[Best of Beauty U] The Man Facial

This one needs no introduction. It’s just Milady’s Pure. Solid. Gold.

Photo of a man getting a facial

A quick but — I think you’ll agree — essential detour back to facials, because I just came across these gems in Milady’s Standard Fundamentals for Estheticians.

Let’s start on page 318:

Male clients can be better clients than women in some ways because they are willing to follow suggestions and want a basic, consistent routine. They tend to be loyal customers. Male clients represent 15 to 20 percent of business and this percentage is expected to grow.

Yup. Dudes are more loyal than us fickle, routine-eschewing ladies. Further down:

The challenge is to induce male clients to come to a salon or spa in the first place. Using the term skin treatment rather than facial is perhaps a better way to promote men’s services. One way to attract male clients is to offer special services designed just for them. Make them feel comfortable and tactfully assure them that it is normal for men to seek spa services and practice good skin care habits.

Translation: Calling your spa “This Won’t Make You Gay” will be good for business. (Never mind if you are gay. Milady’s has nothing to say about you.) Continuing over to page 319:

Be sure the products are basic and the routines simple. Men generally do not want highly fragranced, fluffy products. For example, lotions need to be light, without fragrance, highly absorbent and with a matte finish. Most men do not like the greasy feeling of some products.

Because as a female, I adore smelly, shiny, greasy skin care. (I’m not even sure what a “fluffy” face cream would entail and I am studying to be a professional.) So it’s important that we clarify this. Men are from Mars, remember? They want beauty products that don’t suck. And aren’t called beauty products.

They also like the soapiness and foaminess of soaps, so a foaming cleanser is a good choice. […When performing facials, keep in mind] Most men love steam and the brush machine. Even if a client’s skin is slightly sensitive, he will prefer the assertiveness of a brush and foamy cleanser. A firmer touch and deeper massage are also needed on male skin.

The brush machine, in case I’ve forgotten to explain that to you already, consists of a soft bristled brush hooked up to a motor. When you turn it on, the brush head spins. You rub it all over the client’s face (usually with some sort of scrub) to exfoliate off dead skin cells, and, in the case of your male clients, fulfill their S&M fantasies.

Here I’ve been spending all these months pondering how the beauty industry restricts/talks down to/degrades women (and also people of color) and I have to admit, for the most part, I’ve been completely ignoring the plight of the modern, foamy cleanser-loving, man. Sorry guys. Apparently, beauty is more equal opportunity than I thought, because we’re just as content to reduce you down to a Clueless Caveman in order to make a buck.

Except, as is so often the way, I’d argue that these marketing stereotypes about men also serve to further reinforce stereotypes about women. That we automatically get the need for skin care services by dint of our extra X chromosome. That we love “fluffy” products. That we’re fragile and can’t handle “a deeper massage.”

Oy. I’ll leave you with my absolute favorite line, perhaps in the entire Milady’s oeuvre. It’s so great, you might consider having it put on a t-shirt.

Tubes are more male-friendly than jars.

Of course they are.

[Photo of a man’s facial via Flickr.]


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