Live Free Or Dye

by Natasha Wolff | November 20, 2015 12:00 pm

People will say it’s distinguished, people will say it’s stately. But unless you’re ready to show the world your gray hair, most guys won’t want to hear any of it. Luckily, some recent developments in covering gray for guys means it’s possible to adjust your salt-to-pepper ratio without anyone ever being the wiser.

In the past, some guys would go DIY with store-bought hair color, but why get your hands dirty? These days, top-shelf stylists can use brushes to comb through a semi-permanent color, which lasts about eight weeks and allows some of the gray to come through so it looks natural, not like you’ve dunked your head in shoe polish.

“We’re just reversing the gray a little, not covering it up all of the way,” says Rick Wellman, co-owner of the Patrick Melville Salon & Spa[1] in Manhattan. “We want your hair to look like it did five years ago.” And you don’t have to lose a whole Saturday in the salon either; the entire process takes a half hour.

As far as color goes, stylist Marc Mena[2] warns, “Don’t go too dark. Stay close to your natural color. Nothing’s worse than having black hair when your hair was brown.”

The cut matters too. Leave longish, unkempt silver locks to Julian Assange. Instead, try a cleaner style with the hair cropped to about a half-inch on the sides and back, and about two inches on top. The more gray you have, the shorter you should go on top, but don’t buzz it all off. “If you’re going to do that, you might as well leave it all silver,” Wellman says.

To care for your new color, use a blue-hued shampoo with chamomile, like Phyto Phytargent Shampoo[3], which will help lift out any yellow tints and make your hair look brighter. Gray hair also tends to be drier—as it loses pigment, it loses moisture—so pick up some conditioner and avoid styling products made with alcohol.

The smoke and mirrors can’t last forever, though. Once hair gets to be more than 75 percent gray, it’s time to stop dyeing it all together. “That’s when you need to do an Anderson Cooper,” Wellman says, “and embrace it.”

  1. Patrick Melville Salon & Spa:
  2. Marc Mena:
  3. Phyto Phytargent Shampoo:

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