The Rise Of The Extreme Groomer
Illustration by Mr Pete Gamlen
Male cosmetic products are big business – here are three treatments that take things further.
Time was when a grooming regimen for a man consisted of a soap on a rope and a hope for the best. But times, like haircuts and hemlines, change. Today, the male grooming business is worth $57.7bn and is expected to top $78.6bn by 2023. The market has far outgrown its original boundaries, which were, in essence, shaving cream, deodorant and shampoo; it now encompasses a myriad of potions and lotions and masks to keep you young, many of which, we will shamelessly add, are available to purchase on MR PORTER. It is also an example of the market keeping pace with changing mores – and we very much approve of it. This star-scraping growth is not merely confined to products, either: it also extends into the realm of grooming treatments. We tried three of the most interesting or, should we say, extreme.
For extreme groomers
Microneedle treatment at Strip Notting Hill, London
I am in an upmarket salon in west London’s Notting Hill and a lady by the name of Ms Filiz Giritli is putting a needle into my forehead. Well, it’s not really a needle as you’d know it or think of it: it’s a microneedle, contained within something called an Innopen. Ms Giritli applies this pen to my head, after first covering it in topical painkiller, and then, with a thud, the needle goes in. It sounds barbaric, but it is, as Mercutio said, but a scratch. It feels like a tiny pinch.
The idea behind it is that the needle pierces a shallow layer of the skin, thus stimulating the cells to produce collagen and elastin proteins. In effect, to rejuvenate the skin from the inside out. Ms Giritli increases the depth the needle pierces when working on the lines in my forehead. She has to go deeper because so are the crevices. It takes about 30-40 minutes and I am told to stay out of the sun and to expect a little scabbing in the next few days. There are no scabs and within a couple of days my wrinkles are finer, my face fresher. I can’t recall the pain.
Verdict: about the manliest grooming treatment around, and it works.
FOR HIGH-TECH GROOMERS
CBD Facial at 111 Harley St, London
Harley Street is an address to reckon with. One thinks of surgical knives and doctors gliding about in Rolls-Royces. In fact, 111 Harley St, founded by Dr Yannis Alexandrides, does offer surgical procedures, but it also offers ample reassurance, a calm ambience and some very gentle grooming procedures. In this instance, my procedure, CBD, has nothing to do with the cannabis derivative but rather stands for Celestial Black Diamond Facial. Ridiculous name, perhaps, but it is an anti-ageing facial and frankly, I need it. I fear I look like a hippo with a hangover. This hour-long treatment is what one might call luxurious: beautifully relaxing, but intricate.
My delightful facialist gives me a neck-and-shoulder massage that nearly sends me into a happy sleep and then applies several layers of lotions in sequence. When I leave, I already look refreshed, my skin glows. I am very pleased. According to Dr Alexandrides, the solutions contain nano particles which transport his own formula, NAC Y2, in combination with arbutin, hyaluronic acid and Argireline deep below the skins outer layer.
Verdict: relaxing and brightening and really very enjoyable.
FOR STRESSED-OUT SKIN
RéVive facials by therapist Ms Rhian Truman
RéVive skincare products, which are available on our sister site, NET‑A‑PORTER, are the creation of a clever man called Dr Gregory Bays Brown, a reconstructive surgeon who was inspired by Nobel Prize-winning research to start his own skincare line. He has a dual mission, to both bring back glow and change the way the skin behaves for the better. On the basis of my experience he seems to have succeeded.
There are many clinics offering the facial across Europe but none yet in the UK, though they are coming soon. My treatment takes place in a hotel in central London with the kindly therapist Ms Rhian Truman. She assesses my skin, noticing some minor irritation around my eyes and the odd red vein and sets to work using the RéVive products. She uses a gentle cleanser – be warned, it seems we are all washing with too much astringency – then tones my skin and uses a serum to relax lines and help the collagen plump out the ravines. I walk out not looking five years younger, but about 10 years.
Verdict: I’m glowing, and I’ve not even had a drink