Males in Beauty & Aesthetics: Are we stuck in the dark ages?
On many an occasion, we have had clients hang up the phone or even question if they called the right business when they are met with a male answering the phone; or worse be so stunned that a male was on reception that they literally left in a huff.
Many seem entirely comfortable with a male doctor but question a male in any other aspect of the business. Are we as a society still stuck in the dark ages?
Over the past two decades of being in the industry, some of my best bosses were male. Of late I have encountered male therapists, and educated many male laser specialists. As the industry matures into a science-led aesthetic beauty sector with new educational pathways for entering the industry that bypasses traditional beauty treatments, men coming into the industry is only going to grow. If there was ever a time that the industry needed to update its thinking, it is now.
We have an exceptional number of male clients. Gone are the days of the Neanderthal man who would only darken the door of a salon or clinic to purchase a voucher for his loved one.
For years I have claimed to have almost as many male clients as female. However, in recent times it is now on par. With concerns such as rosacea, acne, pigmentation, scars, premature ageing, or a man just in need of some TLC like the rest of us, why does it still appear strange to others that they too have treatments?
Every time I have a new male client darken the door at Zest, I inform them that they are not alone. This is typically confirmed when the leave reception and cross over with yet again another of the male species.
Men make fantastic clients. They genuinely listen, want to learn more, take on advice and tend to stick to a treatment program perfectly. In the treatment room, men tend to talk more, sometimes in a way to feel more comfortable and sometimes genuinely ‘having the chats'.
In the workplace environment, the presence of men alter the dynamics. It is a known fact that too many females can welcome an undesirable vibe. In the hair, beauty and aesthetic industry females are the majority. This can be daunting to men wanting to step into the industry, visit as a client or manage a business. It's great to see strong, confident, powerful women but when that transfers as sexism and bullying of men, it is not acceptable. I have witnessed powerful women belittle men, talk to men as if they know nothing and outright bully men in a sexist manner. If the shoe were on the other foot, this would be broadcast from the hilltops, in every form of media, social media and water cooler conversation.
Reverting back to male grooming again, typical male grooming consists of beard trims, hot towel shaves, unibrow management and back waxes. However, many of my male clients have treatments such as peels, micro needling, IPL, laser and anti-wrinkle injections. Couples coming in for ‘his and her' procedures is something lovely to see, as well as sharing homecare products, although sometimes this ends in domestics over who is overusing the cleanser in the shower!
I would predict in the coming years we will see clinics that go out of their way to make men more welcome, dare I say male-only clinics. It might even be fair to predict, as in a few other countries, we are starting to see male-centric medical aesthetic clinics.
So I ask of all women to accept men in every aspect of this industry, and I guarantee it will be a more rewarding and more harmonious place for all.
Emma Ryall is the proprietor of Aesthetic Training Academy Ireland (ATAI) and Zest Skin Clinic located in Swords, Co. Dublin.