The Rise in Men’s spas

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By Lisa Boyle

“We’re all going on a spa day!” squealed an elated Anton Danyluk, one of the hunky male contestants on this year’s reality show Love Island. His giddy reaction upon hearing that the boys were going for a spot of pampering might come as much less of a surprise in this day and age, thanks to a growing gaggle of guys hitting up the spas on a regular basis.   

In fact, even the manliest of blokes on the popular ITV telly show near enough wet themselves with excitement at the prospect of indulging in a spot of male bonding through enjoying a facial, sauna and steam room together. 

Despite having been once notoriously seen as “girly,” the number of men investing in their appearance has soared. Increasing appearance awareness on social media and shifts in men’s fashion trends are major driving factors, anticipated to boost the demand for men’s grooming products. 

One place that’s been attracting an influx of beauty-conscious male customers is the premium gentleman’s spa at Thai Square Spa, which has established itself since it opened its doors during 2010. Now within the city of Westminster, the lavish spa occupies a historical and spacious site at 25 Northumberland Avenue. 

Housed within a beautifully converted Victorian Turkish bath, between two historic landmarks; Trafalgar Square and the Thames Embankment; Thai Square Spa brings the traditional and deluxe Thai spa experience to the heart of London. The venue offers gentleman’s packages such as their Wellbeing Time Out for the modern man who wants to relax, as well as a Recharge energising treatment.  

One of the spa’s most popular male grooming treatments includes the Jet Lag Recovery Package, which helps counteract the effects of long-haul travel with a re-energising, feel-good package. Guests’ feet are first cleansed using a Siamese Sole Tea Foot Bath before the body is treated to a thorough exfoliation using a unique, iMantara Refining Body Polish. Men are then treated to a full body massage using a Renewed Energy aromatherapy oil; helping to release tension, stimulate the circulation and soothe tired muscles to bring the body back into the perfect state of balance. 

At Thai Square Spa, the facilities are first-class and extensive with five Thai massage treatment rooms, six ritual massage rooms and one vast VIP Suite room, making the self-care movement for men easy. 

Thai Square Spa manager Wallika Clark says, “Traditionally, male clients would come for massage therapy to relieve pain. Now however, I see a shift and they come for health reasons. They want to unwind from a busy day and destress.” 

Wallika Clark, of Thai Square Spa.

With the global male grooming product market predicted to grow with approximately 5.44 per cent compound annual growth rate (CAGR) from this year to 2027, it proves that the increase in male-specific grooming products is still very much an emerging and successful market. 

Television is also proving to have a huge impact on men’s grooming interests, with the likes of Love Island showcasing contestants Anton Danyluk and Michael Griffiths’ nightly cleansing and moisturising routines on the screen. Data collected by leading health, beauty and wellness booking app Mindbody reveals the total amount of money men spend on beauty treatments per year is £3,366.35, with haircuts, massages, teeth whitening and spa days at the top of the list. 

Jim Shaw, owner and director of men’s grooming Oasis Essensuals Men, believes men now want the full experience when they’re visiting a barber shop or grooming room. 

He says, “Men are definitely becoming less ashamed to pamper themselves, the 21st Century man is more aware and self-conscious of their appearance. Men no longer want to just visit the salon for a haircut, they want the full experiencea haircut, beard shaped, eyebrows trimmed, manicures and many even for a facial. 

“I think men with demanding jobs are part of the male clientele that attend spa days, whereby they visit to have some me time and to de-stress. On social media there is a rise of men sharing their beauty regime, and I think this plays a role in more men becoming comfortable to increase their beauty regime and attend salons and spas for services and treatments.”

Men are increasingly becoming more conscious of impacts that can lead to early death, such as quitting smoking, eating right, exercise and improving their mental health. The deaths of famous male actors and reality stars are bringing attention to this and men are paying attention and starting to look after themselves in order to prolong their lives.   

Men’s grooming expert Mark Smith, who is the owner of popularly read blog The Spa Man and a regular contributor for the likes of Vogue and Tatler since 2007, believes the number of barbers cropping up with day spas is helping to banish the stigma of male grooming.  

Mark, who has written about men’s grooming for more than 20 years, says, “There has been a growing trend for barber shops or barber stations and services to introduce the spa space. I first saw it in Germany and there’s a few a number of places in the UK. 

“By doing things like a traditional wet shave and a haircut followed by a day spa treatment like a cleanse or an eye mask softens the edge and it’s a very clever way for spas to introduce men to treatments. Rugby teams and football teams all go on spa days and it’s no longer seen as a girly thing. 

“Eighty per cent of all spa treatments are massage and men like a good sports or deep tissue massage and once they realise the benefits of it for relaxing or mental health, it demystifies it and they’re more inclined to rebook. Love Island has an effect because it’s about guys looking good and grooming themselves and breaking down the barriers of taking care of yourself.”