With the infamous 40-Year-Old Virgin scene forever seared into your brain, you may have a predisposition against paying someone to rip the hair out of your body with hot wax. But waxing is an incredibly effective cosmetic procedure with loads of aesthetic, time-saving and even sexual benefits. And it’s no longer a grooming option reserved for women, bodybuilders and male models, either: loads of average Joes are opting for a finer, smoother and longer-lasting manscape.
It’s why we spoke with Alex “Dr. Manzilian,” who runs the New York City-based body grooming studio AlexSpot24, to get the lowdown on male waxing and what you should know if you’re looking to ditch the razor.
First, why should you get waxed?
Conversations surrounding hair removal are seemingly never-ending. Just last month we speculated about a full bush resurgence among women. Our culture has, thankfully, become a lot more accepting of body hair — particularly for women, who have long had to remove every piece of hair from their person due to unrealistic expectations set by cultural norms and porn. Body hair has now moved into the do-whatever-the-fuck-you-want-with-it space, which means if you wanna remove all of your hair, some of it or none at all, regardless of how you identify, go for it.
While women are perhaps relaxing a bit on the monthly trips to the salon, in recent years men have begun to take up the cosmetic procedure more and more according to Alex, whose client list continues to grow even faster than it did in pre-COVID times.
There are plenty of benefits to waxing as opposed to at-home shaving that make the less-than-pleasant process worth it. With a wax, you won’t have to worry about itchy stubble that often occurs three days after shaving and can cause discomfort and irritation. “With waxing, we do not have any growth within four days,” Alex tells InsideHook. You’re also getting smooth, even and precise hair removal, rather than leaving it up to your own shoddy abilities.
Additionally, stripless waxing — or wax that doesn’t require paper waxing strips — provides a bit of exfoliation. “We exfoliate dead skin and dead cells,” says Alex. “Once I apply post-waxing serums and creams, your skin becomes really glowing, smooth and feels amazing. You cannot really replicate that with shaving.”
Another major draw to waxing for both men and women is that it lasts a pretty long time in comparison to shaving, which for some ungodly reason seems to grow back the next day. Waxing, meanwhile, often lasts three to six weeks.
And while, as stressed above, hair removal is entirely a decision up to you, a well-groomed man is a very sexually appealing one for many people. “I have a lot of women who call me on behalf of boyfriends or husbands, who want guys to be smoother down there or have a more groomed look,” says Alex.
Men require a different type of wax
While you can pop into any waxing salon and get whatever you want removed, it might be worth looking into male-specific waxing parlors since men have more abundant, coarser hair than women, and thus might require a different type of wax. Many salons are female-oriented and, in turn, typically use only one kind of wax regardless of how resistant the hair is. After years of working in different spas and even waxing himself, Alex discovered that there was a need for wax catered specifically to men, and after testing numerous products and formulas, found four different waxes he uses at his salon.
“I use four different waxes, and I customize based on hair resistance and how coarse it is. I blend [the waxes] accordingly, or I customize them based on the client’s skin and their hair,” he explains.
Where are men getting waxed?
At his studio, Alex notes his top sellers are hair removal on the butt and in between those sweet cheeks, but adds that male Brazilians, also known as “manzilians,” are very common right now as well: removing all hair from the scrotum, perineum and anal region.
But you don’t have to go full sphynx down there, or anywhere. Even if you book a full Brazilian, you can always inform your esthetician of how much hair you want removed, so you can keep it kempt while maintaining a little primitive sexiness.
“We not only wax, we also manscape. So I blend everything to make it a more natural, sexy-looking result,” explains Alex. “We will wax balls, we will wax bikinis, but then we will create a customized pubic look, or we will blend some bikini lines to make sure guys look more natural. It doesn’t look like they went to the salon and just did it themselves.”
Sugaring is all the rage right now
When you think of waxing, your mind most likely heads straight to Steve Carell screaming bloody murder while a strip of wax is ripped from his bear-like chest. But in recent years, a type of hair removal called sugaring has really taken over the industry, with more people (myself included) finding the style of wax more appealing.
That’s because sugaring only uses three ingredients: lemon, sugar and water. Unlike traditional waxing, sugaring doesn’t use a paper waxing strip. It’s literally just a ball of sugar paste that pulls hair in the natural direction of your follicle’s growth pattern, as opposed to removing it in the opposite direction, like in traditional waxing.
The method, which has been around since ancient Egypt, is all natural and gentler on the skin, and many claim it hurts less than regular waxing. It’s also applied at body temperature, which reduces the risks of burns (regular wax is heated at a high temperature).
At his salon, Alex also uses a stripless wax similar to sugaring called vegan wax, which is a hypoallergenic substance that can be used to remove hair along the hair growth as well as against it, so you’re getting the benefits of a natural sugaring paste with a higher level of effectiveness.
“This way is even more effective for guys, because hair grows in multiple different directions, so I can really lay strips and remove it faster without additional applications,” he explains.
Your post-wax care
If you heed one piece of advice, make it this: right after your wax, apply an antiseptic ointment or Neosporin to waxed areas.
“A lot of salons, especially female-oriented salons, do not use [antiseptics] for the male clientele. But I think men cause a little more irritation and more resistance. So, that’s why I always advise to use antiseptic healing ointment or A&D, anything like that. Those types of creams will heal the skin after wax and prevent bumps, irritations and all bacteria from coming into the pores,” Alex explains.
For the next 24/48 hours, try to avoid working out, sweating, sun exposure or sexual activities, and be sure to moisturize on a daily basis from there. To avoid those pesky, sometimes painful and unsightly ingrown hairs, exfoliate 2-3 times a week after a shower. Alex also recommends using Stridex pads, which unclogs pores by removing dirt, oil and sweat to cleanse the skin.
It’s gonna hurt, but you’ll survive
Listen, getting hair forcibly removed from your body is not gonna be a blissful walk in the park, especially if it’s your first time. But as someone who has been getting their eyebrows waxed since the 7th grade, you can handle it, you big strong beefcake. If anything, the anticipation is the worst part.
Still, Alex recommends taking two Advil or Tylenol before your wax, particularly if you’re opting for a manzilian. And I know it’s tempting to down a pre-wax cocktail beforehand, but unfortunately, alcohol and coffee can both cause the skin to be extra sensitive to waxing, so hydrating with lots of water is the best way to go.