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Hair Club for Men

In recent years the men's grooming industry has exploded, and it shows no signs of abating anytime soon. According to the American Salon/American Spa Green Book 2008, the number of men visiting salons is expected to increase by 10 percent over the next nine years. What's more, 44 percent of men surveyed report that they're concerned about the aging process, while 32 percent of them are attracted to products that contain herbal or other natural ingredients. Nearly half of the men surveyed are also looking for products that can make their skin healthier, while 35 percent of them have become more interested in grooming products in general.

John Allan's in Manhattan caters exclusively to men, starting with the decor.
John Allan's in Manhattan caters exclusively to men, starting with the decor.

Retailing to men, however, means devoting space to a clearly identifiable and easy-to-navigate men's retail area. If men's products are too difficult to locate, they'll walk out. Another thing to remember is that most men hate asking for directions, so it's a good idea to have stylists offer product recommendations. Most salons we talked to for this story, however, agreed that the hardest part about cultivating a male clientele is getting them into the salon in the first place.

For the past 20 years, diPietro Todd salon in San Francisco has attracted men mostly by word of mouth, but also through yelp.com, an online guide to finding everything from restaurants and hair salons to nightlife in cities around the country. It also allows viewers to post reviews. "We market our services there because I've found that men feel comfortable checking out that site," says owner Kim Todd. Men initially visit the salon based on the reviews, but feel right at home once they arrive because of the men's magazines, services and products geared to them.

Trim Classic Barber & Legendary Beauty in Nashville, TN, is among the growing number of salons attracting male clients with a separate men's area. Opposite the women's side, which is decorated in a sparkly pink, the men's side of Trim features deep green colors and wood paneling and floors. From haircuts and shaves to color services and feet grooming, men leave this salon feeling just as relaxed and pampered as their female counterparts. Trim also offers no gender-specific pricing for services. "We put equal time and effort into men's haircuts as we do for women's," says Melanie Shelley, founder and owner. "Every men's haircut comes with a scalp massage, hot steam towel, toner and moisturizer application and complimentary shoeshine. It's a good 15 minutes of sheer spa-style pampering in a laid-back environment."

Men who prefer to visit a salon that caters specifically to them can now visit one of the many "barber spas" that have opened up around the country. These male-only havens offer a combination of hair and spa services in a comfortable and masculine atmosphere. When men aren't receiving a haircut, wax or straight-razor shave at Mark Matthew Fine Gentlemen's Grooming Club in Los Angeles, they can be seen watching sports on flat screen TVs or listening to jazz. "Men love it here because it feels more like a living room than a salon," says Mark Matthew founder Vic Sosikian. "Many first-time clients come to us because they received a gift certificate from their wives, and although they're reluctant at first, they usually end up enjoying themselves and coming back."

Attention-Grabbing Products Just for Him
Attention-Grabbing Products Just for Him

With four locations in Manhattan, John Allan's began introducing men to a grooming lifestyle 20 years ago. Founder John Allan created this concept because he realized that men wanted something more than what the local barbershop had to offer them. One treatment, The Full Service, includes a scalp-massaging shampoo, conditioning treatment, hot towel haircut, manicure, shoeshine and beverage. Clients can also shoot a game of pool in the billiard lounge, socialize in the Cigar Room or eat in the club's café.

"It's a comfortable atmosphere where men come to relax, hang out with friends and network with others," says Andrea Megaris, director of products for John Allan's. Men can also purchase products from the club's signature namesake line of hair and skincare products to use at home.

In the past few years, we've seen a proliferation of men's haircare lines. Redken For Men includes products to meet the needs of all men with symptom-specific shampoos, conditioners and styling products. Paul Mitchell recently updated its packaging and added the new Lavender Mint Moisturizing Shampoo and Conditioner to its line of Tea Tree products. Both products soothe the senses with natural extracts of lavender, mint and tea tree, while hydrating, cleansing and protecting the hair.

Environmentally friendly men can opt for haircare and styling products from the Aveda Men Pure-Formance line, which contains natural ingredients and comes in recycled packaging. A relative newcomer to the eco-friendly market is Organic Grooming, a line of affordable products made with organic and vegan ingredients from husband-and-wife duo Luke and Lisa Vukmer. The couple not only secured the first certified-organic personal care facility in the United States but also offer only recyclable packaging.

Now TIGI has launched Bed Head for Men, which targets men who use styling products every day. The line is formulated to promote a healthy scalp while eliminating product buildup.

Finally, American Crew just introduced a shave lineup consisting of four new products that include active ingredients like tea tree oil, aloe vera, pumpkin seed and other natural extracts. "Shaving is one of those activities where the right tools and preparation are key," says Austin Baskett, marketing director for Colomer USA Salon Division, parent company of American Crew. "We've created four products that meet the needs of every man and help them focus on the right products for their beard type."

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About the Author

Nicole Palmieri

Nicole Palmieri