Amy Westgarth interviewed Justin Gaffney, the owner of male salon, MSH Wellbeing in Islington to get his views on male grooming these days.
Men should make more effort. Long has this been the lament of over-plucked women, spending money they could have put towards something worthwhile on yet another wax. Does the pressure to be perfectly preened still only apply to women? It would seem not. There are male grooming clinics subtly tucked away behind most busy high streets, it’s interesting to note that they are still tucked away. Justin Gaffney, the owner of male salon, MSH Wellbeing in Islington told me that they very deliberately picked their premises. The salon is at the back of a courtyard, you have to press a neatly labelled button to gain entry and you wouldn’t find it unless you knew it was there. You might think this bad for business but, on the contrary, Justin says his clients value the privacy of the clinic and like that it’s not obvious where they are going. There is still a stigma attached to grooming which presents a dichotomy for guys; they are increasingly expected to brush up more but teased if they admit to it.
Male beauty is no longer restricted to gay men but is part of the evolution of modern manhood. Just look at the latest teen heart throbs; Justin Bieber and Louis Tomlinson (One Direction). They are so clean cut that your granny would approve. There’s not a hair out of place, not a hint of stubble and the eyes are perfectly framed by carefully threaded eyebrows. There is still a place for ‘manly men’, Matthew McConaughey, with his unkempt locks, is regularly voted as one of the sexiest men in the world and Brad Pitt is still swooned over, beard and all. The older woman seems to prefer a more rugged gentleman.
Men do now have more choice. They have services available to them, at their convenience, while previously male grooming stopped at the barber shop. Women wear make-up, remove hair and enhance their natural ‘talents’, isn’t it time that men were allowed a bit of help too? In a survey of 1,000 UK men, aged between 18 and 64, conducted by SPA Future Thinking, 53% say grooming is expected of them. Meanwhile, 34% say having a beauty routine would improve their love lives and 25% agree it would enhance their careers. Men are choosing to make more effort for all these reasons but women are expecting it of them too. Justin told me that one of his biggest sellers is laser treatment, to remove hair from men’s backs. It’s most often bought by brides-to-be who refuse to sign up to a future with a gorilla guy. So next time you catch your man lathering his body in your Dermalogica face cream, take a moment (before you throttle him) and ask him if he’d like to try a face mask too.
Read about men taking the plunge and waxing for charity here !
text: Amy Westgarth