The truth about waxing is that it’s just as much of a mental challenge as it is physical—for men and women. But here’s where we differ: women like to ask questions beforehand, whether it’s to calm nerves or simply become informed. Men, it seems, operate in reverse.

“Guys always mentally prepare themselves before they come in, they don’t stand around too long because I think that if they do, they talk themselves out of it,” says Jessica Frampton, co-owner of Fuzz Wax Bar in Toronto. To help educate men in
the process of a waxing appointment, we chatted with Frampton about the best techniques and pain-relieving tips for head-to-toe hair removal.

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ELLE Man manscaping guide step #1: Know what you want

Not surprisingly, this straightforward thinking comes easily for men. “Guys tend to walk in to the Wax Bar and know exactly what they want. They don’t ask very many questions,” Frampton explains. “They come in, get it done, and their only concern is that when they leave, the hair is gone and gone completely.” All you have to figure out is what treatment you would like to have done. “The most popular service would definitely be a full back wax,” she says, though she cites the growing amount of requests for the Manzillion—where hair in the pubic region is removed from front to back and sides. All of it.

ELLE Man manscaping guide step #2: Ask questions—no, really

This isn’t asking for directions—when it comes to waxing, you’ll want to know
exactly what will take place during your appointment, and
prepare for it. “Guys don’t want to admit that they’re concerned about the pain factor,” says Frampton. “They just have this face, and we’ll know that we have to ease them into it, and tell them it’s going to be ok.”

ELLE Man manscaping guide step #3: Learn the techniques

Hot wax with strips or hard wax without? You’ll want to find out which practice the esthetician will be using before your appointment, to avoid any unwelcomed surprises. “We use a hard wax for all the sensitive areas—for a Manzillion,” says Frampton. “Hard wax adheres to the hair and not the skin, so when there’s no strips, it’s less abrasive and less pulling.” This includes ensuring that the skin is taught before the wax strip is pulled off. “It’s a virtually pain-free waxing experience,” she says. (But we didn’t road test that, guys.)

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For more expert waxing tips from our manscaping guide, read on to the next page…

Emporio-Armani-m-bks-I-RS13-5937.jpgManscaping guide step #4: Ease the pain factor

While women are advised to avoid waxing the bikini area just before or during menstruation, as the area becomes extra sensitive, guys don’t have that painful peak each month to consider. The flip side? “It’s going to hurt all the same, no matter what time of month.” Before jumping into a full-on Manzillion or Between the Cheeks treatment (yes, just like it sounds), prep the area by exfoliating days before your wax and popping two Advil tablets a half hour before, to be safe. “That will definitely help with the pain factor,” Frampton adds.

You can also apply a numbing cream beforehand (Frampton uses Numb Nuts Pain Relieving Cream at the wax bar). Or ask for EMLA Cream at the pharmacy counter for at-home prep to numb the area 40 minutes before your treatment.

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Manscaping guide step #5: Start your post-wax care immediately

“No tanning or working out right after your wax,” says Frampton, regardless of where the hair was removed. After back and chest waxes, “Wear some sort of clothing over the area if you’re going to the beach or doing sports that will require you to be outside in the sunshine.” Hair has just been pulled from the root and the area needs a 24-hour grace period to allow the pore to close back up, which means avoid applying any lotion to the freshly waxed area as well. After 24 hours have passed, start moisturizing daily and exfoliating the area several times a week to prevent ingrown hairs from forming.

Manscaping guide step #6: Come back for more

The good news about ripping out the hair follicles on your back, chest and eyebrows? (There is some, we promise.) “The more often you wax, the finer, the slower the hair grows,” says Frampton. “And you can really reap the full benefits of waxing.” Hair on the chest, back and pubic realm must be about a quarter of an inch long before waxing, which usually takes about four weeks to grow in. But don’t bust out your ruler for good measure. “We’ll take care of you when you come in,” Frampton insists. And for a quick clean up on the brows (most common for guys), a five-minute appointment will prevent a unibrow from forming. No pain, no gain, right guys?

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