Grooming: Appearance matters

By Janetta Mackay

Men are increasingly signing up for a helping hand.

A tailored treatment for men, using skincare line Elemis at East Day Spa. Photo / Supplied
A tailored treatment for men, using skincare line Elemis at East Day Spa. Photo / Supplied

These days most men not only know they should moisturise, use sunblock and generally gussy up, but they're prepared to admit doing it too. Grooming standards are on the rise and so too are sales of men's skincare products and the swiping of women's ones.

Men no longer consider the suggestion of getting a manicure or a back wax as some sort of affront to their masculinity. Booking in for a massage is considered a good way to wind-down after an action-packed holiday weekend or a wearying business week.

The final frontier though is appearance medicine, men are increasingly turning to it, but they're a lot less likely to admit to a shot of Botox than women are. "Men are still very shy about people knowing that they care about how they look - especially their friends and work colleagues," says Caci medi-spas clinical adviser Jackie Smith.

Those that do go under the needle aren't shy about cost though. "Men tend to have a bigger budget. Once they have decided to spend on themselves they don't seem to struggle with the guilt that women do," Smith says.

Under 10 per cent of Caci medispas' clients are men, and the most popular treatment is pulsed light hair removal, with Botox use on the rise.

Forme day spas' managing director, Hady Wenham, says: "Traditionally there has been a stigma that a guy is a bit of a 'blouse' if he takes care of himself, but the tide is turning.

"Men deserve to feel good about their appearance just as much as women. We are not talking about a pamper-palace experience here, but about results-orientated treatments."

Professionals, aged 40 plus, are most interested in retaining their appearance edge and dealing to weather-ravaged or dull skin. Often they've seen the results of work their partners have had done.

"Men used to only really be interested in hair removal treatments and the occasional massage, but over the last few years we have seen a significant increase in appearance-related facial treatments."

They're considering the likes of IPL photo rejuvenation to remove both brown spots from too much sun and broken surface veins; skin tightening and rejuvenating treatments; exfoliating treatments such as peels and microdermabrasion; plus injectables.

At Clinic 42, an Epsom-based doctor-led practice, Botox is the main reason men visit, followed by hair removal laser treatments.

"We also have some coming for treatments for excessive sweating and quite a few come in for varicose-vein removal," says Dr Joanna Romanowska. As men become familiar with what's on offer they're willing to try other procedures. These include dermal fillers and IPL skin rejuvenation.

Men make up between 15-20 per cent of Clinic 42's clients and are a wide cross-section, aged from their 20s upward. While some come in with partners or sisters, most find their way to the clinic independently.

Sometimes a marriage breakup prompts the desire for a fresher look, says Caci's Smith. "I would say that it is more common for the male Botox client to be single than the female Botox client." If they do have a partner, then it is usually the partner that prompts the visit.

"For Botox, I have treated men from all walks of life: school teachers, builders, car salesmen, actors, businessmen," says Smith. "Like women they are usually in the region of 40 years, and starting to feel as though their ageing is impacting on their self-confidence."

Men and women have different approaches, says Romanowska. "Women tend to research the various options available first, while men tend to come in wanting advice on what is available and expect to get the information at the consultation. Men tend to be less demanding: they want to come in, have the treatment and get on with their day with a minimum of fuss ... They are also much better at attending the follow-up appointments and following after-care advice."

"Men tend to be a little more cynical initially, a little more wary," says Wenham. "When they can see that you are a professional who knows what you are talking about and can back up your claims with facts, they tend to be fantastic clients that are loyal and do what is recommended. They are less likely to be influenced [than women] by the latest fad."

Romanowska says new treatments include facial re-shaping with Voluma or Sub-Q to enhance the jaw-line and make it more masculine and filling around the eye area to disguise "bags" under the eyes or hollowing around the eyes.

"Both men and women want natural-looking results and often want it very subtle so that no one needs to know they have had any treatments."

Men are not interested in anything that "feminises" their appearance, such as filled lips or arched brows.

A big change Clinic 42 has noted is how much more aware men are becoming of good quality skincare, not just for looks, but also for health and cancer-prevention.

"Being a doctor, I am delighted to see more and more men investing in products with high concentrations of vitamin A and vitamin C (and actually using sunblock) which help to reverse and prevent pre-cancerous skin conditions from developing into cancers," says Romanowska. "With the amount of sun-damage we are exposed to in New Zealand, it is important, particularly for people who work outside or play lots of golf, ski, sail, etc, to use these products on an ongoing basis."

Smith says straight-forward ranges appeal to men. Murad, which Caci stocks, has a combined cleanser/shaving cream which she says appeals to her husband for its simplicity. She also rates its Face defence, "a sunscreen with a moisturiser hidden in it so he still feels blokey."

For men with sun damage and looking for a tangible difference in skin quality she says microdermabrasion treatments are popular.

Wenham says it all comes down to trust.

"Like anyone, if men can see a benefit and believe we can deliver results they are receptive to most things - well, besides painted nails."

- NZ Herald

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