Sign of the times
Here is how your typical bride prepares for her wedding day: she starts a comprehensive diet and exercise plan a few months beforehand and, in the run up to the big day, schedules any number of facials, body wraps and massages. As the days speed up, it's all rehearsals for different versions of hair and make-up, plus manicures and pedicures, and relaxing spa treatments.
Her groom, on the other hand, has traditionally done this: he wakes up on the morning of the wedding, showers, shaves, and puts on his tuxedo.
That standard is slowly shifting, however. In this age of metrosexuals (in other words, fashion-savvy and well-groomed young men), men who are soon to wed are taking it upon themselves to come up with entire regimens, so they will feel as attractive and relaxed as their brides at the altar.
'I'm always the master of ceremonies at weddings and grooms invariably ask me for help,' says Peter Cheung, marketing and communications director for Van Cleef & Arpels in Asia-Pacific. 'Hair cut, manicures, facials ... they never do that stuff normally.'
Spa owners are seeing an uptick in men's grooming across the board.
'It's been a growing trend for the past five years,' says Nigar Qureshi, owner of the Beaute Par Zai spa. 'I think the ratio [of males to females] will soon reach 50-50.'
Among the most popular treatments are facials, intense pulsed light (IPL) laser-hair removal, waxing, aromatherapy, oxygen treatments with essential oils. Qureshi has even done make-up for grooms. Hotels that cater to wedding receptions and ceremonies and have spas are natural spots for grooms to indulge in pre-wedding beautifying.
At the Melo Spa at the Hyatt Regency in Sha Tin, there are deep-tissue and Swedish massages. And at the Landmark Mandarin Oriental, treatments pitched specifically to men include detoxifying facials and hamam time. The VitaMan Detox Facial, using the VitaMan skincare line based on the rare plants and herbs from the indigenous people of Australia, is an hour-long session designed to remove and prevent ingrown hairs and blackheads, ending with a scalp massage.
A 50-minute block of private time in the hamam allows the body to be slowly warmed, stimulating sweat glands and helping the blood to circulate. A scrub on a heated-marble massage table leaves the body refreshed.
Once a groom is primped and preened, there is the small matter of the tuxedo. Calvin Klein and Ralph Lauren are popular, while few can beat the streamlined sophistication of a Gucci number. At popular e-tailer Milan Style (milanstyle.co.uk), which ships to Hong Kong, offerings include a Burberry Prorsum pleated front tuxedo shirt, a Dolce & Gabbana velvet-trimmed tuxedo suit, and an Yves Saint Laurent single-breasted tuxedo that can cost upwards of GBP2,000 (HK$24,335).
Alexander Bailey, the company's director, says: 'The brand has come back to the forefront of fashion, and I would say the menswear ranks alongside Gucci and Prada. Dior Home is also a strong seller in the luxury sector.'