For women competing on the Bachelor, looking good on camera — and the exhaustive beauty prep that goes into that — is a big part of the proverbial journey. But now that it’s Bachelorette season, we wonder about the dudes. Do male contestants put a similar focus on their appearance? “You do feel a certain amount of pressure,” says Sean Lowe, former Bachelorette and Bachelor star (and current co-founder of the dating app, Vouch). “One, you’re trying to make a good impression on the actual Bachelorette, but two, you know that 10 million people are ultimately going to be watching you, so you don’t want to look like a schlub.” We talked to guys from seasons' past to find out what really goes down in those mansion bathrooms.
Many women competing on the Bachelor book everything from highlights and bikini waxes to lash extensions and Botox before the first cocktail party. But, in what is perhaps a less-than-shocking revelation, the guys on the show tend to do less — a lot less. But that hardly means they don’t care. Many focus on getting into a specific type of shape. (The reality show isn't exactly known for its body diversity.) “Going into the Bachelorette, you kind of know what to expect, so I was definitely working out and doing some extra cardio beforehand in preparation for those awkward moments when they ask you to take your shirt off,” says Lowe.
Others made sure to get a TV-perfect smile. “My sister-in-law is a dental assistant, so she hooked me up with a rubber reverse casting of my teeth and got me some whitening gel,” says Joshua Albers of Kaitlyn’s season. And — UV damage be damned — Albers, like many guys, also worked on his tan. “I attempted a tanning bed for the first time in my life,” he says. “I’m a welder, so I’m always completely covered up for work, and I'm kind of albino, so I tried a few sessions on the bed.”
Still, some guys did it all. “You definitely want to look your best, so you take care of several things such as teeth whitening, manscaping, the final haircut before flying out, and crushing the gym just before leaving for the show,” says Robby Hayes from JoJo’s season.
Without the hours needed to wield a curling iron, contour like crazy, or create a smoky eye (while sharing a bathroom with two dozen people), most guys were able to get primped — even for a date or rose ceremony — relatively quickly. “All in all, it took me maybe 15 to 20 minutes to get ready from start to finish,” says Albers. “My hair was shorter than a lot of the guys and my AXE styling putty made it quick to deal with.” Others were on a similarly speedy schedule. “My routine to prep to be camera ready goes like this: shower, shave, a little bit of lotion, and some cologne. You have to stay fresh, but low maintenance,” says Kupah James of Kaitlyn’s season.
Good thing, too, because the mansion’s bathroom and mirror space is notoriously lacking. It’s a fact that every female Bachelor contestant we spoke to complained about (many women copped to bringing their own makeup mirror and getting ready on an outdoor balcony for this reason). But the guys — most of whom lived in the same mansion, mind you — seemed fine with the set-up. “There were maybe four bathrooms in the house between the 17 to 26 of us,” says Hayes.
You definitely want to look your best, so you take care of several things such as teeth whitening, manscaping...
Of course, getting ready becomes even easier when the Bachelorette contestant becomes the actual Bachelor. “Obviously, being the lead of a television show, there’s going to be a lot more attention paid to you,” says Lowe. “Getting ready doesn’t take very long, because the stylist always has your suit, ties, and shoes picked out for you. Then they have a great makeup artist and hairstylist, and she would put some powder on my face and do my hair, and I was good to go.”
And no worries about making sure that perfect hair and matte skin holds up; when you’re the Bachelor, your personal groomer is always nearby. “She’ll step in really quickly to give you a little dab of powder to take the shine away, or if you have a hair out of place, she’ll come in with hairspray and move it and make it just right,” says Lowe. “They really spend a lot of time making sure you look great on camera.” Of course, they’ll also have opinions — and requests — about the star’s appearance. Says Lowe: “I usually leave a little stubble, but the director asked me to be clean-shaven for the Bachelor, because they thought that looked better on camera.”
Making The Cut
There is one area where the guys may actually be higher-maintenance than the women, though, and that’s with their hair. While female contestants typically have long waves that can survive an entire season without a trim, most guys on the show have short cuts that start to look rough and messy without frequent shaping. For that reason, the production staff usually brings a hairstylist to the set every few weeks to cuts everyone’s hair at once.
