Before you ask, yes, men can dye their hair and plenty more do than you’d probably assume. There is no shame in dying your hair, it’s a personal choice after all, but there are some things to take into account. Like, are you going to go see a professional colorist or do it at home? Home hair dying can be daunting to the novice and the experienced dyer alike, but depending on the look you’re going for, can be just the ticket.
How to Choose a Hair Dye for the Color You Want
The first thing to consider when picking an at-home hair dye is, duh, what color you want your hair to be. Traditionally, when most guys considered dying their hair, it was to cover up grays and seamlessly blend in with their natural color, says Deb Rosenberg, lead colorist and AVP of Education at Color & Co. But now there is a big trend toward men becoming more experimental. “I’ve had more guys call up looking for vivid pastels,” she says as an example.
If you’re trying to dye your hair a candy color that’s one thing (and requires more steps), but the average guy wants a dye job that looks as natural as possible. To achieve that, Nathan recommends choosing a hair dye that’s only a shade or two darker than your natural hair or one shade lighter. Anything more drastic is difficult to achieve on your own. Picking a color that is too dark is going to leave your hair looking unnaturally “inky” and too light runs the risk of turning your hair orange, she says. When you’re doing your own dye, keep it simple.
How to Choose Between Permanent Hair Dye and Semi-Permanent Hair Dye
The other thing you need to consider is what kind of hair dye you want. Permanent hair dye will offer the most coverage but won’t ever wash out (it will fade after a few weeks of washing and to keep it vibrant, you’ll need a color-preserving shampoo). Semi-permanent or demi-permanent hair dyes will start fading almost immediately and will eventually wash out. It sounds like a waste of time, but these non-permanent dyes are ideal for gray blending—when you want to minimize grays but not cover them completely. “Gray blending looks the most believable,” says colorist George Papanikolas. He recommends using semi-permanent dye to “spot treat” areas like the temples where gray can cluster, instead of using a full-coverage dye on your whole head.
How to Apply Hair Dye at Home
Applying all at-home hair dye is basically the same process. Shampoo a few days before and don’t put in any styling products. Read the directions on the package and gather the tools you need beforehand (including a timer, brushes, etc.) in the bathroom so you’re not scrambling around while dye is on your hair. Some brands require mixing and others don’t and regardless of which you choose, use gloves when you apply the dye and apply a protective barrier, like Vaseline around your hairline and ears (to repel stains). Apply the dye to dry hair and let it sit for the amount of time advised in the instructions. Then rinse it out and use a color-preserving shampoo like R+Co Gemstone Color Shampoo to stop the process. If you have short hair, be ready to do that all again in about four weeks and to keep your color looking as fresh as possible, reduce the amount you shampoo and use that color-safe shampoo when you do.
But no matter what kind of hair dye you use at home, remember “it’s never going to 100% match your natural color because it’s a chemical reaction happening on your head,” notes Papnikolas. Manage your expectations from the beginning by understanding what your hair color goal is: simple gray coverage, a whole new head of pink hair, or somewhere in between. That will inform what kind of dye you choose.
So, what hair dye should you choose? These are the best hair dyes for men according to professional hair colorists, no matter what look you want. Live free and dye hard and remember, always follow the directions.
Color & Co. by L’Oreal
Just For Men Easy Comb-In Color
Just For Men Touch Of Gray Hair Coloring for Men
SoftSheen-Carson Hair Color for Men
True Sons Hair Dye
Manic Panic Flash Lightning Hair Bleach Kit
Christophe Robin Temporary Color Gel
Clairol Natural Instincts Semi-Permanent Hair Dye Kit for Men
Good Dye Young Semi-Permanent Hair Color
Overtone Coloring Conditioner
This article written by Garrett Munce for Men’sHealth contains descriptions of each product and where to buy it. Just be careful. Very, very careful !