It’s the Olympic Games, and celebrating everything Brazilian, we chose to look at some grooming trends that, well, are a little less conventional, but which would certainly be on-trend in progressive cities like Rio. When you think grooming and Brazil, naturally the first thing that comes to mind would be beautiful bronzed Brazilians, wearing the expected tiny swimming costumes that they have become famous for. Further, the Brazilian wax has also become famous, specifically because of the need to trim the areas that the tiny costumes do not cover. For those of you who may not know, the Brazilian wax sculpts body hair to the smallest possible area, ensuring that no hair escapes from the sides of the inches of material providing the necessary modesty.
For many years, this was specifically meant for woman, and included a religiously-followed routine that ensured a great deal of pain every six weeks or so to guarantee the regions remained hairless. And while waxing remains an option, technology, specifically laser technology, has advanced to the point where is it safe to ‘beam’ where many still fear to shave or trim.
Over and above this, men have also begun adopting extended routines of hair grooming and maintenance. While beards have become longer, other areas are now meant to be maintained with a shorter or no hair design. The Brozilian has, surprisingly, become extremely popular among men in Johannesburg, Pretoria, Cape Town, and most of the coastal cities in South Africa where more skin is shown on, either on occasion, or 24/7.
Brozilian? Yes, this is the male version of the beauty treatment long enjoyed by brave and image conscious women, however with a little more attention needed in terms of application and execution.
Now, I am a hair guy – not sasquatch-like, but with the appropriate dark and slightly thicker hair one would expect from a South African man of my age. I am, what one might call “a friend of the hair” opting to let hair be, although I do exercise maintenance on the various areas of my body where hair growth seems to have extended its vine like spread. In those instances, clippers come in very handy, but for the more hard to reach places, waxing is really the only option.
Once, only once, have I considered waxing my legs – and even then, it was not something I wanted to do for myself, but was rather part of research required to write an article. That experience left me emotionally scarred, and reaffirmed my belief that there are some areas, particularly legs, where hair is just meant to be. Of course, the prospect of waxing regions north of the thigh has never entered my mind on its own. If the hairs on my legs seem to be connected to the deepest pain receptors in my body, the hairs located in the central province are highly likely to be adjoined to my soul. No waxing there, no way. #Ever!
However, in such instances that present exceptionally odd or particularly taboo practices, I hold a morbid fascination, and presented with the idea that men who go to my gym may be following this trend, I contacted professionals at The Laser Beautique who offer this service, but provide choices between waxing, electrolysis, and laser hair removal.
Note: The answers provided have been edited due to article length restrictions, but we have maintained the central point and necessary information in each answer.
Tzvia Hermann, owner of The Laser Boutique confirms, “I have never encountered a guy that did not describe waxing his pelvic area as one of the most painful things he has ever felt. Waxing does hurt, however laser and electrolysis hair removal is virtually pain free. We treat a growing number of male clients who enjoy a pain free.”
To Tzvia (TLB), I (GF) posed questions that every guy might have about the less painful, non-waxing procedures.
GF: Why should a guy consider getting a brozillian?
TLB: The growing demand for the treatment is a clear indication that men enjoy the benefits of being hair free down there. Apart from the feel of smooth skin, other benefits include the obvious visual appeal (Note: We don’t think all our readers think that no hair looks better, some of us may like the hairier look). There is also the hygienic benefit from having hair growth reduced or removed in this area. A pelvic area that is quite hairy is the ideal breeding ground for bacteria, as the hair provides the structure that bacteria grow on.
GF: What difference does it make in terms of comfort?
TLB: Many men enjoy the smooth feel of being hair free and find it to be far much more comfortable. Hair can cause a lot of friction and discomfort. Non-permanent hair removal treatments are often uncomfortable when hairs begin to grow back, however with laser, the hair grows back less dense, which is far much more comfortable.
GF: Exactly how painful is the process?
TLB: At The Laser Beautique, we specialise in pain free laser hair removal. Our staff go through rigorous training and our laser machines are the best available. Skin sensitivity can be heightened by various outside factors such as medication like Roaccutane or Accutane, in which you would not be able to have laser hair removal done. One has to shave the area before having laser. Clients are advised to shave the night before the treatment. This is because the shaving leaves this skin sensitive and if one lasers sensitive skin we could irritate it further. Shaving the night before give the skin has a chance to recuperate from the abrasive blade. Should clients have not shaved prior to treatment and have a visible hair growth, the therapist will have to shave the area before the laser treatment, which could leave skin sensitive and result in a bit of tenderness.
GF: On a scale of 1 (least) to 10 (most) where would you say the pain level is on the scale?
TLB: There is no pain to experience when laser is done properly. It is actually a pleasant feeling that many associate to the same sensation as a hot stone massage. The most amount of discomfort that a guy will experience is usually on the areas with nerve endings (shaft and anal area). On a pain scale it would never be past a 4. We do let clients know that they must communicate with the therapist and let her know if he is feeling any pain so that the parameters used to treat can be adjusted.
GF: Does it become easier the more you do it?
TLB: Definitely. You become more comfortable with the sensation of have the laser against your skin. Many are a bit apprehensive before doing it and do not necessarily know what it will feel like. There is also a level of comfort that the client builds up with the therapist, and they become more comfortable exposing the treatment area when required. Its more the fear of the unknown that one may find difficult to overcome initially.
GF: Exactly how much do you need to expose yourself to a consultant in order to get the procedure?
TLB: We try to make the process as comfortable as possible for the client. At no point does the client have to be completely exposed. If they feel they would like one side covered while treatment is happening on the other side, the therapist will oblige. Needless to say, whatever area you are treating will need to be visible at some point, but at no point does someone have to be completely exposed. A client can also use their hand to cover areas they would prefer to no be seen. We have some male clients who come in with their partners or spouses.
