Men, women and hair coloring

Why is it okay for women to color their hair but not men? I base this on some other threads but also advertising.

Look at the ads directed at women; it’s how coloring your hair actually improves the health of your hair (a dubious claim at best). However; for men it’s the song and dance of; she’ll never know or it’s so natural, they’ll think you lost weight!

Why is this?

It’s okay for women to be vain about their hair but it’s inappropriate for men?

I think it’s some kind of macho attitude holdout - no offense gentlemen - it comes from the makers and advertising not neccesarily from the consumers. I knew a guy who changed his hair color as frequently as his socks…but then again there was not one macho thing about him, he made Liberace look like a Puritan.

…at night, the ice weasels come…

Yes, it’s a double standard. Also, Men are much more likely to go bald, and have shorter, thinner hair usually.

I quit colouring my hair last year on december 5th. It was the night of my staff xmas party and i thought i would spice myself up a bit by highlighting my auburn locks. I ran to the store, saw a pic of a beautiful redhead on the box and bought it… do you see this coming??? I put the colour in… the directions said wait 20 minutes… so being the wise woman i am… i waited 25 for the full effect. Rinsed, conditioned. towel dried… removed the towel… and screamed bloody murder. I had bright orange hair like i had never seen before… i ran and called a friend and she asked what colour i had bought… (2 hours till my party by now)… hmm terra cotta i said… my incredibly compassionate friend said… Sue, you are an idiot… dont you know that terra cotta is orange? well how the hell would i know that… the pic on the box wasnt orange… she was beautiful… (9 washes by now, starting to panic)… i call my date for the party… please dont laugh when you see me i say…(2 more washes) the first thing he does is try not to look… his eyes go straight to my head… we go to the party where i was ridiculed all nite long starting with my boss’ greeting… what the hell did you do? to my date telling everyone we didnt need headlights cuz i glowed in the dark, to being called miss infrared… man is it any wonder i got falling down drunk!! anywho… this girl is now au naturel, little white streaks and all…

We are, each of us angels with only one wing;
and we can only fly by
embracing one another

I suspect that given the number of guys my age who dye their hair, this double standard will be all but forgotten by the time they start going grey.

Modest? You bet I’m modest! I am the queen of modesty!

I’m too young to need to dye my hair for cosmetic reasons, and I’m rather happy with my natural color (med/dark brown). However, I have experimented with coloring my mustache – it’s blonde with some brown hairs while my beard is brown throughout.

Just For Men coloring for beards, mustaches and sideburns is intended to cover gray, but it worked on the blonde as well. Unfortunately, the final color tends not to match my own very well, looking too red or too black, depending on how it turns out. Add to that the allegations that the stuff can add to one’s cancer risk, and I decided to just be me, blonde mustache and all.

As to the double-standard, men tend to have an aversion to cosmetic products, other than those that cover up odors. I have used foundation to make my nose look normal when it was red and sore once or twice, but that’s about it.

In my opinion, the cosmetics industry is bloated like a zeppelin and needs to be popped. I don’t care how “glamorous” women think they look with several layers of concealing makeup – it’s repulsive (IMO) when compared to the “natural look.” Yes, I know that many women use makeup to look like they’re not wearing any, but I prefer that to the wax-museum rejects I see every day applying foundation, rouge, concealer, mascara, eyeliner, 2 shades of lipstick and who knows what else? I don’t use that many seasonings when I make dressing for roast turkey!! Please – restrain yourselves when applying the stuff, or better yet don’t user any. Most women would be surprised how attractive they arew when not wearing warpaint.

Whoops – da Cap’n seems to have gone off on a little rant there. Sorry 'bout that. :slight_smile:

I dye my hair often… for no other reason than the fact that I get bored.

Magnificent to behold - Greatly to be praised.

I know it’s a tad off-topic, but…there’s some irony in “the natural look” for me, to wit: I am often told (yes, by complete strangers, go figure) that I have a “wonderful complexion” and complement my genes. I also hear, “you don’t wear any makeup” in girlie-type conversations.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Every day I wear foundation, powder and usually lipstick to achieve this “natural” look. Just because a woman looks natural doesn’t mean she’s makeup-free. More often, it means she’s skillful, or at least not heavy-handed. Because if there’s one thing that’s not true of me, it’s that I have great skin.

I have great skin. I also never wear makeup. I suspect there’s a link.

I do color my hair on occasion, mainly out of boredom. I take great glee in coming to work with darker/blonder/whatever hair and seeing the men try to figure out a way to ask me if it’s changed without offending me.

Well let me stand up for heterosexual men who like to dye their hair.

I’ve had hair red, black, blonde and blue (for Halloween.)

I haven’t had the guts to try the permanent punk sky blue yet.

The cosmetic industry is still aimed at women, but I wouldn’t be suprised to see if that changed in my lifetime and that it would become “normal” for men to wear lipstick or eyeshadow.

J’ai assez vécu pour voir que différence engendre haine.

