Men increasingly are taking advantage of hair salons, day spa services and cosmetic surgery procedures that for the most part are offered in co-ed environments. When it comes to personal grooming, however, many men prefer a more private, all-men's club.
Male Salon for Men (5608 Citrus Blvd., Suite I, Harahan, 733-5300) opened Aug. 1 to provide a place where the masculine gender can receive expert hair styling and coloring, massages, mustache and eyebrow grooming, facials, waxing, manicures, pedicures, and more. The men-only salon was opened by experienced hair stylists Elizabeth Graffagnini and her mother, Cynthia Richmond, who say men often are given short shrift at salons whose services were developed mainly for women.
"Mom and I both had been cutting hair for a long time (before we opened the salon)," Graffagnini says. Most hair salons cater to women and are adept at a range of hair styles for them, while "men really get pushed to the side. When you specialize in cutting men's hair only, you really perfect your techniques.
"Men say all the time, 'This is the best haircut I've had in years.' It really makes you feel good."
Graffagnini admits she and Richmond weren't sure whether a men's-only salon would take in New Orleans, but so far the response has been very positive and the list of regular customers keeps growing, including much of the office staff for the Saints as well as some of the players. Surprisingly, many of the first visits result from women looking for a place their husbands can get a good hair cut, personal grooming services and pampering in a manly atmosphere.
The salon is decorated in an elegant but masculine style, with original art prints from Paris and Munich, television screens at every haircutting station and private rooms where they can get their backs or legs waxed, receive a luxurious facial or massages. Wednesday and Thursday evening appointments are treated to drinks and hors d'oeuvres, and Saturday football games are honored with free beer and wine as well as a broadcast of the game.
"These men want to be taken care of," says Graffagnini, whose six-member staff is all women (most are married). "I'm all for it. We want them to feel very special."
The shift from beautifying both sexes to pampering and grooming men has been a gratifying gamble, she says. "This is so new for these men that we weren't sure it would catch on, but we've been really busy. Here they feel really comfortable and at ease."
The all-male concept also has worked out well for the employees, the owner says. "Men are easier (customers) than women, and they come back every three weeks. Men are creatures of habit moreso than women ... and are as concerned about their appearance as women are."
Customers at Male Salon run the gamut from business professionals to blue-collar workers to elderly retired men. "Everyone, no matter their background, feels comfortable here," Graffagnini says. Many are seeking a leg up in the business world by putting their best face forward, and some are seeking a look that is conservative during the week but can be styled with more hipness for the weekend. Best of all, men can get their backs waxed or have a manicure without the embarrassment of running into one of their wife's girlfriends.
The salon also offers the full line of American Crew men's grooming products, as well as d:fi and Ian Matthews. Graffagnini says the shop soon will offer chemical peels, and other future plans could include opening a second location in the New Orleans area.
Olde Towne Slidell kicks off its Christmas season with a day of traditional festivities and shopping from noon to 6 p.m. Dec. 15. In addition to special discounts at participating stores, visitors can enjoy Christmas carolers, free horse-drawn carriage rides, a moment on Santa's knee, face painting and hot chocolate. For more information, call (985) 646-4375.
- Male Salon co-owner Elizabeth Graffagnini talks with Dennis Stewart about what hair style will best suit him.