Fashion / Beauty

The Men’s Guide to Dallas Spas — How to Make Yourself Look Younger With Pampering Perks

Pulling a Benjamin Button is Within Reach

BY // 07.18.19

It wasn’t until I moved to the sunny Left Coast that it dawned on me that I should take grooming and skincare seriously. This was the late 1990s, well before the dawn of the era we call “wellness” focused. I had previously spent most of my time in the South, where if you put on moisturizer or got a pedicure at the time you might as well have been in full drag.

Thank goodness times have changed and men realize that it’s not effeminate (or who cares if it even still seems that way to some in today’s gender-fluid world?) to have a skincare regime and occasionally book an appointment for a treatment — whether it be a simple manicure/pedicure or a detoxifying facial.

Don’t we all look a little too closely once in a while at our reflection in the mirror? Trying to make sense of how we went 10 years without seemingly blinking an eye? But the ravages of that decade can be seen through creases, age spots, and other tell-tale signs. Don’t we all want to Benjamin Button ourselves back to our perfect years — whether that’s our baby-face late teens, our slightly more matured mid twenties or our beginning to look distinguished early thirties.

I’ve found that a big obstacle for many men to take care of their skin is simply not knowing where to go. Or if they have a hyper-masculine attitude they  fear if they don’t find a place with men’s specific treatments they will leave smelling like a rose garden. I plan on starting a series focusing on men’s health, fitness, grooming and back to that word — wellness. You’ll find regular updates on places in Dallas that are offering new or unique services. So, if you are a boy or if you are a girl with a man in your life (husband, son, friend or colleague who desperately needs advice) take note and start looking for these features regularly on PaperCity.

After landing back in Dallas in late 2015 I was fortunate to have a friend give me a referral to the amazing Alexis Karavas. She has a small, boutique space off Northwest Highway and has a who’s who list of clients (that, unfortunately, she is very hush-hush about). I’ll just give a teaser, she works with some Bravo-lebrities and some art world notables. I try and get in to see her twice a year when my face is feeling weathered and slightly sagging.

On my most recent visit, I asked her some things about how she treats men vs women clients.

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I work on 10 to 15 men a month,” she shares and “their biggest complaint is broken capillaries, congestion and sun damage. These guys are active. They’re out on the ranch or fishing, hunting, golfing, etc… Since we are in Dallas and inundated with the sun — using an SPF is crucial! I have my male clients on a super streamlined routine so it’s easy and fewer steps.” 

Given she has been in the field for going on two decades has she seen more men, perhaps since the dawn of the term metrosexual, begin to come in regularly?

“My male clientele has definitely spiked in the last five-plus years,” Karavas says. “I use a lot of gentle enzymes, light microdermabrasion, radio frequency and oxygen on them. Men have thicker, tougher and oilier skin so it tends to get congested easily — so a good exfoliation for them is usually needed. I give them a bit of a lift /tightening with radio frequency and top it off with oxygen to rehydrate.

“In general guys are taking way better care of their skin.”

Since I fall in that category and am now a Kiehl’s devotee I agreed profusely. Karavas adds with a wink, “I think it has to do with their partners pressuring them to take their skin seriously.”

DEFINITELY: Get the Full Treatment for Your Face

The V Spa at the Hilton Anatole recently revamped and relaunched its gentleman’s menu of services. I visited with Sara Long, spa manager, to learn more about their clientele and then try a few treatments. Long shared that due to the large number of business travelers who stay at the Anatole, of their male clients, likely 75 percent were hotel guests and the other 25 percent locals. She has seen men become more interested in V Spa’s face, body and nail services, but still, the bulk (like 80 percent)  just come in for massages.

My first appointment for my V Spa afternoon was for a body scrub. As I shared, I have had numerous facials (probably twice annually for the past 20 years) and massages (that is more of a once-in-a-blue-moon treat), but never a body scrub. I loved that my specialist greeted me with a smile and the welcome: “Honor this time for yourself and your well being.” She knew that to immerse oneself in this tranquil space that one must give themselves a personal message to do so.

The body scrub was definitely a new experience. It was much like a massage, but instead of lotion, a cream with abrasive (but still soothing) particles was used. The room in which this treatment is done has a shower inside for washing off when finished. My body definitely felt clean and rejuvenated and I would probably be interested in getting something like this done annually in light of all of the dead skin that seems to accumulate.

One of the additional benefits that many spas located in high-end hotels offer is the use of their fitness facilities (which often come with extensive workout equipment, saunas and pools). That is the case with V Spa where guests can enjoy same-day usage of the member’s only Verandah Club, conveniently located in the same building. The gym has an extensive selection of cardio equipment and free weights and machines.

