Hit the bottle: Men’s hair coloring

Posted on April 15th, 2010 by Gina

Dear Men:  First of all, we know you are almost as obsessed with your hair as we are with ours.  This is not a secret.  Second of all, just like bald can be beautiful, we think gray can also be hot (case in point: Anderson Cooper, Victor Garber, Red Sox pitcher Tim Wakefield).  We’ll even say ‘distinguished’ if you’d prefer.

However, if you must color your hair, please get professional help, advice at least, if not full service coloring. A bad dye job is not hot (see: Donald Trump, Rod Blagojevich, a younger Ted Koppel).

Thank you, The Women

As much as we talk about equality between the sexes, sometimes things are and should remain separate and unequal. Like coloring one’s hair. There’s a big difference between women covering their gray and men doing it. And guys, unless you’re in the 16-21 age demographic or Adam Lambert, you can’t just go grab a box of Garnier Nutrisse off the shelf of the local pharmacy and think it’s going to turn out OK.

According to Esquire and my own hairdresser, more men are coloring their hair these days and even more ask about it but aren’t ready to take the plunge.  The trick is doing it right, and that means blending natural color into the gray.  About.com’s men’s hair expert Dave Alexander and my hairdresser Tara both mention Redken Men Color Camo, and Esquire also suggests Clairol Natural Instincts for Men if you do want to try this at home.  The Redken Color Camo is a salon process that adds about 10 minutes and $20 or more to your cut and takes years off your appearance. The color comes out blended and even, and fades as your hair grows out. Clairol is for beards and mustaches as well as the hair on your head, and is designed to color about 50% of the gray.

If you’re going to risk the DIY, Esquire had some good advice.  Don’t go more than a couple shades away from your normal hair color.  “Too dark looks like shoe polish (Wayne Newton); too light and your hair will look gold (Donald Trump).”  And on highlights?  “Unless you’re leading an aerobics class in 1987, don’t.”

Salons are seeing more men who want to reduce the gray area, but the guys in our local barbershops say their clients aren’t asking for that service. Those guys want a shave and a haircut and the barber’s thoughts on the Red Sox starting rotation.

And if you don’t have a stylist? Talk to the women in your life and find out who they entrust their hair to. We’ve been hitting the bottle for years and would recommend our hairdressers in a heartbeat. Odds are your female friends and family would too.

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