The Guide To Men’s Hair Dye
It’s getting a bit salt and peppery up top, isn’t it? There’s nothing wrong with rocking that look, but it’s not everybody’s forte. Don’t worry; you can dye without damaging or ruining your hair. Men’s hair dye has come a long way in the last few years alone, and now, there are more all-natural hair products and non-invasive methods to get thick, rich and full color restored to your hair.
So what do you need to know? Well, first and foremost, you need to know if it’s permanent or semi-permanent.
This is something that will be right on the bottle or package, so it’s fairly easy to spot, but the differences aren’t exactly easy to discern without a keen eye.
The Differences Between Permanent And Semi-Permanent Hair Dye
With semi-permanent hair dye, it’s a simple and mostly non-invasive process. You have two different layers of your hair, the outermost layer, which is where you see the change of color, and the innermost layer where actual change takes place.
The outmost layer is where semi-permanent hair dye sticks. This is why you’ll often see “Washes out in 6-8 weeks,” or similarly timed messages about fading/lack of luster. It’s not going to stick around in that layer of your hair forever.
With permanent hair dye, it penetrates the layers of your hair and actually changes everything about it. This is why you’ll see chemicals included that strip away the exterior layer of your hair (slightly), and recolors what’s underneath.
In actuality, it only “strips” your hair because of the harsh reaction, but it doesn’t burn away hair with chemicals like many people think. It’s the process of opening up your hair shafts, and allowing the dye to seep deeper in.
Colors Are Magnified
If you’ve ever looked at the model on the package for men’s hair dye and thought, “There’s just no way,” then you’re not alone. Those colors are magnified, they’re not the exact same thing that you’re going to get out of the bottle, and that’s okay. You just need to know how to decipher what’s true and what isn’t. It’s not the way it should be, but just about every brand does it.
Even if it’s not intentional, a lot of packaging has to go through a photography department at a brand, where they enhance photos and make them the most appealing that they can be for public consumption. Just understand that when you buy hair coloring, it’s not going to 100% reflect the packaging.
Hair Color Affects Your Skin’s Appearance
Common rules of fashion, male or female, tell you to stay away from colors that blend with your underlying skin tone. If you’re pale with a lot of redness under your skin, stick to darker colors. The same goes for your hair. If you have unnecessarily bright hair from a drastic change (going from darkish to platinum blonde, for example), it’s not going to meld well with your current style.
Your hair color is woven into your DNA. While your DNA isn’t there to make you look flawless and perfect, it presets you with a hair color that generally goes with your skin tone. People can detect when you’re wearing something out of a bottle. If you’re going for an unnatural color, such as blue or pink, then that’s to be expected. If you simply want to cover up grays or bring a bit of youth back to your hair, there’s a proper way to do that as well.
The rules of thumb go as follows:
- Bright Washes Out Red: Brighter colors bring out red undertones in your skin. It can make you look enflamed; stick with something neutral or subtle. It also won’t cover up grays or whites very well.
- Don’t Whitewash: Graying? Most of us do eventually, but taking a jet black dye and covering up those grays and whites isn’t the best option. You want something that looks natural. Find a dye that isn’t quite so stark, otherwise, it could end up looking unnatural.
- Plan Fading: If you’re using semi-permanent dye, you have to plan ahead for how the color will wash out. Most dyes have a 6-8 week wash-out phase, while others can last for as long a 10-12. Plan ahead so your coloration won’t suffer and revert back to gray, but so you’ll still rock the fading look as it happens.
Ammonia Is Deemed Harmful By Nearly All Haircare Professionals
Ammonia is the chemical in permanent hair dye that strips your hair and causes major damage. The funny thing is, with current advancements, it’s totally unnecessary to continue including it in hair dye. Natural ingredients are available that are about 85-90% as effective, and don’t damage your hair or make it brittle in the future.
It’s hard to avoid, though. Ammonia is in just about all permanent hair dye, which is why we recommend biting the bullet and going for an all-natural hair dye (more expensive) or sticking to ammonia-free semi-permanent hair dye. Semi-permanent dye usually comes with two or three applications in a single purchase, so as long as you don’t have excessively long hair that will require more dye, one pack can usually last you for three to six months depending on your usage schedule.
Hair Dye Works Better When You’re Hydrated
It’s one of those weird little peccadilloes of using hair dye, but you’re supposed to be hydrated before you use it. If you drink more water and hydrate your body, your hair will get some of those benefits, but that’s after five to seven days or so.
Instead, you can use a leave-in conditioner or a hydration mask on your hair a couple of days before you dye it. This should lock in the moisture and allow the dye to travel throughout each individual hair, so you can trap the new coloring with ease.
Even if you are hydrating, your hair can suffer major damage if you’re shampooing every day. Shampoo is good to clean your hair and keep the scalp nice and tidy, but it pulls the natural oils from your hair, which are what lock-in that hydration. Your hair itself is just dead tissue with the only alive portion being the follicle, so you can’t just allow it to repair itself like you would with your skin, for example. You have to hydrate it and use shampoo sparingly.
The same goes for cleaning and maintaining your dyed hair. When you use shampoo, it’s going to pull more coloration out of dry hair than it will out of hydrated hair.
A Quick Recap
Try to stay away from ammonia, hydrate before dyeing your hair, and choose a color/shade that will compliment your natural skin tones. Hair dye can be permanent or semi-permanent, and each come with their own benefits. Be sure to check out our buying guide on hair color for men to find your best match, and upgrade your look.