4 Tips to Cover His Gray—In a Guy-Friendly Way
Shoe polish black? Brassy “blorange?” Men’s haircolor can go so, so wrong. Here are four ways to make it right.
1. 10 Minutes, 10-volume, 10 Years younger
“Guys don’t want to walk in as Anderson Cooper and walk out looking like Elvis,” declares Sam Burns, Paul Mitchell Master Associate. “So we’ve developed a service called Flashback. We simply add a little pepper to the salt with a low-volume developer at the bowl in 10 minutes. Mix ¼ oz. color and ¼ oz. developer and use a cool or ash tone—all men’s gray blending should be kept cool. For the most natural appearance, start ½-inch from the hairline. Apply color in diagonal back sections, or stipple it on with an angled tint brush. Sides first, then the back, then ‘boy-layage- the top. Process for 10 minutes, and that’s it.”
2. Buff it Out
“I always maintain a little bit of gray,” says Hollywood Hair Guy, Dean Banowetz (American Idol, X Factor, Dancing with the Stars, Shark Tank). “I apply the color with a paintbrush or a makeup brush, blending as much as possible. I’ll start at the right temple, do five or six strokes, then move to the left temple. If he’s gray on top, I’ll do a few strokes in the fringe area and work up the top. Five minutes after the color is applied, I mist a piece of facial tissue with water and buff the color out in order to blend out the hard lines and prevent solid saturation. And I often reduce the processing time to prevent the color from appearing too dark.”
3. Go Low
When transitioning gray in male clients, Matrix Artist Michael Albor is all about lowlights—and lots of them! “If you apply several tones throughout gray hair, you’re less likely to see brass,” notes Michael. “In areas where the gray is particularly heavy, I’ll apply several deeper tones.” If the hair is too short for foils, Michael uses a cap and tiny crochet needles to create fine, wispy sections for a natural look. One of his favorite lowlight formulas is Logics Imprints Full ½ 4V + ¼ 4N + ¼ G. “People shy away from putting gold in their lowlighting formulas for men, but I find that this formula creates a nice, deep color. And actually, it’s when the color is too light that you start seeing unwanted warmth,” he explains.
4. Cheat with Tonic
Despite your best efforts, not every guy is going to be open to haircolor. In these instances, says Keralea Pratt for Clubman, you can camouflage the gray by applying an oil-free tonic like Clubman Pinaud, which also helps stimulate the scalp and prevent dryness.
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