Where the Guys Go
Jul 08, 2016 02:10PM
● By Mike
By Pamela Hammonds
About twice a month, Paul Dunklau gets a haircut along with a shampoo, conditioning and styling plus a paraffin hand dip, scalp massage and facial massage with a scented steamed towel. Dunklau doesn’t wait to be seen or wonder who might be cutting his hair each visit. He won’t even take out his wallet to pay for his services.
Dunklau, 55, is part of a growing trend of guys who find memberships at local men’s salons the most efficient, relaxing way to stay well-groomed. Previously he went to a sports-themed chain, which suited him fine, and then when a friend told Dunklau about the Boardroom Salon for Men, he gave it a go. “I use a mobile app to book ahead, I walk in, they give me a Diet Coke and, within moments, Cassie comes out and I’m in the chair,” Dunklau says. “The atmosphere is great. It’s very relaxing.”
As a member, Dunklau pays an annual fee, which covers regular services and includes discounts on products he regularly purchases and other services he can add on such as hand and foot grooming.
The Boardroom Salon for Men in The Shops at Highland Village was founded by Southlake resident Bruce Schultz. “We entered the market in 2004 after realizing a relaxed grooming experience for men was missing,” says Schultz. “Men typically get their hair cut every two to four weeks, and we felt they deserved a cool place for an experience rather than a commodity.” Schultz modeled his salons after 1920s gentlemen’s country clubs, with wood paneling and a pool table placed among the grooming stations.
An Industry Advances
Dunklau grew up in Fremont, Nebraska, and remembers his mom taking him to the downtown barbershop for his haircuts. “It was a little piece of Americana owned by a guy named Ralph Black,” he recalls. “The barbers wore white coats and it was a small shop with two or three chairs, but guys would hang out and talk.” The shop is no longer there, though, having suffered the plight of many local barbershops that simply couldn’t stay afloat in recession-hit downtown markets.
The 1970s ushered in the era of shopping mall unisex salons such as Fantastic Sams and Supercuts. Men getting haircuts would sit perched next to women enduring pungent perms and highlights, while barbering became almost nonexistent as stylists were issued broader cosmetology licenses. In the ’90s, chains such as Sport Clips and Great Clips (with Great Sports promotions tied to athletic events) attempted to draw a more masculine clientele, but lacked the atmosphere of guys bonding under an aromatic cloud of cigar smoke and Brylcreem reminiscent of a previous generation.
Fast-forward to 2014, when total U.S. sales for the men’s personal care market hit $4.1 billion, making it one of the fastest-growing segments of the beauty industry, according to Mintel, a market-research firm. Ahead of this trend, area entrepreneurs sensed a desire for men to establish a ritual reminiscent of their fathers’ or grandfathers’ day and age. Lacking, they reasoned, was a place where men could escape from the daily grind for more than a quick haircut.
Answering a Call to Meet a Need
Even if guys can get all the specialized attention they demand at a full-service unisex salon, sometimes they just want to hang out with other men. That’s why national franchises in Flower Mound—such as Roosters Men’s Grooming Center, Floyd’s 99 Barbershop and 18|8 Fine Men’s Salons—outfit their salons for maximum masculine appeal, with wood paneling, complimentary drinks and big screens tuned to the latest sporting event, so guys can feel at ease while getting a facial, shave or a hot wax hand treatment.
Local barbershops—The Lodge at Lakeside, Mel’s at Robertson’s Creek and Back-N-Time at Parker Square—have each cut their own path in the men’s grooming market, focused on devoting personal attention to the guys in their chairs and building a clientele who appreciate being greeted by name each visit.
The Lodge’s Delilah Terrazas, a barber with 18 years’ experience, says there’s more to cutting a man’s hair than asking him what look he’s hoping to achieve. “Each haircut is unique—a piece of art,” she says. “Everyone is born with unique traits—cowlicks and texture, how the hair grows.” Factor in scars, thinning hair, bald spots, greying—and it takes a true master of the craft to make a guy look presentable.
