Men made up 47 percent of the total base of customers who had a spa treatment in the US, according to a 2013 survey
A day at the spa, or even just popping in for a manicure in the middle of the day, is a way many women take a break from their busy lives to treat themselves.
“These days everybody is so crazy busy,” says Angela Rosen, the owner of Penelope & the Beauty Bar, the spa at the Fairmont Olympic Hotel. “But at the spa, you can just take a minute where it’s OK to turn your phone off, sit there, and relax. You get a minute for yourself!”
That appeal to unplug seems to be attracting a more diverse clientele to spa services in recent years. In the nine years Rosen has owned a spa, she says she’s seen a noticeable increase in the number of men having services.
“Men are taking better care of themselves these days,” she says. “They care more about what they’re eating and they care about grooming, too.”
She’s right. Men made up 47 percent of the total base of customers who had a spa treatment in the US, according to a 2013 survey performed by PricewaterhouseCoopers for the International Spa Association.
Rosen says many men approach her to ask about getting hair removed from their backs, arms, even their ears and noses. She tells them about their options, like sugaring and waxing. Women and men may be looking to remove hair from different places, but the services are universal.
“Sugaring is a great option,” she says. “Waxing can sometimes cause breakouts, but sugaring is much easier on the skin.”
William Byrd, a manager at Penelope and the Beauty Bar, appreciates that they offer certain sugaring and waxing services specifically for men, like a male Brazilian option, for example. “I regularly have waxing or sugaring services done,” he says. “[The staff] makes it very comfortable and as pain free as possible.”
While massages are a fairly common spa treat for any gender, Rosen says men who enjoy this kind of relaxing treatment might consider a facial as well.
“Facials are helpful for anti-aging, something men and women are concerned about,” Rosen says. “This time of year, facials are an especially good idea. People often get dry skin and even a cream doesn’t help. But if you get a facial, your skin is exfoliated and fresh and your moisturizer will actually work better.”
Byrd says that he feels comfortable getting a facial at Penelope because they have estheticians trained specifically to work with men. “Men’s skin has different needs than a woman’s does,” he says. “Our facials are intensive and results oriented. I never feel out of place getting a service at Penelope, it’s always a relaxing and enjoyable experience.”
While the tell-tale sign of a woman who just got a mani-pedi is a bright new coat of polish on the nails, for men who get these services, results are more subtle, but just as relaxing.
“Manicures and pedicures for men and women aren’t that different, men just don’t get polish usually,” Rosen says. “The important thing to know is that these services aren’t just for aesthetics, they help keep your hands and feet healthy as well. We have a lot of older men who get pedicures for that reason.”
Byrd says that he gets pedicures regularly both because they help him look and feel good. He often encourages his male friends to try them out. “They are sometimes reluctant at first,” he says. “But once they actually come in and experience it for themselves, they are hooked!”
If you’re wondering how to convince a reluctant man in your life to try out a spa service, Rosen suggests setting up a date night. “Whether it’s his and hers or his and his, we have a really special manicure/pedicure room that’s private. You can grab a cocktail first or we can bring you one and you can get your hands and feet done together then go out to dinner.”
When men realize the sense of sanctuary spa treatments can offer, Rosen says she often sees them coming back regularly. “Women are so comfortable taking that moment for themselves to relax,” she says. “But men just need to experience it once to see how that hour can totally revitalize you.”
The booking experience that many spas are using now are especially appealing to customers who might be trying a spa treatment for the first time. “We have super-confidential online booking and online receptionists. You can also text in an appointment,” says Rosen. “A lot of people don’t want to be on their phone at the office saying they want to book a Brazilian at 3:00, so the discreet options make services more accessible to everyone.”
Penelope & The Beauty Bar, located inside the historic Fairmont Olympic Hotel in the heart of downtown Seattle, offers the most advanced skin care and body treatments available.