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Plymouth Evening Herald - Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Refreshing parts other waxers may not reach

YOU'VE heard of landscaping, well get ready for 'manscaping' because the art of male waxing has come to Plymouth.

Jason Phillips has opened Devon's first salon for the metrosexual male offering to depilate your legs, arms, back, front, and crown jewels, for that super smooth look.

A manscaper, or male grooming professional if you will, Mr Phillips has rented a space in a salon in trendy Mannamead and is already seeing customers.

His business is cleverly titled The Back and Beyond.

"I figured there was a gap in the market," he said.

Manscaping has become all the rage since hairless chests became de rigueur for metrosexual soccer superstars such as David Beckham, Cristiano Ronaldo, and, talking of rage, a chunk of the Chelsea squad.

But it's not just the goal-scoring glitterati that want the streamlined look.

Mr Phillips' customers are as likely to be fed up with being 'hot, sweaty and sticky' as looking for a new image.

"It's almost sponsored and recommended by popular celebrities and people in the press," he said. "But it's more about personal comfort."

And a lot of his clients are sent in by their womenfolk.

"We have a lot of interest from ladies who don't like the look and feel of hair on their man's arms, backs, top of shoulders," Mr Phillips said.

The 41-year-old made the jump into male grooming after being made redundant from the computer industry.

He is proof there are opportunities for people who lose their jobs provided they have the imagination to find a 'niche' market.

"It was a eureka moment," he said. "After a year of trying to get back into the computer industry I realised that though my skills were rarefied, I had skills in customer service “ and this is about as close as you can get to customers."

Mr Phillips can remove hair from "toes to shoulders". In other words: the whole body.

"It's more hygienic and comfortable than having hair “ and waxing lasts longer than shaving and there's no after stubbly affect."

Typical treatments don't take long, you are "in and out in a few minutes" although each customer is different.

Mr Phillips uses low-temperature waxes. The treatment involves cleaning the skin, applying barrier oil, then wax on a strip, and "off it comes".

Mr Phillips stressed the speed of removal is "critical" and said: "The faster the less pain."

Once a treatment is done it lasts up to six weeks, and by the third visit the density of the hairs become more fine.

Trading now for just over six weeks, Mr Phillips is already looking to grow the business.

"A training school is an option," he said. "Getting more guys into doing these treatments."

In fact, he insists "the sky is the limit".

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