Even in our supposedly enlightened era of equality-for-all, the idea that spas are a distinctly feminine, women-only destinations still lingers.
So when it comes to guys and their beliefs about just what goes down in spas, there can be a number of hang-ups, second guesses, and excuses for not taking the plunge and setting up an appointment. Maybe, somehow, you’ll be laughed back out the door by a gaggle of gorgeous beauticians. Or maybe the image you have is of the nude fight scene in Eastern Promises, all flapping scrotums, broken bones, and gnarly old dudes covered in tattoos.
All of these anxieties are understandable. Spas are uncharted territory for most of us, and the thought of being in such unguardedly close proximity to a stranger is enough to make even the most confident of dudes think twice.
But maybe think thrice. There are a whole host of beneficial treatments designed especially for men – ones that really work, for all kinds of things from relaxation to grooming to sorting out skin complaints. So we’ve taken the hits and researched the best bloke-friendly treatments, to convince even the most dubious of dudes to be a spa-ing partner.
Exfoliate with Booze
With most guys, the surefire way to lure them into anything (cookout with the in-laws, Christenings, jury duty) is with the promise of free booze. With that in mind, a bunch of spas are now offering tipple-based treatments.
Admittedly, a lot of them on offer are just basic exfoliations jazzed up with cocktail ingredients (rum scrubs, michelada facials, tequila massages). But it’s nice to know they’re out there, and that you won’t come home smelling like potpourri.
The process removes dead skin cells, unclogs pores, makes skin breakouts far less likely, and leaves you with younger-looking, healthier skin. Because that unseen layer of grime has been removed, you’ll also experience a much closer shave when you exfoliate your face.
Look around for spas that offer exfoliation treatments specifically for men, as our skin is slightly thicker than the ladies’ (literally, not metaphorically) and can take more of a battering.
Freshen Up Your Feet
Perhaps the least aesthetically pleasing part of a guy is his feet. Whether you’re a sports-mad marathon champ giving your dogs a regular pounding or a couch dweller who doesn't do much other than walk to your car, your toes could likely use a bit of attention after a lifetime of neglect.
So get yourself a manly-pedi, one that’ll soften the skin (usually with a warm compress and wrap), a massage to loosen the muscles in the calf, an exfoliation (better than one you can do yourself with that ped-egg you got from the infomercial) and – if need be – a trim of the toenails.
If you’re embarrassed about how your feet look going in, don’t sweat it. The people in the spa are used to it, and that’s what they’re there for. Just make sure your feet are clean before you go.
Scrub Your Back
It isn’t just teenagers that suffer from bacne. There’s a huge number of adults too, but because it doesn’t affect anywhere that others can see, it often gets ignored.
The result of over-active sebaceous glands, acne on the back is usually at its worst in the summer when sufferers perspire the most, but layering up in autumn can also exacerbate the problem.
Although it isn’t a full on cure, a back facial (bacial?) can alleviate the symptoms, sloughing away dead cells, hydrating the skin, and ensuring those harder-to-reach areas are fully cleansed. You’ll also usually get a soothing massage thrown in, so prepare for some full-on relaxation. Again, no matter how self-conscious you are, it’s well worth a visit.
Get Rid of Hair
Among trivial debates that no one should care about, one that quickly gets heated is the topic of how much body hair is acceptable on a man. As with most things in life, it's all about balance and preference.
Hey, if you want to be as smooth as a child, go for it. If you prefer to be as hairy as chimp, rock it the hell out. Just leave wacky chest hair patterns alone. No one looks good with that.
If you decide that you want a change of pace, you've got five primary options for getting rid of body hair, two of which (waxing and trimming) can be done at a spa.
You can get your chest, eyebrows, back, and most anything else trimmed to shape or waxed clean off, all with the measured eye of a trained professional.
Give 'em a shot and you'll look (and feel) like a million bucks.