A Men's Guide for Shaving Armpits (Illustrated)
Men trim or shave their underarms for a variety of reasons and in a variety of styles.
Most well-groomed men opt for a simple trim so the armpit hair looks neat and clean. However, some guys shave off all of the hair for a smoother look.
One advantage of keeping your armpits neat and clean is that it's aesthetically appealing when you wear short-sleeved shirts and tank tops. If you go as far as a full shave, you'll also find that shaving your underarms helps reduce body odor—hair tends to collect and retain bacteria which produce odor.
Before you get started, you first need to decide which armpit hair style is right for you. As previously mentioned, yes, there are hair styles for your pits—so choose wisely.
Armpit Hair Styles for Men
There are three common armpit hair styles that you need to be aware of as you start to think about how you want to trim or shave your underarms.
The most common style is what I like to call "au natural"—in other words, the hair is not trimmed or maintained. It grows as it grows in whatever form it takes. This option is for the Paul Bunyan types.
Now, some guys have little underarm hair, so au natural might be okay. However, for many, this style can get messy and overgrown quickly.
If you like to sport tank tops and short-sleeved shirts, then you want to make sure that you look neat in your clothes—so check those underarms.
Trim and Short
The second-most common style is what I call "trim and short." It's common among metrosexuals and well-groomed men.
With this style, you don't actually shave the hair—you just trim it down so that it's shorter and does not protrude from your underarms. This look is masculine, neat, and incredibly sexy.
Going completely hairless is not for the faint of heart. It takes some courage and, preferably, a good reason. While it's perfectly acceptable for a man to shave his private parts, society feels a bit awkward about seeing men with no underarm hair, except under special circumstances.
If you are are a body builder or professional swimmer or simply heavy into sports, then it's usually considered socially acceptable to shave your underarms. In addition, it's okay for the transgendered and some effeminate men (if you've got the full look to pull it off). I talk about this topic more in depth in How To Shave Your Legs For Men.
Which style do you prefer?
How to Shave Your Armpits
The following 8-steps will help you achieve an excellent shave under your arms:
1: Disinfect Your Razor
Before shaving, you need to disinfect your razor or electric shaver with alcohol.
If you're using a manual, cartridge razor, then you will want to pour a small amount of rubbing alcohol over the end of the cartridge to kill any bacteria and germs.
If you're using an electric razor, you will want to dab a little bit of alcohol onto a cotton ball and rub the blades and hair guard down.
2: Wash Your Armpits
You should always be working with clean skin before you shave—you don't want to introduce any bacteria into your pores.
Before you start shaving, thoroughly wash your underarms with either a soap and washcloth or by taking a shower or bath.
Once finished, dry yourself completely off with a fresh towel.
3: Trim the Long Hairs Short
Before you start to shave, you want to trim down the long hairs so that they don't snag or get stuck on your razor.
The best way to do this is to use an electric trimmer. The Philips Norelco Bodygroom Pro has a hair guard on one end that makes this very easy to do. It cuts the hair just short enough so it's easy to shave afterward.
You can also use the Wahl Micro Groomsman to trim down the hairs easily.
Now, if "trim and short" is as far as you want to go, then you can skip steps four and five.
4: Apply Shave Gel
Next you will want to apply a shaving gel. I recommend a shaving gel over a cream, because it will be easier to see what you're doing.
Shower Shave is a great product for this. It's a silicone-based shaving gel.
5: Begin Shaving
Wet your razor and begin shaving the hairs under your arm. You will want to take short strokes as you shave—this will prevent the razor from clogging. Frequently rinse the razor to dislodge any stuck hairs.
If you want a super smooth shave, then shave against this grain; depending on your skin type, this could cause some irritation, but that should be reduced with an antiseptic. If you want to minimize irritation, then shave with the grain.
6: Rinse and Dry off
Now completely rinse the shaving gel and stray hairs clean from your armpits. Then, dry your skin with a clean towel, so as not to introduce any new bacteria onto the skin.
7: Apply Antiseptic
Apply an antiseptic like Shave Works under your arms. This will help:
- Close the pores
- Kill any bacteria that may be on the skin
- Minimize razor burn
- Reduce irritation
You should not be shaving any sensitive areas of your body without an antiseptic.
