You’ve seen those old guys with a huge mass of white hair growing out of their ears and nose, but ear and nose hair isn’t just something old guys have to worry about. For many men, nose and ear hair trimming becomes necessary in their 20s. For most, it’s necessary by the time they reach their mid-30s.

To keep up with this task effectively, you’ll need to know how much of a problem you have. That requires a good light, a handheld mirror (perhaps a magnifying mirror) and a willingness to look deep down into your ears and up into your nose.

You may see stray nose hairs that need to be clipped away every time you look at your face in the mirror. Ear hair, however, is harder to spot because it sometimes develops first where you can’t easily see it but other can. So look carefully.

If you need to do some trimming, here are some pieces of advice that will make the process easier, safer and more effective at eliminating the hair you wish you didn’t have in the first place:

Don’t assume you don’t have any yet. Most people — guys and gals — develop more body hair as they get older. But don’t assume you don’t have nose and ear hair if you’re young. Many young guys need to do some grooming around these openings to keep a few or perhaps a lot of hairs from showing. So, take a look carefully to determine whether you need to trim or not.

Ear and nose hair serves a purpose, so don’t trim too deep. Hair keeps your bodily openings from getting clogged with dirt, so don’t trim nose hair beyond what’s visible. Ear hair should not be disturbed in the ear canal itself. Remember, you want to retain the hair that isn’t visible, but good grooming dictates that you eliminate all of it that is. A good ear and nose hair clipper will have a guard that keeps you from going too deep.

Don’t use scissors or a razor to do the job. If you use a tool to control ear and nose hair that wasn’t made for the task, you can do some permanent damage. You can create small scars that will worsen over time and make trimming even harder in the future. In addition to having guards to keep you from going too deep, ear and nose hair clippers usually have heads specially designed for doing the job without pain, injury or hassles.

Having a beard is no excuse for bad grooming. In fact, you’ll have to be extra careful with grooming if you have a beard. You want to remove excess hair without damaging your beard. It won’t just blend in or be less noticeable as some people clearly seem to think. Having a beard adds to your grooming hassles in many ways (although its worth it), but you don’t want to let down other beards growers by failing to groom away unwanted hair.

Don’t be afraid to ask your special girl or guy for help. Some couples are comfortable enough to ask each other for help with grooming tasks — especially if they’ve been together for a while. After all, animal mates groom each other all the time. You can judge for yourself whether you think your significant other will judge that checking and trimming your excess hair is nasty or okay.

Plucking is fine — and very effective. Guys need a good pair of tweezers. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with plucking stray hairs, but remember that you may not be able to see every one of them, so trimming might be a better idea. Again, it’s up to you to decide.

It doesn’t grow back thicker. There’s a myth that hair grows back thicker once it’s been trimmed, but that isn’t true. The very short hairs that grow back may feel thick and prickly because they’re so short, but they aren’t really thicker. Also, body hair sometimes increases as you get older, so it may increase no matter what you do to get rid of it.

Surely that’s enough on the topic of nose and ear hair trimming. I’ve dispelled some myths and offered some advice, so what more can I do? Would you really like to read a couple more pages on little hairs that grow out of your bodily openings?

I know I certainly don’t want to write anything more on this topic for quite a while. Just do what’s right and clean yourself up. You’ll feel better about yourself — and everyone will feel better about you.