Scream-Free Manscaping

08/27/2010 04:40 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011
  • Mike Alvear Author of Eat It Later. Mastering Self Control & The Slimming Power Of Postponement

Can men get rid of unwanted hair without popping Xanax? If I were selling the hair removal options I'd tell you it can be somewhat uncomfortable. But I'm not selling them so I'm free to tell you my experience: Every option available to you includes ear plugs for the person doing the removing.

Here are your manscaping options, with a little commentary thrown in for good measure:

Laser Removal
What it is: Laser light grabs the hair follicle, says, "Luke, I am your father" and kills the hair root. It doesn't kill the follicle, though, so hair can still grow back. Maybe it should say, "Luke, I did your father" and it would work better.

How long it'll take: About half an hour per session. Like the "Star Wars" movies, it'll take about eight sequels to get the job done.

Where you should aim it: At your boss. But if you need the job, your chest, back, stomach and genitals.
The hit: About $450 per treatment.
Duration: It's the most permanent of your options, but touch-ups are the rule.

What it is: Torture. They put strips of cloth over the wax and then RIP the sucker off. The new waxes aren't supposed to be as painful as the old waxes, but that's like saying getting stabbed by a dull knife doesn't hurt as much as a sharp one. Technically true, but ...
How long it'll take: 10 minutes to an hour.
Where you should aim it: Unibrows, hair on the ears and neck, legs, underarms, and arms. Gay advice: Do NOT use it on your genitals unless you're an extra on the next sequel to "The Hills Have Eyes" and need the screaming practice.
The hit: About $50-70 a session.
Duration: About 4 to 6 weeks.

What it is: Death by lightning bolt. Ultra-slim needles penetrate the hair shaft, delivering tiny shocks of electricity to the hair follicle.
How long it'll take: This ain't a Manhunt Bang-N-Go hookup. Depending on how much fur you're scalping, we're talking about 20 minute weekly sessions for up to a year. Man, that ain't a trick, that's a husband.
Where you should aim it: Because it's so time consuming I'd keep to small places like the eyebrows and neck.
Who it'll work on: Guys looking for a long-term commitment.
The hit: About $40 per session
Duration: It's permanent, if you don't mind being a lightning rod for a year.

What it is: French for "chemical burn." Chemicals dissolve proteins in the hair, loosening them to the point that they drop to the floor like the last date you got drunk. The good news: They leave a rounded, smoother edge, minimizing the sharp, hard, stubble that shaving leaves.

How long it'll take: 3-5 minutes, depending on how much straw you've got on your broom.

What it'll work on: Best for back, chest, arms and legs. The chemicals can be harsher than my columns so always do a patch test on a small area of skin (the inner arm below the elbow is a good place). Wipe it off immediately if you get any kind of reaction -- burning, redness or an insatiable desire to tell everyone Whitney's second comeback is just around the corner. Different brands have different formulations so if one doesn't work try another.

The hit: $5-$10

Duration: 7 to 14 days.

Where you should aim it: Your face, arms and legs. You COULD use it on your genitals, but man, I'd be as nervous as a dog outside of a Korean meatpacking plant. Make sure you use formulas marked for sensitive areas and stare at the stopwatch like your scrotum depended on it -- because they do.