Gone are the days when men were embarrassed to be seen at cosmetic shops and beauty parlours. They have moved away from thinking that manicures and pedicures are only for women and gay men, or that using moisturising lotion, getting facials or having their hair coloured is not for them. These days, beauty salons have many males as clientele. A representative from the Cher-Mere Beauty Institute said they have regular male customers, including a Roman Catholic priest. She said men come in for manicures, pedicures, body massages and facials. At Pennywise Cosmetic Store in Trincity Mall, a supervisor said although men are still a bit wary about shopping in a beauty supplies store, they do come in. “Men mostly buy the products that have men lines, like Axe, Vaseline Intensive Care Lotion and Dove,” he said.
Men love to be pampered
Lomas Singh, managing director at Institut de Beauté, Long Circular Mall, said his male clientele consists of homosexuals and heterosexuals who enjoy being pampered. “I have a lot of homosexual men who come in to do waxing and pedicures. The heterosexuals do facial massages and they love the saunas. I also observe they do more pedicures than manicures,” said Singh. He said a lot of men from the protective services get pedicures and massages. In his 20 years of managing the spa he has seen many new trends in cosmetic and beauty care for men and they are more interested in taking care of their bodies. “We maintain an international standard when it comes to beauty care and cosmetics,” Singh said, listing Pevonia Botanicals, Sothys Paris and Intensive Spa—Dead Sea Cosmetics (made in Israel) among the brands available at the spa. “These lines have treatment for both male and female,” he said. It is not uncommon for men to pluck, wax or shave their eyebrows nowadays. Barber Marvin Gibbs, who has been in business for the past 20 years, has male customers who come in to get their eyebrows done, usually for special occasions. “They come from time to time, but it is usually for when they are going to special events like weddings, or if they are doing a photo shoot or something like that,” Gibbs explained.
The metro men speak
Fire officer Andros Wallen gets his pampering for free courtesy his wife, a certified beautician. However, even before he met his wife, he took care of his body and never felt moisturising his skin or getting a manicure or pedicure was “girlish.” “I even use a revitalising face mask. Taking care of yourself is not a matter of being girlish. Men are living beings and just like the woman, we need to do things to keep ourselves looking good too,” he said. Actor and model Duane Dario Dixon (3D) sees nothing wrong with being a metrosexual. Being tidy and well-kept is something every man should practise and has nothing to do with sexual orientation. “If fellas think real women appreciate the ragamuffin look, they don’t,” Dixon said. “Nothing is wrong with getting a pedicure as a man. Keeping your nails short and clean is not a fashion, it actually protects your nails from accumulating bacteria—something teachers always told us in school.” The 27-year-old artiste, who wears his hair in dread- locks, likes to experiment with different hair colours. “I am an actor, so I change my look very often,” said Dixon, who described it as his way of reinventing himself. Motivational coach, author and fitness expert Garth Voisin doesn’t do pedicures or manicures, but occasionally gets a massage. He disagrees with the notion that men who groom themselves are effeminate. “I don’t think so. Once it’s not to the extreme, we should all take care of our temples, man or woman. It’s only one we’re going to have, might as well take care of it, right?”
Designers on clothing
Ecliff Eli, a fashion designer for the past 20 years, said the metrosexual look is simple—a way for men to explore their sexy side. He said in the 90s baggy clothes was the “in thing” with celebrities like athletes Michael Jordan, Shaquille O’Neal and actor Steve Harvey all sporting the oversized look. “Trinidadians always copy the look that’s going which is usually American-influenced, so they dressed that way then,” said Elie. What is defined now as metro wear is European-influenced and the Jamaicans have taken the look and added their twist to it. “Fashion is influenced by entertainers and music. Men are now realising they have definition too that is appealing to women. They are more about showing off their sexiness now,” Elie explained. He said he could not understand why the fuss about the look now when metrosexuals have been around since the 70s and 80s. “Men wore very close-fitting pants and shirts in the 70s and what about the navel-breakers worn by men in the 80s? They even had more options in hairstyles in that era,” he recalled. As for men spending more time on pampering themselves, Elie asked: “Why shouldn’t they?”