Catering to male clients can be easy once the skin care professional gets them through the door. It can be difficult for professionals to get the average guy to navigate through an estrogen-driven retail area; into a maze of hair, nail, and pedicure stations; past a sea of female faces; and down the hall to a treatment room. It is often much easier for the professional who has a side door or works in a clinical setting.
Professionals should position male clients somewhere in their comfort zone or they will not return to the spa. Professionals will either win them over or lose them the minute they walk in the door, so be prepared. A waiting room with a flat screen television that is showing ESPN or a sports game is huge. Provide free, secure Wi-Fi, fresh drinking water, and an array of magazines that men will enjoy. It is preferable for background music to be old Motown, jazz, or R&B, but not new age or spa whale music.
Furthermore, avoid small, imported facial beds and portable massage tables. Get at least one extra-long, sturdy massage table. Professionals can cover them in truck upholstery leather, which can be sanitized quickly and last forever, unlike pastel soft leather spa beds. If the beds are not a neutral gray or black, at least cover the more feminine colors in a high count cotton sateen sheet that is deep gray, espresso, or black. Professionals do not have to go through the expense of carrying a men's line, which might not fit their needs and sit on the shelf too long. Many lines made exclusively for men are fragranced, not appropriate for sensitive skin, and have an inadequate sunscreen product or none at all. At the same time, the products men purchase cannot be feminine or they will be too embarrassed to put them in their bathroom or shower.
The first treatment should be a simple facial with steam or light lactic skin peel followed by a soothing mineral mud or clay mask. Before beginning, tell the male client exactly what to expect. Steer clear of aromatherapy oils, fragranced back bar, and anything that could sting or cause a reaction. A man with a red face does not have the option of covering it up with makeup. Furthermore, men can become overly worried when it comes to extractions. Use this time to break the ice and have some fun. Place a clean towel on a stainless steel tray and lay out an array of shiny, new tools, including a pair of scissors, nail clippers, tweezers, an icepick, screwdrivers, a box cutter, a staple remover, needle nose pliers, wire cutters, a wrench, a glue gun, a vise grip, a pocket knife, kitchen knives, and a hammer. The nervous male client will typically ask, "What are you going to do with that stuff?" One thing is for sure though: They will not be worried about the extractor.
Unless a man has problem skin, like acne or shaving bumps, keep the homecare regimen very simple, at least at first, especially if the man has been grabbing whatever soap is in the shower and not much else. Opt for a fragrance-free, gentle wash; a light, unscented moisture lotion; and a sheer, greaseless, zinc-based sunscreen. Avoid chemical sunscreens because they can run into the eyes and burn if the client perspires. Invite him back for a complimentary follow up visit, track his compliance, and discuss how his skin feels. Gradually introduce him to a more advanced routine with a creamy shave cream and, possibly, a brightening or anti-aging serum. Walk him through how it should be used and provide a homecare sheet with simple instructions. Use caution with active ingredients and products that have side effects if over-used, like alpha hydroxy acids, salicylic acid, scrubs, and strong astringents. Be sure to become knowledgeable about acne, shaving problems, sensitive skin, redness, and dry skin and how to address those issues. Men will become lifelong clients because they need the professional and, most of all, because they feel comfortable.
Give male clients the kind of advice they can sink their teeth into and really need. Simple things a woman might know will often be totally new for a man. By following simple skin care rules, he will look and feel better and he will be back for more. Be sure to carry the types of products men need and keep them affordable. Products like simple, non-drying cleansing gels and lotion cleansers; no-sting toners; light moisturizers; and sheer, fragrance-free, zinc-based sunscreens will increase the spa's bottom line and grow the professional's male clientele. Explain how the sun and weather can impact his skin. Dark blemishes, redness, and uneven skin tone can happen on overcast days when the long UVA rays penetrate the clouds and windshields. Tell them how practicing sun safety will help prevent redness and blotchiness year round.
To fight dry skin, talk about shorter, warm showers and cleansing facial skin with lukewarm water and a creamy cleanser instead of bar soap. Do not use bar soap, which is more drying than liquid body washes. Remind them not to forget sunscreen because it is not sunny.
They should also be advised not to over-scrub their skin as it makes dead skin cells build up faster. Caution them to stay away from heat sources like heaters, fireplaces, and hot ovens to keep skin and sinuses from drying out. Urge them to cut back on sodium-rich foods, alcohol and caffeine, which can dry out their skin and worsen puffy eyes. Remind them not to slack on water intake when it is cold and to keep in mind that caffeine-free, herbal teas and juice qualify as water intake. Schedule treatments for male clients on a regular basis, but not too often. Follow professional sports and know what is going on and when, so they can be scheduled around important games. This action will reduce the spa's no-show rate for male clients. It also helps if the professional can talk sports with them as well. If the professional can walk the walk and talk the talk, they will definitely grow a loyal male clientele who will refer their friends and colleagues and stick with them for years.
Kathryn Khadija Leverette is a successful aesthetician, nationally-certified medical aesthetic specialist, business owner, freelance technical and fashion writer, keynote speaker, educator, and formulation consultant based in Oakland, Calif. Many of the protocols she developed in the late 80s and early 90s for razor bumps, hyperpigmentation, peeling, and scarring are now used widely in the skin care industry. She is an independent consultant, developing skin care products and treatment protocols, providing advanced education, and creating label copy for companies like Peter Thomas Roth Clinical Skin Care and the June Jacobs Spa Collection for over a decade.