Thursday, 7 February 2013

Just For Men Shampoo-In Haircolour in Natural Dark Brown-Black (review)

Just for Men Shampoo-In Haircolour
Something terrible happened to me this week. Somebody offered me their seat. Yes, me - at my age! I was so horrified I had to sit down. I chose the floor out of principle. Surely I’m not old enough to have people offer me their seat? As soon as I could I took to the mirror. And then I realised I’m no longer twenty, which is how I always mentally picture myself; sprightly and firm. Okay, so I’m thirty this year, but I’m not exactly a young-looking thirty. Unlike Cameron, I’m going a bit grey around the edges and receding as if with increasing urgency. For the first time, I felt old, and there was only one thing for it. 

Just for Men Shampoo-In Haircolour lasts for six weeks and would, I hoped, make me look like a young Clark Kent. I paid £6.25 for a packet in a Boots store, however it can also be purchased online. Wherever you choose to buy it, it may be useful to try the colour-finder tool on the Just for Men website which will also suggest the best product for you (this particular product is just one of their range). 

My particular reason for purchasing the product in a store is so that I could go with a friend to get advice on a close colour match (some stores have mirrors where you can match the box to your hair but otherwise it’s a guessing game, and it’s much harder than it sounds). This particular product comes in a selection of nine shades. I chose ‘Natural Dark Brown-Black’. Whether purchasing online or in a store it’s worth considering buying two products if you are unsure if your colour and, if you do, try the lightest one first because it is easier to then go darker rather than the other way around. 

I was expecting a slight look of judgement from the assistant when I plonked the box on the counter, hidden under other products. There was none. I’d even gone to the effort of purchasing toothpaste at the same time in order to make my hair colour purchase look like less of a milestone (perhaps in the same way that a girl might buy her first bra or a boy might buy his first razor). 

The box contained instructions, an applicator bottle with natural colour developer (30 ml), colour base (30 ml) and rubber gloves. Reassuringly, the instructions on the packet advised that the product is not to be used by persons under the age of sixteen, so it appears there might be people far worse off than I. 

From past experience, I would always purchase a small tub of Vaseline Petroleum Jelly at the same time: it can be applied around the hairline in a thick layer so that the hair colour does not come into contact with the skin and run the risk of staining it. All too often I have coloured my hair and also dyed my ears, forehead, and any other exposed skin. For the same reason, always wear the gloves provided. They aren’t there just for safety but to prevent the tell-tale colouring of the nails and palms. Also consider covering surfaces and wearing clothes you don’t mind ruining. 

An essential step before colouring your hair is to complete an allergy test. Reactions to hair colours are rare but can be severe and even life-threatening. A patch test should be done before each colouring session (even if you’ve used the same product before--allergies can develop at any time!) and full instructions for this are included in the box. 

Something I found a little odd about this product is that it doesn’t recommend a colour swatch test. Many other haircolours suggest completing a colour swatch test by snipping off a small amount of hair which you then colour using the product before letting loose on your head. I don’t know why Just for Men doesn’t suggest this because it helps ensure you get a good colour match and helps avoid horrific disasters. In the past I’ve inadvertently gone various shades of fluorescent ginger and green and all kids of other colours which are guaranteed to look perfectly ridiculous on anybody but Mrs. Slocombe. Perhaps it is a good thing a colour swatch test isn’t recommended because, to be honest, these days I have much less hair to spare. Nevertheless I rebelled and completed a test and can report a perfect match with greys now invisible (maybe I was lucky with the shade I picked or maybe the product really does just target grey hairs as the box claims). 

The product is prepared by mixing the applicator colour developer and colour base and shaking and the fluid must be used immediately. Once mixed, hair colour can develop a quite repulsive odour, but this one’s pretty good. The product is applied to the hair starting with the greyest areas first. It is massaged in and left for five minutes. It is then rinsed out (preferably in the shower for ease). You then use your regular shampoo and then rinse out again. 

And, then, you’re done...

...If you’re lucky. I wasn’t. I didn’t actually get any further than the allergy test. My skin turned red and, since this is one of the first signs of a product allergy, I aborted the full application. Could this have been a bonafide hair colour allergy? It is possible, but don’t let my experiences put you off because my skin is incredibly sensitive. I've sometimes experienced a similar result from using everyday products like certain shampoos. Having since scoured Google to get a better idea of other people’s experiences, reactions seem rare but do happen. I carefully balanced the risks and decided not to proceed. 

I am disappointed in a way. I wanted to see if the claim on the product’s packaging that that Just for Men ‘leaves hair fuller and thicker-looking’ was justified. I’d have also liked to have finished the hair colour treatment so that I could report my experiences. However, I felt it was still important to complete this review as fully as I could. 

Oh, well. I’ve decided I’m going to grow grey and embrace it. I find grey hair on other people rather endearing and sophisticated-looking. I really do hope other people feel the same. If not, I shall have to buy a hat and never, ever take it off. 

Easy to understand instructions
Caused a reaction
Nice fragrance
Artificial ingredients galore
Great price


Brand: Just for Men


Colourant Size: 30 ml
Developer Size: 30 ml

Price: £6.25 (£6.25/treatment)

Manufactured: n/a

Colourant Ingredients: Aqua, Decyl Glucoside, Ethanolomine, Resorcinol, p-Phenylenediamine, Carbomer, N, N-Bis(2-Hyroxyethyl)-p-Phenylenediamine Sulfate, m-Aminophenol, Sodium Sulfite, Erythorbic Acid, Parfum, Trisodium EDTA, Caramel, p-Aminophenol, 2-Amino-4-Hydroxyethylaminoanisole Sulfate, Cinnamidopropyltrimonium Chloride, Laurdimonium Hydroxypropyl Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein, Panthenol, Tocopheryl Acetate, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Benzyl Salicylate, Coumarin, Linalool. 

Developer Ingredients: Aqua, C11-C15, Pareth-3, C11-C15 Pareth-9, Hydroxen Peroxide, Etidronic Acid, Disodium EDTA Sodium Stannate Trihydrate. 

NOTE: Product contains hydrogen peroxide, resorcinol, phenylendiamines, and diaminophenols

Alternative: John Frieda Precision Foam Colour


  1. Oh no, I'm sorry to read that you reacted to this; what a pain! Grey hair - not that you have anything noticeable - IS sophisticated, though, and you can rest assured that no matter what happens you'll always be a bit younger than me. ;-)

  2. Would either of you gents care to review the beard and mustache dye by this brand? I can just imagine you both growing full goatees for the experiment.