If having some gray in your beard causes you stress or makes you feel old, there are options for dying your beard that will give you a natural look — or at least a look you can live with. There’s nothing wrong with having a gray beard, but if it’s not what you want or you feel you’re going gray sooner than you’d like, there’s also nothing wrong with dying it either.
The choice is up to you. Don’t succumb to pressure from anyone.
Just remember that dying your beard takes some skill — and it takes dedication too. You’ll need to frequently dye it or at least touch it up, depending on the product you use.
Here are some tips for doing a good job of dying your beard:
1. Choose the right color. The most popular beard dye is Just for Men, and it comes in a variety of colors. If you choose to go with a chemical-free option, there are fewer color choices in some alternatives to Just for Men. Most beard coloring comes out darker than you expect it will, so start with a shade lighter than you really want.
2. Be prepared for some unnaturalness of coloring. Most beards have a variety of hair colors. There are a few hairs that are darker or lighter than the rest — and some may be nearly transparent. When you use either a chemical beard dye or a natural beard dye, color will end up more uniform, and this may not look natural. But it may still look better to you than the gray.
3. Make sure your beard is long enough to dye. You can’t dye stubble very effectively, although some try. The color gel needs some length to work right. A very short beard is also hard to dye without ending up with dyed skin as well.
4. Pay close attention to timing. The color of the final dye job depends on how long you leave the dye on. If you leave it longer than recommended, the color will be darker than you’re expecting. Time precisely, make notes and be prepared to experiment the first few times to get the perfect timing for the color you want.
5. Read those directions. Every product is different, and you’ll get the best results by following the directions. With a natural beard dye, you’ll need to leave the product on longer, but this also gives you some leeway that makes the process easier. Just for Men and other chemical dyes require more precision.
6. Wear an old shirt. Some recommend not wearing a shirt while dying, but dripping dye can stain your skin. Consider wearing an old t-shirt that you keep just for the purpose so than any splattered gel or dripping dying doesn’t leave a mark on you. Use petroleum jelly to mask of places on your face where you don’t want the dye to soak in as well. Some dyes are more forgiving of spills and splatters than others.
7. Shower after you’re done. Unless the directions say otherwise, shower and shampoo your beard with a shampoo made for hair color to get rid of any smells. This may help make the color look more natural if you use a product that washes out gradually.
8. Plan to color once a week. Some guys do it less often, and some products have restrictions. But understand that once you start, you’ll be committing to dying your beard often for as long as you have it. Since it will look bad growing out if you stop coloring it, you’ll probably want to shave it if you ever decide to stop. And remember, products can be expensive over the long term.
9. Think before you start. Dying your beard on a whim is a bad idea. Although many products will wash out over time, coloring your beard may dramatically change your appearance. And it may be noticeable to some people. So give it several days thought before you try it — and choose a product that seems to fit your lifestyle and your needs. Some people get lots of irritation, and you know whether you’re prone to skin issues or not.
When you choose dying your beard over letting it go gray, you’re committing to a process that you may want to continue the rest of your life, taking up your time and costing you money. There’s no way to turn back the clock, of course, but you can take away one sign of aging with the right beard dye.