How to Color a Beard

A close look at a full-bearded man with graying hair.

While, personally, I love the look of a greying beard (I believe it makes me look wiser and more distinguished), some men simply despise grey hair in their beards as they believe it makes them look too old.

If you’re one of these men, you’re not alone. Aging, while a part of life, can be difficult to face especially when it’s literally on your face. With this in mind, many men opt to color their beards with hair or beard dye. In this article, we’re going to discuss how to color a beard and what colors you should choose to give your beard the most naturally youthful appearance.

Choosing Your Beard Color

Since you have committed to coloring your beard, you have to pick a color. Usually, you will want a color that matches the hair on your head, unless you are bald. If you want to do a red dye while your hair is brown, then you go right ahead.

Beard hair takes a longer process to dye because it is rougher, coarser, and drier. A lot of men find the best option to be a shade lighter than intended and apply it twice. Professional stylists have said to choose a color that is a couple of shades lighter.

If you go light, you might not dye your beard dark enough and then you might have to start the whole thing over. You could also use darker dye, which takes less time and holds better if you are trying to get rid of gray hair.

You have to be careful with black hair dye because it could be too obvious and make you look paler, especially during the winter. A beard that is darker can be maintained easier and the color should last longer. You don’t want it to be too dark so that people will notice immediately. A beard that is a little bit lighter than your natural color is less jarring.

How to Color a Beard: Step by Step Guide

Coloring a beard can be a challenging task, but the more you do it the better you will get at it. Here are 9 easy steps to help you get started:

1. Prepping to Color Your Beard

First off, you need the materials:

  • Dye for beard (get oxidant if needed)
  • Rubber gloves
  • Applicator; it could come with the dye or you could use something like a toothbrush or small comb
  • Paper towels
  • Vaseline (used to protect the skin, can also use mineral oil)
  • Tint remover if needed

2. Test Your Beard’s Sensitivity

A close look at a man with thick dark beard.

You will need to mix up some dye and put it on your body, like behind your ear, and leave it there for 24 hours.

Wash the area off after 24 hours and then check for inflammation or redness. If there are some, then you will need to use a different dye.

3. Decide if You Want to Wash Your Beard or Not

There are different thoughts when it comes to this topic:

  • Some people think that washing it beforehand is good because it gets rid of dead skin cells and helps your hair follicles. They also said that a clean beard can help keep the dye in.
  • Other people think that you shouldn’t wash it because you can get rid of the natural oils that hold the dye in. But, you can always put on beard oil.

One thing you could do beforehand is trim and groom your beard into the style that you want. You should always use quality trimmers and scissors.

4. Protect Your Skin

Make sure to put on a layer of Vaseline or mineral oil to stop the dye from getting onto your skin. You should also wear gloves to prevent your hands from getting irritated or stained.

Rubber gloves are the best gloves to use because they give dexterity and sensation to the fingertips. This will give you more control when you’re putting the dye on. The dye will definitely stain clothes, so you should put on a shirt and pair of pants that you don’t care about.

5. Mixing Your Beard Dye

A lot of applications are done with a tube of base color and then a tube of the color developer. The developer makes the solution thicker and acts as a filler. You will mix both of them together on a tray without using the bristle end of your brush.

If you use that end you could bend the bristles, which could make it harder to put the dye on. Mix enough of the two products to just cover the beard one time. A lot of dyes are good for several applications, but you don’t want to do too much, especially when doing it for the first time.

A barber colors the beard of a man.

6. Apply Beard Dye With a Brush

Dip the brush into the dye and put it on your beard in an up and down motion. You want to put the dye deep into your beard to make sure you cover all of it. You also want to be careful not to get the dye on your skin.

7. Color Test

Follow the instructions given to you and then do a color test on a paper towel. If you don’t think it is dark enough, put more dye on and wait a few minutes.

The best thing to do is to start lighters and darken the color gradually. It will fade after a few washes, so if the color is too dark at first then that is okay.

Reminder: Do not wait too long to test the color after you have put it on your beard. Your beard can take on even more color as time goes on.

8. Rinse With Cold/Lukewarm Water

Rinse your beard in cold or lukewarm water until the dye is gone. You should pat the beard dry with towels after the water is running clear.

A bearded man washing his face at the bathroom sink.

9. Wash With Color-Treated Shampoo

The best way to wash your beard after you have colored it is with color-treated shampoo.

Things to Keep in Mind

You can always talk with your local hair salon for tips. They will have a lot of advice on colors, types of dyes, and more. They can also show you the best way to apply the dye.

People will notice once you dye your beard, so get ready for the comments. If it looks natural, you will more than likely get positive comments, but negative comments are possible as well.

Coloring your beard is like when you grow one for the first time. It takes a lot of commitment and you might have to deal with things like beard itch or patchiness. You can also start with a temporary dye to see what struggles you might have to face.

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You should always follow the directions given to you. It isn’t a complicated process, but there are a lot of things that could go wrong. You could get stains on your skin or clothes and you could also have an allergic reaction.

And lastly, you need to color your beard at the right time. If you have too much gray in your beard and then decide to color it, it will be a lot more noticeable to people you know. You will have better results if you leave some of the grays so that they blend in with the new color.

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