Graying beard hair can produce several different reactions in a man. One may think it looks distinguished and refined. Another may want to do anything they can to reclaim their younger self. These men often ask whether it’s possible to dye a beard naturally.
I’m going to tell you 8 natural and DIY options you could try. With each of them, I’ll tell you whether they will lighten the beard, enhance blonde features, produce a reddish tinge, or darken the beard.
I’ll talk through them in order (sort of) – going from light dyes to dark dyes.
Although these organic beard dye options may not be as long-lasting as artificial beard dyes, they would certainly save you from applying chemicals you may not be comfortable with onto your beard.
8 Ways To Dye A Beard Naturally
Before applying any of these ingredients onto your beard, perform a patch test. Apply a small amount to your elbow and review the area after 24 hours. If there is any irritation or rash, don’t use it.
You can also test all of these ingredients out on a trimmed tuft of beard hair first to see if you like the look.
1. Lemon Juice
Effect: Lightening the beard over time.
A simple, age-old technique of lightening hair. It gradually removes pigment from the beard hair but usually requires multiple applications for the best results – around once a week until you get the desired effect.
It’s important to know that although lemon juice works slowly, unlike most other DIY options, the results are considered “permanent”.
That is, of course, until you trim these depigmented beard hairs off.
- Mix two tablespoons of lemon juice with a cup of water
- If you have a spray bottle, use it to spray it the mixture onto your wet beard
- Rub it into the hair strands. Use a beard comb (if your beard is long enough) or your fingers to distribute it evenly.
- Leave it to dry naturally. Sitting in the sun has been known to enhance the effects.
- Rinse your beard with lukewarm water after it has dried naturally.
2. Baking Soda
Effect: Lightening the beard hair
This one isn’t strictly “natural”, but it’s certainly DIY and isn’t nearly as “chemical” as artificial beard dye.
Using baking soda is actually one of the methods I recommend for removing artificial beard dye. It’s good at removing darkening chemicals that may have built up.
But even if you’ve never applied beard dye in your life, it will still most likely lighten your beard hair over time.
Once again, it does usually require multiple applications before you get the desired effect.
- Mix a quarter-sized amount of beard shampoo with an equal amount of baking soda.
- Apply this paste onto your beard and let it sit for 8-10 minutes
- Rinse it out with lukewarm water
3. Chamomile Tea
Effect: Enhancing blonde features and lightening
Chamomile tea is a great way of naturally dyeing your beard, especially if you already have blonde hair.
Beard hair is notorious for growing in all sorts of colors which can lead to a patchy and uneven appearance.
If, for instance, you have a “blonde” beard but notice a scattering of slightly lighter or slightly darker hairs, applying some chamomile tea may be a good way of making it all more impressively blonde.
Of course, it’s also a good way of lightening your beard even if your hair isn’t quite originally blonde.
The core of this technique is a chamomile rinse. To do this, you can either use chamomile flowers or a chamomile tea bag. The flowers may be slightly more effective but can be a little trickier to get hold of.
- Steep half a cup of chamomile flowers in boiling water and let it sit for 40 minutes.
- Strain it, leaving just the chamomile rinse.
- Wash your beard with lukewarm water as you normally would.
- Pour your chamomile solution into your wet beard multiple times until it runs out.
- As you do so, rub it into the hair strands and massage it into the roots.
- Wring out any excess.
- Let it sit on your beard for 10 minutes before rinsing it out with lukewarm water.
4. Carrot Juice
Effect: An orange-red tint
This type of tint is great for those with already ginger, orange, or red beards. It will enhance the color and make it more pronounced.
Bear in mind that beet juice can be used as an alternative if you want to go for a deeper red.
Also note that this can get messy, as the stains can be hard to remove. Wear old clothes and disposable latex gloves if possible.
- Mix a cup of carrot juice with half a cup of olive oil.
- Rub this mixture into your beard. Comb it through with your fingers (or a comb) to ensure even distribution.
- Let it sit for 45 to 60 minutes before rinsing it out with lukewarm water.
Once again, it may require multiple applications before you get the desired effect. Try to leave at least 24 hours between applications.
Effect: An orange-red shade
This is an extremely popular dye prepared from the Lawsonia inermis plant. It has been used for centuries in the Indian subcontinent and the Middle East to create body art.
But it’s becoming increasingly popular as a natural beard dye for men. Used alone, it usually produces an orange-red shade, so it’s most useful for orange or red-bearded men.
But men with a brunette beard looking for an auburn twist may also find it useful.
Unlike most of the other natural beard dyes on this list, henna is relatively long-lasting. Once you’ve applied it, the effects should be noticeable for a month or even longer.
Again, this one is messy and henna stains. So, be prepared. It’s also a relatively long process, so set aside enough time.
- Mix 1 cup of henna powder with ½ a cup of warm water and 2 tablespoons of lemon juice.
- Mix it into a paste and let it sit for 6 hours.
- Add a little more water if you need to before you apply it on to your beard.
- Another tip – apply a strip of petroleum jelly (Vaseline) immediately next to the neckline and cheek line of your beard. This will create a barrier and hopefully stop the dye leaking out of the beard and onto your face and neck.
