Hair today, gone tomorrow
Max Smith didn't like having a hairy body.
It made him feel sweaty and unclean, particularly in the summer time.
For years he removed hair from his back, arms and pubic region with messy hair removal creams.
“Then one day my wife said, ‘Why don't you just get waxed?',” said Mr Smith, who asked that we not use his real name.
“I said: ‘They do male waxing here?'”
His wife made him an appointment with Rachel Garbett at Headway Hair & Body in Hamilton.
He was apprehensive before his first session with her last year. An overseas experience with intimate waxing had been painful.
“I didn't scream the first time, but I would say my heart rate was pretty high by the end,” said Mr Smith. “But I didn't like the hair so I thought I'd put up with whatever pain there was.”
Ms Garbett lured him with a secret weapon: a special blue wax with a high percentage of plastic to make it more flexible.
“We have had so many therapists come in and try to find out the name of it,” she said.
“It doesn't tug the skin as much when you go to rip it off. None of the other hard waxes do that. We also put oil down beforehand so it doesn't stick to the skin.”
She promised it would make the experience less painful. Mr Smith was pleasantly shocked.
“I have to say Rachel's technique is fabulous and the product she uses is really good,” he said. “I am a testament to that.”
Frequent waxing breaks down the hair and make it lighter.
And, because Mr Smith has regular appointments, he doesn't need to get waxed as often as he once did. He sees Ms Garbett every couple of months and often falls asleep in the process.
He claims having less hair helps with his cycling.
“People think cyclists wax their legs to be more aerodynamic,” he said. “Actually, that's not true. I like it because when I crash, it makes the road rash less painful later.”
Ms Garbett, studied beauty therapy at Redditch College in Birmingham, but she got most of her intimate wax training in Bermuda. British colleges can't teach it because the majority of students are under 18.
“I came out one summer to work for a lady called Miss Jacquie,” said Ms Garbett. “I was 30. I never knew her last name. She was a bit of a legend in the community. All she did was male waxing.
“She used to do bankers, accountants, lawyers and athletes; people who just liked to be clean.”
Not every guy wants the intimate ‘boyzilian'. Some just want their backs waxed, or their arms or eyebrows done. And then there are others who want the hair removed from their entire body — down to their toes.
“I would say 30 per cent of my clients are male,” she said. “The men probably make better patients because they try to be brave; they don't want to look like a wimp. The girls are either complete drama queens or they play on their phones, unaware of when I'm done.”
She believes having a good technique makes all the difference.
“You have to be gentle,” she said. “You have to make the client feel comfortable. You have to stretch the skin properly and make sure you note which way the hair is growing.
“The hairs [around the genital area] grow down, up and in. If you get bruising it's because the hair is being pulled the wrong way.
“If you've ever been waxed with a paper strip you know it can sting. That is because it is picking up your dead skin cells. If you put oil down first and then blot it and then put the wax on, the wax will only stick to the hair. The reason that works on that area is because the hairs stick up on end. They are coarse and wiry. If you did it on your arm it wouldn't pick them up.”
Male waxing at Headway costs between $50 and $100 depending on what is done and how much hair there is.
•The Gentlemen's Corner runs every other week in Lifestyle. Contact Jessie Moniz Hardy on 278-0150 or email@example.com with tips on trends, hobbies and events specifically for men.