Q: I recently had all my hair buzzed off (for a cancer research fund raiser at local school. I actually challenged the kids to raise
over $1,000 and they did it!) It is now about 1/2 inch long, but coming in very grey. I would like to put some color on it. How do I
go about coloring such short hair without also coloring my skin?
A: Congratulations on your committment to helping fund cancer research and for inspiring your kids to participate. There aren’t that
many women with the courage to do what you have done. That being said, let’s look at the problem of coloring the hair with a minimum of risk of staining.
Well, the best method is to enlist the help of a friend and go with the brush and bowl method
rather than the applicator bottle. You simply brush the hair with the color much the same as if you were painting. You still may get
some color on the scalp (you do want to color the hair all the way down, after all) but the brush will give you more control than using an applicator bottle.
Even if you do get some color on the skin, it will usually wash away (if you’re using permanent
color) in a day or two. If you use demi-permanent color, it may not stain at all or will be gone with the second shampooing. If you
do have a problem with staining in patently visible places, there is a product you can get to remove haircolor stains from skin and
clothing. Just ask a clerk at your local beauty supply for it. There are several different products by different manufacturer’s that
all work basically the same way. The one that is available in your area will depend on regional marketing.
The big factor here is going to be enlisting the help of a friend. Standing behind a person’s
head allows for much better control of what you are doing than working on your own head.
You may also discover that your gray hair is less receptive to the haircolor than your
naturally-pigmented hair. You should also look for an additive available at your local beauty supply called “Gray Magic”.
This generally makes haircolor penetrate better into gray hair (which is typically possessed of a more compact cuticle layer
which makes it resistant to color and other chemical services.)