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A lot of guys are dyeing their beards these days for different reasons. Some do it to cover gray hair; others dye it a darker shade because their beard is patchy and want to make it look fuller, and others just want a drastic change.
No matter why you should learn how to do it the right way. Especially if you have a short beard because dyeing a stubble beard is trickier than dyeing a full one. So, if you want to know all the tips and tricks on how to dye a very short beard, please keep reading.
I am going to start by giving you 3 basic tips about beard dyeing. Then I am going to tell you how to dye a short beard without staining your skin or making a mess (if you get stained, you can read our article about how to remove it.) And finally, I am going to suggest some of the best beard dyes I have tried.
Let’s get started with the tips!
Short Beard Dyeing Tips
Tip No1: Choose The Right Type of Beard Dye
There are 3 different types of dyes: Permanent, Semi-permanent, and Temporary.
Permanent Beard Dyes
Permanent beard dyes last for a few months and don’t fade out much. You will just have to dye the roots of your facial hair as they get longer.
Permanent beard dyes work by creating a chemical reaction to penetrate your hair and add a coloring agent.
They are not suggested for men with sensitive skin because they contain ammonia and hydrogen peroxide that can irritate your skin and cause allergic reactions. To learn about the top beard dyes for guys with sensitive skin, read our guide.
Semi-Permanent Beard Dyes
Semi-permanent beard dyes work exactly like permanent ones. The only difference is that semi-permanent colors contain fewer harsh chemicals, so they don’t last as much as the permanent ones and start fading after a few weeks.
Temporary Beard Dyes
Temporary beard dyes don’t penetrate your hair; they just coat it with dye on its outside layer. This is the reason they don’t last and wash out after your wash your beard.
They are a really good choice for guys with sensitive skin as they are usually made from 100% natural ingredients that don’t irritate the skin.
Another pro of temporary dyes is that if you have a patchy beard, they will make it look fuller; cause, as we mentioned, they paint the outside hair layer making your hair look thicker.
Tip No2: Choose The Right Color
This is one of the most crucial steps because choosing the right color can make or break your beard.
First, you should keep in mind that 99% of the time, your facial hair color will not be exactly like the beard on the product package photo. It might be lighter or darker depending on a lot of factors like the color of your beard, the time you will leave the dye on your beard, your beard style and length, and the type of the dye.
So what should I do? How am I going to choose the right color?
Don’t worry, I will help you get the right color.
Let’s start by defining your goals. If you want to cover gray spots and get a uniform color, you should pick a shade close to your beard’s color.
The most common colors you will find on the market are light brown, black, dark brown, and medium brown.
If you use a permanent or semi-permanent beard dye, you should get a shade lighter because it will get darker as time passes.
If you use a temporary beard dye, do the opposite; buy a darker shade as it fades easily.
If you are looking to completely change the color of your beard hair, there is not much to do; pick the color you like and dye your beard.
If you are still not sure about it, the best thing to do is ask your barber. These guys have seen it all, and they know how dyes work better than anyone.
Tip No3: Pick The Right Timing
What do you mean by picking the right timing? I am pumped up and want to do it right now.
What I mean is that you should know your schedule a couple of days ahead.
For example, if you have a job interview in a few days, you don’t want to do it just before that, or if you do, use a temporary dye.
There are many bad times to dye your beard, like before going on a date for the first time, before going to a wedding, or even before going to meet your girl’s parents, etc.
My advice is to plan a few days ahead and not do it before an important life event.
So now it is time to move to the fun part and start dyeing your facial hair. You should do it at the sink of your bathroom as you will need a mirror and, of course, a sink, let’s get started.
How to Dye a Stubble
Gather your equipment
You should make sure to have everything you need around you. You don’t want to walk around the house with dye on your beard or hands because the chance of making a mess is very high.
The things you will need are:
Latex gloves: You are going to use them when you will be dyeing your beard so make sure you have a couple of pairs close to you, ideally take the whole box with you.
Beard Dye: You have already decided on the dye color and type so don’t forget to take it with you.
Old clothes: Get this old t-shirt that your aunty bought on your birthday a couple of years ago and never wore and wear it now. See it was a nice gift after all. Jokes aside you should wear something old because the probability of getting it stained is really high.
The Applicator: Probably the beard dye you have bought comes with an applicator. It is a small beard brush to help you apply the dye. If you don’t have one you can use an old toothbrush.
Paper towels or cleaning wipes: Yeah I have said it a lot of times I know, but things will get messy so you need a paper towel or something to clean things up (please don’t use a cloth towel for obvious reasons).
Alcohol wipes: You are going to use these to wipe the dye off your skin on areas you accidentally dyed.
Vaseline or beard oil: You should apply Vaseline or beard oil to the surroundings of your stubble beard(neck and cheeks) to protect them from skin staining but we will talk more about it later.
Trim your beard
This is pro advice that you won’t hear much.
This article is about dyeing a very short beard and this is a step you should not skip. If you do not trim your beard before you dye it you will dye areas that will get shaved off later on and the skin below them will be stained and look ugly.
