Insider Interview: Andy Rouillard, the UK’s leading expert in male waxing

Britain’s top male waxing specialist Andy Rouillard knows just about everything there is to know about hair removal for men. Not only does he spend his days ensuring men’s backs, shoulders and other bits are free of unwanted hair he also teaches others how to deliver perfect treatments too.  So who better to provide a glimpse into the world of the super-smooth male?

GG: More and more men seem to be waxing these days. Why do you think that is? And what are the benefits of waxing?

AR: Guys have been shaving, creaming, plucking and trimming unwanted hair for years, we just haven’t talked about it quite as openly until now.  We do it because it feels cleaner, cooler and more comfortable to be hair free; because we prefer the way it looks; or because our partners have told us to get it done (I stopped counting a long time ago the number of chaps that are booked in for their first ever salon wax by a wife or girlfriend).

GG: Why the sudden boom though?

AR: As much as I hate to use the ‘media influence’ argument, there’s no denying the impact that our media’s fascination with fuzz-free celebrities has had on bringing waxing out of the closet.

Need I even mention the Golden Balls Armani ad from a few years back that whipped the media up into such a frenzy of speculation over Mr Beckham’s personal hair removal habits?

The reality is, many guys saw the fuss generated by this one story and thought to themselves: “well if it’s good enough for Becks, it’s good enough for me.”

GG: What’s the most common part of the body that men want waxing?

AR: Backs and shoulders are still the most popular areas chosen for deforestation, but an increasing number of guys are now opting for more extreme manscaping in the form of Brazilian waxing.  Perhaps better known as the infamous ‘back, sac and crack’ or ‘Boyzilian’, this involves the removal of unwanted hair from the crown jewels and bum.

GG: Ouch! I always wince when I think of Boyzilains!

AR: Surprisingly, it hurts a lot less than the image it conjures would suggest, and is quickly becoming one of the most requested male waxing services at salons up and down the country (although whoever came up with the name ‘Boyzilian’ needs to be shot at dawn).

Nostril and ear waxing is also very popular, which I consider less of a job and more of a public service.  Seriously, there’s no excuse for nose tendrils. There are times when I have to be physically restrained from yanking hair out of the snouts of strangers in the street.  I could probably get arrested for that, right?

GG: I saw a great annotated pic on your twitter feed (@Wax_Daddy) showing the direction of hair growth that you were showing students. Why is it important to know about the direction?

AR: Generally speaking, wax needs to be applied in the direction of hair growth and removed in the opposite direction.  Failing to follow the patterns that Mother Nature blessed you with means that the hair simply won’t come out; wax gets stuck, the skin tugs, and you end up with all manner of heartache from bruising, broken hairs and toffee-like clumps of cold wax that won’t shift for love nor money.

GG: Are there any new developments in waxing techniques or any new treatments for men?

AR: Fortunately, waxing has come a long way since the old ‘strip’em and rip’em’ style of hair removal made (in)famous by The 40 Year Old Virgin.  A new generation of low temperature peelable waxes has made hair removal a much more pleasant experience in the salon.  It works by ‘shrinkwrapping’ around the hair as it dries on the skin, and is then whipped off by hand instead of being removed with a cloth strip.  Also, many salons are now using oil under their wax instead of powder, which stops the product from sticking to the skin and makes things a lot more comfortable.

Check what your salon uses before making a booking.  For intimate waxing in particular, if a therapist comes at your boys with anything other than a bottle of oil and peelable wax, run screaming for the hills.

GG: What advice would you give to a man that is trying waxing at home?

AR: I’m undoubtedly a little biased but I am firmly of the opinion that some things are best left to the professionals – if nothing else, it’s quicker and it hurts less.  However, if you really must try this at home, the secret to success lies in your prep and aftercare.

For a few days beforehand, gently exfoliate the area you plan on pruning with a body brush or scrub.  This helps to slough off any excess dead skin cells and lifts the hair for better results.

Your skin needs to be clean and dry for the wax to stick.  If it’s a hot day or the thought of merrily ripping your own hair out by the root brings on a nervous sweat, dust yourself lightly with talc to absorb any excess moisture.

