But there is one thing that is undesirable, to put it mildly – back hair.
On this post, we’ll talk about how to get rid of back hair and ways to keep it tidy from now on.
I know that there’s no place on the body more unpleasant to get hair on than your back.
As a man, you can get away with having armpit hair, a shabby beard or even a bit of nose hair, but back hair is easily one of the most annoying grooming problems we have to deal with.
Now, there’s a good chance you don’t get any back hair.
Most men are genetically predisposed to get hair in certain places, and back hair is actually not as common as you would expect.
If you have it, you can blame your dad or grandad for it, unfortunately.
I think the first time I ever heard the term ‘manscaping’ it was when someone referred to ways you could get rid of pubic hair. We won’t go that low this time but we’ll focus only on the back.
So, let’s have a look at all the ways you can deal with back hair by yourself and the things you should know before you get started down with Project Manscaping.
Why do you get hair on the back anyway?
As we already established, it’s not all men that have back hair. Or to put it in a different way, hair on the back doesn’t manifest the same way for all men.
Some men may have thicker hair than others just like on the rest of the body.
Excessive hair on the back though, it’s considered some sort of a genetic anomaly.
As we’ve seen on previous articles on hair growth and how long it takes to grow a beard, androgens, a type of hormone that regulates hair growth in both men and women is the cause of a hairy back.
They’re pretty much responsible for all ‘manly’ features of our species.
These hormones have tendency to go out to the receptors of hair follicles and get them to grow.
They start their journey through the body when you hit puberty and cause hair to grow around the pubic and armpit region. Sometimes they get to the back, and that’s how you start growing hair there.
Back hair could just be a hereditary curse for most men, but for some it’s an actual medical condition.
In scientific language it is called Hypertrichosis. Informally, it was also called the werewolf syndrome. This is a medical condition that affects men and puts their back hair growth into overdrive.
Men with this condition are likely to experience growth on the back that’s much worse than their chest or beard area. This would be characterised as localised Hypertrichosis
To make things even more challenging, men who have Hypertrichosis, tend to have thinning hair on their heads.
This abnormal growth is nothing to worry about, since it won’t cause any medical issues or harm. It’s mostly an aesthetic issue and won’t harm your health. We’re going to get to the ways to get rid of the back hair shortly.
Then there is Hirsutism. Hirsutism is a condition where your androgens are put into overdrive.
Too many androgens means too much hair, everywhere.
Unlike hypertrichosis, this one can actually cause some trouble. Men can experience severe weight gain and women can have irregular menstrual cycles because of it.
These cases are rare, and most men are really just trying to trim down their back hair so they can have a swim in a public pool without feeling judged.
Although there are no medical cures for these conditions, we do have some tips and tricks that could help you tame the beast.
How to get rid of back hair
There are basically five things you can do to fix back hair and only one of them is semi-permanent. You can wax, apply cream, shave, trim or get laser surgery (I’ll let you guess which one is permanent).
1. Wax it
The most painful option, of course, is waxing.
I’ve had my chest waxed and I know it can be excruciating.
But the good news is that the skin on the back is a bit less sensitive than the one on the chest, so it will be a bit less painful. Besides, you don’t have nipples on your back. So that’s one thing to be happy about.
Leaving that aside, the best thing about waxing is how simple and effective it is: just a layer of wax on your back and you’ll be done in no-time.
And, even more importantly, since hair is completely removed from its root, you’ll have at least 2 hairless weeks.
Besides that, if you start doing this regularly, over time, you will start noticing a decrease of the amount of hair. So painful, but magical.
Now, if you think waxing is the best option for you, I would recommend going to professional.
Not only will they get it done sooner and less painfully, but they’ll also cover all the spots on your back properly. Besides that, there’s a lot that could go wrong with waxing, although the results are great.
So especially if you have thick and/or curly hair, chose the safe side. It’s not only about reaching all the spots, but also about technique.
Of course, having your partner do it for you would give you more privacy and would be more affordable. But would you risk it just for the sake of a few saved bucks?
If you’re not willing to put up with this kind of pain or if your situation is not that dramatic, there’s always hair removal cream.
2. Hair removal cream
Hair removal cream is a good and practical alternative.
You’ll get a ton of different brands at your local grooming store or pharmacy.
