Treatments designed just for men.

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Though rare, there are a few spas that cater exclusively to men. Recently I had the opportunity to visit XY Men’s Skin & Grooming Lounge at 490 Yonge Street in Toronto ( “I really don’t like the term ‘spa,’” Robb Gorman, XY’s owner and aesthetician tells me as if he’s forced to spit the word out like a sour piece of candy. “I want this place to feel more comfortable, like it’s someone’s living room.” In that he is successful. The space is completely unpretentious, absent of oversized portraits of androgynous models, and Gorman’s inked skin is exposed in a cut-off T-shirt. He’s wearing sneakers.

I’m told I’ll be receiving two signature services: the S.O.S. and XY 101, a body treatment and face skin session based on the skin descriptions I supplied before arriving. 

The S.O.S.  “You’re going to have to get naked for this,” he tells me with a chuckle, and I instantly lose all colour in my face. I aim my feet towards the door. I’ve never done this before, and now I have to get naked? I don’t think so. But 10 minutes later, I’m naked under a towel and Gorman re-enters the room. “So I can see that you’re not ginger-ginger,” he points out, looking at my skin as he alters the body treatment mixture he prepares, which is a “pudding” of colloidal oatmeal, soy milk, allantoin, honey, wasabi root and white tea. Painted on the entire body, the S.O.S. soothes skin affected by dermatitis, eczema, chronic dryness and sunburn. After the application, I am wrapped in a garbage bag (manly!) to help absorb the treatment and then it’s gently massaged off with a warm, damp towel.

The XY 101 A free 45-minute session is given to provide the male client with the proper knowledge, tools and techniques to manage his individual skin type. Gorman inspects my skin, applies a handful of natural skin treatments based on what he’s found and thoroughly educates me on how to take care of my skin at home. Post-treatment I’m sent home with a 14-day supply of Dermalogica’s Daily Microfoliant ($74) and Active Moist ($50 for 50mL, both products are sold at the spa and online at

Leaving with a wealth of knowledge and my skin thanking me, I’ve learned these treatments are necessary maintenance. Maintenance that isn’t at all costly, either. Plus, it feels damn good.

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