The number of men receiving nail services may be on the decline, but fear not: We’ve got seven tweaks to help you ease them back through the salon doors. Here are some clever ways to appeal to those elusive male clients and keep them coming back for more.
1. Opt for more neutral scents.
While female clients may opt for services that feel flowery or sweet, men appreciate feeling fresh and clean. Try toning down the florals and implementing scents like citrus or mint — tried-and-true fragrances that are clean, simple, and subtle. Mr., a nail lounge in West Hollywood, Calif., features both of these scents in its services, ditching the frills to get straight to the good stuff. “We do manicures and pedicures for men, from the basic manicure up to things that are more extravagant, and we only use mint or lemon,” says Maston Kucheki, proprietor of Mr. “Since we are catering to men, we don’t want there to be too much of a floral scent, so there’s more of a spa feel. The fragrances are refreshing, so when they’re getting their service done, they feel like it’s actually targeted to them, even down to the scent.”
2. Serve a selection of beer and wine.
Liza Waitzman of Toes on the Goes in San Diego takes it up a notch with her Beer Pedicure. Male clients are invited to choose from a collection of craft beer — San Diego is the “Craft Beer Mecca,” she notes — as a complimentary beverage while their feet soak in a soapy beer bath. But that’s not all: She offers them manly magazines as well, like Playboy, Maxim, and Tattoo. “It’s basically a way to let men know that pedicures aren’t just for the ladies and they can feel manly when they come in and get a pedicure with me,” Waitzman says. It doesn’t hurt that soaking in beer is topically beneficial, or that she’s nicknamed the service “the Boobs and Beer Pedicure.” (Seems like she’s following rule #3 as well.)
3. Give your service a less intimidating name.
Though “manicure” may have the word “man” in it, men may shy away because of the female connotation. That’s why Estilo Salon in West Des Moines, Iowa, offers Hand and Foot Detailing. “We had a gentleman come in, and when I walked him to the back I said, ‘So, we’re getting a pedicure today?’ And he emphasized, ‘foot detailing.’ It made him feel like he wasn’t so emasculated,” says Melissa Finch, owner of Mel’s Tips of the Trade inside Estilo. Removing the feminine title can help your services feel more male-oriented, while alleviating visions of frilly add-ons and “girly” polish jobs. Offer an optional matte polish at the end and you’ll be surprised to find your male clients appreciating the finishing touches without having to show them off.
4. Cater to their specific needs.
Let’s face it: Men typically deal with a different set of issues, and therefore may benefit from a different set of services or more specific attention. Some men may be more likely to ignore aches and rough calluses. Tami Guerrero of Coastal Pedicure in Ventura, Calif., makes sure that those overlooked spots get taken care of with her Farmhouse Fresh Pedicure. “We have anti-gravity chiropractic chairs that give you a massage treatment during the pedicure, which men of course love,” says Guerrero. “I focus a little more on cleaning up their heels, soaking them in clementine oil, or using paraffin to soften up rough patches. After I dry file their heels, I always send them home with the file and let them know about home maintenance.”
5. Sports, sports, sports.
It’s no surprise that one of our tips involves the traditional favorite male pastime. Introducing some sporty elements is a surefire way to make men feel more comfortable in your salon. Go ahead and put the World Cup on to make him feel more at home. But don’t just show sports — cater to the players too with an athlete service. AlphaMale Nail Care in Charlotte, N.C., offers a signature Athlete’s Pedicure featuring an Epsom salt soak and a golf ball foot and calf massage, perfectly incorporating sports gear into a service. “Men sometimes do not know what to ask for when it comes to manicures and pedicures,” says Sheena Pickett of AlphaMale. “I want them to be able to relax and not have to pick and choose from a long list of add-ons. Amenities include a wall-mounted flat-screen TV tuned to the latest ESPN headlines and popular sports match-ups. The gentlemen appreciate the overall experience that has been created.”
6. Anticipate and embrace new trends.
The previous tips suggest simplifying traditional services to be more approachable. Enamel Diction in Los Angeles defies this by keeping an eye out for those who stray from the usual path — and catering to them to help them feel welcome. “We took a minimalistic approach to the decor while keeping it edgy, modern, and clean,” says Mariana Stanciu, owner of Enamel Diction. “We invite emerging artists to feature new work in the space, which draws in a number of male clients who often come in to get metallic pedicures as well as portraiture nail art.” They also offer a detox pedicure as well as Colorstrology, a customized manicure that incorporates your astrological chart to identify the colors that will bring more good things into your life. Tyrese is a regular client, which should tell you all you need to know.
7. Take the salon to them.
The easiest solution when men are too afraid to come into the salon is to bring the salon to them. Nail Taxi is a mobile salon currently serving a number of cities, like New York City, Baltimore, Chicago, and Los Angeles, that provides nail services to residences, hotel rooms, offices, hospital rooms, and events. Founder Cinnamon Bowser finds that men are more likely to indulge in a service if they don’t have to go through the trouble of booking the appointment themselves or walking into a salon. “It’s the wives or significant others who call and make the appointments. Their husbands needed their feet done but weren’t comfortable walking into a salon,” Bowser states. “And it’s usually nothing bad, they just need a little TLC.” When the service takes place in a private setting, men become more comfortable receiving care that they might otherwise not be aware they need.