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Napier men happy with hairy backs

By Cassandra Mason, Teuila Fuatai

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Napier men don't want to get their backs waxed, but their partners make them, a local beauty therapist says.


A new international online survey, conducted by Auckland University's Virginia Braun, and Gareth Terry from the Open University in the United Kingdom, quizzed nearly 600 people aged 18-35 on their body hair grooming habits.

The research indicates body hair removal is becoming more common among young men _ with some even opting for the full "manzilian".

It found that while body hair was still considered more acceptable on men than on the fairer sex _ except on the back or shoulders _ male body hair was not seen as particularly desirable.

Sara Savage of Napier Therapies said hair removal was unpopular among Napier men, but their partners often forced them to get it done.

"They are usually sent in by their wives or girlfriends, and they are usually embarrassed."

Ms Savage used to work in the UK, where male hair removal was "hugely popular", especially in the gay community.

Napier men were not nearly as interested in a smooth back and chest.

"It doesn't seem to be nearly as popular here. Men don't feel the need to de-fur."

The small number of men coming for treatments was surprising, she said.

"[It's] quite outdoorsy and quite sporty here, and the men I do have in are pretty hairy."

The back wax was the most popular among men, as the chest could be quite painful, she said.

"I don't do the famous 'back, sack and crack'. There's only so far I will go."

Red Eleven modelling agency co-director Amanda Betts said hair removal was increasingly common among male Kiwi models.

"Men are all of a sudden placing value on beauty products and beauty services. It's becoming increasingly as important to them as what it is to our female talent."

Men were also experimenting with different hair removal strategies and more aware of what worked best.

"It's very much about personal choice. Some men see body hair as an identity, while others couldn't get it off fast enough."

Some clients still requested body hair, especially the "five o'clock shadow", to convey a sense of effortlessness and manhood, she said.

But a hairy back was "never acceptable".

Wellington beauty salon Shannons owner Deborah Shannon said back and leg hair removal procedures were most popular for men in their mid-to-late-20s.

"Metrosexuals _ they certainly are conscious of it and certainly do want to be quite well groomed."

However, men in their 50s also had their backs waxed.

"They're quite conscious [of hair] and they just feel better after it."

Some men liked to have hair removed to prevent feeling self-conscious in their togs.

Ms Shannon, who has worked in the beauty therapy industry for 27 years, said only women visited salons when she first started out.

"It's been a very gradual [increase], but definitely the younger guys prefer to be more hair-free."APN News & Media

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