News & Politics

Never Let Them See You Sweat

Women aren’t the only ones who can be high maintenance.

Pirooz Sarshar, cofounder of the Grooming Lounge—a Washington-based business that caters to men’s skin, hair, and nail care—was, by chance, seated next to one of the lounge’s clients on a recent flight. The man, a DC lawyer, recognized Sarshar and began to explain his beauty routine, opening his carryon bag to show off a collection of products.

Each day, the lawyer said, he follows a skin-care and anti-aging regimen, paying special attention to products meant to reduce signs of aging around the eyes. He gives himself a manicure every four days and moisturizes his hands often, because they’re one of the things clients notice in meetings. Sarshar saw that the man was also free of ear and nose hair—a sign of meticulous grooming.

The lawyer, says Sarshar, is someone he would consider a high-maintenance man. And as it turns out, Washington has lots of guys who want to look their best. For men in power, making a favorable first impression is a key part of the job.

For some guys, good grooming means a haircut and an occasional manicure. For others, it entails facials and waxing. Sarshar says some Grooming Lounge clients book appointments once a week or every other day to maintain their manicures or get a facial.

Melanie Erb, the resident nurse practitioner at Hela Spa in Georgetown, says about 20 percent of the clients she sees for Botox treatments are men, most of whom are in high-profile jobs.

Just as Botox paralyzes facial muscles, it can immobilize sweat glands. Erb says about half of her male clients are lawyers who get Botox under their arms to reduce excessive sweating. Many clients, she says, get facial injections in addition to underarm treatments. At Hela Spa, Botox injections for both underarms are $1,000, and facial injections are $450 per injection site.

Lawyers have buoyed sales at the Art of Shaving, a “barber spa” and store for men that opened a downtown DC location last April. The spa—which offers services such as an aromatherapy skin treatment for $45 and a “royal shave” for $55—shares a building with major firms such as Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher and Arent Fox.

The lawyers begin trickling in later in the day to freshen up before going out to dinner, says store manager Enrique Navarrete. Washington is an ideal market for the Art of Shaving, he says, because DC men “command a certain attention.”

Senior Editor

Marisa M. Kashino joined Washingtonian in 2009 and was a senior editor until 2022.