Dying a Beard: What to Know Before Covering Up Your Gray Beard

Beard dye about to be applied by a brush

Honestly, it seems like the moment you’re finally able to grow a full, luscious beard is the very same moment you find your first gray hair in there. We know, we know. 

Embrace the gray and age gracefully, right? Yeah, but what if you’re just not ready? What if you just want a few more years with your original color, you know, just to ease into the whole aging thing? 

The good news is that there are solutions out there! You can get help to maintain your color until you’re ready to enter the silver fox stage of life. Just like the hair on your head, there are products out there designed to color your beard as well. 

Before you jump in, whiskers first, though, there are a few things you might want to know about the dyes for men that promise to erase your gray. Some of these beard dye products can harm your beloved locks and some might actually benefit them. Let’s break it down. 

Beard dye being mixed in a bowl

Dying a Beard: The Good 

For those of you into clean beard care products that are environmentally friendly and super gentle on those whiskers of yours, you’re in luck. There are a few brands of beard dye out there that use a henna base to dye your gray hair

This is the same stuff used in South Asian traditional temporary tattoos, the sort you can get yourself at fairs and carnivals. Totally natural, henna beard dye has a deep brown color that fades to a lighter brown over time. You can dye your beard with this as often as your kingsman’s heart desires. 

Other natural ingredients include indigo, neem tree, and more. Look for plant-based ingredients and you can be sure the dye will do more good than harm when you color your beard.

Barber about to apply beard dye

Dying a Beard: The Bad

The most commonly used hair dye products use at least one of two harmful ingredients: ammonia and hydrogen peroxide. 


Ammonia creates a more porous surface on each hair so it can absorb the dye much more easily. Prolonged or repeated exposure to ammonia can damage the hair, but you’ll also be inhaling the fumes. It’s not just an unpleasant and overwhelming smell. 

It can also cause irritation and over time, damage to your sinuses and lungs. It’s relatively safe to use once in a while, but if you’re going to be dying your beard often, we recommend choosing a brand that doesn't include ammonia. 

Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide strips the color from the hair and can really end up frying it. Too much peroxide and your beard is going to be as brittle as a Christmas tree in March. 

Again, this is perfectly fine to use sparingly but if you’re coloring your whiskers every month, choose something less harsh.   

Beard dye on plastic gloves after application

Dying a Beard: The Ugly 

Beard dyes that contain p-Phenylenediamine (PPD) have been known to cause an incredible amount of damage to the skin and facial hair, sometimes requiring hospitalization and causing permanent scars. This is not good for those wanting to grow a full, healthy beard.

There have been class-action lawsuits against brands of dye that use this ingredient, which is an allergen known to cause severe allergic reactions in many people. PPD is often used in dyes that target men, specifically for coloring facial hair. 

If you don’t know if you have an allergy to PPD, using a product that contains it on your face can be very risky. In short, Kingsmen, we recommend you stay away from dyes with this ingredient. 

Man with salt and pepper beard who has not used beard dye

Embracing the Gray

Of course, you can always choose to go au natural and to embrace the grays. A quick Google image search for “gray beard” is all the evidence you need that a silver beard can be just as badass as a brown one. 

Think of it this way: each gray hair is earned through a life lived. 

Have you ever dyed your beard? Let us know in the comments and make sure you’re subscribed to our newsletter for more beard care tips!

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