If you want to learn about trimmers read our best beard trimmer guide. If not, Philips Norelco Multigroom Series 7000 is a really good choice
Wash your beard
After you have trimmed your beard, wash it with a good beard wash to get rid of the cut hair. We recommend Professor Fuzzworthy’s Beard Shampoo (you can read more on our best beard wash article here).
Apply Vaseline or beard oil
Now is the time to wear this old t-shirt put your latex gloves on and start applying the Vaseline or beard oil around your beard, following the neckline and cheek lines. Think of vaseline as a protective layer that will prevent your facial skin from getting stained.
Prepare the dye
Most permanent and semi-permanent solutions need mixing before you apply them.
They usually come in 2 bottles. One with the color developer and one with the base color. Use the mixing bowl that comes with your beard dye and mix them.
We can’t give you more details on how to do it as it depends on the dye. Just make sure to follow the instructions. One thing to keep in mind is that the quantities on the instructions are for full beards and you are going to dye a shorter beard so use a bit less.
If you have a temporary dye that comes pre-prepared skip this step.
Do a patch test
Get a small amount of the dye and apply it to a small area of your beard (preferably to a not-so-visible spot).
Wait a bit and then wash it out.
See if your skin gets irritated and if you like the color, if yes move on. If the color of the patch test was a bit lighter than desired just leave it longer when you dye the rest of your beard.
Apply the dye to your stubble beard
Time to start the application process! Get your applicator beard brush and mix the dye with it.
Then take the brush and rub the bearded areas of your face with an up and down motion making sure to coat your entire beard.
If you want to cover gray or patchy spots start with these spots first because the more the dye sits on your facial hair the darker it gets.
Be careful when you approach the neckline and cheek lines, the Vaseline will not protect you if you overdo it.
I can’t tell you exactly how long you should wait but 5 to 10 minutes is an average waiting time.
Depending on the results of the spot test you might want to leave it for a bit more (if you want a darker shade)or less (for a lighter color). So just get your timer on and wait.
Wash your beard again
After the 5 minutes mark, wash your beard with warm water until the water runs clear. Then use beard shampoo and wash it properly. Ideally, you should use shampoo for dyed hair.
You are all set; now, you can apply some beard oil or balm to your stubble! I know that you might still have some questions, like what to do if your skin gets stained, but please be patient. Now we are going to talk about some good beard dyes for short beards and then answer all the questions in the FAQ section.
Best beard dyes for a very short beard
Refectocil Color Kit – Best Permanent
If you want to use a permanent beard stubble dye, Refectocil is the one you should use.
It is one of the most popular permanent beard dyes amongst barbers and hair salons because it gets the job done and is less possible to cause skin irritation or allergies.
It takes about 10 minutes to settle and has a natural hair color.
On the downside, you have to buy the color developer separately from the color base as they are not sold together by the manufacturer
Godefroy Professional Tint Kit – Best Semi-Permanent
Godefroy is our top semi-permanent solution. It comes in pre-measured capsules, making it really easy to use and mix. This dye is ideal for stubbles because it will not dye your skin as it has a completely different formula than other dyes.
Godefroy Professional Tint Kit does not contain ammonia or hydrogen peroxide, so it is well suited for sensitive skin.
It is a really strong semi-permanent dye that will cover even the most persistent gray hair with natural color.
Blackbeard for Men X – Best Temporary
Blackbeard is a temporary natural beard dye that will not penetrate your hair or use ingredients like ammonia or hydrogen peroxide that might cause irritation and itchiness; it contains natural ingredients making it another good choice for guys with sensitive skin.
This dye will naturally coat your facial hair and make it appear thicker. Being a temporary beard dye means it will last for 12 hours or so. I almost forgot to mention that the price is fair.
Short Beard Dyeing FAQ
What should I do if I accidentally stain my cheek or neck?
This is why we have told you to keep some alcohol-based wipes close to you. You should rub the stained area with the alcoholic wipes and you will be ok.
Just make sure to do it quickly and not let the dye on your skin for a long time.
The skin below my beard got dyed what do I do?
You can’t do much about it but you should not worry about it either. With a short beard, it will not be visible and your beard will look fuller. After you wash your beard a couple of times the dye will wash out.
Can I dye my short beard without staining my skin at all?
The short answer is no, I mean wear your rubber gloves, make sure to apply vaseline to the non-bearded areas of your face and the only part of your skin that will get stained is the part below your beard. This is something you can’t avoid but keep in mind that people will not notice as your beard will be covering it.
Can I use regular hair color for my beard stubble?
Yes, you can do it, in fact, some of the most popular beard dyes are hair dyes that people started using to dye their beards. Just make sure to do a patch test to see if your skin gets irritated.
Now you know how to dye a short beard, what kind of dye to use, and what beard color to choose. If you have more questions or suggestions, hit us in the comments section.
Russell is the founder of themensattitude.com. He is a barber a beard enthusiast and he is obsessed with trying men’s lifestyle products and blog about them. If you have any questions you can hit him up via the contact page.