Beauty & Anti-Aging

Smooth Moves

Men’s hair removal is less of a hassle than ever before
By Karina Timmel

The hairy-chest look that once attracted fans of Burt Reynolds and Tom Selleck in the ‘70s and ‘80s is
long gone, and so is your dad’s super-simple grooming routine. The popularity of men’s magazines and well-groomed male celebrities has resulted in the booming business of men’s hair removal as men become more informed and comfortable with cleaning up their appearance. 

The new generation of men’s grooming options is just as sophisticated as those for women. Atlanta’s hair-removal experts have stepped up their game to provide cutting-edge efficient techniques in waxing and laser hair removal that are as pain-free as possible. Here’s the scoop on these methods, and why you should consider giving them a chance, if you haven’t done so already.

Wax on, wax off

How it works
The majority of waxings use a warm wax mixture, which is spread over the hair in the direction of its growth. A paper or cloth strip is then placed on top of the soft wax and when the mixture dries, in just a few seconds, the cloths are removed in the opposite direction of the hair growth. The hair is pulled out from its root.

Most popular areas
The back and shoulders are the most popular areas to wax. “We have lots of guys that are good at keeping up with it, and others whose wives and girlfriends send them in. Most come in and see the results and how much better they feel about themselves and want to keep it up,” says Pirooz Sarshar, co-founder of The Grooming Lounge in Buckhead.

The eyebrows also are a very popular area to wax, but many men are concerned that the result will look unnatural or too feminine. “The goal is to have two eyebrows, which is always better than one,” Sarshar comments. “We do not do effeminate lines.”

How long it takes
10 minutes to 1 hour, depending on how large of an area is being waxed.

How long it lasts
About 4-6 weeks. A good rule of thumb is: if you are due for a haircut, you’re most likely due for a wax, too.

Ouch factor
No waxing is ever going to be completely pain-free, but a reputable salon or spa and a trained aesthetician will know how to minimize the sensation. Many offer soft muslin strips, alternate wax options for sensitive skin and a calming moisturizer or solution that is smoothed on the skin afterwards. The Grooming Lounge even goes so far as to create a body mask made of alcohol and aspirin prior to waxing to desensitize the skin.

Cost
Around $20 for small areas like the eyebrows and $60 or more for larger areas.

Trick of the trade
Breakouts are a common after-effect of waxing for men. Sarshar advises to avoid exposing the skin to any kind of heat for at least 36 hours after waxing—that means no sun tanning, very hot showers or saunas.

Laser action

How it works
According to information from The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, the most commonly used lasers utilize a low-energy laser beam. This beam passes through the skin and is attracted to the pigment of the hair. The energy passes down the hair shaft and is absorbed by hair follicles that are in an active-growth phase, which disables the hair follicle in the deeper layer of the skin. The hair follicles that are in a dormant phase are not affected by the treatment, which is why repeat sessions are necessary.

Most popular areas
The most popular target area for men’s laser hair removal is the torso (back, chest and abs). “We also do a fair amount of male faces, particularly the neck region. So many experience ingrown hairs in that area, as well as 5 o’clock shadows and hair growth on the back of the neck,” says Mandy Koudele, regional director of Atlanta/North Carolina for Ideal Image.

Who is a candidate
Lasers can’t treat anyone with blonde, gray or red hair because the laser only zeros in on dark pigment (brown and black hair). Different types of lasers that work on separate wavelengths are used for dark and light skin tones, so skin color is not a factor in the lasers’ effectiveness.

How long it takes
Approximately 10 minutes for a small area like brows or underarms, 40 minutes for a full male face and 1 hour for a large area like the back. It takes about eight or nine sessions once every 8-10 weeks for all hair to be permanently removed.

How long it lasts
Hair exists in different stages: growing, resting and shedding. Because all of the hair isn’t in the same stage at any given time, multiple treatments are needed to get the hair in the growth phase for the laser to be most effective, Koudele explains. Results are permanent once all the hair is removed unless there is new follicle growth, which only happens if there are major hormonal changes.

Ouch factor
Every person and every body part is different in its laser tolerance. Some people describe the sensation like a hot rubber-band snap across the skin, Koudele says. For those who are ultra-sensitive, there are prescription numbing creams that you can put on an hour before the treatment. Experienced professionals also will involve skin-calming techniques such as using icepacks before the laser, and hand-applied pressure after.

Cost
The bigger the area, the more it costs. Ideal Image offers packages that range from $500-$600 for a smaller area (nine full treatments) and upwards of $1,000 for larger areas.

Advice for the anxious
“20-25 percent of our clientele are now men, depending on the location—definitely at those closer to or in the city. When they come into one of the locations, they always think they are the only ones doing it,” Koudele says.

Trick of the trade
State medical boards currently have no regulation for laser hair removal. Be sure to choose an experienced professional who also is a healthcare provider (such as mid-level practitioners like nurses or physician’s assistants, if not a doctor). “Look for someone with experience specifically in laser hair removal, not just an office that is renting the machine once a week. When you go in for an appointment, they should ask you a battery of questions and have a consultation before doing anything,” Koudele says.

Find an American Society of Plastic Surgeons’ board-certified professional at www.plasticsurgery.org by clicking on “choose your ASPS member surgeon.


Just A Trim

When it comes to ear and nose hair, the nape of the neck and sideburns, electric trimmers will do the trick with no pain or mess. There are many affordable trimmers to choose from—you’ll need two: one made specifically for the nose/ears and one with comb attachments for the other areas.


Sweetly Removed

Said to be slightly less painful than waxing, sugaring is an ancient hair removal technique that utilizes a natural sugar-paste mixture, usually consisting of sugar, lemon and water, which is applied against the hair growth and then removed with the use of strips in the direction of the hair growth (waxing is applied and removed in opposite directions). Results last for 3-6 weeks. Try it out at Sweetgrass Wellness Spring Health Center, Day Spa & Salon (www.sweetgrassspa.com), which provides this alternative method for clients who have very sensitive skin.


Advice for the Anxious

“We understand that most guys don’t even know how to wash their face, so we try to keep grooming as simple for them as possible,” says Pirooz Sarshar, co-founder of The Grooming Lounge in Buckhead. “I tell guys who are apprehensive about waxing that all you’re doing is enhancing your grooming and you’ll look and feel better.”