DEFINITELY: Do the Body Scrub

Spa Adolphus at the famed downtown Dallas hotel of the same name offers high-end treatments specifically tailored to gentlemen as well. A four-hour package, The Dallas Man, entices potential clients with: “Working downtown or on a dude ranch leaves your muscles feeling tired.” In addition to a “man-a-cure” they offer pedicures, facials, and assorted body treatments as part of their men’s services menu.

Spa Adolphus
The 1912 Treatment will make your skin happy at Spa Adolphus.

Also, a new offering which isn’t on the particular Dallas Man menu, but seems like it would be of interest to gentlemen is the boozy, 1912 Body Treatment. The 1912 Body Treatment is inspired by the hotel’s signature cocktail, the 1912 – their riff on an Old Fashioned. The treatment is a deconstructed cocktail, spa-style, with earthly minerals blended with essences of Grapefruit, Black Pepper and Angostura Bitters. It begins with a calm mind inhalation and energy balancing ritual to soothe the spirit and settle into deep relaxation, utilizing rehydration neroli water, a lavender eye pillow and the rose porfyr stone placed on the heart chakra.

The earthly minerals then perfectly polish away dry skin during a body polish treatment. A warm-stone back, neck and shoulder massage follows to address any stress or tension. It is finished when you are wrapped in a warm cocoon and treated to an incredible foot and pressure point scalp massage. The 80-minute treatment is “topped off” with a serving of the 1912 cocktail which can be enjoyed post-treatment in the spa’s chic outdoor patio. 

The spa, like the rest of the hotel, underwent a massive renovation a few years ago done by the firm Swoon, the studio. They were able to update the interiors but kept many touches that retain the Adolphus’ classic history dating back to its opening in 1912. I had my body treatment done on a scorching Dallas Friday afternoon and after a stressful few days of appointments and deadlines, it was the perfect way to end my week. As with any good body treatment my specialist almost put me to sleep.

When visiting with Spa Adolphus director Amy Bell she shared similar thoughts as to what I heard at the Anatole. The majority of the Adolphus Spa’s business is women (likely a 60/40 split is what she thought), but having worked in the industry for well over a decade she is also definitely seeing more men come as clients.

DEFINITELY: Ask for Treatment Specialist LaSandra

The Spa at the Crescent in addition to a full slate of treatments offers a Gentleman’s Manicure/Pedicure. That is what I tried and I thoroughly enjoyed my hour of grooming and pampering. My specialist shared that he gets many repeat clients and is finding more and more retired men coming in regularly for a variety of treatments.

These facilities feel like a true men’s health club with an attendant that manages the locker rooms (if you are a day guest you can receive a locker for your visit should you choose to use the other amenities). In the locker room area, you will find fully equipped dry and wet saunas, a cold pool, a quiet/nap room, television area, and private showers.

Apparently, quite a few sports stars stay at the Hotel Crescent Court and then utilize the health club. As a result of frequent requests and the popularity of the cryo trend, they have recently purchased a cryosauna. I took a whirl in the space-age look contraption and have to say I was impressed. I won’t go into the details of the science of this treatment, but suffice to say numerous research has shown that it is in fact extremely therapeutic, particularly for those who are extremely athletic and suffer from sore muscles.

After stripping down to my workout shorts I was asked to put on socks and gloves. Then you enter the chamber (it’s vertical, so you are standing) and then once it started was told that I could slowly rotate my body for the three minutes I was planning on staying in the sauna. Some of the touted benefits credited to cryotherapy include pain and inflammation management, toxin removal, increased immune functions, improvement in skin elasticity and quicker workout recovery time. I have to say that after my three minutes I was ready to resume my workout and the next day my muscles were less sore than they would normally be after a few hours in the gym.

DEFINITELY: Spend Time Utilizing the Added Amenities

To sum up, my advice for spa visits would be at last two to three facials a year to keep skin healthy and nourished. For body treatments, perhaps once or twice with one of them scheduled before the start of summer Vilebrequin swim trunk season. Finally, nails need more regular attention. A manicure every couple of weeks and then pedicures regularly in the warmer months especially if you are planning on rocking some Gucci or Prada sandals.

Alexis Karavas Badami, 8215 Westchester Suite 314 B, Dallas

V Spa at Hilton Anatole, 2001 N Stemmons Fwy, Dallas

Spa Adolphus, 1321 Commerce Street, Dallas

The Spa at The Crescent, 400 Crescent Court, Dallas, 214.871.3232

Some other spa options in that offer gentlemen’s specific treatments or menus that seemed user-friendly for boys in Dallas include:

Bliss Dallas, 2440 Victory Park Lane, 16th Floor, Dallas

The Spa at The Joule, 1530 Main Street, Dallas

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