As gender stereotypes continue to dissipate, spas are no longer viewed as “no-man’s land.” In fact, according to ongoing consumer research from the International SPA Association (ISPA), the percentage of people who visit spas is now almost split between the sexes, with guys accounting for about 49 percent of clients. The male grooming business is also booming, with market research group Mintel reporting that American men spent $4.5 billion on personal care products in 2017 alone, and 64 percent of them saying they use facial skin care.
Given this reality, spas are responding with an array of offerings aimed at guys—ones that help them zero in on and achieve their own unique wellness goals. “Essentially, men want to feel comfortable pursing self-care,” explains Marci Howard-May, director of spa and wellness for Sagestone Spa & Salon at Red Mountain Resort in Ivins, Utah. Here, we take a closer look at some of the top-selling male protocols around the country that are helping them do just that.
First Responders Massage (60 min./complimentary), Whispering Winds Therapeutic Touch, Rancho Cucamonga, California
Designed specifically for police officers, firefighters and other workers who often find themselves in high-stress emergency situations, this massage focuses on relief and relaxation. “First responders regularly experience pain in the neck, shoulders, legs and feet, due to carrying around heavy equipment and standing all day,” explains Traci “Doran” Hawkins, founder of Whispering Winds Therapeutic Touch, a nonprofit organization that offers complimentary massages to first responders, as well as sick, elderly and special needs patients. The treatment begins with a thorough consultation followed by a scalp massage. Next, Hawkins focuses on the arms, shoulders, neck, legs and feet using a myriad of techniques, including deep tissue, reflexology and Lomi-Lomi, a Hawaiian modality.
Manly Must-Haves: Lomi-Lomi tackles back problems in particular with a powerful approach. “This technique uses the forearms, triceps, heel of the hand and the massage therapist’s own body weight to relieve pain,” reveals Hawkins.
Why Guys Love It: “First responders enjoy the mental break,” says Hawkins. “They have so many daily responsibilities, so they really appreciate the chance to relax and unwind.”
Y Chromosome Facial (75 min./$180), Face to Face NYC, New York City.
This tough-as-nails facial enlists the power of microdermabrasion to leave the client’s skin feeling clean, hydrated and smooth. “The aggressive dry exfoliation removes any debris while minimizing ingrown hairs and razor burn,” explains owner Enrique Ramirez. After the microdermabrasion, the guest receives a gentle steam using hot towels. Next, extractions are performed, followed by a facial massage using Astara Aroma Nutrient Face and Body Oil, and finally, Yon-Ka Paris Hydrating Masque Modelant is applied to lock in hydration.
Manly Must-Haves: Microdermabrasion is the ideal tool for targeting male skin concerns. “It treats shaving irritation and softens texture, fine lines and wrinkles,” says Ramirez.
Why Guys Love It: “Men appreciate the ‘toughness’ of this treatment,” enthuses Ramirez. “This facial allows them to feel pampered without compromising their masculinity.”
Heel-ing Arnica Pedicure (65 min./$68), White Orchid Spa, Vero Beach, Florida.
An ancient medicinal herb used for its anti- inflammatory benefits, arnica serves as the cornerstone of this indulgent foot treatment. It begins with a warm arnica soak, followed by a custom- blended arnica foot scrub. Next, warm Kneipp Arnica Massage Oil is drizzled over the legs and feet, which are massaged for five minutes using a combination of deep tissue work and hot stones. The toenails are then trimmed and callouses filed, and the feet are placed in warm Sonoma Lavender Spa Booties for three to five minutes, followed by a final massage using New Directions Aromatics Warm Arnica Butter.
Manly Must-Haves: “Arnica, along with the combination of hot stones and deep tissue massage, quickly reduces age-related pain and inflammation,” notes spa director Brittany Nuzzi.
Why Guys Love It: “Our clients enjoy the warm soak, full-body massage chairs and the spa’s direct ocean view,” reports Nuzzi. “They leave with an improved range of motion, groomed feet and a relaxed mind.”
