A fresh-faced glow is no longer the domain of women. This holiday season sees a proliferation of men-only facial treatments and even spas and skincare boutiques solely reserved for their domain.
Treatments manager Kathryn Cousins at The Oriental Spa at The Landmark, Mandarin Oriental, says the demand for men's facials has increased 50 per cent since last year. 'Our decision to launch treatments and products specifically for men was entirely customer-led,' Cousins says. 'Men are becoming more discerning with what they use on their skin.'
Cousins says the idea that skincare and grooming is only for a small sector of the male market is outdated. As men have started to realise the benefits of facials and investigate how to look after their skin, they have become curious about options once regarded as the sole preserve of women, such as Botox and fillers.
The International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons says China (including Hong Kong) ranked third globally for the number of cosmetic procedures in 2009. The most popular non-surgical procedure was Botox injections, with men making up almost 18 per cent of customers.
'Our male guests are becoming more educated in well-being, health and grooming,' Cousins explains. 'We needed to offer them something that exceeded their expectations and fully addressed their concerns, and this could only be done by presenting products and treatments designed specifically for the man.'
The Oriental Spa's TwinLuxe products were created for men by twin brothers Anthony and Hubert Tsai. Using pearl powder, hydrolysed rice protein and other Asian botanicals coupled with the latest dermatologic advances, the products are designed to improve skin tone and smoothness, promote anti-ageing and heal the skin. The spa also offers a TwinLuxe Performance Facial.
In between facials, Cousins recommends exfoliating the skin two to three times a week using a granular-based exfoliator to allow the skin to regenerate while stimulating new cell growth. 'This will also help those suffering from ingrown hairs post-shave,' she says. Cousins says the face scrub from the new VitaMan range is ideal because it contains walnut shell powder to remove grime and promote a healthy complexion.
'The most popular facials with men are those that deliver on specific concerns,' says Cousins. One of these is the VitaMan Detox Facial, which uses potent products to deep-cleanse and decongest the skin offering refreshing, cleansing and pore-refining results; while including a deep pressure scalp and neck massage to offer an element of relaxation and tension release.
Other companies capitalising on the demand for men-only treatments and products include Gentlemen's Tonic and Joyce Grooming, both opened at Landmark Men - a 60,000-sqft retail space dedicated to the 'male trendsetter'.
London-based Gentlemen's Tonic, which chose Hong Kong for its first overseas branch, offers traditional therapies such as facials, as well as eye treatments, eyebrow shaping and tinting. Other grooming centres such as Browhaus offer similar techniques that women have been using for years such as threading or tweezing to whip brows into shape, while a colour tweak is also offered.
Gentlemen's Tonic manager Sarah Chung says eyebrow shaping is very popular in Hong Kong. 'Men prioritise a very experienced therapist who is able to ensure they achieve a natural look,' Chung says. 'The idea is that they are able to leave looking sharper but without anyone knowing that they had the service. There are a great deal of men who really care about their health and appearance and who are taking the time to have facials, eye treatments and eyebrow shaping to ensure not only that their skin maintains that healthy glow but also that they can confidently present themselves.'
Chung says one of their most popular treatments is the Multi-Vitamin Facial designed to combat dehydrated skin exposed to pollution, air-conditioning and flying. It focuses on nourishing the skin with antioxidants and vitamins to improve cell renewal.
'In between regular facials we recommend men pay specific attention to their shaving technique and what they put on their skin, during and after,' says Chung. 'The act of shaving itself can be quite damaging to the skin, so it's really important to use high-quality products which help to protect the skin during, and then soothe, regenerate and protect after.'
Chung says they have seen more men asking for natural products and wanting to avoid ingredients such as parabens, petrochemicals and alcohol. Their in-house product range, Babassu and Bergamot, consists of naturally based plant-derived materials from sustained and renewable resources specifically formulated in Britain for men's skin and hair.
Joyce Grooming, meanwhile, debuted last month as a one-stop shop for a range of skincare brands and treatments aimed at men. The selection includes luxury shaving products from London's Truefitt & Hill, Australian Olympic swimmer Michael Klim's Milk & Co skincare range and the Japanese-inspired Kyoku for Men line.
The latest addition to Joyce Beauty sees its role as supporting 'men's growing commitment to a daily grooming routine', offering everything from facials and manicures to eyebrow shaping and male-friendly cosmetics.