Confessions of a Guys' Facialist

Patrick Rogers, Allure magazine

"Men are pansies." So says Hillery Sklar, an aesthetician who is in a unique position to know: Among her menu of treatments at Brooklyn's Miomia apothecary, where Sklar works on both men and women, are The Dude and The Bearded Gentleman. After a recent visit, I asked her about the differences between clients of the male and female persuasion.

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But first let me paint the picture: Sklar, for sure, is no pansy. Her arms are covered in tattoos (including a bottle of Annick Goutal's Petite Cherie, her favorite scent), she plays lullaby versions of The Cure in her treatment room, and to use words I never imaged stringing together, she gives a mean facial.

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"Let's be honest, the nose is probably 85% of the reason people get facials," says Sklar. "It's extractions in the nose-getting out the blackheads. That's all everybody wants to talk about. And it's probably 95% of the reason I went into this business. I love doing them! Guys' pores are larger, they're faces are a little bit oilier, and the skin is thick. I want to say it's less sensitive, but that's not to be confused with tolerance of pain. The majority of women have an understanding that a certain amount of pain comes with beauty or waxing or whatever. And then come the men, guys who can play football, who can lift refrigerators, and they're cringing, whimpering. I've had crying in my room. I'm totally serious. And it's so fun for me, I love making fun of them. Obviously, I take it very seriously and make people feel comfortable, but really…"

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"On the other hand, I'm kind and gentle with guys when I ask them to take off their shirts at the beginning, because that can actually be an uncomfortable moment. I bar tend on Saturday nights in the city and there's a Duane Reade drugstore on the corner that's open 24 hours, and so I go and I walk the aisles at 4:30 in the morning. It's my way of unwinding. So there's this 21-year-old manager, and he's got acne. I can just see how painful it is, he's so incredibly self-conscious. So for a month, I don't say anything. One night I kind of leaned in and was like, listen, I do facials, and I would be so happy if you would come out to Brooklyn. And I got that kid to come out every two weeks. There are guys that are like, "Woah, I didn't know there was anything to do about something like acne, I thought I had to live with it." And there's such great products for men-Bluebeards Original, Malin+Goetz, Ursa Major-and ingredients like chamomile, even rose. Facials don't have to be this frilly perfumey spa-day thing, right? Being able to do stuff like that for people is an amazing bonus."


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