Best Beard Dye
Beard dye isn’t just for older men looking to cover up gray spots. Beard maintenance is important for men of all ages, and the color of your beard is just as essential as proper trimming and conditioning.
Luckily, with a little help and advice from us, it wont be that difficult to get (and keep!) the color you want.
Beard dye can be used to cover blonde or red hair that doesn’t match the rest of your beard, eyebrows, or head hair. Dyeing can also make a sparse beard appear thicker, because darker beards appear thicker, while lighter beards appear finer.
On the other hand, you can go for something more unconventional by dyeing or highlighting your beard with a louder color, like blue or purple (fortunately there are temporary dyes for this purpose, in case you want to be creative without committing fully to your wild side).
If you’re still unsure of whether or not you should dye your beard, Youtuber Eric Bandholz has a fairly in-depth video that tackles questions such as; which dyes are best suited for tackling beard health, rocking a blonde beard, and the age-old question of whether you should embrace the gray (since silver foxes are a real phenomenon) or get rid of it.
Top 5 Beard Dyes
Just For Men Brush-In Color Gel
Blackbeard for Men X
Grizzly Mountain Organic Beard Dye
Henna Color Lab Beard Dye
Whether you decide to go with a permanent, semi-permanent, or temporary dye job there’s a lot of stuff you need to know about dyeing your beard so keep reading and learn about them.
How Does Beard Dyeing Work?
If you want to dye your beard, you should understand the science of how dyes work. Most permanent chemical hair dyes work by penetrating the follicle of your hair and add the pigment, which then reacts with the melanin that’s already present in your hair.
There are two steps here, normally involving two different chemicals (ammonia and peroxide).
First, your natural base hair color is lightened. Then, the new tone or color is added. A reaction causes the molecules in the dye to expand to a size that essentially lodges them into the cortex of your cuticle, this is why they cannot be washed out.
Though they will never wash out, permanent dyes can sometimes fade over time. And of course, as your hair grows, the new hair will not be affected by the dye. So, your roots will be visible.
In order to prevent the look of your roots not matching the rest of your hair, you will have to touch up the roots with your chosen dye every few weeks, depending on how fast your hair grows.
The more drastic the color change, the more noticeable your roots will be, and the more frequently you will have to re-dye your roots.
Temporary dyes work by coating each hair to alter the color, which is why they don't last that long.
They don't contain ammonia or peroxide. This makes them gentler on your hair, but the color will fade away after only a few washes.
There are also dyes that are in the middle between temporary and permanent. These are called semi- or demi-permanent dyes.
They contain peroxide, but not ammonia, which means they cannot be used to lighten your hair. Semi- or demi-permanent dyes are used for enhancing your beard’s natural color or masking grays rather than entirely changing the color of your beard.
These dyes wash out after a certain number of washes, depending on the formula. Basically, this happens because depending on the chemicals used, they penetrate the cortex to a certain amount, the molecules react and become varying sizes but never penetrating as deeply or becoming as large as the molecules used in permanent dyes.
It is important to note that the result of permanent or semi-permanent chemical hair dye will be unique for each person.
In other words, the color that a dye shows on the box or the beard color of your friend who swears by it, won’t be exactly the same as the one on you will get your beard.
Another thing you should keep in mind is that the texture and condition of your beard hair (thick or thin, oily or dry) can influence how the dye reacts.
Your beard hair has a very different texture than the hair on your head, so if you have dyed your head before and looking to try out a beard dye for the first time, keep in mind that these two are different beasts!
Dyes that work by penetrating the follicle (anything other than temporary dye) will react differently to thick hair than thin hair.
The amount of natural oils in your beard can also affect the absorption process. Many people recommend avoiding washing your beard for two days before dyeing, claiming that the buildup of natural oils will help the dye set.
Others claim those oils decrease the quality of the dye. Ultimately, it varies dye-to-dye. Follow the instructions on the box for the best results.
Finally, different hair dyes require different amounts of labor. Most dyes come in cream, liquid/gel, or powder forms.
Certain dyes will require you to mix the dye with a cream base and then apply it to your beard.
Liquid dyes are effective because little to no set-up is required on your part, and it is very easy to coat your beard evenly.
The downside is that it can be quite messy, and oftentimes once you open the bottle it cannot be reused.
Cream dyes, on the other hand, allow you to have more control over the sections of your beard you are going to dye. So, they are ideal for touch-ups on your roots.
Powder dyes require you to mix them with a base (often water) which allows you to use only the amount you need. It is a more economical option if you require frequent touch-ups to your roots, but it is the most labor-intensive of the three options.
No matter what you choose always follow the instructions on the box for the best results.
Natural Dyes vs. Chemical Dyes
Any color change to your hair requires chemicals of some sort, so do not be fooled into thinking that natural or organic dyes are chemical-free.
The real difference lies in the types of chemicals used. As we discussed, many dyes include ammonia and/or peroxide, as well as the color pigment.
