The 10 Best Hair Dyes for Men to Use at Home, According to Experts

So you’ve decided to dye your hair. Rock on! There is literally nothing like hair dye in its ability to transform your look. And we’re not just talking about David Bowie red (or Frank Ocean green or Maluma pink, for that matter). Dying your hair can camouflage grays if you’re not thrilled with being a silver fox, it can make dull hair look brighter, and, yes, it can completely change how you see yourself in the mirror if that’s what you’re hoping to achieve. It can give you a whole new lease on life and who doesn’t want that?

Before you ask, yes, men can dye their hair and plenty more do than you’d probably assume. There is no shame in dying your hair, it’s a personal choice after all, but there are some things to take into account. Like, are you going to go see a professional colorist or do it at home? Home hair dying can be daunting to the novice and the experienced dyer alike, but depending on the look you’re going for, can be just the ticket.

Before you check out the best hair dye for men to color their hair at home, here are a few men’s hair coloring tips to keep in mind.

What’s the Difference Between At-Home Hair Dye and Professional Salon Color?

The main difference between hair dye you use at home and what a colorist would use in a salon is that it’s specifically designed to be easy to use. That’s great news for DIYers out there. “You don’t have to think about it,” says Phoebe Nathan, a colorist at Blackstones in New York City. “You take the developer, you take the color, mix it, apply it, done. They’re developed to be one size fits all.” Unlike the thicker products used in a salon setting, at-home hair dye is thinner to allow it to spread easily with your hands without the need for other tools or brushes. Unless you’re a trained colorist, in which case why are you even reading this article, dying your hair at home requires at-home dye.

How to Choose a Hair Dye for the Color You Want

The first thing to consider when picking an at-home hair dye is, duh, what color you want your hair to be. Traditionally, when most guys considered dying their hair, it was to cover up grays and seamlessly blend in with their natural color, says Deb Rosenberg, lead colorist and AVP of Education at Color & Co. But now there is a big trend toward men becoming more experimental. “I’ve had more guys call up looking for vivid pastels,” she says as an example.

If you’re trying to dye your hair a candy color that’s one thing (and requires more steps), but the average guy wants a dye job that looks as natural as possible. To achieve that, Nathan recommends choosing a hair dye that’s only a shade or two darker than your natural hair or one shade lighter. Anything more drastic is difficult to achieve on your own. Picking a color that is too dark is going to leave your hair looking unnaturally “inky” and too light runs the risk of turning your hair orange, she says. When you’re doing your own dye, keep it simple.

How to Choose Between Permanent Hair Dye and Semi-Permanent Hair Dye

The other thing you need to consider is what kind of hair dye you want. Permanent hair dye will offer the most coverage but won’t ever wash out (it will fade after a few weeks of washing and to keep it vibrant, you’ll need a color-preserving shampoo). Semi-permanent or demi-permanent hair dyes will start fading almost immediately and will eventually wash out. It sounds like a waste of time, but these non-permanent dyes are ideal for gray blending—when you want to minimize grays but not cover them completely. “Gray blending looks the most believable,” says colorist George Papanikolas. He recommends using semi-permanent dye to “spot treat” areas like the temples where gray can cluster, instead of using a full-coverage dye on your whole head.

How to Apply Hair Dye at Home

Applying all at-home hair dye is basically the same process. Shampoo a few days before and don’t put in any styling products. Read the directions on the package and gather the tools you need beforehand (including a timer, brushes, etc.) in the bathroom so you’re not scrambling around while dye is on your hair. Some brands require mixing and others don’t and regardless of which you choose, use gloves when you apply the dye and apply a protective barrier, like Vaseline around your hairline and ears (to repel stains). Apply the dye to dry hair and let it sit for the amount of time advised in the instructions. Then rinse it out and use a color-preserving shampoo like R+Co Gemstone Color Shampoo to stop the process. If you have short hair, be ready to do that all again in about four weeks and to keep your color looking as fresh as possible, reduce the amount you shampoo and use that color-safe shampoo when you do.

But no matter what kind of hair dye you use at home, remember “it’s never going to 100% match your natural color because it’s a chemical reaction happening on your head,” notes Papnikolas. Manage your expectations from the beginning by understanding what your hair color goal is: simple gray coverage, a whole new head of pink hair, or somewhere in between. That will inform what kind of dye you choose.

So, what hair dye should you choose? These are the best hair dyes for men according to professional hair colorists, no matter what look you want. Live free and dye hard and remember, always follow the directions.

Best New Hair Dye Service for Men

Color & Co. by L’Oreal

colorandco.com

$25.00

Unlike traditional boxed hair dyes, this new service from L’Oreal sends you custom-blended color tailored to your specific hair and the results you’re hoping to achieve. The first step is a one-on-one video consultation with a professional colorist or a detailed quiz to take (if you don’t feel like having a conversation). There are several services specifically for men—from bold, trendy color to subtle gray coverage. The brand even offers a subscription service so “you have it at your fingertips whenever you’re ready to use it,” says Rosenberg. Anything to make those monthly touchup easier.

