Real Men … get facials/ Spa treatments aren’t just for women any

Linda DuVal

You see a guy walking into a spa. You think:

A. He’s the spa’s accountant.

B. He’s getting his wife a gift certificate.

C. He’s here for his pedicure.

If you chose A or B, you might be suffering from a case of sexism, because more and more, the answer is C.

Men have been going to spas since Roman soldiers soaked their sore muscles in public baths. Somewhere along the way, however, the spa became mainly a woman’s domain.

But that began to change in the 1990s. In the past four years, the number of men going to spas nationwide has increased from 23 percent to 28 percent of the clientele, says the International Spa Association.

Colorado Springs spas say the increase is even greater.

“I’d say our spa business is 25 to 30 percent men now,” says Jeanna Reeverts, director of marketing for the Veda Salon & Day Spa in Colorado Springs.

Broadmoor spa director Marguerite Lykes, who has 20 years in the spa business, also has noticed more men coming in for massages, facials, pedicures and other spa services once considered to be for women only.

“When I first got into this business, men made up maybe 10 to 15 percent of the clientele. Men provide about 35 to 40 percent of our business here,” Lykes says. “At certain times of the year, it might even be 50-50.”

The sale of men’s spa products grew from $2.9 billion in 1995 to $4.04 billion in 2001, according to Datamonitor, a New York market analysis group. Datamonitor also reports that more spas are adding services geared toward men, such as facials designed for a man’s skin.

You don’t have to throw statistics at Lon Thurman to persuade him to go to a spa.

Thurman, 33, a Colorado Springs dentist, made his first visit more than a year ago and now goes about every other week.

He admits he was nervous the first time he went to Springs Spa, “but it was no worse than going to a new dentist for the first time,” he says with a laugh.

His first visit was for a massage, to help ward off back problems that dentists often develop from leaning over patients all day. He’s also a triathlete and needed something to get out the kinks after his workouts.

Springs Spa day spa manager Shannon Atkinson eventually talked Thurman into a hot stone therapy treatment on his back. Warmed smooth stones are placed at key points on the back, and a few more are placed in the hands.

“I got so relaxed, I dropped the stones,” Thurman says.

Thurman’s experience is typical, most salon owners say.

Most men make their first spa visit for a specific problem, like an aching back, and opt for massages for therapeutic reasons. Then, once they become comfortable in the spa setting, they come back for other services stereotyped for women only.

“Once they come and experience it, you can’t keep them out,” Atkinson says.

Take pedicures, for example.

Men, especially golfers, tennis players and runners, are exploring pedicures to make their battered feet feel better. Then, as they grow more comfortable at being in a spa, they venture into manicures to make them look more groomed and professional.

The gender-specific way that men settle into the spa experience underscores the different expectations of sexes, spa managers say.

“Women want relaxation, things that make them feel better and look better,” Atkinson says. “Men come in with a goal.

They say they want a massage to improve their golf swing, or because it was prescribed by a doctor for an injury. Or their wives gave them a gift certificate.”

That’s how Johnny Leon-Guerrero got started. His fiance gave him a gift certificate and talked him into going with her.

He’s gone about a dozen times and says he’s hooked. He gets massages, facials and eyebrow waxing.

“I love it,” says Leon-Guerrero, 26. “I just love the pampering that goes along with it.” He especially likes the facials, because they come with an upper body massage and they improve his appearance.

“People at work have noticed … I look better,” he says. “My skin used to be kind of oily, but now it’s pretty normal. I’ve learned it’s important to start skin care early.”

He and his fiance usually go together to the spa. “It’s a relaxing point for us, our little time out from the world,” he says.

Now, he’s got his brother going to the spa. Like many guys, Leon- Guerrero says he first thought spa treatments were expensive.

“But then I saw what value I got for my money. It’s a lot more relaxing, and a lot better for you, than going out drinking for an evening.”

Though more men are expanding their horizons in the spa, massages are still the most popular treatment among men, followed by the facial. But that’s partly because facials are “a little bit familiar, like visiting the old barber shop,” Lykes says. “The last area they explore tends to be body treatments, such as scrubs and wraps.”

First Sgt. Michel Perkins started out getting a massage, using a gift certificate he got from his wife, who manages the Veda Spa. The next time he went, he had a facial.

“It was great,” he says. “Every guy should have a facial. I felt like my face was cleaned from the inside out and it lasted for a week. I’m thinking I have to go back for another one.”

Now triathlete/dentist Thurman is considering another spa service: leg waxing. Most triathletes shave their legs for speed, he says.

“I hear it hurts, but it lasts a long time,” he says. “And my wife is getting tired of me using her razor.”

– Linda DuVal may be reached at 636-0371 or

Copyright 2002

Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning Company. All rights Reserved.

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