There was a time when anything more than a hunk of carbolic soap and a basin of cold water would be treated with disdain, if not outright suspicion. But, as an increasing number of men are starting to realise, there are considerable benefits to taking care of our skin and, in particular, our faces.
While each season comes with its own challenges, Hong Kong’s hot, humid, fumefilled summers bring a multitude, and thus proper skincare is essential to feeling and looking refreshed. We spoke to experts at three luxury grooming salons from around the world for the most suitable treatments and easy ways to replicate them at home.
Gentlemen’s Tonic in Central’s Landmark Atrium has been providing male-centric spa treatments – with a focus on the barber’s chair and facial care – since opening in 2011.
Head barber Kemal Mehmet says that as summer approaches, the demand for refreshing and detoxifying facials increases. He recommends their 55-minute Detox treatment (HK$950), as it concentrates on tackling the build-up of natural oils during the really humid months. It includes a hot towel, deep extraction of the pores, a detoxifying mask that helps balance oils without drying, and finishes with a cold towel and cooling moisturiser to help retain the skin’s “natural position”. Mehmet notes that the spa uses a wide range of organic products in its treatments, and that the Detox facial includes both SkinCeuticals and Gentlemen’s Tonic products.
“Nothing can really re-create the spa experience, but knowing which luxury products best suit you and having a daily ritual is a start in replicating the results,” says Mehmet, who notes that therapists will suggest products and offer instructions for a routine to follow at home.
To that end, Gentlemen’s Tonic recently launched a new skincare collection that includes a Soothing Aftershave Balm, an Exfoliating Facial Scrub and a Daily Moisturiser.
It also stocks SkinCeuticals, whose Clarifying Clay Masque has 5 per cent hydroxy acid to exfoliate dead skin cells, and chamomile to soothe the skin.
To combat the summer heat and grime, international chain Hommage – which has outlets in London, New York and Dubai, among others – suggests its Signature Facial performed simultaneously by two therapists.
Founder and CEO Tom Wilscam describes it as “an all-inclusive facial treatment tailored to your skin’s specific needs, designed to minimise pores and fine lines, soothe irritated skin and brighten the complexion”.
The treatment features the brand’s Achieve mask, which contains naturally occurring bioactive silt collected from two freshwater lakes in eastern Europe.
The silt boasts nutrients that penetrate the skin to create a more even skin tone and increase moisture levels while reducing sebum content. “This unique ingredient is ideal for skin detox and nourishment all year long, but particularly during the spring and summer when the temperature is warmer, and men may be more active and perspiring, and skin dehydration can occur more,” Wilscam says.
At home, Wilscam recommends a twiceweekly mask treatment of about 10 minutes followed by a cleanser and hot towel to remove any residue.
Omorovicza’s Deep Cleansing Mask (available at Joyce Grooming) boasts Hungarian thermal mud to cleanse and detoxify, along with white clay to draw out impurities.
Origins also offers its Clear Improvement mask with activated charcoal and Out of Trouble, a 10-minute treatment with detoxifying zinc oxide and sulfur.
Deborah Gayle of The Refinery men’s grooming destination in London notes that while facials are popular to protect the skin during the harsh winter months, numbers are increasing year-round, and that some of the spa’s clients will come on a monthly basis.
She says the Refinery Detox Facial is a good way to deal with the challenges that the sun, moisture and heat of the summer months throw at men’s skin.
This facial is specifically designed to treat and balance male skin, Gayle explains, and uses freshening and brightening plant extracts along with essential oils to leave the skin “clean, clear and invigorated”. A stimulating scalp massage also increases circulation to the hair follicles.
The treatment includes cleansing and exfoliation, followed by gentle steam to open the pores. The therapist then does a pressurepoint massage with oil before applying a mask.
After a series of hot and cold towels to remove the mask, the treatment ends with moisturiser and eye gel.
“To continue this, it is good to get into a home skincare regimen,” Gayle advises. “Once or twice a week, steam skin, either over a bowl or in the shower. Apply scrub and massage over face, then remove with a hot towel. Skin should also be cleaned and moisturised morning and evening.”
The Refinery stocks a range of skincare products – including a face wash and scrub, shave oil and Revitalising Moisturiser – that are available in Hong Kong at spas such as MiraSpa and Flawless.
Other men-specific collections include ClarinsMen, Laneige Homme, Lab Series Skin Care for Men, Shiseido Men, Biotherm Homme and Clinique Skin Supplies for Men – all offering a range of products for every skin type and skin regimen.
Don't let the missus take up all the cabinet space. Give your grooming regimen a boost with these new products:
Acqua di Parma Collezione Barbiere
With the right kit and preparation, shaving doesn't have to be a hairy matter. This new collection includes shaving creams, oils and a moisturising balm with an emollient formula that provides a smooth shave for even the toughest beards. It also includes a brush and razor.
Biotherm Homme Excell Bright
For a flawless complexion, try Excell Bright Brightening and Anti-scarring products. The collection includes a peeling cleanser, moisturiser and lotion to whiten dark spots. There is also a UV Defense Fluid (SPF 50) that can be used to prevent skin ageing.
Tom Ford Neroli Portofino Collection
Beat the summer heat with a refreshing body spray or deodorant - two new additions to this popular collection. Inspired by cool breezes, sparkling clear waters and the lush foliage of the Italian Riviera, they have citrus, floral and amber notes for an energising kick.