Best product for darkening very short male hair?
August 6, 2013 8:38 PM   Subscribe

I've been cutting my hair very short, and discovered that while I didn't mind my graying hair when it was a normal length, it is much grayer-looking when cut this close and does not look good in combination with my untanned white scalp. Can someone point out good hair color products for white guys with extremely short hair?

When I kept my hair at a "normal" length (for a man of my age, 50), I didn't care about the gray at all. I recently started cutting it extremely short all over -- somewhere between 1/8-1/4 inch -- because it's simply gotten too thin and it looks stupid any other way. I like it this short, but one aspect is bothering me: the hair color is much lighter and grayer when I cut my hair this short, and in combination with my white, basically untanned scalp, it gives my head an unpleasantly pale, almost sickly pallor. (Even my wife remarked on it, which is highly unusual for her.) I'd like to find something that would darken the gray hairs just a little bit. Can anyone point me to products that have worked well for them? My hair was straight and was brown when I was younger, in case that makes a difference in the choice of products.

I realize this is a stupid vanity, and that hair coloring for almost never looks good on men, but I think in this case, with careful use, it might actually improve things. I'd at least like to give it a try.
posted by Another Sock Puppet to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Any hair dye will do. What you need to do is A. Go lighter than your normal color so it doesn't look fake, and B. apply the dye with a bristle brush instead if your fingers so you don't dye your scalp too much. (Most of it will rinse off if it happens, though). If you're nervous about it, get a semipermanent color, which fades over a month and is low commitment if you don't like it. Natural Instincts and Healthy Look are two I like.
posted by elizeh at 8:46 PM on August 6, 2013 [1 favorite]

With hair that short, any dye is semipermanent. That's one issue: you'll be doing it pretty often. On the upside, though-- it's unlikely anyone will notice your roots.

Agree that you probably shouldn't go as dark as your hair used to be.
posted by supercres at 8:50 PM on August 6, 2013

This is a tricky application, you want to avoid getting it on your scalp. I would paint the hair color on the face of a hand mirror spread out very evenly then just roll it on the ends with a rocking motion without pressing to the scalp. pro tip use leftover color to loosen stains, don't wash your hair before color day , oily scalp is your friend. Second thought perhaps sponge it on carefully.
posted by hortense at 10:16 PM on August 6, 2013

I started using L'Oreal Excellence Creme to lighten my boring brown hair. A couple of years ago I got curious and I let the roots grow out a bit so I could determine my natural color. OMG - Hello, Grandma! In other words, L'Oreal does an excellent* job covering gray.

(One of these days I'm going to post an AskMe re how to gracefully transition my chin length bob to my natural "silver" color.)

*So, that's where they got the name.
posted by she's not there at 11:14 PM on August 6, 2013

If I were you I'd give a coloring rinse like John Frieda's color glaze a shot before bothering with dye.
posted by thirdletter at 4:58 AM on August 7, 2013

I like L'Oreal dye. But I've been doing my own since I was 16.

I'd recommend going to a pro for color. Check out something like the Aveda Institute or Paul Mitchell, they're schools, so they're cheap. Let a student do your color.

Box dye is pretty easy to use, do be careful, it stains like a MoFo.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 7:35 AM on August 7, 2013

One of my male friends has fairly short hair and uses Just for Men. It seems to work well and doesn't look too fakey. I would also say Natural Instincts since its semi-permanent. A stylist recommended it to me. She said it fades as your hair grows and you don't get a distinct line of demarkation. Also I've been told that as you age you should go lighter.
posted by PJMoore at 1:19 PM on August 7, 2013

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