Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 27 November 2020

Don't try this at home: why Rudy Giuliani's dripping hair dye is a lesson for us all

The former mayor of New York illustrates why it is never a good idea to dye your hair yourself

Rudy Giuliani speaking, as hair dye runs down his face. EPA
Rudy Giuliani speaking, as hair dye runs down his face. EPA

It was a sight that birthed a thousand memes: Rudy Giuliani giving a press conference with streams of brown running down his face.

Mopping his sweating brow, President Trump’s personal lawyer was unaware that the world was unconcerned by his shiny forehead, but was instead transfixed by the rivulets of brown snaking down the sides of his face.

There has been some debate about what, exactly, those rivers were – a blotch of mascara used to beef up the sideburns or, as we suspect, a hasty home-dye job? Did he not read the instructions properly (which raises an awkward point as a lawyer) or did he simply forget that he had a press conference to give, and had to rush through the steps? We will never know, but for a grown man trying to establish a sense of importance, badly dyed hair is an own goal.

A glance along the home hair dye shelves in any supermarket should sound warning alarms for any man contemplating dyeing his own hair. Women have countless shades to choose from, coming in subtle shifts of colour from palest ash blonde all the way to a warm brown or cold jet black.

Men, meanwhile have just a handful to choose from, with those scant boxes meant to cover the same full spectrum of colour. It is not hard to fathom that perhaps shop-bought men's hair dye is not a subtle as women's, which might go some way in explaining why other famous men have earned infamy for their terrible DIY-dyed hair.

President Trump

U.S. President Donald Trump is followed by HHS Secretary Alex Azar as he arrives to speak about prescription drug prices during an appearance in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House in Washington, U.S., November 20, 2020. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
US President Donald Trump arrives to speak about prescription drug prices during an appearance in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House. Reuters

The outgoing leader of America is known to favour hair that's an unnatural shade of luminous blonde, presumably to show off his home tan to best advantage. Clearly done by Trump himself, the colour swings from day-glo yellow to dishwater blonde. Trump’s natural hair colour is actually dark blonde, but he has worked his way through light brown, dark brown, orange and now seems to have finally put the dye bottle down, to settle into a new hue of transparent grey.

Tom Jones

Tom Jones looked ten years younger when he finally enbraced his natural grey. Courtesy Getty
Tom Jones looked ten years younger when he finally embraced his natural grey. Getty Images

Welsh singer Tom Jones took a very long time to come to terms with being grey haired, instead insisting on dyeing his hair – and beard – dark brown. Only at the age of 68 did Jones reveal what everyone else already knew: that his beard and hair had gone silver. In a true lesson for everyone, by letting his silver tresses finally show through, he looked ten years younger. Go figure.

Tom Cruise

Tom Cruise with not a grey hair in sight. AFP
Tom Cruise with not a grey hair in sight. AFP

There is something to admire about a man who, on finding something about his appearance that he doesn't like, simply buys a better version. Having famously replaced his wonky smile with perfect teeth, he clearly decided he didn’t fancy going grey – so he just dyes his hair, hoping we won't notice. Of course, we have noticed, and although Cruise is in impressive shape for a 58-year-old, perhaps he feels that having greying hair is letting the side down. How else to explain the box-fresh locks?

Nic Cage

Actor Nic Cage prefers to dye his hair several shades darker than natural. Shutterstock
Actor Nic Cage prefers to dye his hair several shades darker than natural. Shutterstock

Cage seemed to lose his way when he started down the ill-advised route of cheap face lifts, and is now compounding the issue with hair that's an implausible shade of dark brown. Perhaps in an attempt to divert attention away from smiles lines that now go upwards, Cage dyes his hair several shades darker than his natural tone, leaving him looking washed out and as if he is wearing a bad wig. If only that were true, at least he could take it off, and the real Nic Cage would still be underneath, Scooby Doo-style.

Eminem

Having found fame as a bottle blonde, singer Marshall Mathers stayed loyal to the bleach for years. And it worked for him. But then he hit 40, and perhaps realised that he needed to update his look. His solution was to keep the close crop and dye it black, resulting in a severe hair line. Sadly for Mathers, this does not make him look like the wise old man of rap, but rather instead like a Lego figure, with clip on hair.

Arnold Schwarzenegger

Actor Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2017 with a hair colour like no other. Reuters
Actor Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2017 with a hair colour like no other. Reuters

Not content at having been an ex Mr Universe, ex Governor of California and A-list movie star, Arnold Schwarzenegger is facing one challenge that he seems to be struggling with. Despite having been a success in three different fields, when it comes to the greying of his hair, (to be expected at the age of 73) Schwarzenegger instead prefers to dye it a dubious shade of brown-y orange that bears no relation to anyone or anything. Not even close to his natural brown shade of old, instead it hovers on the cusp of reality.

Of course, it is easy to see why people feel the need to fight the ravages of time, and for those in the public eye, the process must be even harder, with every flaw reflected back a thousand fold. For men juggling the dilemma of whether to dye, or not to dye, take heed of Rudy Giuliani.

With all his money and access to the best professionals in their field, he still opted to dye his hair himself, and the whole world witnessed the result. For all his achievements as Mayor of New York, he will be remembered for having cheap hair dye running down his face. Gentlemen, hairdressers exist for a reason. Please use them.

Updated: November 22, 2020 08:00 AM

Editor's Picks
THE DAILY NEWSLETTER
Sign up to our daily email