Soap and water no longer cut it. These days guys have to look good, their skin glowing as much as is humanly possible. Blame the likes of David Beckham, George Clooney and Daniel Wu, who are constantly on our screens imploring us to buy products as well as surreptitiously making it OK to go for a facial every now and again. Men’s grooming, always eclipsed by women’s beauty and cosmetics, has experienced massive growth over the past decade and is now worth billions of dollars. The hipster beard trend and all that back-to-nature masculinity might suggest we have regressed somewhat to rougher and hairier times but the reality is that hipsters love a good moisturiser and are quite fond of facial toners and well-kept beards.
The growth in male grooming products and services over the last decade has led to the return of the humble gentleman’s barber. Grooming, by which we mean the use of toners, moisturisers and exfoliators, is no longer something for the rich and the vain. Here are the seven best places in the city for men to get some pampering.
Gentleman’s Tonic began life in Mayfair, London and is now a fully-fledged international chain. Gentleman’s Tonic is somewhere between an old-time barber and a spa. The Wellington Street branch is a sanctuary from the hustle and bustle of Hong Kong where you can sit on the comfy leather chairs and enjoy a drink while you wait. As well as offering wet shaves (HK$375) and haircuts (HK$585), Gentleman’s Tonic has specialist services such as waxing (everything if you’re feeling brave), eyebrow shaping, massages and incredibly involved facials. There are several package deals with rugged names like The Shackleton (haircut, beard trim or wet shave for HK$910) and the hangover cure that is The Hemingway (HK$1,700, aromatherapy facial, neck, shoulder and scalp massage, with a Bloody Mary) making this an ideal pre-stag party venue (for guys who can’t abide drinking in Lan Kwai Fong). Gentleman’s Tonic also sells items from fancy shaving kits to its more high-end Advanced Derma-Care range.
43-49 Wellington Street, Central, tel: 2525 2455
Mandarin Oriental Barber
Perhaps the daddy of all male grooming establishments is the barber at the Mandarin Oriental. The Mandarin Barber is as old-school as it gets with staff that have been cutting hair and shaving patrons for decades. The decor is pleasingly, and appropriately old fashioned, having deviated little from the original mid-century design, although these days there are TV screens showing sports. But don’t let the overall retro look fool you, alongside the HK$440 haircuts the Mandarin Barber also offers “restorative grooming treatments” for men. These include facials (HK$200-HK$1,300), massages (HK$440-HK$880), reflexology (HK$450-HK$850) and the barbers’ own Shanghai pedicure (HK$820) that should tame the most hardened of feet. If you’re looking for the very best service you can book the master barber for a few dollars more.
Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong, 5 Connaught Road, Central, tel: 2825 4088
Occupying five floors in Central with an entrance on Wellington Street, which is becoming something of a hotbed for male grooming, The Strand is a cutting edge beauty salon for both sexes. Guys have a dedicated floor to themselves, the second, and here there’s all manner of the latest grooming kit all in decidedly masculine and that familiar retro surroundings. Basic services include haircuts (HK$500- HK$750), manicures (HK$250) and pedicures (HK$450), the classic wet shave (HK$450) and all manner of waxing. There are dozens of male special facials and full-body treatments on offer. The Strand is currently undergoing an expansion but normal services should not be interrupted.
1-5/F, 18 Cochrane Street, Central, tel: 2850 7686
Around the corner from Lan Kwai Fong is Flawless, an airy and roomy salon and spa that caters for both sexes. The men’s menu is extensive and seeks to tackle the problems of hydration and ageing. Flawless’ offers facials, detoxifying cleanses and age peels. Facial treatments start at HK$580 for an express to HK$1,380 for something much more involved. Flawless offers the ‘Diamond Peel’ which uses a diamond-cut tool with sandpaper covering that they use to scrub the skin. The Diamond Peel is available for the face (HK$1,280) or other body parts including the buttocks (HK$630).
4/F Sea Bird House, 22-28 Wyndham Street, Central, tel: 2869 5868
Joyce Grooming isn’t a place for a facial, a shave or a haircut; but for skincare products. There are two outlets, one either side of the harbour. Featuring dozens of high-end brand names, including Pankhurst London, D.R. Harris and Murdock London, Joyce Grooming stocks everything from high science (and expensive) toners and moisturisers costing thousands of dollars to more everyday products. Joyce Grooming is a great place to pick up Christmas gifts for that special guy in your life.
Landmark Men’s, B/F Landmark Atrium, Central, tel: 2522 2886 and G106, Gateway Arcade, Harbour City, tel: 2367 0860
The Oriental Spa at the Landmark Mandarin Oriental
This spa isn’t somewhere you just pop into on a whim; it’s seriously opulent (too much for some) and the prices would scare most people away. However, if you’re looking for a blow-out experience to treat yourself this is the place to do it. The spa has taken the best of men’s treatments from around the world and put them in one place, so you will find a Turkish hammam (bath), Moroccan rasul (mud therapy) and a Roman laconium (similar to a sauna). There’s also the annoyingly named Pedi:Mani:Cure Studio, that offers a dizzying array of services overseen by podiatrist Albin Brion.
Landmark Mandarin Oriental, 15 Queens Road, Central, tel: 2132 0011
If you’re pushed for time, or can’t stand the idea of talking about open skin pores while you’re getting a shave or just prefer online shopping there is no better place than Mr. Porter for all your male grooming needs. Over the past two years, Mr. Porter has aggressively transitioned into a men’s lifestyle emporium. Mr. Porter covers the basics with the latest skincare products from the likes of Perricone, Dr. Sebagh, Tom Ford and Aesop, abut what the online retailer does best is kits. There are grooming kits for travel, for manicures, for the skin and of course shaving, all of which can be delivered straight to your home or office. mrporter.com