How Do Superheroes Shave Their Chests?
What does the Man of Steel have in common with the X-Men's Wolverine? At first glance, not much! One is an alien; the other, a mutant. One, a wholesome defender of truth, justice, and the American way; the other, a bestial cigar-smoking bad boy with a chip on his shoulder that's as impenetrable as his adamantium skeleton. They're not even part of the same universe, with Superman hailing from DC Comics and Wolverine hailing from Marvel.
But in their most recent movie appearances, the two are brothers… in body hair.
In 2013, both these superheroic gentlemen turned up onscreen sporting spectacular small forests of hairy hair on their pecs. Which, in the world of comic-book movies, makes them really weird. From Captain America Steve Rogers emerging post-transformation from his science cocoon, to Tony Stark performing maintenance on his ARC reactor, to Spider-Man having a chest wound gently tended by Gwen Stacy, the manly men who play our heroes almost never have noticeable body hair. Even the Hulk, post-transformation, is possessed of an epidermis as smooth as a gamma-irradiated baby's butt!
Have you ever wondered how these superheroes find time in their busy schedules to achieve such a consistent level of grooming? So did we. And so, MTV News sat down with grooming expert and professional body waxer Sarah Giggar, for a critical analysis of superhero grooming.
Obligatory note: Nobody who participated in this interview has ever personally been party to any actual actor/superherogrooming rituals.
HERO: The Amazing Spider-Man
BODY HAIR LEVEL: Zero, not counting the web
Of all the hairless heros, Spider-Man is probably the one most likely to come by his condition naturally, since many guys won't see any real growth until they're closer to thirty.
Giggar: Young guys tend to have finer or sparser hair because they're still going through puberty.
MTV: Assuming he did sprout a chest hair or two that needed removing, how would you handle that?
Giggar: I would assume Spider-Man has baby skin, basically, since he's kind of a man-child.
So I would use a hard wax on him that doesn't adhere to the skin, just the hair. It has a built-in buffer, because he'd be very sensitive. I'd treat Spider-Man with kid gloves.
In conclusion: Due to his soft teenaged skin, underdeveloped follicles, and generally sensitive nature, Spider-Man is the superhero most likely to cry on the waxing table.
BODY HAIR LEVEL: As thick and luscious as the wilderness where Clark Kent goes to hide from destiny
This scruffy Superman raised a lot of eyebrows when he hit the big screen; it was the first time ever that the hero appeared with chest pubes curling oh-so-gently over the collar of his supersuit. But assuming that his hair follicles are as invincible as the rest of him, it turns out that waxing him would be impossible.
Giggar: Fortunately, Superman doesn't seem like the type to go for that city slicker, totally bare look anyway. I wouldn't want to hurt myself trying to remove his hair; most likely, I'd just give him a nice landscaping with a body trimmer, and instruct him on how to maintain it on his own.
MTV: Are there any circumstances under which you'd recommend more extreme measures for Superman's body hair?
Giggar: If his back is hairy, I would definitely encourage him to consider doing something about that. Electrolysis is actually a wonderful idea… unless it would kill him? Would it kill him?
MTV: Not unless you were using a kryptonite laser.
Giggar: Hey, wait. Doesn't he have a laser?
MTV: He does! He can generate heat beams from his eyes.
Giggar: Well, then why doesn't he look down his back and burn that [expletive] off.
In conclusion: Superman, look down your back. Is there hair? Then burn that [expletive] off. Thank you.
HERO: Captain America
BODY HAIR LEVEL: So smooth, even Peggy can't resist touching it
As a golden paragon of all-American manliness, body fuzz is canonically out of the question for Captain America (and for Chris Evans, whose abundant golden chest hairs were nowhere in sight when he played the role.) But our expert had her own reasons for wanting to rip the Cap's chest hair out.
MTV: So, let's talk about Captain America—
Giggar: [unintelligible but vaguely lascivious noise of approval]
MTV: So, he's basically completely bare above the waist.
Giggar: That's a full torso wax, and it would take about ninety minutes each time. He'll need a regular appointment every six weeks for upkeep.
MTV: Is this look what you'd recommend for the Cap, if he asked for your input?
Giggar: Sure. His outfit is pretty tight-fitting, and he rides a motorcycle, right? So he doesn't need any bush under there. He needs to be aerodynamic.
MTV: We should probably also talk about the part where Captain America is technically about a hundred years old. Obviously he's a special case, but what's the standard procedure for waxing a centenarian?
Giggar: There would be some skin holding involved. Taut skin is essential for successful hair removal. Also, the root system of hair that's gone grey is stronger, so you'd need a stronger wax.
MTV: Ordinarily, would you have concerns about waxing somebody that age?
Giggar: Well, if he had very crusty, dry, thin skin, I'd give him a bottle of Nair and send him on his way.
In conclusion: If the Cap's epidermis ever starts to show signs of his actual age, he's going to need to rethink his commitment to perfectly smooth pecs.
HERO: Iron Man
BODY HAIR LEVEL: Forget the bod, it's all about the beard
Tony Stark's iconic facial hair is arguably the most important element of his character's look, which meant asking our expert for some feedback about grooming from the neck up.
