We’ve learned how to groom our nethers on this site before, but fundamentals alone aren’t enough to achieve perfectly-groomed pubes: That also requires an understanding of both general expectations and the landscape you’re working with. Is the hairier man doomed to trimming his entire body every time he manscapes? Will the relatively hairless man look childlike if he goes completely bald down below? Is excessive shaping an absolute no-no?
We turned to Melanie Mari, owner and trained manscaper at Bare Skin Studio, for some answers. And as someone who performs more than 1,000 Male Brazilians per year, you can be pretty sure she knows her stuff.
What’s the most common reason for men to come in for a downstairs cleanup?
The biggest motivating factors are gaining a new girlfriend, being newly single, and cleanliness. I also have a few “New Year, New Me” kind of guys who recently started coming in to take better care of themselves.
On the flip side, I see a lot of guys who attempted to manscape themselves, but couldn’t quite get it right: Either they nicked themselves, or they manage to trim the bulk down with clippers, but can’t take the hair all the way down with a wet razor. I also see guys who tried, but did a patchy job, because they didn’t have proper direction or an understanding of how to do it. It’s something that most people don’t talk about publicly, so a lot of men are scared to do it themselves.
What does the average guy ask for down under?
They usually don’t come in with something in mind—they defer to me, because I’m the expert. My job is similar to any other hairstylist position: I know what’s going to frame your body, and make it look its best.
What’s influencing men to do this in the first place?
A lot of our guys seem to look around online—God bless Google—for suggestions or tips on how, where and why to manscape before coming in. I also hate to say this, but porn influences a lot of guys. But it more often has to do with women: These guys have a woman or want a woman, and they believe it’s more sexually appealing to clean up down there.
So what does a partner typically expect from a man’s pubic hair?
This is just my opinion, but I think I represent the majority: The trick is cleanliness and keeping things high and tight, so to speak. As crass as this may sound, nobody wants to get lost down there.
So how do you achieve a perfect manscape?
Here’s the honest-to-God truth: If you have the body for it—and you’re not super hairy all over—go fully bald or go home. If you’re sort of hairy, trim down the pelvic hair using a #1 clipper, paying extra attention to any hairs around your shaft. And if you’re super fur-tacular, consider also trimming your abdomen and the tops of your thighs using a #2 clipper to blend into your pubes.
Are there any absolute faux pas?
The one thing that isn’t at all sexy is when guys create their own bikini lines [that is, they shave hard lines in the shape of bikini briefs, but don’t trim the long hairs sprouting from their abdomen and thighs]. That looks really unnatural. Don’t create lines that aren’t naturally there!