How to Shave Your Back for Men (Illustrated)
Do I Have to Shave My Back?
Well-groomed men have one thing in common: they all have smooth backs. Even if you don't manscape any other part of your body, your back should always be smooth. Looking like a Yeti is not a hot look.
However, shaving your back can be quite a challenge, given that the back is such a difficult area to reach on your own. This article offers the most comprehensive tutorial on the web for back shaving, so it's going to cover all the pros, cons, dos and don'ts, and how-to's in every aspect of the back shaving process.
Shaving your back is really super easy once you learn all the tricks. First, I'll tell you what you'll need before you begin and then, I'll show you how to do it with an easy-to-follow, step-by-step illustrated guide.
Back Shaving Requires Certain Tools and Supplies
Shaving your body usually only requires a razor or a body groomer, but in the case of your back, your biggest issue will be reaching it. You can attempt to wrap your arms around yourself, but you'll find it to be incredibly difficult and straining.
There are some specific shaving tools especially designed to aid in back shaving.
Manual Razor Extender
This gadget helps you achieve the closest, smoothest shave possible, so for you gentlemen who prefer a razor, you'll want to purchase a razor extender like Razorba.
The Razorba is a patented razor handle. You slide your normal razor blade into the tip of the extender, and it provides you the reach you need to properly shave your back.
The Razorba gives you an extra 16" inches in reach. Razorba also offers another product called the "Stud Stamper" that is basically a shaving cream applicator that plugs into the Razorba, making it easy for you to apply shaving cream to hard-to-reach areas.
This unit is compatible with the Gillette Mach 3, Gillette Sensor Excel, and most Bic razors. They do make another slightly more expensive model that's compatible with even more razors.
Razorba is quite popular. If you check the reviews on Amazon, it's got mostly 5-star ratings, so it's a favorite among men. It retails for about $27 on Amazon.
Electric Back Groomer
An electric back groomer is designed specifically for shaving your back. There are two units I would recommend, the Mangroomer or the Philips Norelco BodyGroom Plus.
The most popular back groomer on the market is the Mangroomer. It has a number of features that make shaving your back quick and easy.
One of the best features of this unit is that it's shock absorbing. Sometimes when you're using other electric body groomers on your back, especially ones that aren't designed for back shaving, it can be easy to jab yourself with the blades as you try to shave in awkward positions. The Mangroomer eliminates this issue: 1) because it has a long, flexible handle that wraps around your back, and 2) the head and handle are shock absorbing, so you get just the right amount of pressure for your back.
The second best feature on this unit is the power burst button. Hair on the back can be very thick and coarse. The power burst button gives the unit an extra burst of power as you're going through thick patches of hair.
There are severals models of this unit. The Mangroomer Ultimate Pro Back Shaver is the latest model and it retails for about $57 on Amazon.
Philips Norelco BodyGroom Plus
The Mangroomer I mentioned above is the best for shaving your back. However, if you're doing any other body grooming, you may want to consider the Bodygroom Plus, because it will offer greater versatility–you can use it to shave your back and the rest of your body.
Philips Norelco makes three body groomers in their Bodygroom line, but only two come with a back extension–the Bodygroom Plus and the regular Bodygroom.
One of the features I like most on this unit is the round-tip shaving blades. Most electric shavers have pointy blades but on the Bodygroom, the tips are rounded to prevent scratching. The foil on the shaver is also hypoallergenic. These are both really great features to prevent any skin irritation.
The Bodygroom Plus retails for about $40 on Amazon. Philips backs this product with a 45-day money-back guarantee, so if you don't like it, send it back.
Shaving Gel (Shower Shave)
If you're using a manual razor like the Razorba, you're going to need a good shaving cream or gel. I recommend a shave gel over a cream because it makes it easy to see your skin while you're shaving.
Because the back is a large area, you're going to need more than a normal shaving gel, something that will give you good coverage across your back, preferably a product that comes with a substantial amount of shaving gel.
I'd recommend the Brave Soldier Shower Shave because it's incredibly lubricating and super slick; a little goes a long way. While the product may seem like it's made for showers, you can use it out of the shower as well. When it comes in contact with water its lubricating power compounds several times. It's great for use anywhere on the body, including your back, and can also be used on the face.
Brave Soldier Shower Shave comes in an 8 ounce bottle for about $17 on Amazon.
Antiseptic (The Cool Fix)
I'd recommend applying an antiseptic to your back after you have completed your shave. An antiseptic is going to kill bacteria and help close the pores.