It’s a case of simply slapping the cream on all over, waiting for a while and then rinsing it all off or wiping it off with the special sponge or spatula that comes with it.
No pain and no time wasted to get a clear back.
But, you’ve got to be careful with these.
You might have skin that is too sensitive and reacts badly to certain chemicals. You could also forget to take the cream off in time and end up with some serious chemical burns. Both of these results are actually worse than the hair itself.
Some other elements to consider are the fact that the cream works the same way as the razor.
It only cuts the hair, it does not remove it from it’s root, as the wax does. That means that hair will grow back much faster and will become much thicker over time.
So choose wisely, be careful with the instructions and pay attention to what you’re doing with the cream.
A less dangerous and more common solution is shaving.
Shaving gives you similar results as waxing, without the added pain.
Seeing as you shave regularly anyway, this should be the easiest solution for most men. Just grab your razor and get to work once a week or so.
It’s simple and it you probably have all the equipment lying around already, so you don’t need to spend a penny.
One thing to keep in mind before shaving is that you need to trim down the length of the back hair before shaving. Otherwise, hair is going to clog up the razor which might cause some serious irritation on your skin.
Hair is sliced easily, at an angle that won’t cause irritation and beard itch when they start growing back again.
However, as with the hair removal cream, shaving only cuts the hair and does not remove it from its root. This means that it will grow back fast, thick and it will spike your t-shirt if you don’t shave it often enough.
This would be a clear cut case of comfort vs. effectiveness.
4. Electric razor
Though not as efficient as razors, electric razors can do a great job shaving your back.
One thing that I like particularly about electric razors is the fact that there are some waterproof versions that can be used to shave in the shower. This also makes things easier and less messy.
With certain electric razors, you can even try to shave your back by yourself, as long as you can reach every spot on your back’s surface.
5. Hair trimmer
A great way to avoid the cuts and bruises involved with shaving is to swap the razor for a trimmer.
You probably have a trimmer lying around too and if you are flexible enough you may be able to get to all the tricky spots with a little effort.
The only issue is trimmers won’t clear away all the hair. This means you’ll be left with barely noticeable back hair, but your back won’t be super smooth.
The good thing about a hair or beard trimmer though, is that you probably won’t experience any itch from the hair when it’s growing back again.
6. Laser hair removal
Which brings us to our last option – lasers. It’s a solution straight out of a sci-fi novel.
You walk into a facility, take your shirt off, get your back zapped with lasers that shred the hair off permanently, before fighting the alien invaders and escaping the facility with the cute lab assistant.
It’s all more 007 than hair removal if you ask me and that’s probably why it costs a whole lot more too. Most places charge more than $900 per treatment and after all the sessions you need for this you’ll have a hole in your pocket the size of Jupiter.
Even though it’s advertised as permanent, there’s a catch here.
The laser hair removal treatment doesn’t finish only in one session. Usually, this might take even up to 6 sessions until all hair is gone. This heavily depends on the amount of hair that your back has, your hormones and your hair’s thickness.
However, even if the hair is gone after the completion of the treatment, there’s literally no guarantee that the hair won’t come back after one or two or fives years later.
It certainly won’t be as much hair as you removed, but this doesn’t mean that the treatment will get rid of the back hair once and for all.
If you’re wondering about the mechanisms of the laser hair removal, as opposed to waxing that removes the hair from its root, the laser actually destroys the hair follicles.
Therefore, before you decide on removing the hair by laser, consider these options and certainly, consult the clinic where you’ll remove your back hair for more detailed information.
So, what’s the best option? Well, there isn’t one.
It all depends on what you think suits you best and gives you what you need while staying in your budget. You have to pick between the five options here.
So, I’ll leave you with a pros and cons chart to help you make your mind up.
|Back Hair Removal Options||Pros||Cons|
|Waxing||1. Less time consuming|
3. Medium-term lasting
|1. Needs a professional
2. Likely to cost a lot
|Hair Removal Cream||1. Quick and Easy|
2. Not painful
|1. Requires attention
2. Short term effects in terms of lasting
3. Long term effects in term of hair thickness and spread
4. Needs two people
|Shaving||1. Quick and Easy|
2. Not painful
|1. Usually needs two people
2. Short term effects in terms of lasting
3. Long term effects in term of hair thickness and spread
|Trimming||1. Easy and safe|
2. Not painful
|1. It might need two people
2. Doesn’t give you a smooth back shave
3. Short term effects in terms of lasting
|Hair Removal Laser||1. Permanent|
2. Very effective
3. Time consuming
There isn’t really a clear way to prevent back hair from growing back again. You just need to shave it all off and shave it regularly to keep it in check.
