Trend: Fair and glowing face appears to be as much a guy’s want and whim as a girl’s. Or what else explains the spurt in beauty parlours for men in the city, wonders A.Shrikumar

Women no longer monopolise the facials and spas inside beauty parlours. Men too are lapping up the glam quotient these days. They have graduated from simple hair cuts and shave to elaborate hair styling, exotic facials and spa services, manicures and pedicures. Men are on a beauty binge and the male grooming market is on an upswing whether inside a humble salon or a plush spa.

In the upscale pockets of K.K. Nagar and Anna Nagar, beauty parlours have mushroomed. “That’s probably because of the notion that only the rich have the time and money to spend in parlours,” says Solai of Stylemen Parlour in K.K. Nagar. “But spa indulgence is no more a sin. The middle-class is, in fact, the major portion of our customers now,” he says after a decade in the beauty business.

Aware and conscious

“Until few years back men generally wouldn’t be seen sitting for facials and massages. Fair and glowing skin was never a criteria for good looks among men at least in towns like Madurai,” says Ram, a facial expert at Jai Men’s Spa in Arapalayam. “These days people are much aware and conscious of how they look. Apart from the college-going crowd, an assorted set of middle-aged men have become regular visitors to beauty salons.”

The size and location of these parlours does not matter. Men just walk in to immerse themselves in lucid dreams.

“Visiting these parlours help me realize my inner fantasies. Even if I don’t look like Salman Khan, the experience of slouching in front of the mirror and staring at the poster of the actor in the salon lends that feeling,” says Daniel, a regular spa-goer.

Sekar, a banking official, avails a facial service every month just to enjoy the pampering. “Even if the facial fails to work the magic glow, I still go as it makes me forget the outer world and relax. Parlours are places to wind up your worries,” he says.

Pampering

At Hi-Cut parlour, office-goers form the major chunk of customers. Says owner Veerakumar , “Men in their forties and fifties are more concerned about the feel and experience of the services than the results. Apart from the beauty quotient, health aspect is what they look for.”

However, the youth go for fashionable options like manicure, hair-streak colouring and straightening. “They go for eye-brow threading, face packs and scrubs,” says Tamilselvan, stylist at Good Nice parlour in K.K. Nagar.

The facials and beauty package offers are similar in the salons. Only the pricing varies.

At the salon-turned parlours in old parts of the town, a hair cut still costs Rs.30 and facials start from Rs.100.

Says Sakthiraj, a traditional hair stylist for 32 years at Playboy Men’s parlour near Periyar bus stand, “Our family business was haircutting. The profession has taken a glossy turn and is no longer considered a menial job.” “Though we have a dedicated customer base, he adds, we have jazzed up our interiors to attract the youth.” Services too have been revamped, he says, “but the rates have been fixed moderately to suit our price-conscious customers.”

On the contrary, Jai, a masseur at Jai Men’s Spa in Arapalayam claims that price is hardly an issue with the beauty-conscious men in town.

“Guys who gym regularly also wax their bodies every month. Most bodybuilders are equally keen on maintaining their face and hair,” he says. “Students engage in impulsive spa indulgence, but young professionals plan a meticulous parlour visit and follow it like a ritual.”

Another upcoming trend is the burgeoning ‘bride groom package’.

As marriages have become elaborate, the exclusive makeup has become a ‘must do’ not only for brides but even bridegrooms.

“People even sign up for a week’s or a month-long package. During the wedding season, every parlour can be seen packed with young men gearing up for the big day,” says a stylist at Royal Touch parlour in K.K. Nagar.

The service includes facial, hairdo, spa massage and fairness enhancement face pack and bleach.

With years behind, while the local parlours have undergone a makeover, several other branded chains too are expected to set up business in the temple town.

Some have already arrived signalling a boom in business.