Beauty Treatments for Men – Are You On Board? (You Need to Be…)
Men are spending more on beauty treatments than ever before. HJ Men investigates the trend and what it means for the men’s hairdressing and barbering industry.
Male grooming is booming. The proof that men love to pamper? A plethora of surveys have been released over the past year showing the rise in the popularity of male beauty treatments. In fact, men have now superseded women on the amount they spend on beauty treatments per year, according to a survey by business management software company MINDBODY. Unbelievably gents are spending a huge £3,366.35 annually (in contrast, women are trailing behind on £3,059.91). Unsurprisingly, men are still spending more money on haircuts per year than on any other service, but treatments such as facials, manicures and massages are proving a hit too. Another survey showed men splashing the cash on male hair removal services. Mintel found that as many as 46% of all men removed hair from their bodies.*But the best news? All of these services can be added to a salon or barbershop as long as you have expert staff or undertake training.
Why are men getting more beauty treatments?
There’s a school of thought that argues economic insecurity and the stresses of daily life have changed the way men function and how they want to appear. As competition for jobs becomes fierce and social media decides how we should look, men are searching for products and services to make them look and feel better. “Gone are the days when a man would go to the pub to escape the daily stresses of life. Men are now heading to their barbers to relax,” explains Georgie Wynes-Devlin, co-owner of The Wild Hare in Tooting, London. Gina Conway who recently opened The Barber Shop at her West London salon, believes it is the power of celebrity that has made male grooming appeal to the masses. “Celebrities such as David Beckham and Zac Efron have made metro-sexuality mainstream. Keeping a tidy beard, having facials and waxing have become normalised.”
There is less stigma around men getting treatments adds Carlie Firth, barber and manager at Ruger in Lytham Saint Anne’s. She says: “I was a beauty therapist at a spa before I became a barber and saw a huge rise in men wanting additional treatments. I knew I had to jump on this trend before anyone else.” Inspired by this gap in the market Carlie worked with Alan Beak on the second Ruger barbershop opening in Lytham and added beauty treatments such as facials, massages, anti-ageing eye treatments and manicures to the service menu.
Wax on, wax off
A male grooming discussion wouldn’t be complete without addressing the waxing habits of British men. Andy Rouillard, men’s waxing specialist and a Salon System educator believes exposure to hair removal through social media, images in magazines and reality TV has seen the trend go mainstream. “Take the last season of Love Island– I don’t think the male contestants had a solitary chest hair between them,” he points out. Andy cites back waxing as the most popular request, followed by facial waxing (including nostrils, ears and eyebrows) and intimate waxes, which include the notorious ‘back, sac and crack’. The latest man-scaping trend is a simple trim, which is a savvy way to get extra value from your clippers.
Andy firmly believes barbers and men’s hairdressers are in a prime position to tap into this growing market. “Male clients know and trust their stylist,” he says. “Smaller services such as waxing fingers, back of the neck, beard lines, nostrils, ears and eyebrows can easily be added to the end of a haircut or wet shave.” When it comes to hair removal equipment, it can be relatively inexpensive and won’t take up too much room. For example, you can buy mini heaters. Plus, training can be a short process. “Training in facial waxing can be completed in less than a day with many specialist schools such as Axiom Wax Academy and Training Solutions offering standalone courses aimed specifically at barbers and stylists with no previous waxing experience,” Andy explains.
Waxing intimate areas is a different ball game. A specialist course should be taken covering specific contra-indications and aftercare, anatomy and physiology stretching techniques, hot wax application, client etiquette and personal safety, as well as tips on timing, pricing and advertising.
Hair today, gone tomorrow
It’s not just the body that is on the receiving end of hair-removal treatments. Facial hair removal among Brits has risen from 73% in 2016 to 80% in 2018. In fact, the number of people removing hair from their eyebrows has risen from 33% in 2016 to 42% in 2018. Meanwhile, the number of Brits removing hair from their nose has risen to 20% in 2018. In response, The Wild Hare has added nose waxing to its menu. “Men are intrigued by nose waxing. They resist getting it done at first, but when they see other clients having the treatment they want to give it a go themselves. Plus, they love to see the wax stick with the hair that’s removed on it,” adds Georgie. This visual element of a hair removal treatment is something that can’t be ignored. Inspired by the popularity of pimple-popping and in-grown hair removal videos on YouTube, The Wild Hare posts nose and ear waxing videos on their social media channels to market their service.
Creating a ‘boy zone’
When it comes to treatments such as facials, waxing and massages, there’s a debate about where men want to be slathered, waxed and oiled. Some argue that male-only spaces are preferred. “Male grooming can be an intimate experience so men want to spend their time and money in a place where they feel comfortable, such as the barbershop,” explains senior barber Dan Glass frombarbering brand Murdock London. “Men want staff specially-trained to their grooming needs whocan empathise with topics such as baldness, back hair and any uniquely male areas,” he states. RW Wolf, a chain of two new barbershops in Cockfosters and Monument, has created a refined space for gentlemen to get a classic wet shave, indulge in grooming treatments and experience modern styling. Founded by an enigmatic figure, known only as ‘The Wolf’, the boundary-pushing brand has ambitions to become the go-to artisan barbers in London. “It’s not necessarily about creating a men-only space but a ‘them-only’ space. It’s about privacy at the end of the day,” states RW Wolf’s founder. “We celebrate masculinity and through our treatments we want to embrace this.”
Bespoke beauty treatments for men packages
Clients want personalisation and have come to expect it from their treatments. Ruger is one chain that prides itself on offering in-depth consultations. “We ask our clients about their grooming aims. Do they want to look younger, more radiant or feel relaxed? We tailor treatments to suit them,” says Ruger’s Carlie. All the products that Ruger uses in-store are specially formulated by the brand themselves. Ruger Skincare is a five-step routine (a cleanser, charcoal face mask, eye treatment, serum and moisturiser) which means the good work that happens in the barbershop can continue at home. Similarly, at Gina Conway’s The Barber Shop, personalised skincare is a unique selling point. It offers everything from a quick barber cut to men’s nail services, hot towel shaves and facials. “Our personalised grooming service includes value-added Aveda rituals, all timed to suit the needs and schedules of a variety of men,” Gina explains. Increasingly it’s not just the products that matter, it’s how they are used and applied. For example, every grooming service at The Wild Hare is finished with a splash of the decadent Maison Martin Margiela Replica in Across Sands.
The beautiful conclusion
The incredibly sensory and almost old-fashioned barbering experiences that are happening in RW Wolf and The Wild Hare are having a resurgence in the UK. Grooming treatments have gone from being a once neglected service to the normamongst the male population. “A number of my clients have said they’ve always wanted to try treatments like facials but didn’t feel comfortable walking into a salon or spa,” says Carlie. Society, business and times are changing. Whether it’s to relax, look good or a combination of both, male beauty treatments are no longer raising (perfectly plucked) eyebrows.
This article originally appeared in the Summer issue of HJ Men.