However, ammonia and peroxide can both be quite irritating to your skin. The use of these chemicals can cause damage to your hair if they are used frequently for a long period of time.
The most important thing to consider when choosing between an all-natural or chemically-based dye is your skin sensitivity.
All-natural options without these two harsh chemicals are more suitable if you have sensitive skin.
If you had issues in the past with dyes or other skin products, consider a dye made from plant extracts or other natural materials (Grizzly Mountain and Henna Color Lab are both all-natural and free of chemical additives).
If you know that certain artificially produced chemical ingredients will irritate your skin, check the ingredients on the packaging to make sure they’re not present in your dye.
Try a Spot Treatment
Whether you have sensitive skin or not, it's recommended to try a spot treatment before fully applying a dye.
To ensure that nothing goes wrong, try a spot treatment by applying a tiny amount on a small patch of skin and wait 24 to 48 hours.
Mild redness and a light (but not painful) burning sensation is normal. If a more severe reaction occurs, consider trying another dye.
It’s also important to note that the skin on your face may be more sensitive than the skin on other parts of your body.
Be aware of this when you do a spot treatment, and choose a spot with similar texture and toughness to your cheek and jawline.
Remember, no beard is worth severe skin irritation! You should be able to find a dye that will work for your skin and hair type. Don't force anything.
Uses for Beard Dye
Before looking for a dye, you need to consider what kind of results you want.
The best beard dye for you will depend entirely on your answers to these questions.
Some dyes are intended to be applied to the entire beard. The result, in theory, is a uniform color, without any streaks or highlights appearing on hair that is naturally a bit lighter.
These dyes are often permanent, so choosing the right color is especially important.
A beard color that is poorly matched with your hair or drastically different from what you had before will make the color seem unnatural.
Dyes made for a full recolor are often the strongest and are made to be applied throughout your whole beard, so there’s plenty of room for things to go wrong if you don’t do your homework.
You should do a strand test (basically the same technique as a spot test, except on a small patch of your beard rather than your skin) to be 100% sure that you like the color you’ve chosen and see how it will look on your beard.
Full recoloring with permanent dye can be used to make your hair lighter or darker and is a good option if you are looking to drastically change your appearance, or cover a lot of gray hair.
It should be noted that lightening your hair require more chemicals and more time in order to let those chemicals set. Depending on how much lighter you want to make your beard, professional bleaching may be recommended (for example, if you are going from black to a blond or light brown).
Darkening your beard is much easier, and is a great option if you want to make your beard appear thicker.Finding the right color is a process. You should make sure to match the beard color to your eyebrow and head hair color, so you won't have an end result looking obviously unnatural. Avoid over-applying, and definitely do not rush the process.
These dyes are designed to be applied to a few small areas of your beard where the hair is a different color than the rest.
Cream dyes with specific applicators are best for getting at these small areas in a controlled and intentional way.
The most common use of spot treatment dye is to color the gray spots.
Another common use is to have red or blonde hair show up in a brown or black beard, spot treatment works just as well for these.Spot treatments are also used to tint other areas of facial hair such as sideburns or eyebrows. However, when dyeing these areas keep in mind that the skin is more sensitive and it is especially important to do a spot test to avoid irritation.
Dyes used for tinting are often semi-permanent or temporary; they don’t contain many chemicals to alter the color of your hair. This is the major difference between dyes for tinting and dyes for full recoloring.
For example, if you have brown hair but your beard happens to have a more reddish tint, you can use this type of dye to match the colors without a drastic change.
No matter which kind of dye you choose, make sure to fully read the instructions before you begin. The results may last for several weeks, so it’s worth taking a few extra minutes to make sure you know exactly what you’re doing before you reach the point of no return.
Choosing a Beard Dye
Now that you know what to look for, here's a breakdown of some of the most popular products out there:
Just For Men is by far the most popular and recognizable brand of chemical beard dyes. This dye is applied using a non-drip brush, which allows you to quickly treat your beard in just a few minutes.
Unlike some of the other dyes out there, it doesn’t require you to mix in powder, so the prep is a bit easier and probably less messy.
While there is some prep work involved, the mixing tray provided in the box makes it easier.
The combine-it-yourself gel-formula allows you to use the amount you need, making it an economic and convenient option.
It is perfect for a last-minute touch-up on those sparse gray hair before you walk out the door. When it comes to convenience and ease of use, this dye can’t be beaten. Just be aware that this dye has a reputation for causing skin irritation, so a spot treatment is a must.
Technically, RefectoCil is for eyebrows and eyelashes, but it works really well on beards too. The RefectoCil website has an informational video about how to apply this cream-based dye to beards.
It is a dye that is often used in professional salons to dye hair around sensitive areas.
It’s more for tinting than dying, so if you’re trying to totally hide gray or white hair, you should try something else.
But if you’re a brown-haired guy whose beard is just a bit too reddish for your taste, you can use it to tint your beard to a truer brown.
