Pros: Works well; colors hair effectively; inexpensive
Cons: Messy; stains skin; smell bothers some people
I've been using Just for Men hair color (dark brown) for more than five years. I started using it when looking for a new job, thinking that I wanted to look like a potentially vital employee instead of someone ready to retire. The bottom line on Just for Men hair coloring is that it works and it looks natural. However, there are some bumps in the road to a more youthful appearance.
I buy Just for Men at Walmart, where it costs about $7 per package. I usually get a coupon from the manufacturer that knocks off another fifty cents to a dollar -- figure that my net price is $6.40 per package.
What it is
Just for Men is a semi-permanent stain for hair. The manufacturer (Combe Inc.) claims that it just targets gray hair but that's a little hard for me to confirm. The product comes in a box that includes a bottle of color agent, a bottle with an activating liquid, a pair of plastic gloves and extensive instructions. Why the gloves? In my experience, dark brown Just for Men hair color will stain just about anything it contacts. More about that soon.
A package is intended for just one use, but I manage to get three uses per package before it's empty. However, I have short hair and am somewhat balding -- someone with a thick, lush head of long hair may very well need to use more than I need.
The color agent needs to be shaken well, then added to the activating liquid. The bottle of activating liquid has a nozzle with a snap-off cap, so the usual thing is that you add the two liquids together, shake well, then snap the end off the nozzle. I've been using Just for Men for so long that I have lots of spare bottles and nozzles, so I pour a little of each liquid into a spare bottle and save the rest for future use. The instructions say to do the mixing while wearing gloves, but it's easy to be careful and not make a mess at this point.
I find that Just for Men seems to need more time to color my sideburns and the gray at my temples, so the first thing I do is put a dab on a gloved fingertip and rub it into a sideburn. I then do the other sideburn and the two temple areas. Only then do I apply it to the rest of my hair, putting a dollop in my gloved palm, working my hands together and then rubbing it into my hair. It is imperative that I use gloves for this, as Just for Men will badly stain my hands. And the hair can't be wet for this coloring process -- it must be dry.
I make sure that I get the hair color well worked into the hair behind my ears and at the back of my head. For some reason, Just for Men seems to color best at the sides of my head but doesn't do as well behind the ears. However, the longer it stays on, the better it hides the gray. I don't use a timer but I make sure that Just for Men is applied the longest on my sideburns, temples and behind the ears. Even still, there is always a little gray left in these areas, which is fine by me.
Unfortunately, Just for Men stains my skin, particularly around the sideburns and temples. Oddly, it doesn't really seem to stain the bald part of my head. However, the staining around the sideburns and temples is quite obvious and lasts for a day or two. For this reason, I usually apply Just for Men on Saturday morning. By Sunday morning, the staining is much less visible and it is completely gone by Monday morning.
Also, the dark brown version of Just for Men easily stains anything it contacts or drips on. Drips need to be scrubbed off the sink and countertop, and it is virtually impossible to get splatters off a painted wall. For this reason, I try to apply it while standing in the shower, where splatters are relatively easy to clean off the plastic walls and tub floor. Still, it sometimes needs good scrubbing to clean up all the splatters. My wife is not a real fan of me coloring my hair (although she colors hers!) and uses any hint of staining to show her disapproval. You'd think that a couple of pinhead spots on the wall would have earned me 10 years in San Quentin.
Perhaps the worst thing about the mess that Just for Men makes is that it is not immediately visible. I have cleaned the tub to the point where I couldn't see anything, only to have my wife complain that there were stains 15 minutes later. Sure enough, the product seems to "develop" when left on a plastic shower wall -- if not properly cleaned, it will darken and make itself obvious.
One final thing: Just for Men has a distinctive chemical smell. I do not think it is strong and the smell doesn't bother me at all. However, my wife complains that she doesn't like the smell in the bathroom after I use Just for Men. I don't think it's a big problem but it obviously bugs her.
I must rinse Just for Men out of my hair thoroughly, then I shampoo twice. If I shampoo only once, enough of the stuff is left in my hair that I will stain the towel I use to dry my hair. Therefore, I shampoo twice after using Just for Men and have no towel staining. I have no problems with this stuff rubbing off on sheets or pillowcases, either.
How does it look?
I think it looks good. It's hard to get more than a grunt about it out of my wife but others have told me that it makes a noticable difference. A few months after I got my latest job, I was out with some co-workers and mentioned that it was my birthday. One of the co-workers was a sweet young thing of 33 or so and she asked how old I was. Her eyes almost popped out of her head when I said that I was 53... she exclaimed that she thought I was in my late 30s. A couple months later, a female business acquaintance saw me and asked if I had lost weight. Nope, it was the hair color. I really think it makes a difference.
Just for Men seems to fade over time, so I re-apply it after three weeks. Therefore, I get a new package every nine weeks. It looks best in the first week after applying it, so I sometimes will change my schedule if I will be attending a conference or trade show.
As far as the color is concerned, the dark brown shade is a perfect match for my natural hair color. If I still had my natural hair color, that is!
For some reason, the manufacturer refers to Just for Men as "shampoo in" hair color. I have no idea what this means and, in my experience, using Just for Men has nothing to do with "shampooing in." In fact, Just for Men is "shampoo out" hair color. After all, once I apply it, I must carefully and completely shampoo it out if I want to avoid staining towels.
Just for Men works. It's inexpensive and effective, and it definitely gives me a younger look. It is simple to use, as long as I'm REALLY careful to minimize the mess and clean it up immediately. Since a single package lasts me for more than two months, it has a good bang for the buck.
However, just be very careful about the potential for mess with Just for Men. Also, the staining of my skin is another reason to be cautious about how Just for Men is used. I have learned to live with the limitations of Just for Men but keep in mind that it is not nearly as easy to use as the TV commercials make it look.
I give a mild recommendation to Just for Men. It does work but it is not without drawbacks.