Men’s salons cleaning up with growing demand

Business brisk nationwide at ‘grooming lounges’

Grab a beer. Kick back in a leather chair and catch the game. Jump online to check e-mail. Enjoy some fraternal banter.

This isn’t the scene at some spare-room man cave. Barbershops across the country—including in Las Vegas—have been outfitting themselves for the man who, like Don Draper in Mad Men, wants to look good and is willing to pay for it.

Besides the standard shave-and-a-haircut that American barbershops have traditionally offered, these salons—or “lounges”—also offer manicures and pedicures (they call it “detailing”) and even some spa treatments, such as sports massages. But don’t expect the same serene environment found predominantly in salons and spas catering to women.

At male salons, it’s all about making guys feel at home, and that means big-screen TVs, wireless Internet access and cold beer.

At Fino, a “gentleman grooming lounge,” the clientele are generally upscale men looking for treatment beyond a traditional barber’s chair, or (dare it be said) a women’s beauty salon.

Here, men can get their hands and feet detailed, along with facials and waxings. The most popular services, though, remain the haircut and razor shaves, Fino co-owner Alejandro Hormechea says.

“These are gentlemen that spend money anyway,” he says. “This is for men that see value in presenting themselves [well] and looking the part.”

On a global scale, demand for male-specific grooming products was valued at $19.7 billion in 2009, according to Packaged Facts, a subsidiary of By 2014, that demand is expected to increase 42.1 percent, to $28 billion, the study said.

The amenities don’t stop after the last hair is dusted of the shoulders or the final strip of wax is ripped. Fino is trying to create a sort of camaraderie among its clientele, hosting networking events for its affluent clients who, Hormechea explains, are in prestigious executive professions such as medicine, law and gaming.

Despite most businesses taking a hit lately, Hormechea says Fino’s sales increased 40 percent over the course of 2009.

“We’re taking the dying art of barbering and taking it to the next level,” he says, noting the master barbers on his staff. “We’re taking the ordinary and making it extraordinary.”

Men also have taken to spa treatments, although it doesn’t appear there are any spas in Las Vegas that cater specifically to men only.

Men’s visits to spas have remained steady for the past 10 years, accounting for 31 percent of total spa visits, according to the International Spa Association.

But increasingly, more spas are offering services for men, especially the popular basic massage. Some 80 percent of spa owners surveyed by the association last June said they now offer services to men, although there are very few that strictly cater to men only.

“Any [treatment] that caters to men is up a bit,” association public relations manager Shelby Jones says.

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