep up the general shape with regular tweezing.