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Popular grooming alternatives for the groom

by The New York Times | December 26, 2021 at 2:23 a.m.

From tweezing and teeth whitening to radio-frequency fat removal, grooms have more options than ever to ensure they look their best on their wedding day.

"The concept of self-care and enhancements has become commonplace for men," said Dr. Dendy Engelman, a dermatologist at the Shafer Clinic Fifth Avenue in New York, "especially before their wedding."

Over the last four years alone, Engelman said she has seen about a 60% jump in male patients looking for treatments before their wedding, thanks in part to new technologies and social media.

Those numbers continue to rise, with Engelman speculating that the onslaught of videoconferences since the pandemic has motivated even more men to seek help with their physical appearance. "They are hyper aware of their image being fed back to them and are not thrilled with the way they look," she said.

With numerous treatments available, experts share a few of the more popular options, which range from simple to high-tech. Each expert provided prices for services at their own businesses, but costs for treatments vary.


Small changes can often mean big visual enhancements. A shave, haircut and manicure -- even a spray tan -- can instantly upgrade your appearance. Teeth whitening can have a significant effect, too.

"Whiter teeth brighten your face, make you look healthy and younger, and encourage people to smile more," said Dr. Marc Lowenberg, an owner of Lowenberg, Lituchy & Kantor, a cosmetic dentist practice in New York. "Even though motivation comes from their fiancees, when men see how they look, they're glad they've done it."

The cost for a one-hour office bleaching and home-whitening system: $1,200. When to do it: a month before the wedding.

Cleaning and reshaping your brows can also refresh your look. Joey Healy, the owner of Joey Healy Eyebrow Studio in New York, said men make up around 20% of his clientele.

Waxing and tweezing are two options, but some men prefer threading, which consists of rolling twisted cotton thread over the hairs to remove them from the follicle. The goal, Healy said, is to create a tidier, more natural and symmetrical look so that eyes appear more youthful, brighter and perkier.

Tinting or coloring the brow is another fast fix, he said. "We custom blend vegetable-based dye for men because they're more adverse to using traditional eyebrow cosmetics, like pencils or powders to emulsify their brows."

The cost for brow shaping: $90 to $150; for tinting: $50 to $105. Healy also offers a service called Eyebrow Blueprint, which combines both treatments and costs $90 to $195. When to do it: a week before the wedding.

Face peels are quick options, too. "Peels only take minutes to administer and enhance texture and tone, stimulate collagen, make skin appear brighter and fade brown spots," said Dr. Lavanya Krishnan, a dermatologist in private practice in San Francisco. "Men come in with four concerns: fine lines, large pores, brown spots and acne."

Common peels use salicylic, glycolic and trichloroacetic acids, as well as Jessner's solution -- usually a combination of salicylic and lactic acids and resorcinol -- with 10% to 20% concentrations. "The higher the percentage, the deeper the peel penetration, the more layers of dead skin you're removing," Krishnan said.

The cost per treatment: $150 to $300. When to do it: one to two weeks before the wedding.


Various brands of botulinum toxin injections -- Botox, Dysport and Xeomin -- reduce and smooth visible lines around eyes, above foreheads or in between eyebrows. Once injected into the muscle, the treatment prevents contractions, thus diminishing wrinkles. "This treatment adds youth and smoothness and removes the look of you frowning on your wedding day," Engelman said.

The cost per area for forehead, eyes or brows: $500. When to do it: two weeks before the wedding. "The cost for men is higher," Engelman added, "because their muscles are stronger and require more toxin to deactivate the muscle contractions."

Let's not forget the jawline. "A strong, masculine jaw has become a focus spot for men," Engelman said, "mostly because they're standing at the altar and their profile is visible to everyone, most of whom are taking photos. They don't have control over what people post or if they're using a filter."

To remove excess fat, Engelman said she injects Kybella (deoxycholic acid) under the jaw. As the chemical breaks down, it destroys and dissolves fat, decreasing a double chin. To tighten, reshape and contour, the dermal filler Juvederm Voluma (hyaluronic acid) is injected along the jawline to create definition.

"This offers an immediate augmented result and a sharper look," Engelman said. "If you don't like it, we can melt the product with the enzyme hyaluronidase while you're still in the office and reverse the effect."

The cost for Kylbella: $1,200 per treatment. Engelman recommends two to four. When to do it: at least three to four months before the wedding, because each treatment must be four to six weeks apart. The cost for Voluma: $1,200 to $1,500 per syringe, with usually two syringes needed. When to do it: two weeks before the wedding.


For the guy who wants to focus on his physique, there are in-office devices that melt fat and can tone and shape specific areas of the body, like love handles. Dr. Paul Jarrod Frank, a cosmetic dermatologist in private practice in New York, offers 50 different machines and devices for his clients.

"Men love shortcuts, they like noninvasive, minimal downtime devices that they don't consider cosmetic but more like upkeep," said Frank, who has also seen an increase in male clientele. "Ten years ago these machines didn't exist, now they do."

Dr. Arash Moradzadeh, a plastic surgeon in private practice in Beverly Hills, Calif., suggests truSculpt ID. "This machine targets and removes pockets of unwanted fat in 15 minutes," he said, likening the treatment to a hot stone massage. "It uses radio-frequency energy to heat and permanently kill fat cells in specific areas, like the stomach or upper arms."

You could lose 24% of your fat in a focused area, Moradzadeh added, and because of the heat, the loosened skin recoils and becomes firmer. The cost to treat four areas: $2,400. When to do it: three to four months before the wedding.

TruSculpt Flex helps reduce fat while simultaneously building muscle. It "offers 16 mini paddles placed wherever you want on your body and gives muscles multidirectional biomechanical stimulation," Moradzadeh said. "Muscles will twist, lengthen and contract in multiple directions, sometimes in ways you can't with exercise. In 45 minutes you're doing the equivalent of 54,000 contractions."

Moradzadeh said results can include a 30% increase in muscle mass and 20% reduction of the fat layer at a treatment site. "These visual changes make a substantial difference in someone's life," he said, adding that over the last year he's seen a 40% increase in couples who do these treatments together before their wedding. "Now that men are comfortable coming in and having these sessions, we call this couple's therapy."

The cost: $3,000 to $4,000 for four sessions within two weeks. When to do it: three to four months before the wedding.


While they don't promise the same results as an in-person treatment, these products are less expensive.

• Profile Cobalt Revitalize Face Scrub, $10.95

• Armani Men the Face Wash, $37; the Moisturizer Face & Eye, $63; the Toner, $48

• Disco Repairing Eye Stick, $32; Face Cleanser Stick, $16; Face Mask, $34

• Lab Series Instant Fix Color Correcting Moisturizer, $38

• MasqueBar Bandito Get Lucky Night On The Town Sheet Mask, $3.99

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