Hmm let’s see… the last hair dyeing attempt was true purple. I thought that all purple would be a bit dark with my pale skin, and being blonde it might look nice to just go with purple frosted highlights. The artist in me should have known that purple and yellow make a god-awful grey… Lets just say I know what I will look like at 80. Yikes!!!

“Only when he no longer knows what he is doing, does the painter do good
things.” --Edgar Degas

I have no problem with men coloring their hair, if that’s what they want to do. What does bugs me, though, is the Just for Men commercials, advertising that it takes “just five minutes.” As if women have infinitely more time than men. Please.

No, I don’t color my hair anymore. I used to add a tint here & there. I always went to a professional, though, because my hair is red, and hair coloring disasters seem to occur much more easily with red hair (there’s a post here already about one such event). I never trusted myself to do it right.

My beard goes from dark brown to black at the bottom. I have one spot that has no color at all. I dye the spot to match the rest. I usually do the medium brown mustasche while I’m at it, so it matches the beard.

I guess this post ruins my androginous name, or does it?

Only when you added the part about your moustache Phobia LOL

“Only when he no longer knows what he is doing, does the painter do good
things.” --Edgar Degas

IN RE men & women dying their hair to look “natural” (cover gray, go blond, etc.), here are a few thoughts (IMO).

  1. Grey hair makes people look older, typically. On men this is popularly perceived as “distinguished” or at least OK. On women it’s just plain old. Older is a lot more socially acceptable (again, speaking in generalities here, flawed as that is) for men than for women. It’s the old thing that women are judged/valued primarily for their physical appeal, men for their total “package” (no not that package, silly). So, there’s more of a “reason” (if you want to call it that, or perhaps social pressure is a better term) for women to dye their hair. I’ve just begun finding a few gray ones and so far I can just pull them out, but when I get a lot, I know I’ll be tempted to go the dye route.

  2. Again, based on that “women are judged/valued primarily for their physical appeal” thing, combined with the “blonds have more fun” thing (i.e. blonds are perceived as more attractive), you have more darker haired women dying their hair blond than men doing the same.

  3. Women are, in general, more comfortable, more “used to” using cosmetics, etc. to improve their appearance (i.e., it’s more socially acceptable). For many men, this still goes against the “macho” thing, you know, “manly men” don’t work at their appearance. Hence, more women dye their hair because more women feel comfortable doing so. (Same reason applies to getting dressed, hair styles, etc.)

I think we may see big changes in this over the next few years as the pressure to look good/young increases on men. Research shows that men are more and more being judged on their appearance – by women, by employers – and that men are beginning to feel the pressure that women have felt forever. There’s been a huge increase in the number of men getting plastic surgery – face lifts, lipo, etc. – over the past couple years. (No, I don’t have sources but will dig them up if challenged.)

As for the purposefully artificial look (purple, green, bright blond at the ends/top, etc.), this seems to be equal parts male and female, or perhaps even more male as men have perhaps fewer ways of expressing physical individuality.

Myself, I think it’s a nice trend that people feel more free to do this. (Says she with the boringly natural brown hair.)

You’d be surprised at how many men come to my shop to get their hair colored…

More woman than you’ll ever inflate!

I’ve dyed my hair a few times – not because I’m going grey, but because I’ve always wanted black hair. I never noticed any stigma about it just because I was a man.

I’ve been dying my hair for 20 years or so. My hair as a little kid was very red, then darkened to reddish brown as I got older, then the red gradually went away until it was the perfectly brown with no red in it by my teens. But I still have redhead-appropriate pink-and-white skin and yellow-brown eyes, so a red dye job actually looks more natural than my own color; no one ever suspects that it’s dyed unless I change the shade drastically, as I do from time to time.

As for gentlemen – dye it, transplant it, wear a wig if you want. It’s your head, and I, at least, won’t think any less of you :slight_smile: But try to hold out against the “I have to stay young and thin forever or no one will love me” thing. It causes us enough misery; you don’t need to join in. You can just keep doing the “I have to have more money and more toys and ever younger and thinner women or everyone will think I’m a loser” thing.


Well, I frequently streak my hair with various shades of blonde. My hair is really dark brown, though I am half Asian. I don’t get that sable orange color other asians get if they don’t leave the bleach on long enough. I use mostly highlighting kits you can get from the store (they work fine for me). I highlight my hair because it adds some variety in my other wise monochrome hair. I still actually have remnants of it left over. However, I may do it again just for fun (one of my friends asked when I was going to do it again, so that reminded me).

Hrm. I’m 33, and have been dying my hair off and on since i was 17 or so. It’s naturally brown, and it usually involved lightening it.

Never thought much about it. What I always find funny, though, is the “just for men” hair coloring you’ll see in drug stores. I guess a lot of guys feel more comfortable doing it if its labelled as such. I always thought it was rather silly to think that men’s hair and women’s hair was different enough to warrent separate coloring products.

Well, I’m sure they’re the exact same product, and just a marketing gimmick.