By Lilliane Caron
Any woman who has ever shaved or waxed will no doubt be familiar with ingrown hairs and well aware of the pain, irritation and embarrassment they cause. Women, generally seek a solution to help with these issues, well because, we’re women, and we act on these kinds of things! While men are also extremely prone to ingrown hairs and shaving rash due to the coarseness of their hairs they are much less likely to go shopping for what they consider to be ‘beauty’ products. So, how do we help our male clients overcome the hurdle of the awkward ingrown or shaving rash? The best way to go about this is to offer them a ‘solution’ to their problem, rather than a ‘beauty product’ to include as part of their ‘grooming routine’.
In the last couple of years, manufacturers have invested a great deal into men’s grooming, with various brands releasing male-specific exfoliators, concealers, serums and lotions. The male grooming category is expanding rapidly to try and satisfy the male consumer’s needs. As a beauty therapist it is really great to see the male grooming industry growing.
With the increase in male grooming, hair removal is also growing in popularity with men. Not only with waxing but also other treatments including IPL, laser and electrolysis. If you think only metrosexuals, gay men, or athletes would choose to go totally hair free, think again. You would be surprised to find that majority of the men who get waxed are just your everyday, typical bloke. Some say a ‘man-zilian’ makes them feel cleaner, others do it to emphasise the appearance of their ‘parts’ and some say their partners prefer it. I also find a lot of male athletes including cyclists and swimmers remove hair for practical reasons. They believe that hair increases the drag of the air or water, which significantly slows them down during a competition. Gym junkies and body builders who work hard in developing their muscles are choosing to remove their body hair in order to showcase their body. The surge in men removing their body hair means there is now a much greater demand for products to treat the various side effects.
Our research showed us that males were suffering with shaving rash and ingrown hairs just as much as women, if not more – and there was no easy solution to help them deal with these issues. To overcome this, we developed Bump eRaiser, a range of products that treat and prevent ingrown hairs for both men and women. The range is developed with everyone in mind (hence the non-gender specific packaging and branding), which makes it the perfect retail product for any client. Especially when we’re dealing with blokes, it is important to talk about the Bump eRaiser products as a treatment or a solution for a problem, not ‘beauty product’ as this can turn some of them right off. Many men feel that even moisturising it a part of a beauty regime and something that they won’t have a bar of!
To put it simply, an ingrown hair is a hair that does not emerge from the follicle but remains embedded in the skin, usually causing inflammation. Ingrown hairs can occur after hair removal when dead skin cells accumulate and form a papule as the skin heals. Hair growing in the area gets trapped under the papule and is prevented from exiting the skin, creating an ingrown hair.
Irritating and unsightly ingrown hairs can occur on any part of the body however for men they are most common on their face, neck, back, chest and thighs. The first piece of advice to give a male client that suffers from ingrowns (or any client for that matter!) is, do not, I repeat, DO NOT squeeze, pick, pluck or dig at the ingrown hair. Instead, offer them Bump eRaiser Medi Paste which is a spot treatment that will rapidly draw out the infection of nasty ingrowns and bring the hair to the surface of the skin. Applying Medi Paste twice a day will work quickly to treat the ingrown hairs as it is a cure rather than prevention. This is going to save your clients a lot of pain and potential infection. This can be on pimples too, so you can offer it to clients who are having treatments other than waxing, or even to parents for their teenaged kids to use.
Ingrown hairs and other problems associated with hair removal vary from person to person and can be more prominent depending on hair and skin types. Regardless of skin-type, you should always advise your clients to exfoliate regularly as it helps remove dead skill cells and decrease the chances of hairs becoming ingrown. Not surprisingly, handing a man an exfoliating mitt and body wash and telling him to work this in to his daily ‘routine’ doesn’t always happen. He will say ‘yes!’ but he won’t do it. An alternative is for you to suggest Bump eRaiser Concentrated Serum. A quick spray of this on any part of his body is going to help prevent ingrown hairs from occurring and will help calm red, itchy and sensitive skin after hair removal. If he suffers from shaving rash and ingrowns on his face, neck and chest he needs Bump eRaiser Cool Splash. Cool Splash is designed for men only and is best used as an aftershave treatment. It will cool red, hot and itchy skin as well as prevent ingrown hairs.
As I said earlier, I am all for the male beauty industry growing and men being offered a solution for their skincare needs. I think men are slowly embracing grooming and skincare as the norm. Others still need a gentle nudge in the right direction from the lovely ladies in their life, and that’s okay! Don’t let them suffer silently. Offer your clients a solution by bringing it up in general conversation, this makes it less awkward. It is our job to help and advise them on the best way to deal with these issues without embarrassing them. If we don’t bring it up and the problem goes untreated, we have not done our job. Not to mention, they may think this is a normal reaction and has been caused from your waxing technique – don’t risk the chance of wearing the blame when you know how to fix it. Next time you have a male client with bumpy skin, don’t be scared or shy to talk about the subject. Remember, they might not ask for it but they will definitely thank you for it.