There’s nothing wrong with having a salt and pepper beard. I mean all you have to do is look at George Clooney. He doesn’t dye his beard.

But, if you are here reading this the advice you are looking for is not to learn to love your gray beard but instead some advice on beard coloring.

Well, it is not as difficult as you think it may be to dye your beard and have it look natural.

Just read the article for some tips and things to consider before beginning your beard dye journey.

I’ll even throw in a section on bleached beards in case you really want to go wild!

Before you buy a beard dye

The beard dye you decide on can make or break your beard coloring. Unless you’re going for a bleached beard, you want it to look natural.

You really don’t want it to look obvious to somebody just meeting you that you dye your beard. People who know you, of course, will be aware since it isn’t natural for a gray beard to appear dark brown overnight.

So, to make sure you pick the right color, keep a few things in mind.

The Color

Before you go looking for the color you really want your beard to be, do a kind of analysis of what color it should be.

It wouldn’t look natural if you have really dark hair and go for a sandy blond color for your beard, for instance.

There are a lot of different shades so zeroing in on the right one shouldn’t be a problem, but you just can’t pick a color that you think would look cool.

Now, what happens when a guy is bad and there is no hair to match it to? It seems like you pretty much win the beard coloring lottery with this one. It really won’t matter what color you decide to dye your beard.

Some guidelines on picking the right color:

  • Don’t go too dark. Too light is better if you have to lean too far one way or another. It should still be the same color as your head, just a lighter version. In other words if you have dark brown hair don’t go with a lighter black go with a lighter brown and vice versa.
  • Pick the color according to your hair around your temples. This will create less of an obvious difference in colors. When you have a line that delineates the color of the beard and hair then it looks unnatural.
  • Try to leave a little bit of gray if your beard was really gray. There are some dyes out there that leave it with little bits of gray to make it look less dyed.

Go for natural ingredients

There is no way around it when doing beard coloring. It is very aggressive and harsh on your facial hair. Even when using natural ingredients.

But, since a dye can get the job done without using man made chemicals, there seems to be little point in using something that will leave your beard much worse for wear.

As an example, ammonia is an essential ingredient that opens up the hair cuticle to allow the color to penetrate into the follicle. And as harsh as it is it is totally natural.

Even when using an all natural beard dye you should be careful and read the directions carefully. You can still give yourself a chemical burn using a natural dye.

If you really are opposed to using ammonia then look for an ammonia free dye.

Permanent and Non Permanent

Permanent in this case being a bit of a misnomer as you will eventually need to re dye your beard at some point. Most times after a few weeks especially if you have a dark dye on a very gray beard as it will show roots if it goes for too long between dye jobs. But, also because the dye will eventually start to fade.

That is much different than a non permanent, or semi permanent. Also called demi permanent, these are not meant to last more than a few weeks at the most. A little at a time will wash out as you shampoo your beard and will pretty much just fade away on its own.

Your best bet may be to go for a semi permanent so you’re not married to the color if you aren’t too crazy about it.

Know what you are getting into

How hard or easy a beard coloring is can vary greatly. Make sure when you find a color you think you’d be happy with that you also take the ease of application into consideration.

Understand how much effort you are willing to put into this project before you begin so you are more likely to stick with it.

Make sure you have all the other items required before the big moment so you are able to do things properly. If you do it halfway then expect mediocre results at best.

In just about every case you’ll need a mixing bowl, an application brush, gloves and probably a cape to wear to not make a mess.

There are dyes that don’t require any mixing at all, but they generally don’t last long or look quite as natural.

The Best Beard Dyes By Category

Best All Natural | Grizzly Mountain Beard Dye – Organic Dark Brown

This is a great permanent beard dye that is also hypoallergenic while being all natural and even organic.

Don’t be fooled by the gentle formula, however. This dye works just as well and with results as long as the ones made with who knows what chemicals.

In fact, I would say this dye looks far more natural than a regular dye. One of the things that makes a beard coloring job look fake is that it is too uniform. Since the cuticle is opened to allow the dye to penetrate it is almost as if you are coloring new hair.

Since this dye works with your hair’s color it has varying degrees of color. Just as your beard naturally would.

Remember when your beard wasn’t gray? It had some light spots and some dark spots depending on the area. And this dye respects those differences and as a result looks far more natural.

There are various colors, this one I linked to is a dark brown.

