If you’re thinking about trimming it up, you’re not alone.
According to a U.S. study, just over half of men surveyed —
There’s no need to feel self-conscious about why you do it, either: men trim the hedges for numerous reasons, from cleaning up before sex to keeping it neat and tidy so that hair doesn’t stick out of clothes.
But don’t feel like you need to groom at all. Pubic hair maintenance is totally up to you. Just be sure you’re well-versed in safety, maintenance, and aftercare before you start.
The kind of pubic hair design depends on what you like and how much maintenance you want to do. Here are the three most popular, go-to designs:
Basically the man’s version of the bikini style. Shave all the hair that visibly sticks out of your underwear.
Remove all the hair off your balls and the base of your penis, but leave everything just above the penis. This can make your penis look larger.
Cut your hair down to a short length so that you still have full hair coverage but much shorter hairs. This is a good option if you don’t want to shave completely but still want to keep the hair minimal.
You can also go completely bare, if that’s your choice. You may find the style you like dependent on how much upkeep and grooming you want to do.
Before you start grooming, wash your hands and sanitize your tools. You might also want to take a quick warm bath or shower first to soften the hairs. This will keep your skin from getting irritated, especially if you’re going bare.
When removing hair, do it in the shower or over the toilet to make cleanup easier. After you’re done, disinfect your tools and put them in an enclosed, clean case.
When you shave, it’s easy to accidentally slice some skin and expose yourself to bacteria or irritants. Shaving can also block your follicles — the casings that hold each hair — potentially causing folliculitis or ingrown hairs.
How to: Shave in the direction that your hair grows to minimize irritation. Pull your skin to keep it taut to get all of the hairs.
2. Waxing and threading
Waxing is done by applying strips of warm wax to a hairy surface and pulling hairs out from their follicles. Waxing is a good alternative to shaving because it typically results in less itchiness when the hair starts growing back.
Threading works by wrapping thin threads around hairs and pulling them out by the root, too.
These methods are perfectly safe when done by a trained professional, but if done improperly, can cause some uncomfortable side effects, including redness, irritation, and ingrown hairs.
3. Chemical depilatories
Chemical depilatories weaken keratin in hair so that it loosens from its follicle and can be wiped off with a towel or gentle exfoliating sponge.
These are easy to find at your everyday drugstore. But they can contain chemicals or other substances that cause allergic reactions or breakouts. If you have sensitive skin, you’ll want to avoid this method of hair removal.
4. Laser hair removal or electrolysis
Laser hair removal and electrolysis are both considered “permanent” methods to denude pubes: both eliminate hair follicles so hair doesn’t grow back.
Laser removal uses concentrated beams of light, while electrolysis uses a device that transmits energy from chemicals or heat into your follicles to keep them from growing new hairs. Hairs may still grow back after several treatments, but they’re usually finer and less noticeable when they return.
The professional will ask you to shave before coming. It’s best to have two weeks of growth, although some places give you privacy to shave at the beginning of the appointment.
Both types of removal should be done by a professional at a treatment center. Talk to your doctor before choosing either of these techniques, especially if you’ve had keloid scar tissue formation.
If done improperly, these treatments can change your skin color, too.
5. Trimming or maintaining
Don’t want to chop your pubes? No problem.
Pubic hair, unlike head hair, stops growing at a certain point. So leaving your hair untrimmed won’t cause a Rapunzel situation down there. But if you want to take a little off the top, trim with the scissors pointing away from your body.
Don’t cut hair too close to your pubic skin, either. This is an easy way to accidentally cut yourself. And be extra careful around your scrotum and penis skin, which is much thinner.
Even if you’re careful, it’s not uncommon to get rashes, bumps, or ingrown hairs on your pubic area, especially if you shave.
It’s best to stop shaving until these symptoms go away. See your doctor if they don’t get better after about a week of no shaving, or if they seem to be getting worse.
Here’s what you should do for each concern:
- Don’t scratch. This can make the irritation worse or cause an infection.
- Use hydrocortisone cream to reduce itching.
- Use a soothing, natural lotion or cream to relieve irritation. (Or make your own at home using shea butter, olive oil, baking soda, and a few drops of essential oil.)
- Let the hair grow back out until bumps disappear.
- Consider shaving less frequently if you get bumps every time you shave.
- Try using an electric razor.
- Don’t shave again until the hairs grow back for a few weeks.
- Use a warm, wet washcloth to massage the area once daily until irritation improves.
- Don’t use tweezers to pull them out, as this can increase your infection risk.
There’s no right or wrong way to handle your pubic hair. Stats show that men are split right down the middle when it comes to pube grooming, so it’s really all about personal preference.
Some men go completely pube-less, while others just keep it trimmed. Some men don’t pay any attention to it beyond keeping it clean — and either way, it’s totally okay!
Remember that not everyone’s pubic hair is created equal. Your bush is going to look different than one online or in the locker room — like the rest of your hair, genes and overall health play a role in hair growth and quality.
If your partner or someone close to you is pressuring you to do something to your pubes you’re uncomfortable with, let them know. It’s your body, and no one besides your doctor (and only when something is threatening your health!) should ever tell you what to do with them.
Grow ‘em proud, trim ‘em down — it’s up to you!
Tim Jewell is a writer, editor, and linguist based in Chino Hills, CA. His work has appeared in publications by many leading health and media companies, including Healthline and The Walt Disney Company.