The core of the professional’s strategy is to leverage his other goals (professional, social, and personal) to skin care. To make that strategy successful, the professional needs to back it with a general working knowledge of men’s skin and how it differs from women’s skin. They should also be informed about the male client’s lifestyle and habits.
In the attainment of their goals, most men understand the importance of self-maintenance and value self-discipline. Starting at an early age, (often through their training in sports, or in many cases, through hard, academic work in competitive school environments) men learn to be diligent, decisive, and committed to the actions that will get them the results they desire. These fundamental character qualities shaped in their youth will serve as the sturdy foundation for joint success. Successfully getting a man to consistently use skin care products may seem like a reach because, in general, men do not tend to spend as much time or money on their appearance as women do. However, a man's motivation for an improved physical appearance will heighten when he has gathered enough evidence to truly support the belief that he gets more of what he wants when he is on the top of his game and puts his best face forward.
Internal statements such as: "When I take care of myself, I get the girl," "The lines around my eyes show that I smile often, but my pores are glaringly large," or "My face is aging faster than the rest of my body and I'm worried that I'll look too old for a job at an interview" are all powerful realizations that can motivate male clients to action. Educating a man on how to best care for his skin is much easier if the skin care professional can relate skin care to an activity that that he is already familiar with and understands well and if they help him to link the results of skin care products and services to something he truly wants, like a new job, a promotion, a girl, or even a sale.
Together, these two lessons will accelerate the client's skin care learning competency, which in turn will help bring him the rewards that he is motivated by. Uncovering his goals for an improved appearance will allow the professional to develop a solution that refocuses his priorities. By nature, most men are focused, goal-oriented, loyal, and consistent; once they perceive something to be of value to them, these traits become even more apparent.
Goals and Habits
As a skin care professional, there are four primary areas to focus on: his personal and professional goals, daily habits, skin care goals, and his unique results plan.
First, before beginning to influence the male client to alter his skin care habits, the professional needs to uncover some basic details about his lifestyle so that a custom results regimen can be created. Ask straightforward questions about what he currently does in the way of facial skin care, how he feels about the quality of his skin, what he would most like to improve about his skin, what improving the look of his skin will help him to achieve, how he likes to exercise, and how often he exercises. With answers to questions like these, the skin care professional will acquire not only key motivators, but also an understanding of the points in his lifestyle where they can help him insert elements of an appropriate skin care routine and stick to it. The routine, however, must be simple enough to integrate into his daily life, while simultaneously delivering visible improvements.
Understanding the client's lifestyle, habits, and daily rituals will help professionals develop a plan for achieving his optimal skin performance. After all, most men, at least the ones likely to consult a skin care professional, are familiar with diet and fitness. Therefore, linking optimal skin health to physical fitness will make the points easier to comprehend. Unless he understands the importance of being consistent with his skin care regimen, he is unlikely to place any value on performing any specific skin care action at all. A related example that could be provided to help the client understand the importance of consistent skin care habits is to remind him of the consistent, repeated effort it takes to build muscle. Linking muscle building to improving skin health will remind him that he needs to be dedicated and deliberate about following the skin care rituals created for him.
Another way to explain the need for consistency is through an external vehicle maintenance analogy. Washing, buffing, and applying a protective coating to a car's paint job helps it to look good for a longer period of time. The comparison here to skin care is obvious. Cleansing (washing), exfoliating (buffing), moisturizing, and applying sunscreen (protective coating) protects the skin, like the car's exterior finish, from environmental stressors. In this way, his skin, like his car, can retain its best appearance (and highest value) for the longest time possible. Once the client understands about consistency and value, integrate at least part of his needed skin care regimen into something he is already doing.
Creating a Custom Skin Care Regimen
A man's skin is distinctly different from that of a woman. Men's skin is, as a rule, naturally more hydrated, requiring less-occlusive moisturization to combat dryness, dehydration, and transepidermal water loss. His skin also contains more sebum with the production rate staying stable throughout his life, whereas a female's sebum production decreases with age. As a result, men's skin shows visible signs of aging at a reduced rate, at least until he reaches about 50, when the rate of transepidermal water loss speeds up, narrowing the gap between the rate at which he loses hydration and the more rapid rate at which a woman typically does.
