Once the province of metrosexuals, competitive swimmers, and a 90210-era Jason Priestley, waxing off unwanted body hair is now officially mainstream. What began with a sight-gag in the 40 Year-Old Virgin has become a serious business, with everyone from sports icons (New York Jets centre Nick Mangold) to movie stars (Channing Tatum and Matthew McConaughey), to everyday dudes coming clean about the ol’ plug and tug.
It’s no wonder with beach season upon us that the most popular manscaping spot for guys, by far, is the back and shoulders—particularly the “angel wings” located under the shoulder blades (body hair tends to grow in places where sweat glands are located). The chest, too, is another preferred hairless spot. However, thanks to hipsters and their love of all things hirsute, the popularity of perfectly waxed pecs, so prevalent in the past 20 years, is waning.
That said, the latest (and some would say final) frontier in men’s grooming is the most extreme. A recent New York Times article pointed to the growing popularity of the so-called “Bro-zillian,” a delicate, below-the-belt procedure that takes your nether parts from wild and woolly to sleek and smooth.
Whether you’re just cleaning up a few stray wisps on your shoulders or going for a full monty, there are a few things you need to know before you jump onto the treatment table:
Is it going to hurt?
It can vary from mild discomfort to praying for the sweet release of death. After all, no matter how skilled your technician or what kind of waxing or sugaring product they use, they’re still ripping the hair out of your body by the root.
Preparation is Key
Be well-rested because fatigue makes pain receptors more active. Pop an Advil or a Tylenol an hour prior to your appointment. Some spas and salons will even recommend a topical anesthetic you can apply to numb your skin. Trim the area in question to 1/4” in length. The shorter the hair, the less painful the treatment, but any shorter than 1/4” and the wax may not “grab” it.
Just as important as what you do before your appointment is what you do—and don’t do—afterwards. Avoid showing off for at least 24hrs. Keep the treatment area out of direct sunlight, stay out of the gym, and, in the case of the Bro-zilian, keep your pants on as skin-on-skin friction can cause considerable irritation and/or inflammation and can lead to ingrown hairs. Exfoliate the area daily with a salt scrub or a loofah to prevent ingrown hairs. Don’t shave between appointments (4-6 weeks apart) as it disrupts the hair growth cycle and strengthens the root, making subsequent treatments more painful.
Where to Go
With its clean white walls and modern décor, Yaletown’s Spruce Body Lab has a totally guy-friendly vibe. Their most popular treatments for men, according to employee Anayte Sanchez, are the back and shoulders. They don’t do Bro-zilians.
Sugarbox has seen such a marked increase in male customers, they’ve kitted out a separate men’s lounge at the back of their girly-pink spa and added on a dedicated dude’s treatment room. Two of their technicians, Sarah and Lindsay, offer Bro-zillians, with procedure’s popularity showing no signs of slowing down.
Named Vancouver Magazine’s 2012 Neighbourhood Spa of the Year, A Touch Above offers discreet men’s hair removal from eyebrows to toes and everything in between.
Image by Thinkstock.