Trim the hair down with clippers or scissors before you start: you’ll be able to see the patterns of growth a lot easier, which prevents longer tufts from becoming tangled in the wax and will altogether hurt a lot less.  About 1cm (grade 3 on electric clippers) is about right; any shorter and the hair won’t be long enough for the wax to grip.

Work in small sections, applying wax thinly in the direction of hair growth and stretching the skin as you go.  Lay a fabric strip down and give it a few firm rubs with the whole of your hand to get a good bond between wax and hair.  Stretch the skin as taut as you can, then pull the strip off in the opposite direction to your wax application.  Keep your hand parallel to the body during removal and pull quickly and in one smooth motion (don’t hesitate or pull the strip up into the air, as this will hurt like a bitch and can cause bruising).  Apply pressure with a cold flannel immediately afterwards, which will cool and calm those jangled nerve endings.

Once you’ve finished, rub a generous squirt of baby oil into the area to shift any lingering sticky bits, then take a cool shower (not hot, unless you happen to like the smell of burning flesh).  Smother your freshly denuded body in tea tree body lotion or aloe vera gel to soothe and protect the skin.

You’ll look like a freshly plucked chicken and will feel a little sunburnt for a few days afterwards, so you need to treat things with a little extra TLC: avoid heat and friction (no hot showers, tanning, vigorous exercise, tight clothing, etc.), keep applying the tea tree body lotion, and the job’s a good’un.

GG: Why do you prefer waxing over other hair removal methods? 

AR: Shaving and hair removal creams are great for short term results or a last minute top-up at home before a big event, but they can be time consuming and only provide smoothness for a few days before the dreaded itch of re-growth sets in.  Sure, waxing has an initial ‘ouch factor’ (anyone who tells you otherwise is quite clearly a liar), but it’s relatively quick, affordable, and the results last a lot longer because hair is removed at the root, rather than being simply shorn off at skin level – this also means there’s no prickly stubble as your pelt grows back.  And it gets easier with every visit, I promise!

GG: And finally, what’s your best waxing tip?

AR: Ingrown hairs are the bane of waxers worldwide and can be a blot on the smoothest of landscapes.  A daily slick of moisturizer and a quick buff in the shower with an exfoliating mitt or body scrub twice a week will help keep the little blighters at bay.

Zap really stubborn spots with a product such as PFB Vanish or Anthony Logistics Ingrown Hair Treatment.  The key ingredient in these is salicylic acid, which acts as a chemical exfoliant to free trapped hairs and also reduces any associated inflammation.  As an added bonus, these products can be used to treat razor bumps in the beard area too.

Finally, get waxed every 4-6 weeks.  It may seem like a chore to start with, but this timescale encourages the hair into similar cycles of re-growth for longer lasting smoothness.  Don’t shave or tweeze between appointments, and after a few sessions you’ll soon start to see what all the fuss is about!

For more information about Axiom Bodyworks go to www.axiombodyworks.co.uk and for details of Andy’s training service go to www.learnmalewaxing.co.uk

Insider Interview: Richard Sawyer, Global spokesman for Lab Series

When it comes to male grooming Richard Sawyer is, without doubt, one of the most knowledgeable people I know. As Global Spokesman for Lab Series (you know you’ve made it when you’re a ‘global’ something) he jets around the world, spreading the word about the brand’s extensive range of skin savers for men. Right now he’s expounding the benefits of Lab Series’ brand new anti-ageing product, Max LS Age-Less Face Cream.

So impressed by this new wrinkle buster (and believe me I’m hard to impress) I grabbed him for an insider interview. So here’s what he has to say about the latest addition to the Lab Series family, along with some handy grooming tips and a few thoughts on why hairy shoulders are scary shoulders.

GG: So, Richard, what makes MAX-LS different from other anti-ageing creams?

RS: What is unique is the revolutionary formulation. Using a highly precise hot/cold method creates the unique transformational texture.A first of its kind in men’s skincare, this special processing method creates a smooth, rich cream with micro droplets of moisture throughout that applies with a cool burst of hydration.