When all of these factors are taken into account, is it any wonder that men are naturally less interested in applying skin moisturizers? Men simply do not require the frequent applications of lotions or creams to keep skin hydrated as much as women do. Another very common male practice that lends to increased hydration and smoothness of the facial skin is shaving. While men they typically have a limited knowledge of skin care, they do understand the importance of both pre-shave lubrication to prevent ingrown hairs and razor irritation and post-shave hydration. Skin care professionals can leverage this knowledge and create a results-oriented skin care regimen around their shaves for a more comprehensive and corrective beard care ritual. Men can also learn to incorporate the topical application of skin care products during and after showers, as well as after physical activities, like working out or playing sports. This works much better than offering suggestions to follow in the morning and in the evening, as is commonly recommended to women.
The client will also need to know, if he does not already, that even the best and most consistent self-care cannot eliminate the need for regular, professional attention. Sometimes comedons or ingrown hairs just happen. A professional looking closely at a client's face can spot trouble starting before the client can and, therefore, can preempt it from getting worse with prompt and appropriate treatment.
Men are consistent and loyal creatures when they find value in something. When designing treatments for male clients, they should really offer substantial benefits. Treatments that calm his senses while making the skin visibly brighter and smoother are more likely to be a hit. Keep in mind that when the restorative benefits of a spa treatment are combined with more results oriented procedures, it really ups the perception of value. Leave him feeling pampered, relaxed, and with results that can be seen and felt. The best-of-both-worlds blend, results-driven effectiveness, and relaxation, is more likely to keep male clients coming back consistently.
Skin peels that leave the skin raw and flaking for days are unlikely to be the perfect match for the male client because most men do not tolerate the process of post-operative recovery very well. Even though a skin peel might be just what he needs to polish the surface of his face, if his lifestyle will not permit even three days of downtime to get through the healing process, an alternative option will need to be offered. Get him to consider more frequent maintenance treatments that are administered once or twice a month and utilize products that contain ingredients like fruit enzymes and lower-percentage alpha and beta hydroxy acids to gently exfoliate the skin without leaving it red and flaky.
For more demanding skin conditions, assertive treatments may offer the only effective solution. In that case, first prepare the client for the experience. Manage his expectations with clear descriptions of the daily changes that will be witnessed as he recovers. For example, let him know that after the skin peel, on day one and day two, he will feel a sensation of heat in his face and look as if he has a mild sunburn. This explanation gives male clients a way to shrug off the comments of his peers over those two days, if he should feel the need to offer an explanation for the noticeable change in appearance. Next, provide him with the product that he will need to use post-operatively to prevent complications and accelerate the recovery time. An easy solution for this purpose would be to provide him with each product he will need at each step of recovery to function as a kit, included in the package price, rather than sold a la carte. Salon owners should consider implementing men's skin treatments at the shampoo bowl, complete with a warm steam towel scented with cedar, sandalwood, or another soothing but masculine-friendly aroma.
The key to helping a man care for his skin lies in his perception of value in the services that are delivered. The most important tools needed to deliver exceptional improvements in male skin health are understanding of masculine psychology, male physiological skin characteristics, and the ability to leverage the client's goals to achieve mutual success. Results that make an impression, deliver value, and align with his lifestyle will create unparalleled loyalty, from which the professional and the client will both benefit.
Devon Perry is a leading visionary, entrepreneur, aesthetic educator, results coach, and the founder of Veritas Bioactive Cosmetics. She has been featured in Austin Monthly Magazine, Austin American Statesman, American Spa Magazine, Spa Canada Magazine, DERMASCOPE Magazine, Celebrity Style Guide, and The Fredericksburg Standard. Perry specializes in education and the administration of multi-modality treatments for a global approach to acne and age prevention. She also developed Veritas Bioactive Cosmetics skin care formulations, professional resurfacing solutions, and step-by-step protocols for spas, skin clinics, and cosmetic retail counters.