HomeEntertainmentElvis Presley Dyed His Hair With Shoe Polish: Here’s Why

Elvis Presley Dyed His Hair With Shoe Polish: Here’s Why

by Madison Miller
Photo by: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Nearly all pictures of Elvis Presley will showcase some of his good looks and charm.

From posing with a guitar to striking a pose midst dancing on stage, Presley knew how to put on an appearance. It was an appearance that fans loved and movie producers sought out.

Elvis Presley’s most prominent feature is likely his silky-smooth, perfectly-coiffed jet black hair. His glowing pompadour was something Presley was pretty intentional about.

His iconic hair actually inspired a standard look for men’s hair at the time.

Elvis Presley Hair

Elvis’ jet black hair is a part of his image. However, he never had black hair to begin with.

According to Country Music Family, Elvis Presley was actually born a natural blonde.

This could perhaps be news to a lot of Presley fans. Even when he was relaxing at home, Presley’s hair was dark as can be. There are very few images of Elvis Presley with blonde hair and one remains framed at his Graceland mansion.

Presley preferred the way he looked with darker hair and started dyeing it when he was just a teenager.

According to HMV, his hair began to get naturally darker in his late teens from dirty blonde to light brown. It was never as dark as he publically showcased, however. He once wanted to dye his hair himself. His solution was to use black shoe polish on his hair. He did this as a teen since hair dye was expensive. Later in life, Presley reportedly only used this alternative once or twice. He instead used a specific mix of dyes to get his desired look.

Some people think that it could have been a tribute to his mother that passed away. She had very dark hair. Others think it was all just to contribute to his one-of-a-kind “bad-boy” look.

Presley’s Hairstylist

Larry Geller is the man who most often kept up with Elvis Presley’s hair. Geller was a hairstylist in West Hollywood for men. He also helped stars like Marlon Brando, Rock Hudson, and Steve McQueen with their hair. Eventually, he closed his business when he was offered the position of Elvis’ personal hairstylist.

The two spent a lot of time together trying to keep up with the hair routine. They discussed anything from religion to philosophy to life while he did his hair.

“Elvis had everything. He was an extraordinary human being … had the greatest eyes, the greatest voice, fans galore. He also had great hair,” Geller said to Yahoo Beauty while discussing The King’s hair routine.

Besides the hair dye, Presley used products like vitamin E and jojoba oil as well as alternating hairspray to keep his hair healthy long-term and in-place on-stage.