NEW YORK – Just when society had adjusted to men getting in touch with their feminine sides with manicures and pedicures, a colorful new trend has them booking advance appointments at the hair salon.
Hair dye for men is in — and it's not the green and pink long used by punk rockers or the brown and black used to cover middle-age gray. Following the lead of stars like Brad Pitt, Mark McGrath and Justin Timberlake, guys are beginning to covet the same shades of frosty red and gold worn by stylish women.
And now they have their own product. Just for Men, the leading company in the men's "cover-that-gray" market, has partnered with "lad" magazine Maxim to deliver Maxim Magazine Haircare, the first mainstream hair dye that caters only to young men.
"When guys started coloring their hair a few years ago, their only options were to go to a salon, which was very expensive, or buy women's products in the women's aisle at the drug store, which they were uncomfortable doing," said Michael Wendroff, vice president for hair color marketing at Just for Men's parent company, Combe. "Maxim is a guy's brand, a brand that guys can really relate to and feel comfortable buying."
Wendroff says the Maxim hair dye, which costs about $10 and comes in bleach blond, sandstorm, black jack, and red rum, reflects the most current hair trends among young men 14-30.
"When guys first started coloring their hair, they were doing the blonding thing all over," he said. "Things have evolved — highlighting and dyeing just the tips are the recent trends. With our product, you can do all three."
Stylist Anthony Cole, a salon owner in Long Island, N.Y., who also is a traveling hairdresser for the Sebastian haircare line, agreed that hair coloring is becoming more and more popular among young men.
"They usually go for a lighter piece running through the hair, and many are starting to experiment with reds," he said. Cole said guys are also beginning to request more experimental cuts with their color, sometimes spending up to $250 to straighten their hair.
Many young men seemed excited by the attention-getting new trend. Web designer Erik Jansson, 27, said he would like to "experiment" with hair dye.
News producer Matt Alexander, 23, said he would too — but emphasized it's not because of Maxim.
"I don't like the magazine or what it stands for," said Alexander, who "blonded" his hair when he was 16.
Maxim — known mostly for the scantily-clad women on its covers and politically incorrect sex advice — is currently the number-one men's general interest magazine.
But not all guys were ready for the sun-kissed blond look.
College student Dhaval Mehta, 20, said he could see the trend becoming popular among teen-agers who want to look cool. But he said he wouldn't get into it himself.
"Guys are becoming way too interested in their looks," he said.
The marketplace seems to back up his observation: Neutrogena debuted a new line of skincare products for men almost simultaneously with Maxim's haircare debut. And skin-care company Nickel Spa recently unveiled Love Handles, a cream treatment for "male cellulite."
But this is another reason why Wendroff believes Maxim's hair dye will be successful.
"Guys today care about looking good — and, unlike previous generations, they do act on it," he said.