The Beard Dye Guide


The man’s manual on dying facial hair

What do your Jheri curls, mullet, chin strap beards and pencil moustaches have in common? They are grooming trends that (thankfully) came to an end. But unlike these fallen head and facial styles, the beard has become a fixture in men’s grooming. The trend made a comeback by 2012, and by early 2014, it seemed every man has grown himself a big old beard. With a couple of years under its belt, it’s clear that this trend has become a fixture in the modern man’s grooming.

Because hair is a source of self-expression, it’s not surprising that beard dying has become an option to people, other than football stars and older men, looking to hide their grey strands. So much so, that we’ve seen men put everything from glitter and flowers to give their facial hair extra texture and colour.

While the merman beard may not be everyone’s cup of tea, it’s perfectly normal to want to experiment with your look. Granted, it has the potential to work wonders for some, it doesn’t come void of responsibility. Not to be taken lightly, it’s a decision that takes investment of effort, time, attention and some of your hard-earned coin. Whether you’re looking to switch to a hue that better compliments your skin tone, or something more alternative, here’s what you need to consider about coloured-beard side of life:

Colour Choice

If it’s your first time to the rodeo, it’s certainly advisable to work with a professional colourist. One of the biggest mistakes in a colour job, is picking the wrong hue. But you can also argue, you don’t want to be stuck with a colour your colourist picked that you positively dislike.

Thus, go to your first session – aka the consultation – with image examples of the colour you wish to achieve. Once the colourist has as idea of the tone and shade desired, they’ll take into consideration what essentially works with your skin tone and lifestyle, and bring you as close to the colour as possible. They’ll also offer advice on the kind and amount of colour required. Take into consideration that the hair on your beard is coarser, drier and rougher than the hair on your head. Then there’s your hair type to take into consideration. You may end up having to apply a lighter tone of the shade twice, for example. Lastly, the desired effect, such as if you want the new colour to be bold and conspicuous, or if you want it to look like a natural extension of your face.

Temporary or Permanent?

Yes, there is a difference, and it’s something you need to decide on before your stylist starts the process. Permanent dye, as its name suggests, wants to stick around for the foreseeable future. Don’t worry, it’s not a lifetime commitment, but you will be stuck with it for months. Most of the hues in this category tend to be more natural-looking. However, the permanence means an oxidizer has to be left in your hair for a longer period of time. These elements, such as ammonia or hydrogen peroxide, can be damaging and drying for your beard.

On the other hand, temporary dyes target the outside shaft of the hair. This makes them ideal should you not be ready to commit to a particular colour. Additionally, if you’re looking to do a more ‘out-of-the-box’ colour – think greens, blues, yellows – majority of them come in this form. However, they easily fade when exposed to the elements or after a wash. Should you choose this option, you better like your colourist because you’ll be spending quite a bit of time with them.

Full Colour, Spot or Tint?

If you want your entire beard to be a uniform hue, full colour will probably be your best bet. They tend to come as permanent dyes that will reign in even the most unruly hairs that naturally don’t blend in. Most professional stylists will start with a strand test to identify how the colour reacts with your unique hair before applying it to the entire beard. Moreover, darker full colour jobs can make the beard appear thicker; if done right.

Spot dye treatments come in handy when you only want to colour small areas on your beard. Take for example, if you wanted to colour your emerging grey hair the same shade as the rest of your beard.  Nevertheless, it can also be used to spruce other facial hair such as the eyebrows or sideburns too.

Tint is the more subtle version of full colour because it uses semi-permanent or temporary dyes. Perhaps your beard has grown out with a more brownish tint but the rest of your hair is a dark black, you can use this dye to help match the beard colour to the rest of your hair without a severe modification.

Post Dye Maintenance

How you take care of your beard in-between appointments will determine how long the colour will last and your hair’s overall health. First things first, buy a beard shampoo specifically for dyed hair so that it can take care of your hair health while protecting your colour strength.

Secondly, you’re going to invest and — USE a beard oil. Chemicals in dye can leave your beard rough to the touch. Working beard oil into your grooming routine can help keep it soft and smooth. Thirdly, always keep tabs on your hair progress. For most men, beard hair grows pretty fast. Thus, you should ensure pencilling in touch-up appointments in your schedule. And lastly, learn some serenity. Just as you patiently waited for your beard to grown in, consider that it will take time and dedicated effort to achieve your idyllic dye job.

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