Terrazas likes to get to know her clients—their interests, hobbies, jobs—before recommending a new style. “A young man was in the other day and was going from a job at UPS to being a summer lifeguard,” she says. So Terrazas transformed his look from part-on-the-side conservative to a hip style. “I styled it shorter and more messy on top, and he’s really excited about his hair now.” The young man also worries about premature baldness, a trait that runs in his family. “I cut it in a way that helps disguise it,” she adds.
The Face of Today’s Well-Groomed Guy
Now it’s not only acceptable to be concerned about your appearance, it’s expected—whether you’re a Baby Boomer or hail from Gen X, Y or Z. And even if you prefer the I-just-rolled-out-of-bed look, we can bet it took some time, product and grooming to achieve it.
“Young men are growing up with an expanded beauty industry that includes them,” says Dr. Kristen Barber, assistant professor of sociology at Southern Illinois University Carbondale and author of Styling Masculinity: Gender, Class, and Inequality in the Men’s Grooming Industry. “And so it is less surprising to see young men invested in the sorts of clothes they buy, the cologne they wear, and the hair products they use. But Baby Boomers are not aging without a fight, and this is true for men, not just women.”
The world of men’s grooming has evolved over the decades—almost as much as men’s hairstyles themselves. Men these days recognize the value in pampering themselves, whether it’s with a hand wax treatment or a shoeshine. And the market is responding. Plenty of local places give guys exactly what they want: a hand-tailored experience to go along with their haircut. FMS
Making the Cut
The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery reports that in 2015, men accounted for 10 percent of all cosmetic surgeries in the U.S., with liposuction being their procedure of choice. The number of cosmetic procedures performed among men has increased more than 325 percent from 1997. Whether to stay competitive in the job market, attempt to stave off aging or a realization that women aren’t the only ones concerned about looking good, obviously men are making an investment in their looks.
Texas Man-Care Companies
While men may love the way their women look and smell, guys demand products and services tailored to them—and they should. A man’s skin is about 25 percent thicker, contains a higher collagen density, and has a rougher texture and larger pores than his female counterpart. A man’s higher sebum levels also make him more prone to develop acne, dandruff, and seborrheic dermatitis (a scaly scalp).
It’s no surprise that entrepreneurs across Texas have developed men’s grooming products to satisfy the discriminating tastes of their peers. Here are a few to try:
Founded in Austin, Doc Elliott’s natural, petroleum-free products include pomade, beard oils, moustache wax, and more. Inspired by the contrasting aesthetics of vintage apothecary and modern refinement, Doc Elliott products are hand-crafted in small batches and then carefully cultivated to nourish and protect your hairstyle, bountiful beard and meticulous mustache. | DocElliottGrooming.com
One of the leaders in the men's skincare market, Jack Black, was founded in nearby Carrollton in 2000. At that time few, if any, companies were offering premium quality, grooming products for men. So co-founders Curran Dandurand and Emily Dalton left their careers at global beauty companies to create Jack Black. Along with Curran’s husband, Jeff, they pioneered the U.S. prestige men's skincare market by offering high-quality products to help men look and feel better. GetJackBlack.com
In 2012, Zephyr, Texas, entrepreneur Travis Weaver began making candles on the stove in his apartment and soon added bath and grooming products to his line of goods. With recipes devoted to natural ingredients stirred up in small batches, Weaver quickly built a following that today includes a brick-and-mortar store in Houston, carrying other manly gear such as leather goods and quality American-made clothing. | Manready.com
Pat Parsi and Danielle Rouso founded Billy Jealousy in Dallas in 2004 with a desire to create a line of highly efficacious grooming products driven by science and nature, and wrapped in a sexy and fun brand experience. Their cosmeceutical line has amassed major magazine awards from prestigious publications, and today Billy Jealousy products are sold and used throughout the world—from Singapore to Auckland, New York to Los Angeles, London to Johannesburg. | BillyJealousy.com