Are Spa Days The New Lads' Weekend? We Sent A Trio Of Rugby Players To Find Out...

_ FHM sent a trio of burly rugby pros to experience the terrifying world of pedicures, facials and waxing. Is it all a load of girly nonsense, or have guys been missing a trick? _

Kill your spots

Team: Wasps RFC and England Saxons
Position: Outside centre
Age: 22

“I visit a male grooming place once a month for a hair cut or beard trim and I'll usually get some skin care stuff while I’m there. But it's not exactly a facial – I guess it's similar – it's just part of the beard trim process. Other than that, I don't really do too much. I lost a bet once and had to get my chest waxed. It wasn't the greatest experience and both the pain and being so smooth wasn't nice. It's not for me.”

As a man you probably pay little attention to your skin (aside from the moisturiser gift sets you got last Christmas). Truth be told, it's probably time you paid attention. If we were to ask you to imagine a facial right now, the chances are that you will think of one of two things.

The first would be something quite reasonably described as Not Safe For Work, and the second would be your green-faced, cucumber-eyed girlfriend lazing around with a towel wrapped around her head like a Lenor-enthused beehive. We're dealing with the latter, although this specific facial treatment doesn't involve either veggies nor ambitious towel structures.

Elliot went for the Vitamin C Facial, which is specifically designed to fix up weather-beaten brows, world-weary eyes and dried-up cheeks. It might seem girly, but you could argue that the fact you're even getting one is testament to your own masculinity. Or something like that.

The beauty therapists cleansed, scraped, rubbed, massaged and exfoliated Elliot’s face for all its worth. Then they sprayed him with a Ghostbusters-like steam gun and squeezed every last bit of dirt out of his face. Aside from the fairly pathetic headband he had to wear, it's one of the manliest facials you can get.

“I’m so relaxed I can hardly speak. I didn’t feel silly at all despite my worries when they made me put the headband on. It actually felt quite manly, although I’m sure it didn’t look it.”


01: If you're applying your own mask at home don't buy a generic one-fix-all mask. It’s no use whacking on a cream to fix greasy foreheads if your actual problem is that you’re suffering from flaky face dandruff.

02: Test the mask on a smaller patch of skin. Your face is one of the most sensitive parts of your body. You’re probably not allergic but it’s better not to risk looking like you’ve had an acid bath.

03: Wear gloves. Aside from protecting your open pores from any toxins on your hands, it’ll also ensure nutrients are being absorbed into your face rather than being embedded under your fingernails.

Ditch dirty hands

Team: Wasps RFC and the Barbarians
Position: Back row
Age: 23

“I don't have a specific routine. I sometimes moisturise but that's about it. My girlfriend tries to get me to do other things but I never really stick with anything. It’s not that I have a problem with spas – going to one as a couple is fine – but you wouldn't go as a group of lads. It's just not really the archetypal boys’ day out is it? Plus it's expensive, which would put me off.”

Hands. We've all got them and since we sprouted opposable thumbs, they've become invaluable to our entire survival as a human race. And yet, when was the last time you did anything to look after them? Never, which isn't great considering that after dodgy shoes, dirty unkempt hands and fingernails are one of the biggest complaints women have about men on first dates.

Sure, the whole idea of a manicure or pedicure conjures up images of Sex And The City but the reality isn't so. Wonder why your mate Dave's hands always look so soft and clean despite his job working as a septic tank inspector? Manicures.

“It’s not just the more ‘metrosexual’ types we get coming in for a manicure,” says Notting Hill’s Privet Body beauty salon owner Andy Penniceard. “We get everyone from builders to office workers and athletes.”

Sam’s nails were soaked in warm water to make them soft, before being buffed and clipped. Finally, his cuticles were pushed back to reveal more of his nail.

“I didn’t realise my hands could look so clean and healthy. But would I do it again? Probably not. It’s a slight step too far and a bit of a faff to do regularly. Plus I’ll be quite conscious about getting them muddy at training tomorrow now…”


01: It’s better to trim your nails neatly after they’ve been softened by soaking in warm water. Trimming those talons after you’ve had a bath will be a much easier experience.

02:Don’t ignore your cuticles – they’re the gross bit of skin at the base of your nails. Gently push the cuticle back on
a semi-regular basis; you won’t notice the difference, but your girlfriend will.

Get smooth

Wasps RFC
Position: Hooker
Age: 27

“I use an exfoliator and my girlfriend does my nails for me sometimes, but I just sort of sit there, watch TV and let her do it. When I was younger though, my mum had a beautician who would come round and I got talked into giving waxing a try. I think most guys do it more than you realise.”

According to Privet Body owner Andy Penniceard, male waxing is one of the most common treatments guys ask for. “A lot of guys get to a point where they have hair growing in places where it wasn't before. Backs, shoulders, nostrils, ears and all that. It can really affect your confidence so it makes sense they’d want to sort it out.”

Sure, your first time’s going to feel a bit awkward but if you're worried about waking up one morning to a full-on Sasquatch clinging to your back then it's worth sucking it up and sorting a wax.

That said, it isn’t a wholly pain-free treatment. The experience ranges from a slight twinge to a ‘holy-bollocks-kill-me-now’ kind of pang, depending on which part of your body you’re getting done and how much of a wimp you are.

Tom opted for a full leg wax – a popular treatment for athletes: it makes them more streamlined (Olympic swimmers), they’re less likely to have hairs ripped out when removing strapping (rugby players) and it increases their chance of getting a Versace underwear deal (Cristiano Ronaldo). A full leg wax takes around 20 minutes and will go from your ankles to the terrifying, goolie-grazing inner thigh. A chest wax will take around the same time, depending on how hairy you are.

“The inner thigh was pretty bloody tender but it wasn’t too bad. In rugby we sometimes need to wear strapping and I’ll usually shave those parts. If I’d have known waxing was this practical before I’d probably just have done this instead…”


01: Exhale just before each strip is ripped from your bare flesh to make the pain slightly more bearable.

02: Avoid doing it at home alone unless you know what you’re doing. Especially if you want to avoid disgusting ingrown hairs or, worse, a spaghetti Bolognese-style rash.

03: Don’t rub lotion or any other pore-clogging chemicals in to your waxed bits afterwards. It’ll irritate your skin and cause spots if it’s the wrong stuff. Stick to lukewarm water.

The final say...

Stylist and writer Becky Tanner-Rolf tells you what women really think of your rough and ready look…

“The scene is set: the scented candles are lit, it’s super romantic, we’re kissing… but what sweet hell is this? Something that could be mistaken for an industrial sander is making its way up my thigh. If you’re not the adventurer Indiana Jones, then there is no excuse for those calloused palms.

“We ladies often say we like guys rough and ready. I’ll let you in on a secret: we just mean ready. I don’t want to be waiting an hour for the bathroom, but equally I don’t want to share a bed with the Gruffalo. I’m not saying I want my local spa invaded by permatanned metrosexuals, but if I’m going to spend 15 minutes in agony to avoid the ’70s muff, the least you can do is lose the Ron Jeremy ball fro.

“I’ll be honest: if you’re late for a date because your mani-pedi ran over, I will call you princess for the rest of the night. But in the long run, I’d rather have a freshly groomed, super-soft gent than a hairy lad.”

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