The pampered life: Surviving my first “gentleman’s facial” at Beautifully New Med Spa — and possibly getting hooked
By Trent Modglin
It’s not every day you’re recruited to receive a “gentleman’s facial” from a high-end medical spa. So, of course, I head in with a few questions.
“What’s all involved?” I ask because, well, I had no idea.
“It’s usually a customized treatment for you, based on what you want and what your skin needs,” answers Jill Benjamin, practice manager at Beautifully New in Park Ridge.
And why the label… a gentleman’s facial?
“Oh, that’s just the name,” Jill says with a laugh. “It makes you guys feel better about coming in to see us.”
And just like that, I’m in the chair, having my skin tended to for the first time since I put sunscreen on last fall while golfing. First comes the exfoliating, says Hannah, my friendly esthetician for the next hour.
“Ooooh… I think I know what exfoliate means,” I mention. “Do I get credit for that?”
This is why I love doing facials on men,” Hannah says. “There’s so much in here because you guys don’t spend time on it at home.”
They get a kick out of my proud declaration, but in reality, I didn’t know nearly as much as I thought I did. Turns out exfoliating involves the sucking of dead skin right out of your face.
Plenty of whiteheads and blackheads as well. And all the fun bacteria and oil that clog pores. Yep, that too. I was shocked. Blackheads? I thought that’s what hormonal teenagers who ate too many French fries had to deal with. Seriously, blackheads?
Hannah begins digging them out with a little force and asks if it’s too much (it’s not). She then moves on to administering a low percentage of glycolic acid, which softens the skin. A little tingling sensation, but hardly uncomfortable.
Then she turns it up a notch with the higher suction, moving the HydraFacial machine across my face with a focus on the nose and chin — the t-zone for men, as Hannah calls it — where ingrown hairs form, follicles are trapped from different shaving techniques, and dead skin and oil collect. She’s giving me the play-by-play description of the extraction process, and it doesn’t sound pretty.
“This is why I love doing facials on men,” she says. “There’s so much in here because you guys don’t spend time on it at home.”
That, admittedly, I do not. I consider myself a clean individual, but in terms of extra attention on the face, I’m not there. A quick face wash in the shower in the morning and — if I remember — at the sink before bed. Using whatever bar of soap or bottle of body wash is nearest. That’s about the extent of it.
Hannah tells me that 25 percent of her clientele at the Chicago spa she works at is men, but in Park Ridge, facials for men are not as popular. Yet. But they should be, she says.
Hannah’s blue-collar father always used to make fun of women needing to get facials and various other skin procedures, and he was flabbergasted when he heard the costs involved. But once she made him sit back in the chair, his tune changed, having never never felt his face so smooth and clean.
“Well, it’s probably been a while since your nose has been this clean,” she proclaims.
“Can you straighten it while you’re at it?” I ask (it’s been broken twice playing sports), which draws a chuckle over the sounds of the suction.
As Hannah is wrapping up, she gets a little giddy in anticipation of showing me what she’s extracted from my face. The giant glass tube resembles the murky part of a harbor you wouldn’t dare dip your toe in.
Hannah moves on to the application of Beautifully New’s special serum, which is loaded with 22 different antioxidants, including vitamin C. People forget that sunscreen only lasts a few hours, and that’s when vitamin C kicks in for extra protection.
As Hannah is wrapping up, she gets a little giddy in anticipation of showing me what she’s extracted from my face. The giant glass tube is filled with hundreds of particles of dead skin, floating about in the cloudy water. It resembles the murky part of a harbor you wouldn’t dare dip your toe in.
I’m embarrassed and ask her how it compares to other men.
“Not bad,” Hannah responds. “I’d say a B- for pores and the condition of your skin.”
She points out a few spots of sun damage on my hairline, some areas of rosacea, and then proceeds to give a few pointers to an Irish Spring user like myself.
- Use a gentle daily cleanser that caters to men. Men have different skin than their wives, and it needs to get treated differently.
- Watch out for over-the-counter, big pharmaceutical remedies that are often full of alcohol and chemicals. You want medical-grade stuff. This is your face, after all.
- SPF application on a daily basis. Again, medical grade if possible. And don’t forget to reapply every few hours you’re in the sun because it’s not built to last all day.
- Regular facials shrink pores and improve skin health. And a consistent at-home routine is important.
With those tips in mind, I thank the wonderful staff, walk out with my head held high, my face tingling and — dare I say — radiant. And I realize I may be hooked.
Beautifully New is located at 111 S. Washington Ave., Suite 202 in Park Ridge.