By John Bayles
The word “facial” brings a few ideas to mind. One is that they are not for guys. The others are scenarios that involve primping, either for prom night or prior to gracing a stage or going before a camera.
But gone are the days when facials are reserved for the bride to be on the morning of the big day. Instead, more and more men are getting facials, whether out of vanity, necessity or simply because they are relaxing and rejuvenating. And the fact that a facial can significantly increase the chances of a smooch on the cheek doesn’t hurt either.
In some cases, men make up almost 40 percent of a salon’s clientele. Licensed esthetician Judith Desiree at Capelli’s in Bridgehampton, said since she began practicing twelve years ago, the number of men getting facials has certainly increased.
And the guys that are choosing to sneak out of work early and make up excuses as to where they are and why they can’t make happy hour are doing so for different reasons.
Just like for women, there are a variety of facials available for men. Some focus solely on exfoliation, removing dead or damaged skin. Others concentrate on acne and removing blackheads while some simply aim to comfort and sooth whether after a long week at work or a stressful weekend with the in-laws.
“For guys, it’s more about just having someone massage and rub your face. It just feels good,” said Desiree.
The result is skin that is more radiant, fresh and healthy looking. And besides the visible effects, having a facial leaves one feeling rejuvenated on the inside as well.
At Capelli’s the standard “Gentlemen’s Facial” is described as a “purifying treatment to address sensitivity due to shaving, pollution, fatigue and stress.” It consists of a deep cleansing paired with an exfoliation and “calming serums” and a “soothing mask.”
Some take only 30 minutes while others can take up to an hour. According to Desiree, most of the men she sees come in at the end of the week, after they leave the office on a Friday.
Another benefit of a facial for a guy is simply having the esthetician assess his skin type. Desiree can take one look at a guy’s skin and tell if they are using the wrong type of soap, or if they are using any cleanser at all. She can recommend products or a simple regimen to keep the skin looking healthy and refreshed.
And facials are not necessarily the mud mask and cucumber peels over the eyes that one might imagine. After a quick analysis, the skin is thoroughly cleansed with products specific to the skin type. This is one of the most relaxing parts of the experience.
The cleansing is usually followed by an exfoliation, where a gritty substance is combined with heat and moisture to get rid of the dead skin and reveal a healthy glow.
Then, depending on the skin’s condition, there could be an extraction period. And yes, extraction means probing the face for those unsightly black head or clogged pores and then letting the esthetician squeeze them out, albeit gently.
“This is the part men generally don’t like,” said Desiree. “They can be babies when it comes to any sort of pain.”
Apparently women handle this part of the facial better than men. But guys shouldn’t worry about any redness or swelling that might happen when they attempt to “extract” blackheads on their own while standing in front of a mirror in their bathroom.
“No one leaves here with red spots on their face,” remarked Desiree.
And after the exfoliation, there may or may not be a mask involved. Desiree sometimes uses a lactic acid mixture, not available over the counter, that tightens the skin without having globs of mud caked on your face and then having it dry.
Last but of course not least is the face massage. This is when the guy might begin to consider making facial appointments on a regular basis. An ear-to-ear grin is likely to creep over the guy’s face as he realizes just how relaxing a face massage can be.
Dim lighting and the soothing sounds and smells, together with the treatment itself, quickly transports one to a place resembling paradise.
As for this guy, his first facial will certainly not be his last. It left a memorable mark, both immediately after the treatment in the form of a fresh-faced feeling never felt before and then later, in the form of lipstick on his left cheek.