This year has been a time of incredible experiences, but also a time of evolution.
Over the last few months, I have been a guest on several webinars discussing both the response and evolution of the wellness industry. We have covered every topic from therapy to technology, but one of my favorite discussions was discussing how wellness is evolving – becoming more accessible – changing its profile to actively include everyone - including men.
Gone are the days when a man could get away with a quick shave and shower before heading out into the day or night. I’ve always been a bit of a pampered, but when I was growing up watching my sisters twist themselves into pretzels getting hair and skin and make-up to a point of perfection seems incredible to me. I always felt thankful that I wasn’t held to a similar image system.
However, those days seem to have officially long gone, and men who thought they could get away with a quick shave and shower before heading out into the day or night are facing a new reality: wellness for all!
We (men) have been waging a war in which the time spent buffing our car or watching football is considered vastly more important than time spent buffing our skin or watching our health. That battle is now over, and it looks like men finally understand what traditionally women have known all along: self-care is caring for all. With this new commitment to male wellness comes new experiences…new spa and wellness experiences.
Even the most inquisitive men will often thumb quickly through a spa menu, searching in earnest for a Swedish or deep tissue massage – something – ANYTHING – that falls into the stereotypical ballpark of how MEN look after themselves. I’ve been in enough spas to have seen this play out a thousand times, and each time I want to jump in and show them the experiences and benefits that lie on the many other pages of the menu.
Facials, even those designed specifically for men, with text that deliberately exclude promises to “nourish” or dare not mention “journey” are generally left ignored and undiscovered by their target audiences. But it seems like more men are taking more charge of their overall wellbeing that before – especially home care.
Of course, with this new found freedom comes the responsibility of knowledge. Regardless of gender, your skin is your largest organ and has as an extensive list of things to accomplish. Skin regulates our temperature, stores daily essentials like Vitamin D and water, and does an exceptional job of keeping our insides protected and…well…keeping them inside.
Men’s skin is thicker, mostly more oily, and less sensitive than our female counterparts. This, coupled with our general lack of enthusiasm about it, leads to poor home self-care and terrible spa-time attendance. This is why, when lockdown ends and we have our lives back to a workable level of normal, the industry, in general, believes there will be a surge in less stimulated wellness demographics. When we are able to go out, we predict less pub time and more spa time – or, perhaps more realistically, a healthier level of both.
For the male skin novices – and there are plenty – who are looking to upgrade their face time, I always suggest a trip to a spa as an easy introduction to this unchartered territory. Most spas do offer facials for men. Men’s facials will either use products designed specifically for men’s skin or use a protocol that moves away from a traditional beauty treatment and throw in a bit more massage or scrub – anything that might keep our masculinity as nurtured as our skin.
Preparation is crucial, especially if your goal is to learn a thing or two and move forward with some sense of direction. No matter where you are on the spectrum of interest and experience, men should follow the same few simple rules:
Take stock of what it is you actually are using for at-home-skincare and what it is you actually are willing to do, albeit it thin on the ground. An informed therapist will be able to help you incorporate products that are not only good for your skin but are also good for your lifestyle and level of commitment.
Make sure you shave before your facial. Your therapist will need access to your skin. Even if you are not a regular shaver, give your skin a break and shave off the beard. You might actually like it.
Don’t wear aftershave to the spa. Give your senses a chance to bond with the products as they are being put on your face.
Look for add-ons or enhancements on the menu. Often, spa menus will offer short massages that you can throw into the facial mix. This might just make you feel like you are having a more familiar spa experience.
Men’s product lines will often combine cleansers with shaving emulsions. This is a great idea as both cleansing and shaving can easily be taken care of in the shower. It also limits the number of products to stare at, dazed and confused, in your bathroom.
Eye gels and eye creams are important products and are not restricted to use of one gender only. If your goal is to look better, younger or just more rested, taking care of your eyes with the right products has an incredible impact.
Know yourself and your habits. Don’t get talked into 6 products you will use incorrectly. A good therapist will guide you and prescribe only the products that you will use consistently. With no experience under your belt, it’s important to keep it easy at the beginning.
Don’t be afraid of face oils or body oils. If you are working out a lot, a body oil with Arnica (MOSS of the Isles Warm Body Oil, for example) will greatly help with muscle tension and aches associated with post-exercise. This is a great way to begin to understand how conscious and effective wellness can impact your general wellbeing.
Face oils are an amazing way for men to keep their skin hydrated and moisturized. For bearded me, they can also act as a moisturizer for your beard. For those of us beardless, our skin goes through a lot just through shaving and using often hard gels and creams to shave. Face oils are a great way to promote a healthy oil balance and skin function.
I hope next year will give us plenty of opportunities to spread our wellness wings, but if you’re a man or a woman who knows and loves one, it’s time to get serious about home self-care too. For good or bad, 2020 has raised the level of expectation for us, and I don’t think there’s room to negotiate a return to our old ways.