How to prevent back hair to appear again after you remove it
Depending on the method of back hair removal you choose and your hair growth, the hair will reappear within 2 days and 3 weeks.
With laser treatment, this might take a little longer to totally get rid of it. But once you do, it’s going to be long-lasting.
A simple routine to follow to get rid of back hair step by step
Setting a routine to get your back hair done depends on the solution you pick and the rate of growth.
If you go from male swimsuit model to complete werewolf in a week, you’ll need to be a lot more frequent with your shaves. Unless, of course, you get a laser treatment done.
Here’s an easy 6 step routine to follow and shave back hair with a razor.
- Use a hair trimmer to make the hair shorter. Once you trim and get it down to the right size, shaving is much easier and safer.
- Build lather in a shaving bowl -or even a coffee mug. Use a traditional shaving cream or shaving soap. Swirl the brush in the bowl until the lather is thick and rich but not dry. You need to make sure that there’s enough lubrication so that the razor glides easily on your back.
- Get a safety razor or a cartridge with maximum 3 blades. Make sure that the razor is new and sharp. You want less than 3 blades so that it doesn’t clog up with hair and shaving cream immediately.
- Stand on top of a newspaper and start trimming or shaving along with the grain of the hair. Short, smooth strokes should do it. Rinse the razor often with water in between strokes.
- Once you finished shaving, rinse and clear your back completely. Get rid of all the hair and try shaving once again following the same steps to get the smoothest results.
- Apply aftershave that doesn’t contain alcohol. Alcohol can cause irritation and since you’re back is a large area, you should try to avoid this even more than you do for your face.
Extra tips for better results
- One thing that you can also do after finish shaving is to exfoliate with a mild exfoliating cream. This helps remove the dead skin and minimize ingrown hair.
- If the hair on your back is very thick, consider using a pre-shave oil before applying shaving cream. This helps the razor glide easier on your skin. Make sure you rinse the razor more often since the oil tends to clog up the razor’s blade.
- Safety razors might be more difficult to use on your back but they tend to cause less irritation. They’ve got very sharp blades and their gap between the blade and the safety bar is wide enough so that the lather passes through.
- If you’re going to shave or wax your back, taking a shower beforehand. It will make hair removal a lot easier since the pores of your skin are going to open up. Besides that, the hair will get softer the same way it happens with your beard.
- Fight razor bumps with the relevant anti-bump cream that soothes the skin and lets hair settle down.
Products that can help you
Shaving your back may be the best option but you need someone to help you out. A good tool that works more like a razor extension and can help you do it yourself is the Razorba Back Hair Shaver.
An alternative solution is the MANGROOMER Do-It-Yourself Electric Back Hair Shaver that can let you trim those hard to reach spots on your back. Pretty safe option that won’t get your any nicks and cuts.
Leaving aside the shaving and trimming options, few of the best hair removal cream for men that I found are Nair Men Hair Removal Cream, Revitol Hair Remover Cream and Nad’s for Men Hands-free Hair Removal Cream.
To make things smoother with shaving, in case you want to use a razor, you can get a good pre-shave oil such as Art of Shaving Pre-Shave Oil, Organic Male’s Soothing Herbal Shaving Emulsion and Kyoku for Men Sake Infused Shave Crème.
Remember, it’s a lot better if you pick a traditional shaving cream or a good soap soap to shave your back. You don’t want one of those pressurized foaming gels. You can give it a try and use the Taylor of Old Bond Street Shaving Cream or the Proraso Shaving Soap for Sensitive Skin.
To build lather, consider using a boar shaving brush like the Semogue 620 or a horse hair such as the Vie-Long 04312. I highly recommend these two type of brushes since they’ve got good backbone and they’re able to gently exfoliate your skin while applying the lather, reaching deeper into the roots of the back hair.
And lastly, grab a bottle of Shaveworks The Cool Fix to fight ingrown hair and skin rashes that pop up after shaving. Anthony Blue Sea Kelp Body Scrub could help rejuvenate your skin after shaving too.
Main image courtesy: Gajus/BigStock.com