Guys can sometimes be prone to acne, especially on the back, and once you've shaved, you may increase the risk of body acne as open pores can collect bacteria and dead skin cells.
The Cool Fix is my favorite antiseptic. It's a light gel that moisturizes the skin and dries quickly. The product is emollient and leaves your skin feeling very soft.
One small drawback to this product is coverage. When covering a wide area of your back, you will need a lot of this gel. It dries quickly, so you may have to re-apply several times, though I think it's well worth it.
If you decide to not use this product and begin to develop body acne, then you'll want to reconsider adding this into your back shaving regimen. You can pick up the Cool Fix at Amazon for about $22.
Body Powder and Dry Lubricant (Gold Bond)
Regardless of whether you're using a manual razor or an electric groomer, when you're done, you'll want to put body powder on your back to keep your skin dry and fresh.
Contrary to popular belief, removing hair from your back can actually make you feel more sticky. The hair on your back provides some ventilation–it's a buffer between your skin and clothes and allows air to pass through. When you remove that buffer, your skin will cling to your clothes more, and this may result in more moisture on the skin. To avoid this, use body powder on your back after shaving.
There are a number of great body powders on the market (check out my article, 12 Most Popular Body Powders for Men). One of the best powders you can use for your back is Gold Bond Ultimate Body Powder. It is made from corn starch and has a super smooth feel. The smell is great–it's light and fresh.
I also recommend this powder because if you're using an electric back shaver, you can use this product as a dry lubricant. This is a little secret to shaving with a body groomer that most men don't know: You should always apply body powder to your skin before using an electric body groomer. This will make your shaving much more comfortable and minimize irritation.
Exfoliating Cloth (Salux)
As the hair starts to re-grow, you're going to want to exfoliate every few days to help loosen the hair, remove dead skin cells, and ensure you don't get any ingrown hairs or back acne.
The best product you can use to exfoliate your back is the Salux Exfoliating Wash Cloth. A product of Japan, this little invention provides incredible results for shaving your back. You will feel super smooth after using this cloth. It's made from a light nylon fabric and has a light scratchy texture that feels rather invigorating.
The other thing I like about this cloth is that it's perfect for the back. It's basically a 35 inch long rectangle so you can hold it in both hands and easily pull back and forth, almost like you're polishing your back.
After each use, it dries very fast and can also be washed in the washing machine when needed. The Salux Wash Cloths are amazingly inexpensive on Amazon.
Areas of Your Back to Shave
When you shave your back, you want it to look clean, even, and neat. Use the diagram above as your guide; you'll want to shave inside the areas delineated in red.
You'll want to shave the...
- back of the neck,
- top, side, and back of the shoulders, while creating an even straight line around the circumference of the top part of the arm,
- full length the back, top to bottom, and halfway around your sides (most men have very little hair on the sides), and
- top of the buttocks, to right above where the crack begins.
How to Shave Your Back: Step-by-Step & Illustrated
Step 1 - Apply Shaving Gel or Body Powder (Dry Lubricant)
Apply shave gel or body powder (dry lubricant) all over your back. If you're using shave gel, wet your hands and rub the shave gel between your palms to get a good lather. If you're using body powder, apply to your hands first and rub evenly across your back.
Thoroughly rinse your hands before the next step.
Step 2 - Begin Shaving Your Back
Begin shaving your back with the Razorba or the electric body groomer. Shave in small sections to prevent your shaver/groomer from getting clogged and frequently remove any hair build-up as you proceed.
Step 3 - Rinse and Dry Your Back Off
Once you've finished shaving, rinse any excess shower gel, body powder, and stray hairs off and dry your back. Make sure you use a fresh towel when you dry off–you don't want to introduce any bacteria onto your skin.
Step 4 - Apply Antiseptic to Your Back
Apply antiseptic to your back to prevent any skin irritation from developing. This should be done right after you shave and rinse.
Step 5 - Apply Body Powder
After you're dry, apply body powder to your back to keep your skin dry and prevent it from sticking to your clothes. You will want to reapply body powder to your back every day.
Step 6 - Exfoliate Your Back
After a few days pass, you will want to begin exfoliating your back. Take the Salux cloth, stretch it out to full length, and gently rub your back.
This completes this tutorial. The hair will start to regrow over time but the good news is that most back hair does not regrow quickly, so you should be able to enjoy the results for a while.
To read this article in Spanish, see Cómo afeitarse la espalda para hombres (ilustrado).