At the Good Spa Guide, we spend our days talking to folks about spas, writing about spas, visiting spas … we’re a veritable spa machine. But, when the working day is over, it is always amazing to hear how many of our dapper man-folk friends and acquaintances seem to consider spa-ing a pastime exclusively for the ladies.
All this misconception is one of the reasons we came on board with the wonderful gents here at Ape to Gentleman; it’s time that any simmering myths and underlying parables surrounding the supposedly mythical world of spa were laid bare and banished, once and for all.
So, what’s it all about? Last month we told you a little bit about the history of spa; this month let’s tackle treatments. And, let’s start with the basics.
Essentially, spa treatments are the same, whether they proclaim to be for ladies, gents, unisex or especially designed for poodles. A massage is, at the crux of it, a massage. Same goes for a facial. Whilst there are a few interchangeable elements, broadly speaking, all spa treatments are suitable for any adult, regardless of gender.
So, if all treatments are unisex, what is it that a guy can look out for to make a treatment specifically “for men”? Well, firstly, and most prominently, will be the smells. Whilst we’re not suggesting that a guy can’t appreciate something with a distinctly floral note, it’s generally considered that guys would prefer something more along the woody, spicy or citrus route. Fear not, you’re not going to end up stinking of something resembling Lynx Africa; even in the spa world it’ll never again be 1992. Instead, you’re most likely to come across the pure scents of essential oils such as sandalwood, cypress, black pepper or grapefruit. However, we can highly recommend a touch of jasmine – a floral note, but one that isn’t overtly feminine. It’s traditionally a masculine perfume in India, for example.
Massages entitled “for men” will mostly feature Swedish or deep-tissue techniques, making the assumption that men will want firm pressure and specific massage strokes that target knots, focussing on physical results. However, you’ll notice that no massages on a spa menu are branded “for women”. Men, can, of course, try any other massage on a spa menu. You can select a treatment with benefits that suit your physical or emotional needs, rather than opting for something specifically labelled for your gender. Stepping away from massage (which, frankly, is a bit of an obvious one when it comes to men’s treatments), we’ll turn from a common wellbeing treatment to a common beauty treatment.
Now, come out, stop cowering behind your sofa. There really is nothing to be afraid of. The number of guys that seem to have an aversion to the concept of a facial is still surprising, although we can appreciate the initial reluctance. Images of giggling women in towel turbans with green masks slopped on their faces and cucumbers over their eyes may not appeal, but there’s an awful lot more to a facial than that.
A deep cleanse, thorough exfoliation, and some well-placed facial massage can do wonders for your skin. A facial is a great treatment to help soothe shaving rash, combat rough skin, or to tackle those under-eye bags you never thought you’d have when you were in your early 20s. If you live and work in the city, then all the pollution and grime can clog your pores and make it dull – a facial will freshen and revive your skin.
The experience of having a facial is really much less intimidating that you might think. A well-trained therapist manages to be right in your face, so to speak, without being in-your-face at all. During the best facials we’ve tried, you hardly notice your therapist is there. They’ll most probably try not to engage you in inane chit-chat, nor will they slather you in pointless potions that leave you greasy and smelling like a florist. A good therapist will be efficient and effective. And you’ll be very grateful you visited.