Marco Pelusi and Carson Kressley
Marco Pelusi and Carson Kressley

"They may not want to swap formulas but men are open to talking about hair color,” Marco Pelusi, salon owner, educator, platform artist, and entrepreneur, says. “The challenge is that they will seldom bring it up first. You need to start the conversation.”

With a salon in Los Angeles and a clientele of people “in the business,” Pelusi understands how to work color into a male client’s service schedule.  Here are some of his tips for getting things going in a colorful direction:

  • It’s very important to know the starting level but it can be hard to discern in a man who has a large percentage of grey. “You may think he is lighter because of all the grey. You might want to look at a photo of your guest from a few years prior.”
  • Low lights and demi color are your friend when working on men. “Very rarely will I do an all-over color on a man because most men don’t want that dramatic, drastic change and they also don’t want a huge commitment. What they want is to take five or ten years off their appearance. 

“If I were to do all over, demi color is good for someone who has just a little grey and he wants to try on color because it grows out without showing a line of demarcation. Aloxxi’s Tones is a great demi.”

  • “As they get a larger percentage of grey, I am a big believer of going slowly and incorporating a few low lights to blend the grey. If you go too light, there is a muddy color. Generally speaking, avoid warmth and go toward cooler, more natural colors. In this town, a lot of actors do a bit deeper color in between the grey because it can make their eyes pop on camera.” Actor James Brolin, one of Pelusi’s clients, is a handsome example of this low lights blending technique.
  • On the flipside, some men were born blondes and want to stay that way. “Carson Kressley is a client who wants to stay blonde and natural, both. That has to do with how you place the foils. I use a standard brick-laying foil technique, working with the round of the head.”
  • To generalize, guys prefer a speedier service. “I cut the hair first, do a few foils and send them on their way. A small amount of foils can be a quick solution and that is where the speed can come in; if you get good at applying foils, you can get them out the door until the next time.”
  • Men appreciate product recommendations because they are usually not familiar with the importance of mane maintenance. “To keep their hair from going orange or brassy, I suggest a color protecting product like Marco Collagen Color Guard HairCare.”

“Remember,” Pelusi concludes, “that you are the expert and clients are looking to you to make suggestions. I’m very comfortable talking to a man about hair color but I always respect the fact that some want to keep it their secret.”




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