A little perturbed by the gray you see in the mirror? Equally perturbed by the idea of sitting in a fancy salon chair for hours with tinfoil on your head? We’ve got some mens hair coloring tips to use in the privacy of your own home.
First and foremost: a warning. Coloring your hair yourself is a very easy thing to get wrong. And if you do get it wrong, it’s very easy to compound the problem by trying to fix it. It is always best to get the advice or assistance of a trained professional when tampering with the color of your hair, especially if you want to make a dramatic change.
That said, it is possible to get a good result from coloring your hair at home—if you correctly match the product you buy to the results you’re looking for, and if you apply the product properly.
The type of product you choose will depend on why you want to dye your hair. If you just want to touch up some gray, a simple 5-minute men’s product—such as Just for Men–might work for you. These products are made to layer color on slowly so that the change is gradual, and they don’t color all of the hairs.
If you’re looking for a quick but natural change, you might want to try a product like Clairol Natural Instincts for Men or L’Oreal Colorsmart Hair Color for Men. These products are good if you’ve got up to 50 percent gray. They wash in like shampoos, provide natural all-over color and wash out within weeks, so there’s no real commitment. Make sure you match the color properly to your hair. When in doubt, go lighter rather than darker.
If you’re looking for a bolder, more permanent change, you might want to use a permanent product made for women. Keep in mind that women’s hair coloring is made to dramatically change hair color—from red to blonde, from blonde to brown, etc., and the colors are often very rich. They also tend to have harsh chemicals—such as ammonia– that men’s hair dyes typically don’t have In addition, you can’t just pick up a box that has a color you like and expect your hair to come out that shade. You have to take your natural hair color into account. Changing your hair from brown to dark brown might be a simple feat, but changing black hair to light brown might require a complex two-step process.
When using permanent hair color, first do an allergy test. Rub a small amount on your forearm and leave it there for 48 hours. If you have no irritation, it’s safe to proceed. Next, do a color test. Put a small amount of dye on a small section of your hair and wrap it in tin foil so that it doesn’t spread to the rest of your hair. Wait the recommended amount of time, then check out the color. If it’s what you want, you’re in business. If not, just trim out the section.
Wear a shirt that can take some abuse in the form of staining, and place an old towel around your neck. Smear some Vaseline around your scalp line to prevent the skin in that area from staining. If you do get dye on your skin, wash it off immediately. Apply dye to the darkest section of your hair first and leave the lightest sections for last. The shorter your hair, the less dye you will need. Wash the dye out as directed, and enjoy your new hair color.
Note: Always read hair dye instructions carefully and follow them to the letter. And, if all else fails, keep a good stylist’s number on speed dial.