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When your beard starts to go gray, there’s no shame in turning to the best beard dyes to keep it looking the way you want. While the salt-and-pepper look has its own merits, and so does full-on gray, there’s no denying that if well done, a fully colored beard will help you retain a more youthful appearance even if your skin is starting to wrinkle and crease a bit.
Using the best beard dyes is similar to using the best hair dye on your head. You’re taking some cosmetic-grade chemical concoction that dyes your hair, letting it sit long enough to achieve the desired results, then washing it out. Depending on the ingredients, some beard dyes work faster than others. Generally, if the product dyes your hair using natural ingredients, the process takes longer. Synthetic dyes (some even with harsh chemicals) are more accessible and tend to work faster.
Below, you’ll find our top recommendations for the best beard dyes, as well as some tips for beginners who are just starting to see those annoying gray hairs.
The Graying Man’s Guide To Beard Dye
If you’ve started to find gray hairs in your beard, then we may have bad news. Take it from us; those gray hairs will multiply faster than you expect. Your friends will tell you they like the salt-and-pepper look, but who knows, maybe they feel they have to say that. But where does one even begin when it comes to dyeing your beard?
We had the opportunity to get some advice from professional hairstylist and founder & editor-in-chief of blog MyStraightener, Monica Davis in order to pick up a few general pointers to keep in mind:
- Read the instructions. We’ll repeat that: read the instructions. While hair dye is about as old as hair, beard dyes are relatively new to the modern marketplace. Every product will have a more-or-less similar process and be relatively easy to apply, but each will have different best practices for best results, so don’t skip the instructions.
- Prep your dyeing space. Unsurprisingly, dyes can make a mess and stain surfaces. You’ll want to get set up in a bathroom with plenty of counter space near the sink. You’ll also want to get a dark towel to cover any surfaces near the dye or any surfaces you’ll be standing over because there’s a good chance some of the color will drip or splash.
- Go with a lighter shade at first. If you’re unsure which is the best shade, go for lighter. You can always re-apply to achieve a darker color, but the only way to make a darker shade lighter is by waiting weeks to wash out — or shave it. “If your beard isn’t completely grey yet, you need to choose a color that is 2-3 shades lighter than your original color,” says Davis. “This way you will avoid making your beard too dark.
- Look for color developers. A color developer contains hydrogen peroxide, which oxidizes and opens the cuticle of your hair to help the color take hold. It’s typically mixed with the dye before you apply. You don’t necessarily need a color developer but it’s an addition that can make the dyeing process shorter and you should know what it is when looking to dye. You may also see developers called dye boosters or oxidants.
- Dyeing is harsh. There’s a chance even the best beard dye could irritate your skin, especially those with color developers and harsh chemicals. Even if you do a test patch, there’s no telling how a dye will react with your specific facial skin after five minutes. If your skin starts to hurt or you’re feeling too much burn, you should immediately wash and wait at least a day before trying again.
How to Dye Your Beard at Home
After learning more from Monica Davis, she has a number of tips to provide when dying your beard in the comfort of your own home. When choosing the correct beard dye for you, “you need to prepare your skin by scrubbing it with an exfoliating scrub,” Davis tells us. “It will clean your beard and let the dye penetrate your hair deeper. The oil from the scrub will also protect your skin from excessive exposure to chemicals.”
When the cleansing process is over, make sure to wear gloves and a raggedy t-shirt you don’t care about before lathering dye on your facial hair. “Apply the dye carefully, using the brush that comes with the dye,” says Davis. “Use a comb on the other side of the brush to ensure even dye distribution and look at your beard carefully in the mirror to touch up any spots that are not covered.”
When your timer goes off, simply wash out the dye until the water in your sink is totally clear. From then on, you’ll have a freshly dyed beard for two to four weeks time. Keep in mind, your roots will begin to regrow in just three to five days, making most beard dyes semi-permanent. Davis tells us the best time to dye your beard is on a Sunday. “This way, your roots will start regrowing only by the end of the week so that you can retouch them next Sunday.”
Why trust SPY? When it comes to grooming of any shade, we’ve tried it. Be it removing color from our hair, adding it to our hair, testing the best beard trimmers or lathering our beards with the best beard oils. Chances are if there is a product out there for men, it’s been in our bathroom. Check out the best beard dyes below from some of our favorite brands and start taking control of the color of your facial hair. The worst that could happen is the dye washes out in a few weeks, or you have to shave your beard. (And don’t worry, we’re pretty sure it’ll grow back.)
