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Before you tweeze the greys, here are your options
By Patrick Huguein
Aging isn’t a dignified process, but grey chest hair is a special kind of insult. You can be doing great work at the gym, diligently applying anti-wrinkle cream, even keeping up with the kids on Snapchat. Then your chest sprouts silver fur. The universe is laughing at you. Now you’re dealing with off-colour hair that grows faster than the normal kind, and will hide from you when you try to get rid of it. Attack it with the tweezers all you want. You’ll always miss one—or many.
Maybe you don’t care. And honestly, the easiest thing to do is just to keep it trimmed so the grays aren’t ultra-long and wiry. If you’re pleased with that solution, then you can stop reading this and invest in a good trimmer. But what if you’re a guy who always liked his hairy chest? What if you want to keep it, and you just want it to look less grandfatherly? For you, dying your chest hair may be the best bet. Yes, it’s possible. Yes, you can do it at home. But this isn’t your head, the hair here is different, and you’re going to need to know some dying tricks to make it work.
Option 1: Dye Formulated for Body Hair
Because we live in an aging-obsessed world, we now have products designed to de-gray almost anything. Including pubic hair. And that’s not far from your chest. In fact, your body is covered in two different types of hair. There’s vellus, the softer hair on your arms and legs. Then there’s terminal, the coarse stuff on your groin, under your arms, and on your chest. You need a dye that works on coarse hair, but you also want to avoid irritation.
Pro tip: try a patch test before you go all in. Maybe somewhere that will be hidden by your swimsuit—or on an edge of your chest hair you’d be happy to trim anyway.
Option 2: Natural Dye
Maybe chemical dyes aren’t for you. Either you find them irritating or they look too “dyed.” There are natural options. Gisella Gorman, a NYC makeup artist, recommends using henna. “Henna is an ink made of the henna plant,” she says, “and it comes in a powder or a liquid form. It’s the solution for someone who doesn’t want any chemicals or additives.” To use it, first apply a thin layer of Vaseline to exposed patches of skin around the area of chest hair you are dying. (Think about protecting your nipples.) Then use a small brush to apply henna on the hair, leave it on for a few minutes, and rinse. The effect is more like a tint or hair toner than a strict dye, and should last about two weeks.
Option 3: Try to Prevent It
Another natural tint exists, and this one can be especially effective before the gray hairs multiply. “Black tea is a natural dye, and increases the melanin and keratin of the hair,” says Gorman. “I’ve recommended it to people who want to prevent gray hair—and I use it myself, and it has worked.”
Make a cup of black tea, let it cool off, and use a spray bottle to apply it. The longer you leave it on before rinsing, says Gorman, the better the results will be.
Other preventative measures: loading up on antioxidants to help the body combat aging. Think vitamin B12. Broccoli, eggs, fish. “Even a glass of wine is good for you,” says Gorman. And it might help put your chest hair problem in perspective, too.
Option 4: Spot Fix
Last resort: you don’t want to trim, you don’t want to dye, and you only need to hide the gray for one episode of shirtlessness. It sounds crazy, but you can do a spot fix: waterproof mascara. “I actually have a client, a famous client, who does this,” says Gorman, who wouldn’t divulge the name of this mascara-happy man. “He gets a bunch of them and puts it on. If you don’t shower, it lasts 24 hours.” It isn’t graceful, but if you’ve read this far in a piece about dying your gray chest hair, you’re ready for any battle in the war against aging. And this one you can win.
Originally published on menshealth.com