Silver Fox: Guide to Better Gray(ing) Hair for Men

by Paul Labrecque 

How should a guy who is graying decide whether to dye his hair? 

Ever since I started working on hair, graying has been a dilemma for a lot of my male clients. One big reason for this is that hair dye can have very synthetic results on guys, sometimes bringing a lot of warmth to their face, and this results in a look that can seem a bit off. This can become even worse when a man uses progressive colors like those found in Just For Men products. These types of items, that shadow any greys, create a weird yellow hue, rather than totally covering the strand.

Obviously in many professions it is essential to keep looking young to maintain a profitable career. There’s a lot of pressure on guys to keep up the appearance of youth.

I also have men come to me and say whatever you do, don’t make my hair the color of Donald Trump’s! Once a good looking young man with brown hair, yellow makes a man look like a Scandinavian wannabe gone wrong!

What's the best way to deal with graying hair but still look natural?

Here is my secret, I talk my male clients into reducing their greys.  This is easy when there is just a sprinkling of grey strands. I dip my cutting comb in the same level of tint as their natural color and merely comb over the sprinkles, and whenever men with more greys want to appear more youthful, I do this with lowlights to add depth.

I so recommend letting some greys stay -- wiping them away never takes off more than five years of age, and I would never cover greys at the temples. Men grow hair quickly and having sideburn roots is not attractive on anyone.

I like to keep some greys in so that the man looks like he’s just starting to turn. One of the most difficult things for me to correct is when a guy comes in with color that’s gone wrong.

Are you seeing many of your male clients embrace their gray hair?

Yes! I encourage this and often remind them of celebrities like Anderson Cooper and George Clooney to reinforce how hot this can be.

What are haircuts or styles that work well with gray hair?

I think if you’re really white a super short cut like the one Anderson Cooper wears looks great, but if you are very salty with a little pepper I think it looks really hot to wear your hair like Richard Branson. For clients of other ethnicities, I like Morgan Freeman’s look — I adore super curly hair that has turned grey. And I also like to show pics of Jon Stewart and George Clooney.

How should a guy change his hair care routine if he's graying?

Make sure you see your stylist for routine trims to keep your ends fresh and remove any yellows. I encourage facial hair, it complements the look and is stylish.

Either a silver shampoo or conditioner other should be used weekly not daily. If overused, these products can start to make you look like you have powder blue hair. I show my clients how a shampoo like the Phyto Targent can help you keep your greys yellow-free since if it has a formula to reinforce the whitening of the hair with repeated use.

Never underestimate the power of a good pomade, too! I suggest my Paul Labrecque Daily Finish help separate the greys and add some nice weight and texture to your style.


Behind the Chair: With Celebrity Hairstylist Paul Labrecque

A true hair visionary and entrepreneur, Paul Labrecque believes simplicity is the key to natural beauty. Renowned for clean, modern cuts, custom-blended color and a fashion-forward sense of style, Paul takes effortless beauty to the next level with a “less is more” approach to daily hair care and styling.

Paul’s life-long passion for hair combined with his creativity and engaging personality has earned him a loyal following, a couple of highly successful Manhattan salons and day spas, a location in Palm Beach and in Philadelphia, an ever-expanding, award-winning premium hair care collection and a thriving retail business.  He also boasts one of the most respected and comprehensive training institutes for up-and-coming stylists in New York City.  Paul’s motivation stems from a hands-on approach to all aspects of his business, but receives his greatest inspiration from teaching, nurturing and preparing his up-and-coming assistants for their careers in beauty.

Visit www.paullabrecque.com