Grooming Fix: Executive Face and Body Treatment
With the seemingly never-ending metrosexual trend turning even the manliest of men into prissy hipsters, it's nice to know that a place like the Mandarin Barber still exists. At the old-school salon all manner of males are groomed in a time warp-like surrounding that treads colonial and classical Chinese lines.
Its latest option for men is the Executive Face and Body Treatment, a 90-minute fixer-upper that's tailored for jet-setting males.
Entering the comforting confines of the salon, I sink into one of the retro leather armchairs and am offered a shot of smooth espresso. I'm then ushered into a dimly lit private spa room
The treatment begins simply enough with a rejuvenating back exfoliation, where a thick cream is applied and quickly washed off. This is followed by a comprehensive back massage, with my choice of deeper pressure around my lower back alternating between slight pain and immediate relief.
Once everything neck-down is eased, the facial begins; an intense near-hour long treatment that starts by opening my pores with a carefully directed steam machine. The steamer is almost choking, blocking off both nose and mouth airways - but the masseuse distracts me somewhat from the tension through a pressure-point targeting scalp massage.
Then comes the actual face cleaning, with a heavy deep-cleansing scrub generously lathered on and left to dry. A revitalising toner is then applied, removing both the now-hardened cleanser as well as any of my surface-level impurities.
As I'm not obsessive when it comes to facial cleanliness, the Mandarin's expert opts for extra time focused on her "extraction" method: a penetrating and exhaustive process whereby she goes pore by pore across my skin, digging out and swiftly cleaning all that I can't (and wouldn't want to) see.
The process feels like it's ruining my already-flawed skin, and I'm apprehensive that a scary, swollen face looms at the end. But after a quick wash and a hot towel, I stand in front of the mirror and the results speak for themselves: I'm scrubbed, scraped and shining, and I leave feeling like the cleanest thing in our polluted city.
The 90-minute Executive Face and Body Treatment costs HK$1,540.
Mandarin Barber, Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong, 5 Connaught Road Central, tel: 2522 0111; mandarinoriental.com