How to trim your stomach hair for the perfect happy trail is just one of those questions we often forget needs answering. We just sort of assume we can “wing it” and hope for the best.
This just isn’t true.
There’s a tried and tested technique that I learned and am thrilled to share with you today. Let me give it to you in a nutshell first and then we’ll dig a little deeper using a step-by-step approach.
The way to trim your happy trail and get a natural-looking result is by first exfoliating your skin, then trimming the surrounding areas of your stomach in a graded fashion. In other words, the hairs on your stomach gradually increase in length the closer you get to the happy trail from the sides. This way the happy trail doesn’t look too artificial as you still have a small amount of shorter, well-groomed hair surrounding it. Finish off by trimming down the actual happy trail itself. Not too short and not too long. Natural yet neat and well-groomed.
It’s a fantastic technique that unfortunately no-one teaches you until you start desperately searching for it online.
I’d love to share it with you today.
Now what you should use for this trim is a trimmer with enough size guards to allow you to get that nice, graded appearance. The size guards we’ll be using are 1mm, 3mm, and 9mm.
Now without further ado let’s get to scapin’.
What’s A Happy Trail
For those of you that don’t know, before we dive headfirst into this method I’d like to give a quick description of what the happy trail actually is.
The happy trail is a narrow, vertical band of hair that extends from the pubic hair to the belly button. It’s a natural, subtle and attractive distribution of hair to have on the abdomen.
There is a variation of the happy trail where it actually extends further than the belly button all the way up to the lower edge of the chest. But in this tutorial, we are going to focus on the most common variation. I’ll go into the other one in a little more detail towards the end.
So, the happy trail may or may not be visible already depending on how much hair you have surrounding it.
The aim of this tutorial is to allow you to get that happy trail to pop while removing any excess around it – without making it look artificial.
How To Trim Your Stomach Hair For The Perfect Happy Trail: 6 Easy Steps
Step 1: Exfoliate your stomach skin
If you’ve read my other posts you’ll know that I think exfoliating is just one of those secrets that separate the manscaping amateurs from the pros.
It just gets you great results. Plus it’s good for your skin.
Now, this step should be done the day before you get to work on your trail.
The reason it’s necessary is that it reduces post-trim irritation of the skin. All the trimming and tugging of hairs can cause irritation of the follicles, itching, razor burn, and razor bumps.
Exfoliating before the trim helps this by removing any dead skin cells, oil or dirt at the base of the hairs. This allows for less friction during the trim and therefore less irritation and less risk of ingrown hairs.
Although this irritation is more likely with shaving as opposed to trimming, it still happens and can be avoided.
You should do it the day before however because exfoliating in itself can dry out and irritate the skin funnily enough. So you need to give it a bit of time to heal before going at it with a trimmer.
I prefer to lather on an exfoliating body scrub which is great at unclogging pores and reducing oil production.
I rub it into the skin (not too hard) and let it sit for around a minute before washing it off.
However, you could also just use a body brush to scrub your skin and physically remove all that invisible gunk.
As I mentioned, although it’s great for your skin it can be quite drying and irritating in the short term.
So always follow up with a moisturizer to soothe and hydrate the skin.
Now just rest, relax and mentally prepare yourself for the big trim the next day. Yes.
Step 2: Trim in your belly button
You’ve waited patiently for 24 entire hours. It’s time to get to work.
Adjust the trimmer to 1mm and then trim the hairs leading into your bellybutton using the blade at an appropriate angle.
This step is important because the hair in your belly button can trap lint or “fluff” which is never the most attractive of looks.
Removing the hair from inside the belly button itself will also make the entire trail look a lot neater.
Go slow and gentle using minimal pressure. There’s no rush here.
Step 3: Trim to the left and right of the happy trail
Now, the idea is to have a very natural looking gradient of hair length as you go from the sides of your abdomen inwards to your happy trail.
It is usually a good idea to mark the outline of your desired happy trail with a white eyeliner pencil so that you know where to start trimming from.
I’m going to call this “the white outline”. This just refers to what your happy trail will eventually be.
Pop on a 3mm size guard and trim around 2 – 3 cm to the left and right of your white outline and around 1cm above your white outline.
I’ve marked this area on the picture below. Notice how we go down as far as the pubic hair.
As you get to the edge of the white outline (your happy trail), flick your wrist to get an even less abrupt border.
Doing this ensures that your happy trail doesn’t look out of place or unnatural, as the area immediately surrounding it has visible but shorter hairs. It really draws attention to the happy trail in a great way.
I’d recommend trimming with the grain (i.e in the direction of hair growth) as this minimizes the risk of ingrown hairs and bumps. It also leaves varying lengths of hair which can look more natural.
