The Gillette brand owner claims in a study, published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, that blade shaving of the axillae can optimise the cleansing and odour reducing effectiveness of daily hygiene measures for men without the discomfort associated with waxing, and that regular shaving with a razor should be considered as part of a grooming regimen.
Knowing that armpit hair can influence the development of underarm odour in men, the team of scientists aimed to compare different hair removal procedures and their impact on the effectiveness of standard soap washing in reducing male axillary odour.
To do this, the team identified four underarm treatments: clipped with scissors; wet shaved with a razor; waxed; and untreated; and evaluated two of these four per subject, on a randomised group of 30 healthy Caucasian men.
Odour evaluations were then performed by trained assessors according to the American Society for Testing and Materials organisation, at baseline (24h post-control soap wash), immediately, 12 and 24 hours following treatment plus soap washing (day 1).
Further evaluations were conducted immediately and 24 hours following the soap wash on day 2 and Day 3, and mean odour scores were calculated.
The results showed that on day 1, hair removal by clipping with scissors followed by soap washing offered no significant improvement in immediate odour control (27.2% reduction from baseline) when compared with washing alone.
Both shaving and waxing followed by soap washing resulted in an immediate, significant reduction in axillary odour compared with washing alone, and this improvement persisted for 24 hours after shaving, as well as after day 2 and 3.
“Blade shaving of the axillae can optimise the cleansing and odour reducing effectiveness of daily hygiene measures for men without the discomfort associated with waxing,” concludes the study.
“This benefit was not seen when hairs were clipped to skin level with scissors. For blade shaving, this odour reduction benefit was observed up to 24 hours after the soap wash. Moreover, shaving with a razor blade was found to improve the immediate odour reducing effectiveness of soap washing for at least 48 hours after hair removal when compared with soap washing alone.”
These conclusions could have a big influence on men’s grooming habits as underarm odour can be an unpleasant problem leading to confidence issues and low self-esteem.
Management of body odour shown in the P&G study might explain, in part, why removal of axillary hair is becoming a more widespread cross-cultural practice in men.
Research by market analyst Mintel revealed that 60% of 16 to 24-year-old British men now regularly remove their body hair, and of those surveyed, 12% had removed the hair from their underarms in the last 12 months.
In its own unpublished data examining men's motives for removing body hair, P&G found that in Europe, the preferred method of hair removal in the underarms by men is typically blade shaving.