Although we often think of sacred skincare rituals as belonging to women, men’s skin needs love too! Maybe more so, in fact, due to the effects of daily shaving. But plenty of males are either confused about their skincare routine, self-conscious about seeking help and booking professional spa services, or avoiding the subject altogether. It’s time to take a closer look at men’s grooming, to clear up common misconceptions and help guys find a skincare routine that meets their unique needs.

Men’s Grooming at Home

Men’s skin is typically thicker, oilier, and more resilient than women’s. However, men’s skin endures a lot, since the act of shaving is a form of exfoliation that removes a large amount of dead stratum corneum cells. Like any other form of exfoliation, greater frequency can lead to sensitivity and other irritant skin reactions. Shaving daily with the wrong technique, or with products that contain harsh surfactants and astringents, drying alcohol, and synthetic fragrances, may do men’s skin more harm than good.

To protect male skin from shaving-related sensitivity at home, we recommend a gentle cream or oil cleanser in place of a water- and detergent-based foaming cleanser. A non-foaming cream or oil is also a great fit for minimalist guys who prefer simple, no-nonsense regimens. Overall, guys should look out for nourishing shaving emulsions and butters in place of foams; and toners containing hydrating humectants like aloe vera and glycerin in place of stinging and drying aftershaves to create a soothing, balancing shave routine.

Men’s Grooming in the Spa

A focus on wellness, as opposed to beauty, allows men—from white collar executives to blue collar laborers—to finally banish the misconception that spa services are for women only. Tension in the workplace, whether it’s in a board room or on scaffolding, can cause headaches, stiff muscles, and raise blood pressure, which affects mood, performance, and overall wellbeing. Regular head-to-toe spa treatments such as deep tissue massage and scalp treatments can decrease anxiety, reduce fatigue, enhance sleep quality, improve concentration, oxygenate the blood, and increase circulation, giving the nervous system a much needed time out. Services that focus on pain and stress relief are enticing to stressed-out guys, and they crack the spa door open to help them discover additional opportunities to kick off their shoes and let go. But these treatments are only the beginning.

Men who are exposed to harsh elements, carry heavy equipment, or spend the entire day on their feet can find relief with reflexology to target achy joints, and a foot scrub to soften callouses and cracked heels. A hydrating facial that includes massaging tight mandibles and throbbing temples can offer relief, soften chapped and wind burnt skin, and provide guidance on effective home care. Grooming services from a waxing professional can keep wild hairs at bay and smooth surfaces— reducing the need to shave and saving time and effort. For convenience, visiting a spa on a regular basis provides an efficient one-stop shop that caters to all of a guy’s grooming needs, with the bonus of self-care and stress reduction.

Finding a Grooming Routine

Here are our favorite steps to help you work with the men in your life to create a healthy grooming routine:

1. Start by gathering valuable intel and listening for unmet goals.  

  • Ask your male clients neutral, open ended questions about their current grooming routine and its effectiveness. For example: “Can you describe your daily grooming routine?” “How does your skin feel afterward?”  Resist the urge to comment or provide direction until you have the most detailed description possible. Remember to be specific and explain the meaning of your questions if they could be unclear.
  • Create a comfortable environment with careful word choices. Some guys say that they would rather us use words like ‘luxurious,’ and ‘pampering’ to describe their sports car rather than their spa visit. Whenever possible, note the language they are most comfortable with and modify your own word choices to follow suit. For example-  If he says “I then just scrub with soap” resist the urge to say  “You exfoliate with a surfactant.”
  • If at home, take a peak in his medicine cabinet, read labels and investigate the status of his grooming tools to find out if there are new products or tools he may be interested in incorporating.

2. Match his unmet grooming goals with targeted suggestions and support.

  • Reflect, connect and change. For example: “You said that your face often feels dry and tight after you have shaved and applied aftershave, right? I think that might be the partly because of the high alcohol content in your aftershave. Try this lotion for a week and see if you notice a difference.”
  • Keep the action plan concrete, realistic, and tied to specific goal to set the male in your life up for success.

3. Encourage and support.

  • Reiterate his initial goals, and check back for changing needs.
  • Offer additional resources, like products or spa treatment suggestions, if needed.

Overall, there’s considerable evidence that men’s interest in grooming and the spa is deepening. According to the International SPA Association Foundation (ISPA), men now represent almost half—47%—of the spa-going population in the United States. “As a global society, we are experiencing more stress than ever before and seeking alternative ways to cope. Visiting a spa gives you permission to pause,” said ISPA President Lynne McNees. We believe that the influx of men’s magazine articles about grooming, men-only spa menus, and the return of retro styling are pushing the trend, which has been enhanced by a surge of new natural skincare and grooming product ranges geared and marketed specifically for men’s tastes. For guys, well-groomed, stress-free, and healthy really is handsome.

We want to hear from you!

CommentWhat services or rituals are most popular with the men in your life?

How do you think the growing focus on wellness is changing men’s interest in grooming and the spa?