Monday 21 October 2019

Comment: Goodbye Tom Selleck and your chest fur - here's why hairless men are on the rise

'Gone are the days of the hairy 1980s sex symbols like Tom Selleck, who proudly showed off their furry bodies' Photo: AP
'Gone are the days of the hairy 1980s sex symbols like Tom Selleck, who proudly showed off their furry bodies' Photo: AP
Sinead Moriarty

Sinead Moriarty

Ladies, if you're wondering where your razor's gone, you might want to ask your other half. Over 50pc of men have now admitted to trimming and shaving their leg hair.

In a recent online poll by 'Men's Health', carried out on its Facebook page, close to 50pc of respondents said they trimmed their leg hair.

Male leg-shaving was previously the preserve of professional cyclists or swimmers. Cyclists claimed bald skin allowed the road rashes they suffered to heal better.

Swimmers claimed it helped them to swim faster if their bodies were streamlined. Who knew that hair could be so complicated and slow you down?

Forget sport, forget Bradley Wiggins, Michael Phelps et al, today Joe Blogs is shaving his legs. The de-forestation of the male is becoming increasingly common as more men are taking to it for purely aesthetic reasons.

Average Joes everywhere are taking razors to their hairy pins. Inspired by posters of a shaved and plucked David Beckham in his tighty-whities and images of the incredibly hairless footballer Cristiano Ronaldo, men now want to show off the skin underneath the fur.

Times they are a-changing; lots of beauty salons now offer a selection of treatments for men. The aisles of supermarkets are brimming with countless different moisturisers, cleansers, body lotions, eye creams and hair-styling products all aimed at men. 2013 was the first year men spent more money on male-specific toiletries than on simple shaving products. Now, the men's grooming industry is expanding all across the globe, and is estimated to bring in $21bn (€19bn) in revenue this year.

Elodie Bohuon, beauty buyer at UK department store, Selfridges, says: "Men are starting to get more and more knowledgeable about beauty and are paying attention to their looks: haircare is the biggest category, with shaving coming second."

Gone are the days of the hairy 1980s sex symbols like Tom Selleck, who proudly showed off their furry bodies. Selleck had so much hair everywhere that it would have taken a team of beauticians with the arms of Romanian body builders to get that man's body smooth.

Following the surprise result of the 'Men's Health' survey, 'Women's Health' carried out a survey of its own, asking followers: "What do you think about guys shaving their legs?"

More than 50pc of respondents said they favour a man who either trims his leg hair or shaves it completely, while just under half said they preferred men's legs au natural.

I've got to say I prefer a man with hair. I don't want my other half to have smoother legs than me, I don't need to see the outline of his calf muscles. I prefer the hair, thanks, it feels more masculine.

I don't want my razor clogged with thick leg hair. Nor do I particularly want to see my other half plucking his eyebrows. Call me old fashioned but I like a guy to look…well, like a guy, and if that includes some body hair (which in most males it does) then that's fine.

But Irish women are just as keen as the women in the UK to be with hairless men, with almost four in 10 encouraging men to remove their body hair. Only 6pc of women find thick hair on a man's chest attractive and the majority (76pc) find hair on a man's back off-putting.

The male hair-removal business in Ireland is thriving and 20pc of Urbana Laser Hair Removal and Waxing Clinic's clients are now men. Paula Cuddihy, who owns the Dublin and Drogheda-based clinic, said: "We've always been unisex, but in the last few years we've seen a huge increase in the demand for hair removal for men. It's a very broad spectrum - we get guys in here who are students and guys who are barristers."

And the younger women, in particular, are keen on their men being hairless and it's not just their legs either.

Men today are removing more than just the hair on their chiny chin chins.

Last year saw the release of Remington's Delicates & Body Hair Trimmer. "For hair in around your delicates," it states. I would imagine nerves of steel are what's required when using this product. That and a very steady hand!

The trend for male hairlessness has been led by the gym-goers who want to show off their bodies - after all if you've worked hard in the gym for a six pack you're not going to want to hide it under a carpet of fur.

The result is the rise of hairless men and the booming industry based around hair removal.

What unsuspecting men, new to the razor, wax or trimmers may not understand is that once you go down that route, there is no going back.

No lady wants to get a rash from her man's bristly legs, chest or nether regions. You have to maintain smoothness - and it's very time consuming and frankly a bit of a drag.

Irish Independent

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