Coloring your hair can help you redefine yourself. Whether you’d like to cover up a few gray strands or shake things up with a bold new hue, choosing the right men’s hair color for yourself is key to crafting your perfect look.

Since every man is different, it’s not as simple as just slapping on some boxed hair dye from your local convenience store (believe us, you deserve better anyway). Here at 18/8 4s Ranch, we want to make sure that you have all the information you need to make the best decision for yourself. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of the top 10 things you need to know – before and after you get your hair dyed – to get the results you’re looking for.

1. Permanent Men’s Hair Color

mens hair color how does permanent hair dye work

Permanent hair color is probably the most commonly sought after hair coloring service, and what you’ll find at most salons.

Q: How does permanent hair coloring work?
A: Every piece of your hair has a protective outer layer called the “cuticle,” which covers the inner parts of your hair where the pigment is located. In order to change the color of your hair, you have to get past the cuticle and manipulate that inner layer that has the pigment.

Hair color treatments start by using ammonia to raise the pH level.  This “relaxes” the cuticle, lifting it up to allow access to the inner layers of your hair. Next comes peroxide, which breaks down your natural color pigment in the inner layers and makes room for the new color pigment to enter.  After the color is applied, it’s locked in with a thorough rinse of water.

Q:  Can a guy use permanent women’s hair color?
A:  Yes. There’s no difference between women’s and men’s hair color, at least not in the chemicals used. The basic contents and composition of both colors remain the same – they really differ only in color shades, although women might have more variety.

Q: How much does it cost to color your hair permanently?
A: It depends on the salon, service, and stylist. 18/8, for example, offers a wide variety of different coloring options from Beard Coloring to our Full-Color Package.  If you’re shying away from professional coloring because of the price, keep this in mind: even though it’s an expense to pay for a quality stylist, it’s going to cost you less than getting a terrible dye job that you’ll have to live with or pay even more to fix.

2. Temporary Men’s Hair Color

Temporary hair color can be a good choice for those looking to just try something new without a huge commitment.

Q: How does temporary hair coloring work?
A: Temporary hair coloring is a much simpler process since it’s only meant to last for a very short time. Instead of using ammonia to lift the cuticle and color the inside of your hair, temporary hair color actually sticks to the cuticle instead.

Q: What’s the difference Between Temporary vs Permanent dye?
A: Since temporary colors don’t contain bleach, they can’t lighten your natural shade. They also fade with water, shampooing, exposure to air, and time. Permanent dyes have a wider range of colors, and these color shades are often more natural-looking. However, permanent dyes can cause more damage to your hair.

Q: Can’t I just use something like Just for Men’s hair color instead of a salon? Isn’t it faster?
A: While “one-size-fits-all” at-home treatments like Just for Men may do the job quickly, a professional will always produce the best and more natural results. A professional stylist will be able to mix a personalized color formula to ensure a natural-looking result.

3. Know Your Color

men's hair color what hair color is right for my skin tone

This is the fun part!

The best way to go about choosing a hair color is to consider what fits your overall style. Skin tone and coloring are clues, but a good colorist can help you pull off a variety of shades.

Q: What hair colors are best for pale skin?
A: This can change with the seasons and current trends. Usually, golden blonde and cool blonde are good options if you have fair skin.

Q: What hair colors look good on dark skin?
A: It all depends on undertones – but generally ashy, cool brown, chestnut, and chocolate tones work well on darker skin.

Q: How often will I need to go in for maintenance or a “touch up”?
A: Caring for dyed hair is a higher maintenance lifestyle. Once you’ve reached your desired color, you will need to come in for touch-ups every 5-10 weeks depending on the contrast in your natural color versus your newer color. You will also need to invest in products to keep your color from fading.

Q: Can I go from dark hair to blonde or white in one coloring?
A: You could, but it’s highly discouraged. At best, you’ll end up with a brassy color, and at worst, major breakage. If you’re going from brunette to blonde, for example, you will need several appointments for full highlights about every 4-6 weeks, until your desired color is achieved. When going lighter you also might have to have an “in-between” color for a while.

4. Men’s Hair Color Trends and Ideas

men's hair color dying full head blonde

Q: Should I get highlights (or lowlights)?
A: Highlights and lowlights can be great, especially if you’re just starting out with coloring. They’re the easiest men’s hair color treatment to maintain and they can add depth and dimension to hair that might otherwise look flat.

Q: What kind of highlights should I get?
A: If you have dark brown hair, you don’t want to go lighter than a light brown. It’ll look artificial. Also, consider regrowth: if your natural color is dark brown, and you go for platinum blonde highlights, then you’ll start to see regrowth in approximately one week. Guys with light brown and dark blond hair have more flexibility with tone options. You can go much lighter than one shade because the contrast won’t be as high.

If you want to learn about the right highlights for you, you can read more in Highlights for Men: Tips for Pulling Them Off.

Q: Can I just go with all over hair color?
A: Absolutely! If you’re ready to really shake things up, then take the leap by choosing to dye the whole thing with a new color. Keep in mind, though, that if you have darker hair you’ll need several appointments to lighten and color your whole head without causing damage.

Q: I want more than highlights, but I’m not ready for a complete coloring. Is there anything in between?
A: If you’re rocking a hairstyle like an undercut or fauxhawk, you can choose to dye a single section. Or It’s more obvious than highlights, but not as much of a commitment of a full dye-job.

5. Senior Men’s Hair Color

men's hair color men's grey hair color

Many of the clients who come to our salon for men’s hair color treatments are looking to cover or more subtly blend their grey hairs. Understandably, they want the most natural, “real” look they can get.

