We know the drill when it comes to skincare for men: black packaging, not too many big words, simple messaging. The market for men’s skincare is for the most part a simple affair. But recent reports point to huge opportunities in the men’s beauty and wellness space, and brands are beginning to take notice.
Face of Man started in Sydney’s Strand Arcade in 1978 as a men’s grooming lounge. But over the past four decades, times have changed; its clients’ needs have evolved and the business has grown to meet them. Kylie Hayden bought the business in 2008 and transformed it into a haven for men’s skin concerns. In 2011 she moved it into a new space on George Street.
“When I purchased the business in 2008 it was located in a 60-square-metre shop and only had three skin treatments available, with the focal treatment being waxing,” Hayden tells Broadsheet. “I introduced the first piece of equipment, which was a microdermabrasion machine. The clients took to it instantly, so now I am proud to say we have 18 luxury skin treatments.”
Those treatments include microdermabrasion (a treatment that buffs away the outermost layer of skin), skin needling, laser hair removal, massage and even tattoo removal.
Hayden says that men’s perceptions of beauty and skincare have evolved immensely. “It has clearly shifted and we can see this demonstrated on social media. Now, male influencers post about their favourite products and ranges, and sports personalities post about how many skin cancers they have had cut out because of not using a daily SPF.”
Hayden has witnessed a huge change in how men regard advanced procedures, such as skin needling, light therapy and facials, and wanted to create a space where men felt comfortable and relaxed. “We developed a one-of-a-kind experience, rather than just focusing on the procedure aspect,” she says.
This experience includes a Scotch on arrival, to enjoy in the ambient setting along with calming music, plush art deco interiors and a selection of luxury chocolates.
As a skincare lover with an above-average knowledge of skin and beauty treatments, I decided to put Face of Man’s services to test on my own skin. I was keen to see how the experience stacked up against the (often female-focused) salons I usually visit.
My therapist Kate, who I saw on both visits to the salon, was ready with any and all questions I had about the processes and my skin. My first session was Deep Needle Therapy, which sees ultra-fine stainless-steel needles pierce the epidermis to stimulate and regenerate the skin, and help products penetrate. It required some downtime for my skin to recover, but Kate’s care and attention to detail was on par with any high-end female-focused salon I had visited.
This begged the question: do men actually need to visit a salon targeted at them? Hayden clarifies that men’s skin is fundamentally different and behaves differently to women’s skin.
“It’s a completely different experience for men. The product range we use is perfect for men’s skin, which is often oilier and 30 per cent thicker than women’s skin; we also educate clients on how they should be taking care of their skin at home with a regular skincare routine.”
I was also treated to a new process developed during lockdown, for clients who wanted to see improvement after staring at themselves on Zoom over the last two years. Hayden says the new combination of treatments, LED Platinum, has become one of the salon’s most popular. It combines microdermabrasion with an oxygen facial and LED light therapy.
“[It] treats skin imperfections and combats any abnormal bacteria. With no downtime needed the treatment is great for men who would like some extra pampering,” she says.
Face of Man has a little something for different men – technical services for the skincare pro (or amateurs who need jargon explained to them), waxing, or relaxing massages and facials for those who need some time out.
“We want to ensure we can offer result-driven treatments as well as a little bit of ‘me time’ to just escape from the world and switch off,” says Hayden.
Face of Man
Level 10/300 George Street, Sydney
(02) 9232 7138
Mon to Wed 9am–7.30pm