african american man in towel in bathroom

The market for men’s grooming continues to grow and filter into the mainstream, encouraging even the average Joe to clean up his act. But they’re still some practices or grooming techniques seen as questionable to the even the most enthusiastic groomer. Then again, it’s 2014, and “manscaping” (that’s right, M-A-N-S-C-A-P-I-N-G)— the removal of body hair—is now socially acceptable.

Which begs the question: has men’s grooming gone too far? For years, shaving was the only manly way to remove body hair. But with notable celebrities like LL Cool J and Sean “Diddy” Combs admitting to their “wax behavior” (hairy backs never loved us), it was only a matter of time before individuals such as myself would give the wax a test run.

After completing my first manscaping adventure via waxing, I must say: this isn’t for every dude. But if you want the smoothest chest, shoulders and arms you’ve ever had, I suggest you try it. Plus, if you’re planning an upcoming vacation, honeymoon or photo shoot, you can easily show off that physique you’ve been working on for the past few months in the gym.

Now with my inaugural wax in the books, I sat down with Noemi Grupenmager, the founder of Uni K Wax, who started the company after being fed-up with expensive (and slow) removal services. We discussed the waxing business, the do and don’ts of waxing and, most importantly, why more guys should partake.

EBONY: What would you say are some misconceptions men have about “manscaping?”

Noemi Grupenmager: Over the years, men’s grooming has become increasingly common, and many men prefer a clean, polished look over the au naturel. And the trend is growing. Aside from general grooming benefits, men who participate in different sporting activities such as cycling, bodybuilding and swimming are getting waxed, citing it as a competitive advantage.

EBONY: Are there any particular body parts men seem to wax more than others?

NG: I would have to say the most popular area that men have waxed, as one might imagine, are the back and shoulders. For some reason, there’s always been somewhat of a stigma, perhaps even embarrassment, around having too much hair in those areas. And as men age, they also begin to wax their noses and ears more frequently.

EBONY: What’s the best advice you can give someone considering a wax for the first time?

NG: You have to understand that not all wax is the same. So choosing a wax that is gentle on the skin and effectively removes hair “ouchlessly” is the key to a great waxing experience. Uni K Wax Centers use 100% all natural elastic wax, which is ideal for sensitive skin. The wax is applied at body temperature, and not only removes hair from the root for long-lasting hair removal, but also exfoliates, leaving skin as smooth as silk. 

EBONY: So what led you into the waxing business?

NG: As a consumer, I was always dissatisfied with the expensive, slow and limited hair removal services available at nail and hair salons. Before I opened Uni K Wax Centers, these salons were the only places offering hair removal. And the duty was often tacked on to employees who were already too busy with hair dressing, nails and other services.

With this notion, I imagined something new: a center solely dedicated to waxing. My vision was to have a specialized hair removal center that offered waxing for both men and women, while raising industry and marketplace standards, offering an all-natural and pain-free wax that wouldn’t aggravate the skin because of harsh chemicals and synthetic ingredients.

EBONY: What would you say are the ultimate do and don’ts for a grooming regimen such as this?

NG: Do: Exfoliate in between waxing to reduce the chance of ingrown hairs.

Don’t: Exfoliate one to two days before and after your wax, because Uni K’s unique wax will also exfoliate your skin while removing unwanted hair.

Do: Let your waxer know before your appointment if you have any allergies, health conditions, or are taking any medication (like Accutane), or if you are using any topical lotions or creams like AHAs or Retin-A, which are not compatible with waxing.

Don’t: Take Alcohol (and other stimulants such as caffeine) prior to waxing; stimulants tighten the pores.

Do: Enjoy the way your skin feels after your wax, and remember to schedule a follow-up. Uni K’s special “touch up” service is really convenient and helpful when transitioning your hair growth pattern from shaving to waxing. Touch up sessions (up to 12 days after your wax) will help remove hair that was shaved and could not be waxed during the first session because they were too short.

Don’t: Use numbing products or pain relief medicine, such as Advil, as it is not necessary with Uni K’s pain-free wax services.

If you’re thinking about trying out the wax, check to see if any Uni K Spas are located near you: unikwax.com.

Corey Chalumeau is EBONY.com’s Menswear Style Contributor. For sartorial advice on the daily, follow him @MrAestheticCJC on Twitter, and @MrAesthetic on Instagram.