This dye is quite easy to use; the only thing you have to do is mix some drops of the dye into the cream base. You then apply it by working it into your beard.
Blackbeard for Men X is an easy way for you to color your beard without resorting to tricky, messy dyes.
It isn’t a dye so it doesn’t chemically alter the natural color of your hair, rather temporarily coating each individual strand to give you a bold and fresh look that isn’t harmful to your hair or skin.
That means it does wash out and needs to be reapplied daily, or whenever you’re looking to give your beard that extra boost of color.
Blackbeard for Men's applicator allows you to precisely apply color to fill in, touch up, and cover greys. The small and manoeuvrable brush makes it perfect for smaller areas and shorter beards.
You can fill in as much or as little as you like, and color your beard fully or leave some grey for a more natural, but still polished, look.
Unlike traditional dyes, which can contain harsh chemicals that cause irritation or adverse reaction, Blackbeard for Men is a cosmetic product that is hypoallergenic.With four color options available (Brown/Auburn, Dark Brown, Brown-black, and Black), everyone should be able to find an option that will work for them.
Grizzly Mountain is an organic dye made 100% from natural plant extracts and contains no added chemicals.
It comes as a herbal powder, that you mix with hot water until it is the right consistency (follow the directions on the packaging). Then work it throughout your beard, leave it on for ten to thirty minutes (thicker beards require more time for the dye to set), and then rinse it off to see the result!
Grizzly Mountain Beard Dye dyes the outside of the follicle and not penetrate your hair. Despite the fact that it doesn’t chemically penetrate to each cuticle cortex, the coloring is permanent. The resulting color is based on the coarseness of each hair.
For example, if you’re using their brown dye, darker and coarser hair could end up a darker brown, while white or gray hair might become blonde or light brown.
The result won’t be perfectly uniform, but it might look more natural than a uniform jet black.
This dye is perfect if you are beginning to see some gray, but are hesitant to go “all-out” on a uniform color.
Finally, it's an excellent choice if you have sensitive skin since it doesn’t contain chemical additives that may cause irritation.
Henna Color Lab is a Portland-based company that creates natural hair dyes using the henna plant. Yup, it’s the same stuff used to make henna tattoos.
The plant is sourced from award-winning growers in its native, India. This dye comes as a powder made with all-natural ingredients is vegan, and is cruelty free.
Henna Color Lab also offers one of the larger selections of colors. In addition to natural colors like brown and black, you can go for something louder like indigo or wine red.
However, the lack of chemicals like ammonia and peroxide means you can’t use Henna Color Lab dye to lighten your hair.
Whether you have sensitive skin or not, this is a great choice if you want to incorporate a more adventurous color, and if you are environment and animal friendly.
Mix the powder with water before applying, so you can use only the amount you need and save the rest, Keep in mind it can get a bit messy and more labor-intensive than the simple gel-based dyes.
So What’s The Best Beard Dye?
It can take a bit of time and experimentation to find the beard dye that is right for you.
There are two major risks if you are dyeing your beard for the first time. First, your skin might not like having dye on it, and second, you might not like having a jet black beard if you wanted something more neutral.
With these concerns in mind, Henna Color Lab is the best beard dye. In addition to boasting all-natural ingredients and cruelty-free production, Henna Color Lab offers several shades of brown and black and colors like wine red and indigo, making it the most versatile dye in the list.
It comes from a small company that use natural ingredients from dedicated professionals and doesn't use animal testing. (After all, humans aren't the only animals with sensitive skin.)
The henna-based dye can be used to recolor your entire beard or could be used for spot treatment. You could go all out and dye your beard blue, or you could just add a few colorful streaks. This is a versatile dye that should suit the needs of most men, making it a great choice for those unfamiliar with beard dyes. As it doesn’t contain the harsh chemicals of other dyes, it is safe to use again and again. Each time you dye your beard with the same shade of henna dye, it will come in a little bit darker. This way, you can make the transition to your new look more gradual and natural!
Dyeing your beard is a great way to spice up your look and keeping yourself looking fresh and ageless. Whether you’re trying out a whole new look, or just trying to keep those gray hairs in check, maintaining the color of your beard is as essential.
With a wide variety of types, colors, and brands out there, it is really important to do your research. Take the time and look at reviews of different products and read the instructions carefully before ever applying a new beard dye.
Consider how long you want the color to last if you want to color your whole beard or just parts of it, how drastic of a color change you are looking for, and the coarseness of your beard. Remember that in addition to color, you have to choose if you want a liquid, gel, or powder-based dye, as well as if you want a temporary, semi- or demi-permanent, or permanent dye. Different types of dyes work better for different skin and hair types, as well as for different desired outcomes.We hope that this post helped you get an idea of what you need to do to get the exact beard color and quality you desire! When it comes to getting the best beard dye job, a good rule is to be bold, but always do your homework.