In recent decades there have been countless debates surrounding the subject of men and hair: Should it be worn long or short?
Should men use styling products? What is okay for men to use? Is it okay to perm your hair if you're a man?
Should you go bald gracefully? Should you get a toupee? Should you get hair transplants? Should you just perform a
comb-over? (The answer to this last question is NO!) There are as many debates as there are questions.
And then there's haircolor. With this subject (as with some others)
there's not only the question of whether or not men should color their hair, but also the questions of what
is an acceptable reason to color and what they should use. For most men, the issue that brings up the topic of haircolor is covering gray.
Many men feel that gray hair makes them look older than they really are,
and they want to cover the gray to recapture that youthful look. But that begs the question, "What should I use?"
and it's that question that has many people stumped.
Metallic Dye Haircolors
There are lots of haircolor products on the market, many of which are formulated
to specifically "color" gray hair. These products typically use metallic dyes and work gradually over time as you keep
applying the product. The idea is that the change from gray to a darker color will be less noticed if it is gradual.
These products work as promised and many millions have used them and swear by them.
However, there are some things to consider before using these products.
Namely, that once you use metallic dyes, you must be very careful in using other haircolor products, or having
other chemical services. When you use these dyes, they deposit their metallic salts into the cortex of the hair
and these metallic salts act as catalysts for the breakdown of hydrogen peroxide, which is used to develop
standard haircolor formulas. The result is that the chemicals, when combined generate a great deal of heat
from the reaction and can lead to scalp burns and severe hair damage.
In addition, if you are a man who has used one of these metallic dye haircolors,
you must never get a waving or straightening process that uses ammonium thioglycolate (as almost all perms and non-lye
straighteners do) because the reaction of these two compounds can literally dissolve the hair.
More recently, many haircolor manufacturers have begun producing and marketing haircolor
formulas for men. Most of these new products are identical in formulation to the products marketed toward women. Only
the names have been changed to salve masculine pride.
Honestly speaking, the only real question you should ask yourself is "What am I looking to
achieve from the haircolor process?" The answer to this question will determine what product you will need:
Temporary Haircolor will last until your next shampoo, and is good for
men who want to see what they will look like without their gray hair. It will never lighten the hair.
Semi-permanent and Demi-permanent Haircolors will last through 6-12 shampoos
and are good choices for men who want to cover gray or try a darker haircolor, but don't want to make the permanent commitment.
Permanent Deposit-only Haircolor actually penetrates the hair and creates
permanent color changes in the hair. This haircolor must be grown out, or re-colored to get rid of it.
However, if you've tried a color in a temporary or semi-permanent formula and liked it well enough, you may want to
go with this option. Be prepared, though, to have your color retouched every 6 weeks or so. This will not lighten the hair.
Permanent Haircolor with Lift comes in different formulas depending on how
much your natural color needs to be lifted (or lightened) to reach the desired color. Use this type of haircolor if you want
lighter hair than your natural color (typically within 1-4 levels of your natural shade).
Hair Lightener is a separate product that is used to lighten dark hair
sufficiently to accept a much lighter shade (usually when the hair needs to be more than 3-4 levels lighter or more).
A man with medium brown hair who wants to have blonde hair will need to have his hair lightened using this product,
followed by application of the desired haircolor.