When stylist and barber Luis Payne encounters a hairy client, he looks at them the way a sculptor eyes marble.
“We have the ability to trick our eyes into seeing things slightly different from what they really are,” he says. “When you’re contouring the face and body with one’s natural hair growth, you’re creating shadows by trimming down the density of hair to expose the skin. Shaving areas to expose the smoothness of the skin creates a highlight, allowing you to contour the face or body.”
For clients who have a fine, thin or minuscule lip line, Payne — who styles at Hollywood’s Hairroin Salon — helps cultivate the perfect mustache or goatee to add density and fullness. Inwardly collapsing cheeks can be remedied with a well-shaped beard, and rounder faces can be counterbalanced with a well-defined, structured beard that creates angles and clean lines.
Then there’s the magic Payne wields with body hair. Removing hair from hip flexors helps make one’s body look narrower, while leaving a fuller “happy trail” gives the appearance of abs. As for hairy chests? Says Payne: “Don’t let chest hair creep up into your beard — it helps you look slimmer [if you don’t]. But leave a little on the chest, especially if you lack pectoral definition — that gives the illusion of having a fuller chest.”
Payne says he’s seeing a departure from the hairless “bumpy chicken skin” look that overtook the industry for a while: “The upkeep and maintenance can be a burden, especially if it’s mandated for a role.”
Speaking of roles, Payne notes his clients tend to buzz their body hair down in preparation for certain scenes, especially those that require them to go shirtless. “Having tightly groomed body hair allows the audience to see the definition that has been built in various parts of the torso, like on Ryan Gosling,” he says. “Other showbiz clients prefer what Payne calls the Hugh Jackman look: “They let it go a little wild on their chest while keeping their abs a bit more groomed.”
Although Payne is adept at assisting with most next-level manscaping needs, including changing the appearance of a beard by altering tone and creating density, he believes certain treatments are best kept private. (“Sometimes older men get gray hair on their chest or pelvic areas — at-home color kits will remedy this,” he advises.)
But mostly, Payne wants men to know they don’t have to be defeated by genetics. You’ve heard it before: Take care of your back, sack and crack. With a little ingenuity and shaving cream, men can control what nature has bestowed them and, in true Hollywood fashion, create the illusion of something else. Says Payne: “Next-level manscaping creates subtle results, and it’s faster than going to the gym. … You don’t have to be sculpted and ripped with perfect muscle tone — just keep your excess body hair well manicured. Keep it trim, and keep it sexy.”
Payne’s ultimate advice? A groomed groin will make any VIP member look larger.