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My First Facial, And Other Male Grooming Tales

Paul Clarke gets metrosexual at Harvey Nichols

Written by . Published on July 5th 2011.


My First Facial, And Other Male Grooming Tales

I MUST admit to being in a generation that missed the male grooming revolution and am a stranger to gel as my hair fell out when I was 25.

So when Harvey Nichols invited me for my first ever facial with an Espa therapist, I did wonder as my middle aged face is drying out quite badly whether they could cope with my aging skin.

I was also slightly sceptical if there was much difference between my E45 and Espa’s more upmarket products. Plus, as a busy Confidential writer would I have time to pamper myself?

It's a common fear, according to my therapist Kate Inman.

“We got all sorts of men in here of all ages and they are looking for something that works, but is quick and simple,” Kate says.

“Many of them come to us with real concerns about their skin and whether the products they’ve seen on the telly actually work, so what we try to so is tailor their products to their needs.’

“My boyfriend is a rugby player and will kill me for saying this, but he uses them so I think men are getting comfortable with using products, and they are packaged so they can be stuck in gym bags.”

Personal shopper David Rowley is a recent convert to taking care of yourself.

“I never really bothered with face products until I started working on the cosmetic counters a couple of years ago, but I’m 34 now and I thought it was time to start looking after myself.” David told Confidential.

“I’ve had problems with in-growing hairs on my face so using these products have helped, and I’ve a patch of eczema on my chest which has really cleared up.

“All you a need a pea sized dab of the products to get results, and it’s really quick if you make it part of your daily ritual.”

So with David’s reassuring words that I might be able to hold back time - and it won’t mean I become a poor man’s Beckham - I went through for my 20 minute session with Kate. 

The first stage was a through cleansing of my scaly skin using Invigorating Facewash (£21.50, 150ml) that is supposed to cool, cleanse and balance the skin. I’ve always thought the face is one of my most sensitive areas, and with Kate smoothly massaging the facewash in it was incredibly relaxing.

She followed up with the Clarifying Skin Scrub (£21, 70ml), which is billed as a deep cleansing exfoliator.  It certainly felt a bit more gritty as it lifted off my unsightly dead skin, but Kate assured the grains of volcanic earth were perfectly smooth and wouldn’t scratch my skin.

“We would recommend that you use the facewash every day so all to need to do is rub some when you jump in the shower and wash it off as part of an easy morning routine. You’d probably want to use the exfoliator once a week, along with the cleanser which might take a few minutes longer so maybe do that routine at the weekends.

“My boyfriend is a rugby player and will kill me for saying this, but he uses them so I think men are getting comfortable with using products, and they are packaged so they can be stuck in gym bags.”

I must admit I was so chilled out under Kate’s ministrations I was floating, and I wasn’t even remotely insulted when she wheeled out the heavy duty anti aging products.

First on in the battle of the wrinkles was the Age-Rebel Moisturiser (£37, 35ml), which is alleged to firm up my sagging features.  Then it was time to tackle the bags under my eyes with the Age-Rebel Eye Hydrator (£35, 25ml), which was surprisingly soothing as it was applied round my eyes.

“The eye hydrator is designed to deal with baggy and puffed up eyes, and is perfect for when you’re got a hangover,’ laughed Kate.

“We’ve given you a really good range of products today, but at the very least you should moisturise every day, and try to exfoliate once a week which will make a difference.”

I’m not sure whether it was Kate’s magic hands or the products, but my skin did feel a lot softer and much less tight. Mind you, the products aren’t cheap so you would want to see a difference as we all manage our budgets, but used sparingly as suggested by David they could be cost effective.

My first facial was a supremely relaxing experience, and although I’m not going to be self obsessed as brand Beckham I reckon I can spare a couple of minutes a day to pamper my sagging features.

For more details of the Espa range pop into their concession in Harvey Nichols, 107/11 Briggate, Leeds

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