Hair Color for Men

Man with colored hair
Photo: Depositphotos
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 acceptable for men to use? Is it acceptable to perm one's hair if one is a man? Should one go bald gracefully? Should one get a toupee? Should one get hair transplants? Should you just do a comb-over? The answer to this last question is NO! There are as many debates as there are questions.
And then there's hair color. With this subject (as with some others) there is 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 hair color 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 Hair Colors
There are lots of hair color 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 noticeable if it is gradual. These products work as promised and 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 cautious when using other hair color 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 hair color 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 hair colors, 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.
Mixing permanent hair color
Photo: Cottonbro/Pexels
Standard Hair Colors
More recently, many hair color manufacturers have begun producing and marketing hair color 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 save masculine pride.
Honestly speaking, the only real question you should ask yourself is "What am I looking to achieve from the hair color process?" The answer to this question will determine what product you will need.
Temporary Hair Color
Temporary hair color 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 Hair Colors
Semi-permanent and demi-permanent hair colors will last through 6-12 shampoos and are good choices for men who want to cover gray or try a darker hair color, but don't want to make a permanent commitment.
Permanent Deposit-only Hair Color
Permanent deposit-only hair color actually penetrates the hair and creates permanent color changes in the hair. This hair color 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 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.
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