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How To Dye A Beard

How To Dye A Beard - Our Thoughts.

We are regularly asked by clients and visitors to our site, is Rusty’s suitable for beards?

The simple answer is, we don’t recommend it. This is for two reasons:

Firstly, and most importantly, the skin on your face is a lot more sensitive than the skin under your hair. While our colour is perfectly formulated for the hair on your head, as we discuss below, the hair on your face requires a different type of product.

Secondly, your beard colour doesn't typically need to last as long, as it requires regular topping up, especially when it's shorter. 

Rusty’s is a Demi Permanent colour which has been designed and tested meticulously for the hair on your head. We would recommend a semi permanent for your beard as it’s gentler, and in particular, one that has been rigorously tested and designed for beard hair.

When answering these customer queries, we felt, as a hair colour company, that there was a lot of misinformation out there about hair colour and beards. So we pulled together this little article to try and fill the void.


It’s a fact universally acknowledged that a gent’s hair and his beard should have some symmetry. Oblong, (Adam Levine) oval (David Beckham) round(Chris pine)  square (Brad Pitt).

Beards are like hairstyles, in that beard style can improve your face shape, accentuating cheekbones by experimenting with width for example.

It can draw attention in an unflattering way,   a wide nose or round face by your beard  being too bushy around your cheeks. .

In a similar fashion your hair should complement your beard, colour wise as well as in shape. 


How To Colour A Beard

Grey Hair, Beard Hair - The Science

Unfortunately,  it’s not uncommon for beard hair to begin sprouting grey hairs more obviously than the hair on your head. What can you do to create symmetry once more if your beard looks grey and your hair still brown, as an example? 

The hair on your beard is very different to your head hair. eumelanin colours your hair black or brown and pheomelanin gives it a blond or red colour. All of us have a little pheomelanin in our hair, it’s why you see a little red or even blond in tiny strands in your hair. Your eyebrows usually have the darkest hair.

Beard hair is Androgenic hair which arrives at puberty and is on your genitals and under arms chest and so on. its wiry and curly and a  different texture  to your head hair. It tends to be a slightly lighter colour because of this.

The skin around your beard is very sensitive. When you shave you may notice redness sometimes and lumps which are ingrown hairs. Because of this you need to be very careful in choosing the type of colour you use in this area. 

Hormones & Beard Hair

Facial hair starts to change colour because of a drop in testosterone and dihydrotestosterone or DHY. The amount you have in your reproductive system plays an essential role in your beard and hair growth patterns. Genetics play a big part because not everyone reacts to DHT the same. 

Testosterone is converted to DHT by the enzyme 5 alpha reductase ( 5 -AR) in the gonads, (right at the beginning of life) and in the prostate, skin and other parts of your body. 10% of testosterone is converted daily to DHT.  Although before puberty it’s much lower.

It is an androgen sex hormone.

In the form DOPAchrome tautomerase it protects melancytes (responsible for hair colour) from oxidative damage. and attaches to the bulb of  hair follicles. It is a low level of this that starts to turn the beard hair grey.

DHT is much stronger than testosterone  and is responsible for male characteristics. A high level of DHT leads to beards growing  vigorously. However,  it can also slow down the growth  of your hair and lead to male pattern baldness. That’s why you see guys with bald heads and very bushy beards. 


Beard Dye For Men

Ok, What Can I Do About It?

If you are colouring your hair, what can you do and use to recreate the symmetry which is lost by a greying beard?


A quick look around the internet comes up with all sorts of weird suggestions:

Strong black tea soaked onto your beard, sesame seeds paste or how about you try a mixture of henna,  lemon juice,  vinegar and water? .

All of these things are temporary solutions, lasting just until you wash your hair again. More importantly unless you are red beard, they will leave a gingery tinge to your beard and are really best avoided.

A bit  of research came up with a suggestion for using black henna as a dye. We would strongly advise against this. Black henna is not the same as the plant henna (currently fashionable for use in Bangladesh where there is a trend for orange beards!!)

Black henna is made with between 30 and up to 60% PPD which is also common in temporary tattoos sold in fairgrounds and beach resorts. If you have just one of these tattoos, the black henna on your skin can cause a lifetime allergic reaction to hair colours that contain even a tiny percentage of PPD.

Note here, that hair colours are tested for safety and typically contain 1 to 2% PPD (or similar ingredients from part of the same chemical family) which make them safe to use.

So What Can You Use To Dye Your Beard Effectively? 

Semi permanent colour is the best option. 

Semi permanent permanent colour is very gentle to use, and sits on the cuticle( outside shaft) of your hair. It only lasts for a few shampoos but is easy to include in your grooming routine.

It’s usually ready mixed.

You apply it to dry hair with a brush, working the colour into the beard and leave for the recommended time to develop. Then wash out in the shower. It will blend the grey hair in giving a very natural finish, and there won’t be any harsh lines.

You need to do a patch test every time you use the colour, again just fit it into your routine, it only takes a minute. Just apply a little colour behind your ear and leave for 48 hours to make sure there is no irritation or redness. 

This small addition to your morning routine, will give you confidence when you do a close up in the mirror.

There are plenty of great semi permanent beard dyes out there and we’d recommend them as the way to go.

As a general rule of thumb, always read the label and do a patch test if advised.

And if you are looking for great hair colour, check out Rusty’s, find out more by clicking here.