Back Peel (50 min./$125), Sagestone Spa & Salon at Red Mountain Resort, Ivins, Utah.
Created to provide TLC to the oft-neglected skin on the back, this service is like a facial for that area. It begins with a double cleanse, followed by exfoliation using DermaSound Ultrasonic, which employs low frequency sound waves to smooth the skin. Next, a Lira Clinical Vita Brite Refresher Peel is applied and left on for four minutes. Once the peel is removed, Lira Clinical Pro Lite Serum, Pro Firming Serum, Bio Hydra C Serum and Mystiq Perfecting Eye Cream are layered on to lock in hydration.
Manly Must-Haves: “The peel targets fine lines and wrinkles, pigmentation and dehydration,” enthuses Howard-May. “Plus, it works on all skin types and doesn’t require any specific preparations beforehand.”
Why Guys Love It: “Much like the face, backs can suffer from scarring, dark spots and acne,” says Howard-May. “This service removes impurities and leaves the skin feeling silky-soft.”
Gentleman’s Tailored Facial (50 min./$155; 80 min./$205), Spa at JW Marriott, Chicago.
This indulgent facial diminishes irritation and provides moisture to parched complexions. The service begins with a thorough cleanse using Éminence Calm Skin Chamomile Cleanser, followed by a gentle exfoliation, light steam and face massage. Next, any necessary extractions are performed, and Dr. Dennis Gross Universal Peel Pads are rubbed onto the skin to reduce redness. The Éminence Calm Skin Arnica Mask is then applied, followed by a hand and arm massage. After the mask is removed, Éminence Hyaluronic Cushion Moisturizer or Stone Crop Whip Moisturizer is applied for a plumping, hydrating finish.
Manly Must-Haves: The chamomile found in the cleanser and mask instantly soothes shaving irritation, explains spa and wellness director Marie Parodi. Additionally, the Peel Pads minimize inflammation, unclog pores and prevent ingrown facial hair.
Why Guys Love It: “Our guests thoroughly enjoy the exfoliation process,” notes Parodi. “They also love the face massage, especially around the jawline and temples.”
Athletic Recovery Massage (60 min./$95-$110), VillaSport Athletic Club & Spa, Locations in California, Colorado, Oregon and Texas.
Designed to relieve soreness and speed up muscle recovery, this full-body service begins with a foot and back exfoliation. Next, warm towels saturated in a custom soak using Naturopathica Sweet Birch Magnesium Flakes are applied, followed by Naturopathica Arnica Muscle & Joint Gel. The therapist then performs a deep tissue massage, focusing on any areas of discomfort and tightness.
Manly Must-Haves: “The Sweet Birch Magnesium Bath Flakes invigorate the muscles and help relieve stiff joints,” notes spa director Del Pangelinan. What’s more, the arnica in the gel minimizes bruising.
Why Guys Love It: “The active ingredients help our clients leave feeling refreshed and rejuvenated,” says Pangelinan. Plus, the more they come in for treatments, the better they feel—their aches and pains no longer plague them at all.
Marketing to Men
Spa pros share some key ways they get dudes in the door.
Encourage your female clients to send in their husbands, fathers or sons in exchange for discounted services or spa rewards. —Brittany Nuzzi, spa director, White Orchid Spa, Vero Beach, Florida.
Donate gift cards to male-specific charities to get your name out there, and use gender-neutral service descriptions on your menu. —Enrique Ramirez, owner, Face to Face NYC, New York City.
Use Instagram, Twitter and Facebook to promote your offerings, and create a designated page on your website strictly for men’s services. —Marci Howard-May, director of spa and wellness, Sagestone Spa & Salon at Red Mountain Resort, Ivins, Utah.
Offer male-oriented amenities, such as a complimentary beer or bourbon. —Marie Parodi, spa and wellness director, Spa at JW Marriott, Chicago.
–by Taylor Foley
This story first appeared in the March issue of Dayspa magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.