Men don’t want facelifts,” says New York stylist Julien Farel, “but we will do the little things that make us look younger, like driving a Ferrari...or getting our hair colored.” Which is why he developed a men’s hair-coloring system he calls Salt & Pepper Camouflage.
“The main thing is to make sure there are no roots, so nobody can tell,” he explains. “Yesterday, I saw this guy driving a Ferrari and he had color done; I could see the roots coming through. You have to really blow-dry your hair a certain way to not see the roots. And, it’s important to keep 30 percent of the gray so it looks natural. I have clients who do it and their wives don’t even know.”
Most women color and highlight their hair to cover the gray, and they are open about it. “But for men, it’s different,” says Farel. “I have not met a man yet who will admit he colors his hair. And if it is not done right, he looks like he has shoe polish on it.”
You can have Camouflage done in complete privacy in the men’s salon downstairs at Farel’s Loews Regency Hotel location on 61st Street off Manhattan’s Park Avenue. “You get it when you get your haircut,” says Farel. “It takes an extra 10 to 15 minutes, and works on any hair color, we just use a different tone.”
A truth about aging hair: Gray is caused by a steep decline in melanin. And when hair turns gray, it becomes dull. “There is no shine,” says Farel, “so you feel like you look old. You want a few grays, but not that all-white dull hair.”
To extend the effects of the treatment and slow down the gray, Farel developed a serum he recently introduced called Magnifique, which gives dry, dull hair the hydration it needs and stimulates the production of melanin. “We ran chemical tests to prove it,” he says. “It boosts the hair follicle to make sure it is still alive and active.”
The serum is made of living cells that are water-based, so, according to Farel, it doesn’t make hair oily or dirty feeling. “It just gives it a lot of body,” he says. You can apply it every day or every other day to clean, towel-dried hair—just a few drops along the scalp.
We tried it ourselves and found it calmed out-of-control strands, making hair shiny, and reducing the frizziness of coarse grays. One tester called it a “miracle product.” But we are still waiting to see how much of a slowdown we get in the growth of gray hairs; we’re hoping to extend the time between color sessions from four weeks to six. And keep ourselves looking about ten years younger, per Farel.
Salt & Pepper Camouflage starts at $150. At 540 Park Ave.; 212-888-8988; julienfarel.com.