1. Cleverman Beard Dye
For a customized dye that covers both hair and beard, you can’t do much better than Cleverman. All you have to do is take a quiz, and Cleverman will mix you a custom color kit to restore your beard’s youthful appearance. Not only do you get a personalized cream colorant, personalized cream developer, custom optimal exposure time and mixing tray and application brush, but you also get custom gloves that fit and four dye-safe beard scrubs. The dye needs no more than 10 minutes to work its magic; you get enough dye for multiple treatments; the creams make the process easy to apply and you can subscribe for regular beard dye deliveries.
2. Madison Reed Mr. Hair Color
While a custom color might be the order of the day for some, there’s something to be said for easy-to-use no-mix colors that are still natural-looking. That’s just what Madison Reed Mr. Hair Color delivers with its five colors of hair and beard dye. With one beard dye kit, you get two pairs of gloves, two packets of color gel, two packets of color activator, plus two packets of shampoo. The result lasts up to two weeks, meaning a single kit has enough dye for a month. If you do have any concerns about choosing the right color, you can always have a video consultation with a human colorist or take a short color match quiz.
Read More: The Best Beard Oils Reviewed
3. Just For Men Mustache & Beard Coloring
BEST OFF-THE-SHELF OPTION
Sure, it’s got its naysayers, but if you want great, fast, easy results at a reasonable price, there’s no competition for Just For Men Mustache & Beard Coloring. Not only is it easy to apply, but it’s also designed to work on thick, coarse facial hair and has a creamy formula with biotin, aloe and coconut oil to condition your beard and keep it healthy. All you have to do is mix the color and the developer in the tray, dip the brush in and start painting your mug. Let it sit for about five minutes and then wash.
4. SoftSheen-Carson Dark & Natural Hair Color for Men
BEST FOR BLACK MEN
This solution from SoftSheen is available in jet black, dark brown and natural black, making it an excellent option for men with darker hair. The dye is specifically designed to meet the needs of Black men, who are often left out of the conversation when it comes to hair care. It’s also intended as a permanent solution, meaning a single application can last up to six weeks. It’s not explicitly a beard care option, but many men found success for facial hair as well.
5. The Henna Guys Hair and Beard Dye
BEST NATURAL BEARD DYE
If you have sensitive skin, you may opt for a natural dye. Henna is one of the oldest dyes, and it’s plant-based, so expect no harsh chemicals or irritation. The Henna Guys uses 100% pure henna to naturally darken and color your hair. But like most all-natural dyes, there’s quite a process to get it to work. Because henna is natural, there’s no color developer, which means you have to sit and wait three hours for the dye to work. And that’s after you mix it up with black coffee or tea, let the mixture sit for eight hours and slather it on your face with latex gloves. And even then, you might need to re-apply the mix again if the color isn’t dark enough or you don’t have full coverage.
Sure, the cons seem long, but ultimately the dye does work, and it’s way less irritating to the skin than any harsh chemical dyes, so we’d recommend undertaking this on a weekend when you won’t be seeing anybody.
6. Godefroy Professional Hair Color Tint Kint
LONGEST-LASTING BEARD DYE
We call the Godefroy Professional Hair Color Tint Kint the longest-lasting beard dye for two straightforward reasons. First, this beard dye lasts up to six weeks. Second, the amount of beard dye you get will also last you a long time because this kit ships with 20 individual capsules of beard dye. Each is good for one dye job, which far exceeds the amount of dyeing you’ll get from any other option on our list. This also means you’re never wasting any dye because each capsule comes with just the right amount of dye to get the job done. That’s going to save a lot of money in the long run, making this a great value pick that’s easy to apply.
7. My Perfect Goatee Temporary Goatee and Beard Color
BEST TEMPORARY COLOR
This My Perfect Goatee Temporary Goatee and Beard Color isn’t a beard dye per se. Instead of going the full-on dye route, which will last weeks, this is basically like a makeup kit for your beard that quickly blends and washes out with beard wash or soap and water. You use a small brush included in the kit and colored powders to brush and blend color into your hair. It’s an excellent option for those who want to experiment with changing the color of their facial hair without jumping feet-first into the dyeing pool. Because it’s not a dye, it’s also free of most harsh chemicals assimilated with dyes.
Read More: Best Beard Trimmers