Fair game: is it OK for men to dye their hair blond?

Take a look at the Liberals striding mate-ily through the corridors of power – pre- or post-Abbott – and you might notice the blondeness of the women if not the blandness of the men. Take a second look and you will see that there are almost no blond men. What's going on?

Bald aside, the closest to fair is a fade to grey.

Could this mean it is still preferable to be dark as well as tall and handsome? We all laud the fair-haired boy, but do golden locks on a man prevent the attainment of the toppermost of top jobs. And if you have – and take – the opportunity to switch hair colour would you go darker, or lighter?

As summer nears it seems the blond Aussie look still holds some sway. Salons around the traps say there is always a seasonal surge in men wanting their hair blonded.

Bright lights

Says L'Oreal Professional colourist Danielle Solier: "In the warmer months, a lot of my male clients prefer to lighten up their look.

"With most of my male colour clients, a lot of them rely on recommendation when changing their hair colour; whether that's from me or a lot of time from their friends or siblings."

But men are conscious of not wanting to look "done". They tend to go for subtle threads of colour so that it doesn't contrast heavily with their natural hair colour.

"A lot them opt for colours that blend in with their existing look and that adds a bit of softness – so working with blond colour, either golden or cool is great for that," Solier says.

Men who lighten their hair tend to go for more neutral blond tones which don't throw too much yellow.

Advertisement

"That's your pastel, icy, beige and ash blonde tones which are really flattering and look more natural," Solier says.

Dye hard

The trick is to keep it looking masculine.

"This can be done by incorporating baby lights or going for an 'ombre' colour effect. Again not too contrasting and going for colour that works with your existing hair colour."

But if there is a springtime frenzy for bleached locks why isn't it evident in the corridors of power, either in Canberra or the boardrooms and offices of Sydney and Melbourne? Where are the blond men?

Jack Morton, the 2014 AHFA (Australian Hair Fashion Awards) colourist of the year, says it is mainly young men who ask for their hair to be lightened.

"I'd say it's more an under 30s thing," says Morton, of Melbourne's Toni&Guy Georges.

"It can look amazing — really lift skin tone and brighten the eyes."

Blond ambition

Flattering it may be, but blondness can be a handicap professionally for men, according to the American academic Alison Lurie.

For women it's different – hence the majority of blonde MPs. (Aptly Lurie says blondes are also more often the heroines of comedy or melodrama).

Lurie, who wrote the seminal Language of Clothes and other works on the semiotics of dress, says most impeding is very light blond or red-gold hair — especially if curly.

"Since these colours occur most often in small children, they suggest immaturity and impulsiveness."

Have you ever had your hair lightened? Would you even consider going blond? Maybe your workplace is different to the MPs' and there are a number of blond male role models in positions of power. And if you are naturally fair, have you ever felt it a disadvantage? Let us know in the comments section.

A journalist with a history of covering style with style and flair, Natasha Hughes has reported extensively on men's grooming and presentation. With Spit & Polish she also has a commission to write across presentation and deportment.

Comments