Why Do Beards Change Color?

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Just like the hair on our head, our beard comes in a variety of colors. You may have seen men with black, grey, brown, even red, and orange beard colors. My beard has some red in it, so I understand the frustration of mismatching beard colors.

Beards can change color because of stress, and genetics. The sun can make your hair a lighter color, and a vitamin deficiency can give your hair a dull look. The MC1R gene can cause patches of red hair on your beard.

Factors in Changing Beard Color


This is the big one. Take a look at your father’s or grandfather’s beard; you will get a pretty close estimate of what your beard will look like in the future. If your dad mentioned that he started having a grey beard at an early age, there’s a good chance that you’ll have it early too.


Studies link smoking to premature aging, sometimes causing a beard to grey before 30 years old. Those who smoke are more likely to have grey hair than non-smokers.

Smoking not only changes hair and beard color but also causes baldness. It turns out that the smoke causes the cells in the hair to breakdown, thus damaging it ultimately. In addition, smoking damages the arteries that feed the hair follicles. Smoking damages artery walls, leading to plaque, stiffness, and decreased blood flow.


Stress has a negative effect on hair pigmentation and density. Stress may cause temporary hair loss, but once it grows back, there will be less pigmentation.

The Grey Beard

Men can get a grey beard as young as 23 or in their 30s. The beard and scalp hair may start to turn grey at the same time, but usually, it’s the beard that grays out first. As we age, melanin production starts to slow down. Melanin is responsible for our natural hair color. With less melanin, our hair, including the beard, starts turning white, grey, and even silver.

Grey hair may come at different ages for different people, but it’s an inevitable part of life. It’s bound to happen. We’re just not sure when.

How to Dye Your Beard

Sensitivity Test

You need to do this at least a day before you dye your beard. Take a small amount of the dye and rub it in a sensitive area of the body, such as behind the ears, wrist, or inside the forearm. Let it stay there for 24 hours, then wash it up after with soap. If you notice any redness, it probably means that your skin is allergic to that dye, and you will need to purchase another one.

Gather Supplies

Begin by preparing all the materials you need, and we mean all. Don’t start coloring your hair, then end up having to get an item while in the process. Mineral oil, paper towels, the applicator, rubber gloves, and the dye are the basic things that you need.

Prepare Your Beard

This will all depend on the brand of dye you choose. Some brands will prefer you wash your beard before tinting it since this ensures no dead skin cells are present. This suggests that the color will stay longer since the beard is clean, and the dye can better soak in.

Other dye products will not require you to clean your beard since you might get rid of too many natural oils. These oils are thought to help in retaining the color.

Whatever method you choose, it’s best to make sure that your beard is adequately groomed or trimmed. It’s easier to apply a beard dye if it’s kept neat.

Protect Your Skin

You need skin protection to protect you from the dye. Usually, this is petroleum jelly (Vaseline). Put an ample amount on the skin near your beard to avoid irritation. Keep in mind that the color will stain your clothes, so use old clothes that can be thrown out once you’re done.

Also, keep in mind that you need to wear rubber gloves. Touching the dye with your bare hands might cause dermal irritation.

Blend the Dye

Beard dyes come in different forms and with different instructions. But most of them come with their own color and developer. Some beard dyes can be be used multiple times; just prepare the amount needed for your beard.

Combine the ingredients and check the instructions to see if it’s asking you to wait for the dye to develop before applying.

Application of the Dye

Using the dye brush, apply the tint evenly on your beard. Cover all the patches of the beard and make sure you don’t touch the skin.

The Waiting Game

Always check with the instructions on the amount of time you need for the dye to stay on your beard. After waiting for the allotted time, get a cotton swab, and examine the color change.

If the color is not what you’re expecting, you can let it sit longer for a couple of minutes. Keep in mind that some beards may take a longer time to change color, but you shouldn’t wait too long or risk overdoing it.

Wash Out the Dye

It’s best to wash off the dye using cold or lukewarm water. You should also use a shampoo meant for color-treated hair.

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Retaining Your Beard’s Color

Stay Well-Hydrated

Making sure that you get a lot of water helps make sure cells are adequately exchanging nutrients and waste. These cellular waste products can cause your hair to turn white, and getting rid of them helps you maintain the natural color of your hair.


A good sweat session can boost melanin production. Exercising also keeps stress at bay, which helps in maintaining your black hair.

Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle

A fun lifestyle also has a significant impact on what is going on in your body. It’s best to avoid smoking, consuming junk foods, and too much alcohol intake.

Incorporate Vitamins in Your Diet

Fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds are good sources of vitamins and minerals. If you’re not keen on eating too much of these, you can opt for specific supplements.

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Beard Color FAQ

Is there a way to avoid having a grey beard?

If the cause of the grey beard is just vitamin deficiency, you can easily make up for it by taking supplements. Food rich in Vitamin B12 and Omega 3 helps in fighting premature aging. You may want to increase your Vitamin D by getting some sunlight for around 15 minutes per day (just not on your face). However, the odds of going grey from a vitamin deficiency on a modern diet are slim at best.

However, if the reason behind your grey beard is genetics (which, in 99% of cases, it probably is), you won’t be able to fight it. The only thing you can do is to delay it. Engage in a healthy lifestyle and make sure you avoid smoking at all costs.

How do I properly maintain my grey beard?

Taking care of a grey beard is the same as taking care of your original beard. Commit to growing it out and groom it from time to time. You can research proper styles that will suit your facial shape. If you’re above 40, consider dying it even grayer and going for the silver fox look.

How long does beard dye last?

Most formulas will only last for 2-3 weeks.

Are there natural ways to dye my beard?

There are natural remedies published online that claim to color your beard. They mention using Sesame seeds, Black tea, Henna, and Coconut oil. Keep in mind that results may vary.


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