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An Expert Guide to At-Home Hair and Beard Coloring for Men

The founder of Cleverman advises on how to DIY the gray away.

A model examining his hair. Cleverman

For most men, the salon or barbershop experience is often more anxiety-provoking than pampering—one mis-snip and you’re weeks away from a mulligan. And if haircuts are bad, public hair coloring treatments can feel borderline mortifying (mainly, thanks to old-school taboos). Fortunately, men don’t need to be intimidated anymore. With advanced, at-home procedures and direct-to-consumer models, men’s haircare treatments are more acceptable and accessible than ever before.

One key player in the men’s grooming movement is Carlos Barreto, a former Procter & Gamble, Coca-Cola and Revlon executive who launched the custom at-home hair coloring system Cleverman this month. “As a beard color user myself,” says Barreto, “I decided to redefine the category by creating tailored options for consumers that deliver the most natural.” Here, he shares his thoughts on the industry, as well as tips for creating your best hair color at home.

A box oof Cleverman's hair color supplies.

What lead you to launch Cleverman?

“Hair and beard color are growing categories in the USA and globally.  It’s also a market with very limited players and options. Hair and beard color can be very intimidating, particularly for men. It’s a chemistry project! And, men today are looking for a more natural look, which requires a higher level of customization.

Millennials are turning 40 and we wanted to bring a fresh new solution to this group that is looking for more personalization, products delivered directly to them and digitally-focused brands that break the mold with higher quality.”


Why should men color their hair at home?

“Hair color at home is an excellent solution for men—in fact, 80 percent of men who color do so at home. The treatment is still taboo and most men do not feel comfortable doing it at a salon or barbershop. That being said, men’s hair color is becoming more accessible and accepted, so we see tremendous potential in both channels.”

Cleverman's beard coloring kit.

Cleverman’s beard coloring kit Cleverman

How should men color their hair at home? Walk us through the process.

“It’s easy. First, read your instructions: we provide consumers with personalized instructions with their name, technique and even a customized time. Then, follow four easy steps.

Prep: Put your gloves on and apply a barrier cream in the forehead line (for hair color). Cleverman provides gloves that fit your hand size, so you have complete control throughout the process.

Mix: Now, mix your color and developer. Cleverman gives you a customized color and developer, so you get the best color to match your needs.

Apply: Next, apply the product to your hair or beard. The application is the key to a more customized result. Whether you want to cover all your gray or just some of it, we provide precise instructions and the right tools for your desired look.

Wait: Now, wait for your personalized time. Our algorithm calculates the estimated time of development for every consumer, taking into account the amount of gray, difficulty to cover and desired look.

Clean: Finally, rinse your hair color or your beard with a hair cleanser or a beard and face scrub. Cleverman gives you the correct post-treatment depending on your hair condition or your type of skin. The post-treatment also helps to lock-in color for a longer-lasting result.”

A man using Cleverman's hair color.


How frequently should men color their hair? What is the maintenance routine like?

“Hair color is usually once a month; it really depends on how fast your hair grows. Since beard hair grows faster, you may need to touch-up once a week. Cleverman beard color is reusable and lasts up to four applications, so a kit lasts at least a month.”

Do you have any other grooming tips men should consider?

“For hair, I suggest cutting it right before coloring. It will help you get a better look and a more even color on the roots. After hair coloring, use shampoo, conditioner and style. Try to avoid washing your hair every day.

For a beard, trim your beard and mustache before coloring. Also, use a beard and face scrub after coloring to clean and nourish your beard.”

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