What Men Really Want in Grooming

No longer a fad, take men’s grooming treatments seriously or miss out altogether. Writes Ashleigh Sharman.

We’ve long heard of increased spending in the area of male grooming, from treatments to at-home care, skin to haircare, year on year it’s one of the largest growing sectors of the beauty industry. But are you giving it serious consideration in your own salon, spa or clinic?

Research* revealed by men’s grooming lounge, 506, showed that of the men interested in getting male grooming treatments, only a quarter (25 per cent) actually feel comfortable enough to regularly visit salons.

Other men surveyed who cited interest in getting treatments such as waxing, facial or manicures, won’t do so because they find traditional salons too feminine (32 per cent) or are simply too embarrassed (21 per cent), with some men (22 per cent) admitting to treatments done only while on holidays.

Mens Groom STORY 3“Men want to look good just as much as women do but can feel intimidated visiting a female dominated salon,” says Michael Dykes, founder of 506, who envisaged his concept to meet the needs of Australian men who want to look and feel polished without the stigma.

“What we’ve aimed for with 506 is a subtly masculine, well designed space, using only the highest quality products. Men can opt to put on headphones and watch TV if they don’t feel like a chat — it’s about making sure everyone who comes in is able to completely relax.”

And Michael is clearly onto a winning formula with a second Sydney grooming lounge just opened in The Strand Arcade, hot on the heels of the concept’s Balmain launch in September.

Service is indeed everything, but knowing what men want specifically has enabled 506 to grow; and that comes down to tailored detail, from the straightforward treatment menu to masculine-focused scents and sounds.

“We call our treatments ceremonies because we appreciate the details. One of our promises is to create what we call, ‘Moments of Delight’ during every ceremony. These are little surprises tailored to suit each guest, such as knowing their favourite drink and having it ready on arrival, or shining their shoes while they receive a pedicure — whatever might feel right on the day.

Mens Groom STORY 2“Our aim is for all guests to leave feeling like a million dollars. And guys deserve that, just as much as women do,” Michael explains adding it was important to consider masculine touches including oversized massage beds with a larger face hole, soft lounge grooves over rainforest sounds and the need to developing a unique candle fragrance.

Where hot towel shaves, waxing, manicures, pedicures, facials and massage, are now expected, Michael appreciates that looking good and feeling great isn’t just about what’s on the outside.

“It’s what’s on the inside as well,” he says.

“This is why we’ve chosen to take a more holistic view and also offer nutrition and personal training, in additional to personal styling, with a team of specialised consultants.”

And it’s a philosophy happily suited to 506’s broad range of clientele. Ranging from ages 18 to over 70, clients stretch the spectrum from students to surgeons and sportsmen who visit particularly for waxing.

“We’re delighted that we are attracting men from these segments through our unique proposition. Men are now looking after their appearance more than ever before, and it is socially acceptable (and even expected) for them to do so,” adds Michael.

Mens Groom STORYTurning the trend on its head, it is women who have become 506’s best customer.

Wives, girlfriends, and partners comprise the majority of first bookings and gift voucher sales from women are also high. Women’s reactions to the lounges has positively overwhelmed Michael and his team however the research points clearly to the reason why.

Of the women surveyed, 38 per cent wished their partner would take more care of his appearance, 28 per cent thought if women waxed, then men should too, and 64 per cent were more likely to date a man who took care of his appearance.

Good thing co-founder and operations manager, Valerie Dykes, is on hand to make sure the boys don’t have all the fun.

“We closely record any customer requests, so we can determine our future offerings,” she says of 506’s growth potential.

“Many guests have returned to our lounges to buy additional products already, so we will be launching an online store to make things easier. This will also allow us to reach a larger market, outside of our current Sydney offering.”


*The research survey was conducted by Pureprofile on 6 October 2015 to an Australian representative sample of 1008 respondents (502 male, 506 female).

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