How long does it last? It is hard to say as it highly depends on how coarse your beard is. Expect it to last at least a month or more for most beards before you need to do some touch ups to color the roots.

 

One thing I will say though is that since it is natural, you may find some odd colors shortly after application. Do this before bed so any off colors can work their way out before you have to present your new beard. This won’t happen to everybody, it’s just that you don’t know how your beard will react since everybody’s is different and this product doesn’t use any chemicals that strip the cuticle from your hair.

Ammonia Free Dye | Clairol Natural Instincts Semi-Permanent Hair Color Kit For Men

Mostly natural, but more importantly ammonia free, this beard coloring kit is semi permanent.

This is a good way to get started as then you can see if this is the right solution and color for you before you really commit. If you decide you aren’t totally into the color, then you can let it fade away on its own. Since it fades evenly, your roots won’t look so defined. They will kind of blend into the rest of the dyed area looking natural.

How permanent is it? Well, they say it lasts for 28 washes. If you are only washing your beard twice per week then the math would suggest that it lasts 14 weeks or a little over 3 months. That is optimistic as it will fade on its own over time. It isn’t just about how often you wash it.

I would say you may get a couple of months out at the most without needing to do a touch up.

A nice benefit is that it is very easy to apply. In only 10 minutes you can have your beard looking naturally colored and youthful.

It also conditions your hair since it contains aloe so it feels soft to the touch afterwards and not like it has been damaged by harsh chemicals.

It comes with a variety of dark colors making it easy to pick one that is right for you. Though you can still personalize the color by leaving it in longer if you like a darker shade. It may take a bit of trial and error to get the right color for you.

Easy to Apply | Godefroy Professional Tint Kit

The nice thing about this kit isn’t that it works so well, though it does work great. It’s the convenience factor.

You can do touch ups or your whole beard. And even when you want to do your whole beard it comes in single use pre measured capsules so it doesn’t need any thought put into it. Just open it and get going.

Since you can do spot dying, you can even touch up your temples to make sure it blends into the color of your beard well.

It also contains no ammonia so it is very gentle. And it doesn’t stink like other dyes.

There are several colors to choose from, but like the Clairol one, it gets darker the longer you leave it in. You can experiment with application time to really zero in on the right color for you.

If you want a professional color but the convenience of doing it yourself at home then you get the best of both worlds with this beard coloring. Easy to use, excellent results, no nasty odor. There’s a lot to like with this one and it is no wonder it is such a great selling beard dye.

How to use beard dye

These are just general guidelines to properly dye your beard. Make sure you read the instructions on the one you buy so there are no mishaps.

Patch test it

You don’t really know how your skin will react to the chemicals, natural or otherwise, so rather than spread it all over your face, it’s best to do a patch test.

Put a small, coin sized application on some sensitive skin that won’t be seen if you react to it. Behind your ear or on your wrist are two spots that come to mind.

Leave it there the recommended application time and then wash it off. You need to wait around 24 hours to see if there is a reaction, though. If you wipe it off and it seems good to go, don’t rush in with the dye job. Sometimes chemical burns or allergic reactions take time to manifest themselves.

If after 24 hours there is no red mark or blistering then you are safe to use it as suggested.

Wash your beard

A dye will be easier to absorb into the follicle if the hair is clean. Give your beard a good wash before hand and dry it well.

If you use beard balm or oil then it is especially important to wash any of that out as it will make it harder for the dye to take hold. The same goes for any beard conditioner. Don’t use it after washing your beard. Use it after you’ve dyed and washed it again though.

Trim your beard

Split ends and coarse tips of your hair won’t readily absorb the dye evenly and will end up looking a bit funny. Either from being too light, too dark or some light and some dark. It’s best to go over the beard with a trimmer to get those dead ends off.

Protect your skin

The biggest give away that you dyed your beard is that you also dyed the skin around your beard. Make sure you protect the skin around where you will be doing the beard coloring.

A swipe of vaseline around your throat and around your ears will prevent any of the dye from discoloring your skin.

Application

Most dye kits come with a brush to apply the tint. Make sure you read the box to see if yours does so you can buy one separately if it doesn’t.

Once you’ve mixed according to the instructions, don some rubber gloves and paint the dye carefully on your beard.

Go up and down so you are getting all the hair, even underneath.