Don’t bother asking for a total makeover, though. “We weren’t allowed to get full haircuts; we could only get a trim,” says former Bachelorette contestant and winner of Kaitlyn's season Shawn Booth. “They wanted to make sure your hair looked exactly the same as it did the first day you walked into the mansion.” Guys on JoJo’s season received an extra perk: fellow contestant Vinny Ventiera was a barber — and generous with his clippers. “Vinny helped with keeping the haircuts fresh while on the show. He kept our fades high and tight,” says Hayes. (And now we know why everyone had the same haircut that season...)
“We weren’t allowed to get full haircuts... They wanted to make sure your hair looked exactly the same as it did the first day you walked into the mansion."
Work It Out
While most male contestants don't spend hours in the bathroom, they do spend a lot of time outside working out. The mansion doesn't have a gym, but the guys often manage to MacGyver their own. (Who can forget Chad using his luggage to do resistant pull-ups?) “We did a lot of body weight exercises,” says Albers. “We’d find a large rock to hold while doing squats and to lift over our heads as a type of shoulder press. I’d do sprints up a hill and then headstand push-up after each sprint. We’d also use sandbags — that are really intended to weigh down camera lighting equipment — for bicep curls.”
Some came prepared with portable items from home, such as resistance bands, but still found it wasn’t enough. “A bunch of the guys, including myself, brought workout equipment that we all shared, which was great, but I wasn’t able to work out as much as I would have liked to,” says Booth. (Keep in mind that he's a personal trainer and co-owner of CityStrong and currently training for his first Ironman — so that's a lot.) “And as the show went on, it became even tougher to work out. We were filming nonstop and staying in places without gyms.”
Exercising wasn’t the only way some guys tried to stay healthy. “Because of drinking more and the lack of diet, I brought all my supplements — multivitamins, vitamin D, probiotics, fish oil, powdered greens, protein powder, all that stuff,” says Daniel Maguire of both JoJo’s season and Bachelor in Paradise. “Just because I’m doing a TV show doesn’t mean I should let my body and mind go to shit.”
And while you might think the actual Bachelor would have a personal trainer and nutritionist on demand, maintaining that physique actually becomes more difficult when you’re the star. “Once you’re the Bachelor, the days are so long and exhausting that you just have no energy to wake up in the morning and work out, and at the end of a long day, you just want to scarf down pasta or pizza,” says Lowe.
Though male contestants may never suffer runny mascara or lipstick on their teeth, they did experience their own sorts of beauty emergencies. “I never had any problems with my skin before or since the show, but throughout the season, I was breaking out,” says Booth. “One time, I got a painful cyst on my face, so a producer had to take me to a dermatologist down the road from the mansion for a [cortisone] injection.”
Lowe’s oops moment came from a lethal combo of beach time, downtime, and subpar sunscreen application. “On the Bachelorette, my last destination was Curacao, and I had the first date that week, so I spent the rest of the week hanging out on the beach,” he says. “I’d gotten a little too tan — or, really, tannish-reddish — for the camera, so the director asked me not to do that again.”
And sometimes the Bachelorettes themselves can cause a little beauty anxiety amongst their suitors. “JoJo told me I had ashy legs, so I became obsessed with putting lotion on my legs,” says contestant Wells Adams. “So much so that the camera caught me putting on lotion a lot and it became a thing where I always looked like I was getting ready for a Nair commercial or something.”
“One time, I got a painful cyst on my face, so a producer had to take me to a dermatologist down the road for a [cortisone] injection."
Guys can be territorial about many things, but apparently hair gel isn’t one of them. Male contestants on the show may bring limited grooming products, but they’re happy to lend out the ones they do have. “People were willing to share everything from socks and ties to hair products,” says Lowe. “One guy might be using some kind of pomade on his hair and another guy would be like, ‘Ooh I want to try that!’ Then they’d share. In normal everyday circumstances, guys aren’t doing that kind of stuff, but in the Bachelor mansion, there’s this weird camaraderie.”
Perhaps Hayes boils it down best: “If you can share a girlfriend, what’s sharing a travel-sized bottle of shampoo going to hurt?” That said, the generosity did have its limits. “A bunch of guys would always use my hair product, but I would hide my cologne,” says Booth. “Kaitlyn loved my smell — that was my secret weapon!”
READ THIS NEXT