However if after you do this you’d prefer less hair in this area or if you’d prefer hairs of more uniform length, go at it again but against the grain.
Step 4: Trim the remainder of your stomach
So now what you should have is a white outline around your happy trail, surrounded by an area of 3mm length hairs extending 2-3 cm to the left and right and 1cm above.
Now it’s time to trim the remainder of your stomach hair extending from the pubic hair to the lower edge of the chest.
To make this area look clean it’s best to use a shorter setting – the 1mm adjustment we used for inside the belly button is fine.
Using this setting trim the areas of the stomach we haven’t trimmed yet. Again, go with the grain first and review the result. If you’re unhappy with it go against the grain afterward.
Be careful not to trim the areas we’ve already trimmed as that would ruin the graded appearance we’re trying to achieve.
Of course, leave the areas within the white outline alone as well.
Step 5: Trim and neaten up your happy trail
Ah, time for the piece de resistance. The masterpiece. The magnum opus.
It’s time to trim down the happy trail.
Now, the length of hair you want to go for here really depends on what you’ve got going on with your pubic hair.
If you’re well and truly fully shaved in this area then you want to avoid an abrupt border between the bottom of your happy trail and the pubic area.
In which case it’s best to use different size guards to gradually reduce the length of your happy trail hairs as you go down from the top to the bottom.
For example, for the top ⅓ of the happy trail use the 9mm size guard. For the middle ⅓ of the happy trail use the 6mm size guard. And for the bottom ⅓ use the 3mm size guard.
This will allow for a nice and gradual transition from the top of the happy trail down to the fully shaved pubic area.
If your pubic area isn’t fully shaved however and is trimmed to a certain length, it’s best to trim the happy trail down to the same length as your pubic hairs.
For example if your pubic hair is currently at 9mm or you plan to make it 9mm, trim the entire happy trail down to 9mm.
If you prefer it to be slightly shorter than your pubic hairs, a couple of mm shorter is OK too.
Again, with the grain first. If you’re not happy, go against the grain.
Step 6: Rinse, pat down and moisturise
Take a deep breath and brace yourself for the finish line. You’re very nearly there.
Rinse off your stomach with lukewarm water and gently pat it dry with a soft towel. Be mindful of the fact that your stomach in it’s current post-trimmed state is sensitive and likely irritated.
Once it’s dry, use a fragrance-free moisturiser to provide some much needed hydration to the skin. Moisturisers with ingredients such as aloe vera are particularly nice and soothing.
This step should reduce the notorious itching you can get after trimming body hair. It should also hopefully reduce the risk of razor burn.
It’s done. Step towards the mirror and admire your manscaping efforts. The area might look a little red and irritated but this will settle.
A Happy Trail Variation
You may prefer it if your happy trail didn’t end at your navel and instead traveled all the way up to the edge of your chest.
This is fine. Some people do because they think it looks more natural.
If this is the case, just follow the same steps but just extend the white outline you’d like up to the lower edge of the chest.
But remember to still try and achieve that graded appearance by trimming 2-3 cm to the left and right using the 3mm size guard.
Then simply trim the remainder to the shorter length of 1-2mm.
There’s no reason why this can’t look good. It’s all about personal preference and may be something you could experiment with.
It’s all supposed to be fun at the end of the day, right?
It’s been an emotional journey. Hopefully by now you know exactly how to trim your stomach hair for the perfect happy trail.
No big deal, right?
We’ve rubbed, trimmed and patted our way to the perfect trail. Some people might wonder why we pay so much attention to the finer details.
The happy trail is a very aesthetically pleasing strip of hair that can really look phenomenal when sculpted well.
What’s the point? Why not just trim it all off?
Sure, it might seem easier to just skip the exfoliating. It might seem easier to set that trimmer to 1mm and just go gung-ho on every single abdomen hair within reach.
Plus at the end, we could in theory just skip the moisturizer. Sure we’d probably get a bit of irritation. Maybe even some razor bumps. But it’ll settle down over time, right?
There’s something quite special about going the extra mile. Something quite sophisticated about having a nuanced and meticulous approach to manscaping.
The finer details do matter. It shows people you take grooming seriously and it says more about you than you might think at first.
Also, taking trimming and shaving seriously instead of just doing whatever is easiest is also so much better for the skin. It’s the little things that add up to great results.
Maintaining an attractive happy trail is a great example of what may be considered a minor detail having a large impact on the overall aesthetic appeal of the upper body.
It gives you an opportunity to transform an otherwise boring looking stomach into something which might actually gain some attention.
I hope you found this valuable. What are your views on the notorious happy trail? Are you a fan?
Ready Sleek founder. Obsessed with casual style and the minimalist approach to building a highly functional wardrobe. Also a fan of classic, vintage hairstyles.