Thousands of guys say it’s completely normal (and necessary).
Summer is here and it's the best time of the year to cut your hair short and shave your beard, but what about those wild hairs poking out from your armpits? It's tank top season, so you might notice your armpit hair is more on display than usual, but what do you do about it? Is it manly to have a full mane under your arm? Readers voted, and the answer was clear: Yes, men should absolutely shave their armpits. At least sometimes.
Of the 4,044 men surveyed, 68 percent said they trim their armpit hair; 52 percent said they do it for aesthetics, and 16 percent said they do it for athletic reasons. (About 1 in 10 guys surveyed said they never trim their armpit hair.)
Five years ago, the answers to this survey would be very different, speculates Craig Whitely, Hollywood’s leading expert on all things male grooming. Whitely (who goes by Craig the Barber) says that the manscaping push in recent years isn’t contained just to pubic hair.
“If you’re already doing some form of manscaping and you’ve got your shaver out, why not keep going?” he says.
Now, you may not think it’s manly to trim your armpits, and that’s all good. But humor us and take an objective look at your pits: If you have giant tufts of hair emerging from under your arms, you may want to reconsider.
Interestingly, science isn’t certain why guys have armpit hair. It’s possible it was once used in attracting a mate, says Daniel Lieberman, Ph.D., professor of human evolutionary biology at Harvard University.
Your underarm has a lot of apocrine glands, which produce sweat. This perspiration is made up of steroids, lipids, proteins, and other chemicals that can communicate “information.”
So, for example, your ancestors might have needed that armpit hair to trap their sweaty scent for attracting a mate. But that’s almost definitely not working for you today.
Check out our five tips to grooming your armpit hair with ease.
If you’ve never shaved your underarms before, chances are you’ll need to trim those patches down for the easiest and most comfortable shave . It’ll make less of a mess in the shower as well (because nothing is worse than a clogged drain full of man-hair).
Sure, you don’t have to exfoliate, but you should to avoid pesky, painful ingrown hairs. A loofah or exfoliating body scrub will do the trick to remove dead skin cells and bacteria (along with any deodorant gunk) to help you achieve the smoothest shave without razor burn.
You can cut it dry, but Whitely recommends to do it in the shower. Hot water softens the hair and reduces the risk of pulled hair or nicks, he says. Shave towards the end of your time in the shower and use shaving gel for added moisture to prevent irritation.
It's not a race, folks. To avoid razor burn and skin irritation, take it slow with your razor blade to make sure you get the closest shave. Unlike the hair on your face, underarm hair grows in all different directions, so make sure to shave sideways, as well top-to-bottom. Toss your old dull razor, and opt for one with a sharp blade and a pivoting head to move with the curves of your armpits for a more effective, easier shave.
After trimming, use an unscented shave balm. (Make sure it’s not alcohol-based, since underarm skin is sensitive.) Wait two to three minutes before you apply a moisturizing deodorant.