Facing the Issue
Imagine being fussed over by a female therapist who’s applying half an inch of goo over your face. While it may not sound even remotely attractive a proposition to some alpha males, you soon realise it’s no different from getting a shave, facial massages or hot-towel treatments from old-school barbershops.
Men should go for facial treatments simply for practical and physiological reasons: A bright, glowing face leaves a good impression, while a strict grooming regimen staves off age spots and wrinkles. And that’s not forgetting the stress relief and detoxification that facials offer.
Today, men-only spas and skincare centres offering men-specific facial treatments are a common sight. And men’s facial procedures are not unlike women’s. The biggest difference probably lies in the choice of grooming products used, especially the scents and efficacy on men’s skin.
But what’s really holding the regular Joes back from booking that uplifting facial session? Shouldn’t men be hitting the spas as regularly as they would the gym, especially with changing mindsets, advancements in skincare technology and the adaptation of women-centric facials to suit men?
One possible reason could be the still woman-dominated environment of spas and salons. The clientele is still largely female; ditto the therapists. So a lone male entering a spa for the first time may feel a little uneasy — it’s just not the kind of attention from the opposite sex that he yearns for.
Next is the interior décor of the treatment rooms. They are usually luxurious — think beige curtains, cream leather couches, flower arrangements, and lavender-scented candles. Compare that to a clinical, no-frills setting of white walls, black-leather couches, and musky whiffs of sandalwood incense. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out why men opt for the latter.
Last but not least, time. Most treatments take up to two hours. After all, it’s all about taking time out to rest and relax. But the slow pace is somewhat not wired into men’s brains. We want speed — and we want results.
Take the Persons of Interest Barbershop in Brooklyn, for instance. It recently started a programme for its male clientele named “The Clean Slate”, which takes all of 20 minutes. “It’s about getting treated and pampered, but not belaboring the process,” the barbershop’s owner Steve Marks told T Magazine. A hot, scented towel is pressed into the skin to open the pores up, before facial mud is applied and massaged onto the face. After 10 minutes, the mud is removed and pores closed using cold towels before moisturiser is applied.
The benefits of facial treatments are well-documented. Men are definitely aware of these benefits. All it takes is a little helping hand from the skincare industry to nudge them in the right direction — and through the doors of the spas.