Best Budget Hair Dye

Just For Men Easy Comb-In Color

amazon.com

$8.99

$6.69 (26% off)

If you’re looking for men’s gray hair dye, your best option is this easily-applied, natural-looking colors. The wide variety of colors are premixed and come with a comb applicator, allowing you to target specific areas like the temples or hairline, without needing to dye your whole head. It’s also “buildable”,  which means that if you want more coverage, you can add more of this semi-permanent hair color to achieve the depth you want. Don’t take this down to your beard, but if you want beard coverage too, the brand offers a version specifically designed for facial hair

Best Hair Dye for Blending Gray Hair

Just For Men Touch Of Gray Hair Coloring for Men

amazon.com

$36.99

$23.16 (37% off)

Pick up this dye if you want some subtle gray coverage but not to get rid of it completely. “Touch of Gray is ammonia-free and has no peroxide, so it’s specifically meant to blend gray and is a pretty safe option to use if you’re afraid of going too dark,” says Nathan. Don’t expect a drastic change, but when it comes to grAy blending, that’s not the goal anyway.

Best Hair Dye for Black Men

SoftSheen-Carson Hair Color for Men

amazon.com

$6.49

$4.76 (27% off)

Most hair dye these days works well on a variety of hair textures and colors, but for black men with highly textured, dark hair who want full coverage, this variety fits the bill perfectly since coarse hair can be resistant to dye. It covers gray quickly and gets it back to a very dark, shiny hue. The formula moisturizes as well as dyes and won’t leave already dryness-prone hair feeling crispy. A word of caution: like all dark dyes, it can stain skin easily, so always prep and protect skin beforehand. 

Best Hair Dye Foam

True Sons Hair Dye

truesons.com

$50.00

This innovative foam dye is perfect for guys who’ve never dyed their hair before and are a little nervous about the process. This semi-permanent dye takes all the guesswork out of covering grays. It comes out of the can like a shaving cream and wipes up easily if you get it on your skin (and won’t stain it). Best of all, it’s one of the few out there that you can use on your head, beard, and body to cover up grays. There is even a subscription service so you don’t have to worry about running out. Oh, and not to mention, it won a Men’s Health Grooming Award in 2019.

Best Hair Bleaching Kit

Manic Panic Flash Lightning Hair Bleach Kit

amazon.com

$13.99

“Bleaching is not easy,” says Nathan, especially the longer your hair is. To make it as simple as possible, use a hair bleaching kit like this, which has all the tools you need to lighten your hair effectively. It’s specifically designed for at-home use and is ideal for beginners who need a little more hand holding. Use it by itself for a bleached hair look or as a first step to a bold, trendy color (just wait a few weeks for hair to recover before going back in). 

Best Semi-Permanent Hair Coloring Gel

Christophe Robin Temporary Color Gel

sephora.com

$35.00

This gentle semi-permanent color gel is packed full of natural ingredients that help promote hair health, so it’s best suited for those with a sensitive scalp or with hair thinning issues. You won’t get a bold cover job with this hair gel. Instead, it subtly blends in with your natural hair color to camouflage grays without completely covering them up. The best thing about it is that it comes premixed, so there’s not messy mixing and the application process is smooth.

Best-Seller on Amazon

Clairol Natural Instincts Semi-Permanent Hair Dye Kit for Men

amazon.com

$23.97

$17.64 (26% off)

Subtlety is the name of the game with this box hair dye, which is ideal for men who want a bit more gray coverage but not cover it up completely. It mostly comes in darker shades, since the absence of ammonia means it won’t lighten hair, but is still gentle enough to not completely fry or damage thinner hair.

Best for Hair Color Experimenting

Good Dye Young Semi-Permanent Hair Color

sephora.com

$18.00

If you’re up for a little experimentation, Good Dye Young is one of the easiest ways to try a litle rock start glitz. The brand specializes in “unnatural” hues like pink, blue, and green and the formula requires no mixing or color theory. These types of colors always look brightest on hair that is bleached first, but these dyes are rich so you can still get some tint if you don’t. The colors are vegan and semi-permanent, so only last about six weeks without regular touchups.

Best Semi-Permanent Hair Coloring Conditioner

Overtone Coloring Conditioner

overtone.co

$18.00

Ideal for hair dye beginners and commitment-phobes alike, these semi-permanent hair coloring conditioners come pre-mixed in almost every color you can think of from natural browns to bright neons. Application is easy: apply to dry hair for 10-15 minutes and then rinse out. The process feels more like applying a hair mask than dye and is less likely to leave your hair dry and crispy feeling. Keep in mind that the bright colors are only super-saturated on bleached hair, but can still give a subtle sheen of purple or blue. For a more natural look, choose the color closest to your natural hue.

Garrett Munce writes about men’s style and grooming.

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