Polished pecs or hairy chests?
These days, the hair on men's chests, backs, armpits --and even "down there" -- has become suspect, if you believe the marketing campaigns.
So is this a new fad or just a publicity ploy?
The owner of Completely Bare, a New York hair removal spa, Cindy Barshop appeared on "The Early Show" Friday to give an insider's perspective on whether men are indeed "baring" it all.
And, according to Barshop, men are. She said she's seen a rise in hair removal clients, ranging in age from 25 to 55.
"The type is definitely more of a metropolitan kind of man, but we are seeing that all men are starting to take pride in their appearance," she said. "It's the marketplace; it's the time. Men are trying to get and keep jobs and if this makes them feel better. It's more competitive for men."
And the style of the hairy man, Barshop said, is so 70s and 80s.
"Right now a hairy man is not an attractive man if you ask most women…Look at the fashion magazines…they dictate trends, and everything is a more clean and groomed look."
And men are baring everything, from head to toe, according to Barshop. The method of choice? She said many men come in for waxing, but leave with laser treatments because the technique offers a more permanent solution to their issues. Laser treatments on men, who have coarser hair and more follicles than women, usually need about eight treatments, Barshop said. However, after three or four times, she said, about 80 percent of the hair is gone.
Laser hair removal is more of a commitment, according to Barshop.
"It's for men that have an area on their body that is affecting their life," she said.
For men, she said that's usually ingrown hairs and for women it's their lip or bikini line.
Laser hair removal hurts less than waxing, and each time you receive a treatment, she said, it hurts less and less.
Barshop said many men are seeking a "Five O'Clock Shadow" look, where the laser technician permanently removes the hair around where the five o'clock shadow would grow. When the hair does grow back in, she said, guys are left with the perfect shape and don't have to worry about shaving under the neck or upper cheek area any longer.
But some men are still shaving, too. If you plan to shave, Barshop says skip the shaving cream and go for Dove bar soap because it's "the most anti-bacterial" soap you can use, it's gentle and will help prevent infections and skin irritations better than shaving cream. Barshop added the shave will also last twice as long. But Dove, she said, should be used on the body only.
She also recommended using the best razor possible. She said the Gillette Fusion Razor is a good choice because its five blades will give you the closest shave possible and prevent ingrown hairs. Five blades, she explained, is especially better for stubborn, course hair, and the blade lasts longer so it doesn't get as dull.
Barshop said she always uses a men's razor because they are more precise.
And to prevent a rusty blade on your razor, Barshop said, a great trick is to set the razor in a bit of olive oil and rinse it off before your next use.
Waxing is another option that offers hair removal for a longer period, according to Barshop. The method also helps the hairs grow in lighter, she said, even if it really isn't because it grows in different stages.
"If you're a man, get your back waxed," she said. "...It grows back, and you can have someone just shave in between and you'll extend your wax and have hair removed."
When should you go to a professional vs. doing it at home?
Barshop said, "When it's about delicate areas or areas you can't see straight on, I always say if your hair is very coarse-you should go to a professional, if it's finer, you can probably try it yourself at home."
But if you decide to wax at home, Barshop said make sure the wax is not microwavable -- low-temperature wax is best because it heats evenly.
Also make sure the area to be waxed is completely dry. Barshop recommended using baby powder before you wax at home to take any moisture away.
And make sure the hair is a quarter of an inch long (at least) before you wax.
Barshop said men may want to try at-home kits that have a step-by-step DVD guide.
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