Leave it on the recommended amount of time for roughly the same color that it is labeled. It may not look exactly like the color on the box since it is highly dependant on the type of hair and color it is.

If you want it darker then leave it on a few minutes longer.

Rinse, but don’t shampoo

Now that you are done it is time to wash it out. But, don’t use a shampoo just yet. Make sure that you just rinse it out really well with warm water. If you are doing this in the shower then that is the best way to go.

I would wait a few days before shampooing it to make sure you don’t wash any of the color out. Also, clarifying shampoos can damage the dyed hair of your beard so make sure you find a formula that works with dyed hair.

Use conditioner

You’ve really put your beard through the wringer by dying it. Even the natural and ammonia free versions do some damage to the hair.

To get it soft and manageable after, use a beard conditioner. A beard balm will also work well, but I think a conditioner for use after the shower will help immensely.

Can you use hair dye on your beard?

The short answer is yes, but the longer answer is that you shouldn’t.

Your beard and head hair are totally different so the dye will react differently. You’re less likely to get the advertised color of the dye for your head if you use it on your beard.

The texture is also different so applying it on your beard is likely to be messy and frustrating.

Chemically they are very similar and it is not going to do any damage to your beard or face if you use one, but I recommend sticking with a beard dye if at all possible.

What about bleached beards?

A bleached beard and dyed beards are two very different things.

Before you go for a bleached beard, ask yourself what it is you want to accomplish because this can be miles away from your expectations. Are you just looking to lighten your beard?

Then you’ll be shocked when you end up with a white beard. Or worse, orange if you don’t do it right.

If you are looking to lighten your beard then stop reading here. This is about how to achieve a bleached beard for guys who want a white beard not lightened one.

Ok, now if you are looking to make a statement with a bleached beard then read on.

Before you begin, you’re going to need some hair whitening cream like this one from Amazon.com, an applicator brush, rubber gloves and a cape to wear to not ruin your clothes or get any drops on your skin.

Here are the instructions:

  • Put on your cape and gloves and have all the stuff you need within reach before you open any containers.
  • Spread some vaseline around your throat at the beard line and around your ears. Any skin that touches the beard should be covered with vaseline.
  • Dip the brush in the cream and apply to the beard going in an up and down motion so you coat the hair completely.
  • Once you have all of your hair coated leave it for the minimum amount of time suggested on the instructions. Then check in a mirror to see if you have achieved any bleached beard look. It should start lightening right away. Keep a close eye as leaving it too long will cause your hair to turn orange.
  • Rinse out your beard with warm water until the water runs clear.
  • Now apply the toner in the same way you applied the bleach. Leave it for 20 minutes to whiten the beard and remove any of the orange tones.
  • Now you can rinse your beard again or wash it out with a gentle shampoo.

That’s all there is to it for the bleached beard look.

Why would you want a bleached beard? Well, bleaching hair has gone in and out of style for a few decades now. It was always a way to show off a bit of punk cred. Now that beards are so popular it kind of was inevitable that people would start to bleach their beards.

How long will the trend last? If history can be a judge, it probably won’t last too long so get your bleached beard in effect sooner rather than later.

Final Thoughts

Whether you are trying to look younger or trying to look hip, doing a beard coloring will get you the results you are looking for. Provided you do it right.

Make sure you are mindful about the results you are looking for as things may not go the way you had envisioned. As long as the results are natural looking, then you may have to be happy with a color you may not have had in mind.

And if you find that you are getting too many comments about your beard color and asking why you changed the color, it may mean that it doesn’t look so very natural as you thought it would.

Stick with one of the suggested dyes from the list and follow the directions well and you should get the results you were hoping for.

Do you have any questions about beard coloring? Let me know by adding a comment to the box below. I am here to help!

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Salvatore Jamison
I’m an outdoor enthusiast and have sported a full beard since I was in my early 20’s. Originally, growing a beard was a way to save time when getting ready each day, but I quickly realized that keeping a neatly trimmed beard takes work and some forethought. That’s where this site comes in.

You get to benefit from my years of experience. I’ve reviewed many of the top hair clippers on the market today and also included some information on what works best for me. A great beard will turn lots of heads in your direction.

Since I never know when I’m going to find myself being photographed, whether it’s climbing in Yosemite, or playing volleyball on the beach, it’s important to me to always look my very best. Maintaining my beard is part of my daily routine and I hope you’ll find some useful tips and information on this site to help you on your journey.