If you think getting rid of body hair is weird, then read no further. There are many sports where it is advantageous or required to remove body hair. If you plan on entering a bodybuilding competition, you must remove your body hair. People are always asking for shortcuts to getting ripped and muscular, well here is the easiest one of all – remove body hair. Its amazing how much more massive and definied a hairy person looks when they remove their body hair! Removing armpit hair not only makes your lats look wider but removes a large source of body odor. People always ask, “doesn’t it take a really long time?”. Nope, I can do my whole body in under 5 minutes and I only do it once or twice a week.
Lets talk about the other options first:
- Creams and chemicals. These might work for women’s peach fuzz but despite what the ads say, they don’t work on thick men’s hair. I tried this myself using a product specifically designed for men’s thick head hair, left it on twice as long as they said, and all it did was make the hair curly – oh that and burned my skin something fierce.
- Waxing. Haven’t tried this myself but its gotta be painful. Also time consuming and expensive if you have it done.
- Mechanical pullers. Torture devices designed by men, for women. These rotating heads rip the hairs out one by one so you can enjoy the agony of each one separately.
- Electric razor (type used for facial shaving). Easy on the skin, no pain, but takes FOREVER.
- Electric clipper (type used for cutting head hair). An excellent option. Removes hair rapidly down to 1/32″ and looks clean shaven from 8′ away. No chance of ingrown hairs. Unless you really need to be smooth, give serious consideration to just clipping and leaving the hair at 1/32″. Even if you are going to shave using a razor blade, use the electric clippers first, otherwise, the shaving will take hours and hours.
What we are trying to avoid
Steps to shave the body
Before we talk about shaving, lets talk about what we are trying to avoid – ingrown hairs. The name doesnt properly convey how painful they are and how UGLY they look so lets talk about them. Here is what the hair looks like before we shave it off. If you shave it properly, the sharp, cutoff end is at the skin level or above so that when you apply pressure to the skin there is no discomfort or imflamation. When the hair grows, it has a clear path to free air and doesnt contact skin during its growth upward. To cut at the right level:
- warm up in the warm/hot water till the goosebumps are long gone
- shave with the grain, in this example, drag the blade to the left.
If you shave hard against the grain, in this case to the right, you cut the hairs off below skin level and they look like this. Imagine you have made the mistake of shaving your beltline against the grain. As you button your pants you put pressure on the skin and thousands of these little knives poke you – not plesant! You might be able to get away with against the grain shaving places where nothing ever touches (like your face) but certainly not elsewhere.
If you shave too close like the above image, then something very unpleasant can happen. If the cut off hair has been covered by dirt or solidified skin oils, the hair cant grow upward so it curls back under. This can also happen if the sharp cut edge of the hair catches skin on the edge of the channel as it grows. As the hair continues to grow, nasty things happen. A raised red bump appears, if you are lucky that is all but quite often they get infected causing something that looks like a big whitehead pimple. Imagine this covering your chest like a carpet, yikes. In some cases they get infected so bad that a trip to the doctor is required.
When to shave
This is really, really important. If you have never shaved your body before, you are going to get some razor burn. Depending on how diligent you were in avoiding shaving against the grain, you will either look like a plucked chicken (good), a teenager with horrible body acne (bad), or have beautiful clear skin (great). The moral of the story is, if you have some event you want beautiful, smooth skin for then you have two choices. First, you can shave the morning of the event. Razor burn takes 12-24 hours to form, so make sure to see, be seen, and take those photos in the first 12 hours after shaving. The better option is to start shaving 6 months before the event to give your skin time to get used to the shaving. Its quite painful at bodybuilding contests as you often see people who obviously have spent years and years working on their physique but then because they decide not to shave until a few days before the contest, they have embarrassingly horrible skin and shave-acne.
Body Shaving Techniques
Very important! It can take 6 months or more for your skin to get used to being shaved. It is a serious mistake to wait till the evening before a contest to shave for the first time because not only will you be in pain but you will look like a plucked chicken. Until your skin is used to the shaving, you have to be very careful, especially in areas where the skin will come in contact with clothing or have any pressure exerted on it. If you shave against the grain or too close in these areas you will have excruciating pain that will last for days. Paticularly sensitive areas are the area under the beltline, and the back of the legs.
You will only make the mistake of shaving incorrectly here once, thats how painful it will be if you do it incorrectly. Your pants put a lot of pressure here and it will amplify the pain. Closely look at the area around your midsection to make sure you know exactly which way the hair lays in each section and avoid going against the grain or cross grain – only go with the grain. You might consider just leaving it clipped length (1/32″) in this area.
Its not as tough as it sounds to shave the armpits if you have clipped as I recommend. You will have to tug the skin to the side to get all the areas. Don’t make the mistake of going over and over the same area in an attempt to get every last hair off, you dont want to rub it raw the first time. It will be a little sensitive the first time after you shave, you can put baby powder in your armpits to make it a bit more comfortable. Do NOT put on any deoderants or anything else in the armpits for 24hrs after shaving!!!
Back of Legs and butt
Do NOT shave the butt and upper hamstring area – the area where you sit. You will be very,very sorry if you do! Clip this area down to 1/32″ with electric hair clippers if you want but do NOT shave with a blade! If you shave this area, the pressure from sitting and the perspiration combine to cause extreme pain and infections that can send you to the doctors office for some nasty, high powered anti-biotics. Alles klar? You can shave the lower part of the hamstring area if you are careful. You will only make the mistake of shaving incorrectly here once, thats how painful it will be if you do it incorrectly. Closely look at the back of your legs to make sure you know exactly which way the hair lays in each section and avoid going against the grain or cross grain – only go with the grain.
If you have really big pecs, it can be really tough to get the lower part of the pec. Use this little trick to shave the lower pec, raise the hand up above your head. This will spread the pec out flat so you can easily shave from the lower pec onto the upper abs by getting rid of the deep valley.
To get behind the knees, make sure the leg is straight and locked. It can be a challenge to shave in this position, sit on a plastic stool in the shower to make this much easier. Of course, you can also do this bubble-bath style laying in the tub and just extend the knee in the air above your face where its easy to shave.