GF: Post procedure, what is the recovery time, what are the things a guy expect within the first hour, day, week?
TLB: In the first hour the skin can be quite sensitive. Therapists apply post laser gel and we suggest the use of it at least 3 days after to ensure maximum comfort. There is no down/recovery time though, and one can go about their day completely normally. There might be a slight redness, which is completely normal and subsides through the day. Similar to the redness one experiences after a wax. The scientific term is adema. For someone who has never removed hair down under, the sensation of being hair free can take a few days to get used to.
GF: On average, how long does the brozillian last for? How often does one need to go back for another?
TLB: We suggest a course of treatments between 8 – 12 treatments/ sessions to be hair free. It is advisable to wait at least 4-6 weeks between sessions so that hair can be treated at the right stage. Hair is effectively treated with laser when it is in the Anogen phase (the growing stage). Once a follicle has been treated by laser, it won’t grow back. However, hormones or certain supplements can stimulate hair growth. After completing your treatments, you should be hair free, and possibly may need come through for a couple maintenance treatments as some hairs could be dormant for years and then grow again.
GF: What does one wear to the procedure – what would you recommend?
TLB: You can wear anything that you prefer. If your skin is slightly irritable after the procedure, it would be best to wear underwear and trousers that are lose and comfortable so there is no friction or chaffing. But other than that, you come in as you wish.
GF: How do you maintain it? By this I mean, what should you apply to the area following the treatment?
TLB: We apply a post laser gel immediately after the treatment that helps calm the skin. We do suggest purchasing a post laser gel that you apply for a day or two at maximum after any laser treatment. The laser gel that we retail is the Regima Zone Laser Azu-Repair, is gentle and calming and is a great product to keep at home to treat scars, burns and anything that scabs or has crusting. It is gentle enough to even treat cradle cap or nappy rash.
GF: The first few times, was it comfortable walking around post the procedure.
TLB: Its perfectly comfortable and there is zero discomfort.
GF: Are there any implications in terms of comfort or tenderness? What about having sex post the procedure – should you wait for the skin to calm down?
TLB: Immediately after, you might experience a bit of redness and it might feel a bit tender, however the post laser gel helps to calm it down. Most guys would be perfectly fine to have sex the same day. It is also important to note that most males report sex to be by far much more pleasurable when there is no hair on their intimate regions as one may experience more sensations.
GF: What do you think women in general, or in your experience, prefer?
TLB: Most women prefer to not have to deal with hair, both on themselves and their guy. Smooth, sleek, non-scratchy is generally the preference. Some woman do enjoy a masculine bit of hair on the chest area, but the general consensus is less hair is better.
GF: What are the dangers?
TLB: The only danger with laser hair removal is your choice of clinic. If you schedule at a clinic where the therapist has not been trained well enough or is unfamiliar with treating such areas, it can be very painful and burn. So ensure that you do enough research when choosing where you will be having your treatment done.
GF: What are the benefits?
TLB: Having laser hair removal has the long term benefit of permanent hair removal, provided that you attend all your sessions and follow the advice of your therapist. This of course means that you have less grooming to worry about as it is pretty much taken care of. As mentioned earlier, there is a hygienic benefit to being hair free, as bacteria have less opportunity to grow.
GF: Does it work for all hair types / colours?
TLB: One would have laser hair removal if the hair is dark or pigmented. Unfortunately no laser in the world can successfully treat little or non-pigmented for example, blonde, ginger, grey or white. If one has some grey in the brozilian, we would recommend having laser for the dark hairs. All the darker hairs will disappear and then treat the remaining white or non-pigmented hair with electrolysis. If ones full brozilian is dark, we recommend laser all the way. A brozilian reasons to laser! We do recommend that you try and laser before the hair goes grey as it will save you the electrolysis treatments.
GF: How long does the process take?
TLB: A brozillian takes about a half hour to treat, but laser duration is dependent on the size of the area. To be completely hair free, a client will need to have a series of treatments. The Laser Beautique recommend 8-12 treatments, every 4-6 week so ensure we are treating hair that is in the correct growth stage, so your entire treatment period is about 10 months.
GF: How much does it cost?
TLB: It is dependent on which brozilian treatment you choose. You could have anything from a mini brozilian to a Hollywood Ext. Price ranges from R900 per a session to R1500 per a session. We offer discounts packages and course of treatments that can save one quite a bit of money.
A bit about the technology…
All responses to the below are based on treatments offered by The Laser Beautique and they have not responded to our questions with technologies used by other salons in mind.
TLB: Our staff go through intensive training processes to ensure that they are fully qualified to operate the technology and that our client’s treatments are comfortable and effective. We do not advocate the use of IPL for hair removal. Although many salons advertise IPL as laser treatment, it isn’t. IPL stand for Intense pulse light. This is false advertising – IPL cannot deliver the results one can achieve with a laser. Conventional laser treatments are extremely painful. Clients are known to discontinue treatment due to the pain. At The Laser Beautique we use a pain-free diode laser, The Soprano, which is built to enable our therapists to treat using a unique technique called In Motion ™ which allows for a pain-free treatment. Conventional electrolysis machines, although effective, are extremely painful and leave scarring or an orange peel effect on the skin. The Apilus, current is so speedy that the body does not even recognise the treatment is taking place. The probes are insulated and only the hair follicle treated which means the skin is safe and there is little to no risk of scarring. We do not advocate the use of previous electrolysis machines as they do not deliver what the Apilus delivers.
This article was written for, and first appeared in an edited version on Maxim Magazine.