Q: How do I get a men’s gray hair color treatment that looks natural?
A: To get back your old color, first choose a color closest to your original shade. Then (this is the important part) you’ll want to progressively blend it in to get the most authentic and unnoticeable look. A gentle blend is the most natural way to transition out of gray hair and back into your old color.

Q: What if I want to embrace my gray hairs?
A: Go for it! With our customized gray blending services, expert stylists at 18/8 4S Ranch can help you embrace your years without showing them. While you can choose to leave your grays untouched, remember that you’ll still need to manage upkeep with touch-ups and the right products.

6. Pre- Appointment Necessities

Q: Should I wash my hair before color treatment?
A: No! For three or four days before your appointment, you should stay out of the shower (well, your head should). This allows natural oils to build up on the hair and scalp, which serves as a natural barrier against chemicals used during the bleaching and dyeing processes.

Q: Should I style my hair before getting it colored?
A: Don’t style or use product on your hair. You can tell your stylist how you wear it while you’re in the chair.

Q: I don’t know what hair color I want for sure. Do I need to decide before I come?
A: Nope, your stylist can definitely help you figure out the right color for you. Bring mobile or magazine pictures of the color you want to the salon with you. Find reference images of the hair color that you like and bring them in for your initial consultation with your colorist. Bringing references not only allows your stylist to get a better idea of what you want but will help them give you recommendations if you’re not sure.

7. Communicating with Your Hair Stylist

men's hair color how long does hair color last

When you arrive for your consultation with a colorist, make sure to get the answers to any questions you have. Start here if you’re not sure what to ask.

Q: What is the best hair color for me?
A: Cooler tones may be flattering and fadeless between appointments for some men, it’s truly different for everyone. As mentioned above, it depends on your skin tone, current hair color, and undertones.

Q: How long does hair color last?
A: Depends on hair growth- usually, hair grows a ½ inch every month but varies by person. The more opaque your coverage is, the sooner you’ll need to retouch, and the more blended it is the longer you’ll be able to push it. Permanent men’s hair color needs retouching every four to six weeks on the new hair growth – your stylist will be able to give you more personalized estimates.

Q: Can the hair color cause irritation for my scalp?
A: Everyone’s skin reacts differently to different chemicals and products. If you are aware of a certain skin condition or sensitivity, be sure to let your stylist know beforehand! Letting your stylist know prior to color application will ensure that they use products that are safest for you. Asking your stylist for a patch test before completely going into the process is the best bet if you don’t have any known sensitivity.

For more tips on how to communicate with your stylist or barber click here.

8. Timing your appointments

Q: Once I’ve colored it, how often should I retouch my hair?
A: Consult with your stylist. The frequency of your return-visits will depend on how much and what kind of hair you dyed. For example, if you covered up grey hair make sure to note that it will grow back faster than dark hair. You might have to come in more often to keep them covered up.

9. Protect Your color

men's hair color how to protect hair color in pool

Q: How can I make my hair color last longer?
A: One of the best things you can do is use a shampoo and conditioner made for color-treated hair. You’ll want to switch to a system containing a shampoo, conditioner, and hair mask formulated for colored hair.

Q: Can I swim with color-treated hair?
A: Yes, but it’s a good idea to take some preventative measures:

  • Wet your hair with clean water before you get in the pool. This allows your hair to absorb less chlorine, or saltwater if you’re swimming in the ocean. Rinse again after you’re done swimming.
  • Try coating your hair in coconut oil or olive oil before jumping in the pool. It’ll make a barrier between the water and your hair.
  • Make sure to use a deep conditioner on the ends afterward to protect from the sun or extra damage.

Q: Do I need to protect my colored hair from the sun?
A: Just as it can damage your skin, the sun can also damage hair and scalp. Try to avoid exposing your hair to direct sunlight as much as possible as it may bleach your hair. A nice cap can help, or you can use a leave-in conditioner with SPF. Look for hair products that contain UVA and UVB filters to protect it from the chlorine and the sun. Check out Silkhaar’s article for more tips on how to Protect Your Hair From The Summer Sun.

10. Maintenance

What you do after getting your hair colored – especially right after – is just as important as the coloring itself to ensure you’ll get the best end result.

Q: Should I wash my hair after coloring it?
A: You need to give your color a chance to set, so wait at least 24 hours to wash your hair after your color service. That’s the minimum; the longer you can go, the better. Washing too soon can totally drain the dye and ruin the carefully-done coloring.

Q: How and how often should I wash my colored hair?
A: As little as possible. Not only are the oils from your scalp incredibly helpful to keeping your hair healthy, but they’ll also hold onto your color for longer. When you do wash your hair, only use lukewarm water. Scalding hot water will only cause hair color to fade prematurely. Finish off your shower with a cold rinse to seal the hair ends.

Q: How often should I do a scalp treatment or hair mask? Do I need to?
A: While it’s not necessary, both can be very helpful in maintaining your color and overall hair quality. Four to six weeks is a good general timeframe. Sometimes it can be a good idea to do them before a touch-up – ask your stylist for personalized recommendations.

Leave It To The Styling Experts At 18|8 San Diego!

While temporary coloring is simple and can be done easily at home, if you’re thinking about getting permanent color in your hair or need some gray blending, just book your appointment here at 18|8 Fine Men’s Salon of San Diego. To book your men’s haircut or men’s hair color appointment, give us a call at (858) 914-5418 or use our online booking form!