Health & Wellbeing: You've Gotta Have Skin in the Game


There we were. Us four lads - Glenn, Mike, Chris and myself, unwinding from our respective busy days at work with some Italian pizza and beer at the glorious sanctuary that is Haven in Takapuna. But we weren’t there to simply gasbag over some food & drink, there was a real purpose behind the midweek get-together. Whilst trying our best not to get pizza all over ourselves we were at Haven getting an important lesson on skin for dummies; learning about our skin's makeup, its complexities and importantly what can happen if you don’t respect it. 

The session began by holding a fairly sobering picture - a face of late 50’s bloke who had spent many of his former years driving trucks through the harsh outback of Australia. What we saw was shocking. The truckie had extensive damage to one side of his face - the result from the sun beaming through the driver’s window. He looked like Two-Face from Batman. Now I totally get that this an extreme case of skin damage but it landed a critical message early; you've only got one skin and its something that we need to protect on the daily. Furthermore we need to be doing it now, not in years to come when you see more of those wrinkles and signs of ageing. By then you can only react, not pre-emptively protect. 


Talking about skin might not be the manliest of topics, but therein lies the reason I decided to gather a few of my good mates. I wanted to tackle this silly stigma that it's 'soft' for guys to exert energy and money into caring for their skin and faces. It’s ridiculous to think this is something your girlfriend, mum or sister should worry about...and not you. Your skin is nearly identical, so what’s up with not seeing that they’re already miles ahead of us in the skincare game and really you're the one losing out. 

It’s a fairly striking thought that we routinely look after our bodies, the hair on our head by showering and shampooing, and we even brush our teeth too - yet all too often we do sweet nothing for our face. It gets conveniently left off the should-give-a-shit list. By getting together with the boys, we were able to openly discuss what we knew and didn't about a topic that rarely gets tabled. By manning-up and ignoring any of the societal crap, we were empowering each other to listen, absorb and be open minded to why looking out for our skin is important. For us this little catch up was the opening to a new world of giving a shit about our skin and we're going to look and feel the better for it. 


Don't they look they're enjoying the pampering? After discovering the nuances of skin, dispelling some myths and learning about things we never knew, we all headed into our individual 30 min treatments, tailored uniquely for each person's skin needs by the specialist team at Haven. Because there was a real lack of a consistent regime or infact for one of the guys, no regime at all the treatments were centred around shedding the outer layers of dead skin, and hydrating the new born layers. This was a totally new experience for the guys, they’d never had a skin treatment, let alone embark on the homecare skincare regime with their new Ultraceuticals starter pack (which conveniently has the products numbered so you get the order right every time). 

Here's what the guys had to say about their Haven experience when I asked them what they knew going in, what remained with them when they left, and to check-in to see how their new at-home routine is going. 


One point that stood out to me was that we should wash our face with the face wash twice during morning and night, once to get rid of the impurities such as oil and dirt and the second time to get into the pores. This step alone has made a huge difference to my skin, I find it less oily and clearer. The other step in the daily routine that I wasn’t currently doing was the night time step, I thought washing my face once a day was enough but the 3 step process at night has made a noticeable difference. Most blokes know we should wash our face but we don’t really know why or how. It’s not hard to make small changes but when you do it makes a big difference to how you look and feel.


Still getting into the habit of using the SPF moisturiser every day but loving the actual face wash too after a day in the office or the gym – end up feeling and looking a lot fresher! Will for sure keep up with it and am heading back to Haven for some top ups!


The lovely Chloe sat us down and walked through all the science behind your skin and how it is affected by day to day activities making me realise I should have paid more attention in high school. Far removed from the standard supermarket facewash I got the full skincare experience using some really cool new technology. I came out far better off from the experience and could physically feel the difference in my skin. When I got home my wife instantly saw the change, which is saying a lot since she never notices when I get a haircut.

 While the guy's faces were shining, the night wasn't over. Our good friends at Morgan & Morgan in Takapuna popped in to give us a demo on how to style our hair - something very dear to all us dudes. Kane one of the lead stylists took us each through our face shape, hairlines and structure to show us a few looks we could pull of with a few key products from Redken. A go-to for a sharp look for me is the classic slick-rick with the help of some moulding clay. 


Us four guys went into Haven not knowing a great deal about our skin, but we came out with a great head start in the new journey towards helping our skin thrive and the tools to do so. It's not hard either, just like any habit you've just got to find ways to ingrain this into your routine. I have a cleanser and moisturiser in my bathroom and another set in my gym bag for the days I get ready at the gym so there's no way I forget it. I also have a travel size SPF moisturiser in my car so when I'm out and about I can throw more on when needed. Old dog can learn some new tricks.

Make sure you check out the men’s menu from Haven, and shout yourself. You know you deserve it and your skin does too.


Thanks to my good mate Dalong for snapping the evening and Renee from Haven for putting on a successful evening for us fellas and Chloe for being our teacher! We're looking and feeling all the better for it.