In use, what at first glance appears to be a rich cream, simply disappears into the skin leaving nothing buts a sensation of cool moisture and comfort for a mans skin. It’s also the first time we have used Sirtuin-inspired research in a product specifically for men. This technology helps keep skin looking younger, longer. In addition the formula contains skin rejuvenation ingredients such as Whey Protein and Acetyl Hexapeptide-8 to help keep skin looking firmer, smoother and more lifted.

GG: Men’s biggest grooming mistake?

RS: Not washing before wet shaving. This might sound simple, bit the single most important step in getting a close and comfortable wet shave is cleaning the skin.  Washing the face before shaving removed the build of oil, dead skin and dirt, which can clog up your razor and cause excess friction.

GG: Best skincare tip for men?

RS: However late it is, no matter how tired you are, try your best to but on a moisturiser before you go to bed. In the morning you may feel rough, tired and a little hung-over from last night, but at least you will look half-human. You really will have to try and work miracles to get yourself looking good after a heavy night if you forget to do something with your face before you sleep.

GG: What are your favourite fragrances?

RS: From being a teenager I have genuinely always loved fragrance. Back then there was far less choice but it also seemed there was great originality and the compositions available had real personality.

I have recently being on a voyage of rediscovery from the scents of my youth.

Pride of place in my bathroom right now are three classic Aramis fragrances. Yes I do work for Aramis, however I absolutely will never wear any fragrance unless I truly love it and have an emotional connection with it.

The first rediscovery was JHL. Back in the 1980’s I didn’t really understand it but as you grow form your teenage years into adulthood your tastes change, develop and mature.  I totally “get it” now and delighted that now it has been reissued, it is available for discovery once more. I love Aramis 900 too. It was my scent when I was 18 and I spent every spare penny I had on getting the range. I had very little money back then; however I knew that it was better to have just a few high quality products than loads of ineffective or cheaper alternatives.

I’m now wearing Aramis Devin, which has a lovely fresh green note. I work in an office surrounded by scent but whenever I wear this the reaction from everyone is always amazing. (A dickybird tells me he loves Guerlain’s Jicky too)

GG: Desert Island grooming product?

RS: Sunscreen every time.  Everyone should apply some sun protection to any exposed parts of their body after any skincare system. SPF 15 is fine for everyday exposure for people who work mostly indoors and just pop out at lunchtime for a sandwich. Higher factors are a must for anyone who loves the great outdoors even if you don’t plan on sun bathing.

My biggest regret is not knowing about the potential damage over exposure to the sun can do to the skin. I’m not alone in this respect as it’s only more recently that everyone is more away that we should use sun protection. I truly love the sun and getting a tan, however a couple of years ago I made a conscious decision to avoid prolonged sun exposure. It may be too late to reverse all of the sun damage I know I have suffered, but at least I can help to stop it getting worse.

GG: Body hair: to shave or not to shave?

RS: Maybe a bit of both! It’s really down to personal preference. I personally don’t like hairy backs and shoulders so for me on these areas, the hair has to go. A little trim on the chest now and again doesn’t go a miss. If you have been working out at the gym, shaving can show off your definition and hard work. Tattoos also look better if you can actually see them.


GG: How has the internet changed male grooming?

RS: I think its empowered men to be able to research and discover what’s out there without feeling uncomfortable.  You can compare and choose at your leisure and get really get the SP on something. The internet has dramatically changed how people shop and retailers have needed to evolve.  I research new skin care products and technologies on an almost daily basis. Like other men I can then visit a store and touch, and try a product, have an understanding of what it is and what it can do. Personally I still like to see new product in “the flesh” first.  However as with many men I’m more than comfortable buying online when I want a repeat purchase.

GG: Fantasy grooming product?

RS: It seems with each season that the perfect moisturiser is getting closer and closer.  I want a product that does it all. It has to be day and night, for lines and wrinkles and be protective and repairing.  An all singing all dancing product used to be like searching for the Holy Grail.  I’m convinced that with the convergence of idea’s and research form the west and Asia, we are closer than ever to the ideal skincare product. Something that addresses chronological and photo ageing.

MAX LS answers my needs right now. However as time and technology march on, I’ll be waiting for the next big thing.

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