Having a hairy back is just one of the harsh realities of being a man. Body hair is natural, but if you have a little too much, then there’s no reason you shouldn’t consider getting rid of it. “Even in the past five years we are seeing more and more men looking for solutions to remove back hair. The idea of looking younger and taking better care of yourself keeps on growing and is gaining momentum in every area of grooming,” says grooming expert Anthony Sosnick, founder of Anthony Brands, to Ask Men. If you’re ready to get to it, here’s how you can get rid of your back hair.
Do it yourself
Shaving is one of the simplest and least expensive options, but you may need a helping pair of hands for great results. The results are going to be rather short-lived, and just a warning: You’re likely to be plagued with itchy regrowth. That said, if you can keep up with it consistently, you’ll maintain pretty good results. If you go the shaving route, ask your partner (or whoever’s willing to help you) to do it in the shower — the steam will soften your hair — and make sure whoever’s helping shaves in the direction of hair growth. Otherwise, you could end up with irritated, painful ingrown hairs. If you don’t have someone who can help out on a regular basis, you may want to consider the proceeding options instead.
Before we get into what you’ll need to do to shave it right, remember the following steps as you remove your back hair: Cleanse, exfoliate, shave, and moisturize. Sosnick recommends the following tips to equip yourself before you get shaving. Before you do shave your back, make sure your hair is longer than ¼ inch to get the best and closest shave. Go over the hair with a trimmer to shorten the hair before removing it completely with a razor.
- Only use a non-foaming shave gel or cream. As back hair is usually thicker, using a cream or gel will allow the blade to target the base of your hair.
- Use a new razor. If you’re doing this for the first time, a sharp, new razor is a must. Use one with a pivoting head for a smoother, closer shave, says Sosnick.
- Trim it. This bears repeating because in order to even shave it, it’s advisable to get rid as much length as possible. Use either an electric trimmer on the shortest setting, or if you’re really a man of simple tastes, place a comb flat on your skin, take a scissor trim over the comb — this one may also require the help of a friend.
- Finish off with moisturizer. It’s important to use a moisturizing aftershave to help soothe and protect your skin (or an aftershave balm to ensure a clean, smooth result).
Electric back shaver
Using an electric shaver is another great option, although the one downside is that you won’t be able to shave your back when it’s wet (unless it says you specifically can shave when wet). Generally speaking, the electric back shaver is pretty versatile. Our favorite, the Mangroomer Do It Yourself Electric Shaver, is a fast, easy, and effective way to eliminate unwanted back hair, equipped with a fully extendable, adjustable handle that locks into place at various lengths. It can help to reach even the most difficult middle and lower portions of your back. With a special easy-grip handle and an extra-wide 1½-inch blade, it can remove hair from larger areas of your back rather quickly. Plus, you may not need a partner to help you out on this one.
Use depilatory cream
Your next best and less painful do-it yourself option? Using a depilatory cream. This works by dissolving your hair at skin level and delivers results lasting around twice as long as shaving; however, applying it by yourself can be tricky, so you might need to enlist an assistant. Bliss’ ‘Fuzz Off foam is a spray-on, rinse-off foaming depilatory that removes unwanted hair painlessly, and is infused with a powerful hair-inhibiting complex, skin-smoothing conditioning Algae and Sea Kelp Marine extracts, and a deeply nourishing double butter complex that removes hair while leaving skin soft and touchable. To apply, keep the bottle 2 inches away from the body and spray in a continuous motion over the back area. Leave the foam on skin for five minutes to see the hair rinse off.
If Steve Carell has taught us anything, it’s that getting your body hair waxed (his chest) can be quite traumatic, especially if you haven’t mentally prepared yourself for it. With the risk of shouting out Kelly Clarkson’s name, waxing, although painful, is the least invasive way to get lasting results, at least for a couple of weeks. If you want to go the waxing route, don’t be bashful, just do as Carell does, and take your buddies along with you for the ride. Waxing has become very much a unisex process; you’ll see men going in and out of your local spa.
Depending on how much back hair you have and where you have it done (it varies from state to state and facility to facility) the cost can range anywhere between $35 to $100 plus gratuity each time. Since you have to get it done every couple of weeks (we’ll allow you to do the math), it’s not exactly cheap compared to shaving at home, but it’s still cheaper than electrolysis or laser hair removal. Also, if by some chance back hair comes back into style, if you wax it (as opposed to permanently lasering it off) then you’re not locked into a hairless existence for the rest of your life.
Laser hair removal
If you never want to see your back hair again (or at least dramatically reduce it), then laser hair removal is for you. Certain salons and specific laser spa centers provide the service. Laser removal works by using laser light energy to penetrate the hair shaft, killing the hair at the root, not the follicle (the place where hair growth starts). This means that hair can still grow in its place but it’s difficult. It also means that the results of laser hair removal last a fairly long time. The treatment itself takes up to 30 minutes, with up to eight treatments needed to really get the full results. Depending upon where you go, it can run you $400 to $500 per treatment, with touch-up treatments annually or biannually to maintain results.
The most permanent of all the removal methods (because it is permanent), electrolysis works by using an ultra-slim needle that penetrates each individual hair shaft. The treatment delivers tiny shocks of electricity to the hair follicle, killing the cells that produce the hair. Once a cell is gone, there is no way hair will grow there again. The one major downside to electroylsis is that the treatment is time-consuming and works best on a small area to start, such as your brow (which can take from 10 to 20 minutes), or if you have just a little bit of back hair. The thicker your back fur, the more involved the treatment is. The cost ranges, but averages about $40 a treatment, but if you absolutely hate your back hair, then it’s time and money very well spent.