8: Apply Deodorant or Body Powder
Apply your deodorant or body powder as you normally would to your underarms. For the first few days, you may want to try a body powder—it will really help minimize friction as the hair regrows, plus body powder will also keep you dry and reduce odor. If you're unfamiliar with body powders, check out my article comparing the twelve most popular.
If you're going to expose bare skin under your arms, you may want to consider using an all-natural deodorant—here are my favorites. Sometimes if you introduce chemical-laden deodorant to freshly shaved skin, it can create some irritation.
Recommended Shaving Supplies
Below are some of the best shaving supplies for shaving and trimming your armpits:
Electric Body Groomers
To help you trim your armpits, there are a couple really good products on the market.
Philips Norelco Bodygroom Pro
Whether you plan to just trim or completely shave your underarms, you may want to check out the Philips Norelco BodyGroom Pro.
This is the #1 best-selling body groomer on the market, great for shaving and trimming your underarms.
The dual-end design of the BodyGroom Pro makes it easy for you to trim and/or shave your underarms—whichever you prefer. The trimmer on the bottom-end will allow you to shave the hair down so it's short, and the shaver on the top-end will offer you a close shave.
This body groomer retails for about $70 on Amazon.
Wahl Micro Groomsman
The Wahl Micro Groomsman is definitely not the Philips BodyGroom Pro, but if you just want to do some light trimming, it will get the job done.
The unit features a hair guard that attaches to the shaver that will allow you to trim down the hair while maintaining a length that still looks manual. The hair guard is actually designed for the eyebrows but will work under your arms.
I will say these little trimmers don't last forever. After about six months, you'll need to replace yours—the motors just get worn down. But, they are good little trimmers for the time that they work, and they're relatively inexpensive.
If you would like to go for a super smooth shave, then you'll need a really good manual razor—Gillette and Schick offer you the best options.
Gillette Fusion Proglide
The Gillette Fusion Proglide will offer you the closest and smoothest shave under your arms, with the longest-lasting results of any manual razor.
For some men, this works great; for others, it may offer a shave that's just too close. The skin under your arms is very sensitive, so you do want to minimize issues like razor burn.
With a razor like this, you don't need to press hard—just gently swipe it across the skin and the blades will do all the heavy lifting.
8 cartridges retail for about $30 on Amazon.
Schick Quattro Titanium
The Schick Quattro Titanium is a very different product from the Gillette Fusion Proglide. Unlike the Proglide, the Quattro Titanium features blades that are wrapped by a thin wire.
This wire helps minimize skin irritation by preventing you from pressing the razor too deeply into the skin. If you tend to be prone to razor burn or just have sensitive skin, then you'll probably want to opt for this razor—it is quite popular among guys with sensitive skin.
8 cartridges retails for about $18 on Amazon.
Whether you're shaving directly in front of your bathroom mirror or in the shower, you need a shower gel that will not only make it easy to see what you're doing but also be emollient enough to hold up under water—luckily, there is such a product on the market.
For shaving your underarms, no product is more perfect than Shower Shave.
It is an incredibly emollient shaving gel that's clear and holds up very well under running water. Shower Shave was formulated for shaving in the shower or bath—however, it can be used outside of both if desired.
Unlike any other shaving product I've ever seen, this product is formulated with silicon, so its stays very slick, allowing you to achieve a close shave while also leaving skin very hydrated.
Shower Shave retails for about $17 on Amazon.
In order to prevent any sort of razor burn, ingrown hairs, or other skin irritation, you're going to need a good antiseptic.
The Cool Fix
When guys experience skin irritation from shaving, it's largely due to the type of razor used and the the lack of antiseptic use. Antiseptic is vital to achieving an excellent shave.
I recommend a product called The Cool Fix, an antiseptic that's applied to freshly shaven skin. This product helps kill bacteria, close the skin pores, and minimize razor burn and the chance of ingrown hairs. It has a cooling sensation when applied to the skin and is also made with silicone, so it's very hydrating—leaving your skin feeling super smooth.
The Cool Fix retails for about $21 on Amazon.