Giggar: That goatee takes a combination of shaving, and using clippers or scissors. He seems pretty particular about it, so I assume he wouldn't trust a stylist. He probably does it himself with some nice, high-end, gold mustache scissors.
MTV: That seems like it would take a lot of time. Is this a difficult look to maintain?
Giggar: If he's really committed to it, assuming he never wants a full beard, he might have electrolysis done so that it'll never fill in. Men can laser part of their neck, the cheek area… I could see something like that happening.
MTV: And since it's Tony Stark, he's probably already built a robot to do laser beard maintenance for him. Now, about the rest of his body: he doesn't have any chest hair, either, but would the ARC reactor implanted in his chest get in the way of grooming?
Giggar: I'd be concerned about potential infections. Everything needs to be clean, very sanitary… to be honest, I'd be terrified to wax around that, or to accidentally wax over it.
In conclusion: Tony Stark most likely maintains his body hair with a personal army of robots of his own invention, but he should probably leave the area around his ARC reactor alone.
HERO: The Hulk
BODY HAIR LEVEL: Copious when human; minimal when hulking
In his latest screen incarnation, Bruce Banner is played by the infamously hairy Mark Ruffalo. But when his anger transforms him into the huge, green Hulk, all his body hair seems to disappear. This could be a side effect of the transformation itself, but…
MTV: Let's say that you needed to perform hair removal on an eight-foot tall, 1000-pound green man with serious anger management issues. How would you do it?
Giggar: I definitely wouldn't tackle this alone. I'd tag team him with at least three other waxers. And we would need a solid five hours, assuming everyone was working quickly and efficiently.
MTV: But you wouldn't turn him away.
Giggar: A job like this really needs a professional. I mean, the Hulk isn't going to be using Nair in his bathroom with a shower cap on.
In conclusion: If the Hulk wants to be free of follicles this summer, it might be wise for him to wait to book his appointment until he's shrunk back down to a normal-size fellow.
BODY HAIR LEVEL: ?????
By night, he's a vigilante, beating criminals to a pulp with his bare hands. But by day, let's not forget that Batman needs to keep up certain appearances of being an old money playboy.
Giggar: He's a very metrosexual hero. I'm going to assume he's a back waxer, and he probably gets a straight razor shave instead of doing himself. Very pampered, high-end neck and body care.
MTV: Aything else?
Giggar: He probably gets facials, too.
MTV: Speaking of skin care, what would you advise for a man who spends hours and hours every night running around in a batsuit?
Giggar: I've always wondered about this, because he's got to have some issues with chafing. I would probably send him off with some Burt's Bees baby powder, to maybe sprinkle on the inside of his suit. And he should also be using an exfoliating serum that you'd put on after waxing, to keep the follicles from clogging, which is something else he would be definitely having a problem with. Honestly, I have no idea how he doesn't have some sort of raging bacterial infection.
In conclusion: Batman is the hero Gotham deserves, but not the one it needs right now… which is fine, because all those long nights defending the city are really starting to mess with his beauty regimen.
BODY HAIR LEVEL: Water-wicking minimum
Though we haven't seen Aquaman on the big screen yet, the announcement that Jason Momoa had been cast in the role for the upcoming "Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice" prompted some insights about the marine hero's special skincare needs. After some back-and-forth debate about whether or not Aquaman would be completely bare (like a dolphin) or covered in a fine layer of fuzz (like a seal), we got down to business.
Giggar: I'd recommend a salve for him, so that his skin won't become irritated by the salt water, especially if he's waxing his chest; his pores would still be open. But if he's wanting to be aerodynamic in the water, that would be necessary.
MTV: Is there a particular regimen you'd recommend for someone who spends a lot of time in the water?
Giggar: It's actually very dehydrating, which seems counterintuitive, but it's true. Aquaman would need a sulfate-free shampoo, a hydrating conditioner, and a hair mask once a week, probably with some olive oil in it. Well, or whatever oil he chooses.
MTV: Fish oil?
Giggar: I see where you're going with this, but that sounds kind of gross.
In conclusion: If he wants his hair and skin to stay luscious and supple, Aquaman should prepare himself for a time-consuming and expensive regimen of care.
BODY HAIR LEVEL: Berserker
And finally, there's Wolverine, a.k.a. Logan, a.k.a. the man whose entire body is basically one giant muttonchop whisker. Arguably the hairiest of our heroes, Wolverine's scruff is likely a matter of necessity, due to his regenerative abilities.
MTV: So, as you may know, it probably wouldn't do you much good to pull out Wolverine's body hair—
Giggar: Because it would grow right back! Yes. So I wouldn't even bother trying to wax him. I'd just sit there with him and comb it and make it silky.
Giggar: And gaze into his eyes.
MTV: As would we all. What about his facial hair? Can those muttonchops be natural?
Giggar: Some people do have patchy growth, but this looks deliberate. Even though Wolverine is an I-don't-give-a-damn kind of guy, I think he cares enough to shave those chops. They take maintenance. And his hair — you need product to achieve that. He's got to be messing with his hair for 30 minutes to make it look perfectly messy.
In conclusion: Wolverine, despite his pretensions of being a low-maintenance manly man who cares not at all about his appearance, did not, in fact, wake up like this.