- Using disposable latex gloves, apply the paste into your beard.
- Rub it into the hair strands, and comb it through to produce an even spread.
- Let it sit for 4 hours before rinsing out with lukewarm water.
Effect: Darkening beard hair
Sage is a good option for men with brown or black hair that want to make their color more pronounced. It will also make gray hair less noticeable.
You should be able to get sage leaves from your usual supermarket, or a health food store.
- Boil a liter of water in a large bowl and mix in a handful of dried sage leaves.
- Let it steep for 30 to 60 minutes.
- Use a strainer to extract the leaves, leaving just the sage water.
- Wash your beard as you usually would and towel-dry it until it’s damp.
- Let the sage water cool. Pour it over your damp beard around 10 times.
- Each time you do it, rub it into the hair strands and comb it through with your fingers.
- Leave it for around 20 minutes before rinsing with clean, lukewarm water.
Effect: Darkening, as you’d expect.
This is becoming increasingly popular. The effects aren’t particularly striking or long-lasting, but they are noticeable.
It’s a great way of giving your beard a darker tinge, making it look fuller and more uniform.
Coffee contains tannins that dye and darken the beard hair temporarily. It’s also a good way of masking some of those gray hairs.
- Mix 2 tablespoons of coffee granules with a cup of your usual beard shampoo.
- You may need to grind the coffee granules until they’re a finer powder.
- Apply this coffee shampoo onto your beard and let it sit for an hour. This should be enough time for some color to seep in.
- Rinse it out with lukewarm water.
Multiple applications may be necessary to achieve the desired effect.
8. Black Tea
Very similar to the coffee. The effects are mild but noticeable and can be brilliantly enhancing.
Tea, especially black tea, is very rich in tannins which can bind to the beard hair fibers and provide a mild dyeing effect.
- Mix ½ cup of black tea leaves or powder with 1 ½ cups of boiling water.
- Let it steep until it’s cool.
- Mix this solution with a cup of your usual beard shampoo.
- Apply this tea shampoo onto your beard and let it sit for around 60 minutes. The longer you leave it, the stronger the effect.
- Rinse it out with lukewarm water.
As with most of the natural dyeing options, the effects are temporary. They will most likely fade after a few washes. So, repeat them as necessary.
The Best Natural Beard Dye You Can Buy
There are certain commercially-available beard dyes which market themselves as natural and organic. It’s important to have a close look at their ingredients before you can safely say they are.
The Grizzly Mountain Beard Dye range is good. It utilizes the dyeing effects of henna and other organic ingredients. It prides itself on being chemical-free.
Because the blend of ingredients used produces a natural oxidation process, the results can be considered semi-permanent.
It won’t wash off as easily as some of the DIY options listed above. In any case, henna usually lasts 4-6 weeks which is re-assuring.
The fact that there are no harsh chemicals reduces the risk of allergy and skin irritation. But as always, a quick patch test beforehand is strongly recommended.
This may be a perfect option for you if you want a natural, organic beard dye ready-made for your use, instead of having to prepare your own mixtures.
Natural Beard Dyes vs Artificial Beard Dyes
Artificial, commercially-available beard dyes are becoming increasingly popular. There are some very big names in the market.
But many men look upon the ingredients list with concern. Ammonia is sometimes used to help the color penetrate the cuticle, PPD (phenylenediamine) for certain darker color shades, parabens, and so on.
Some say that these ingredients can directly harm the hair fibers, and also irritate the underlying skin. The more chemicals there are, the greater the risk of skin irritation or intolerance.
But these chemicals do often make the beard dyes longer-lasting and more effective. The effects of natural options can be difficult to predict.
That may be completely fine with you, however. You may just want a bit of a boost now and again, and you’re not looking for anything too semi-permanent or permanent.
The natural and DIY options are also considerably cheaper than having to repeatedly buy artificial beard dye.
In any case, if you’re completely against the use of anything other than 100% organic, the decision is a pretty easy one for you.
Frequently Asked Questions
These are some common questions about dyeing a beard naturally that I wanted to address before we wrap up.
Will Natural Beard Dye Damage My Beard?
The beauty of these natural options is that the ingredients are generally mild. Of course, everything should be done in moderation. It’s important not to apply any of them frequently enough to do harm.
Ingredients such as baking soda can be quite drying on the skin.
After every application of these products, be sure to moisturize well after you’ve washed them out.
As I mentioned above, if you’re nervous about what a particular product may do to your hair, test it out on a tuft of trimmed beard hair first.
How Often Can I Dye My Beard Naturally?
That depends on the method and ingredient you’ve chosen. In general, applying the natural beard dye daily for a few days may be necessary to achieve the desired effect.
But do try and leave 24 hours in between applications to give the underlying facial skin some rest.
But for lemon juice and baking soda, it is a good idea to leave a week in between applications to prevent the skin from becoming too irritated or sore.
How Long Does Natural Beard Dye Last?
Again, it depends on the ingredient used. Of the options I’ve mentioned in the list above, henna and lemon juice are the longest lasting.
You can expect the others to fade with a few washes, which is why multiple applications are often necessary.
If you’re going to shampoo your beard and want to try and retain as much of the dye you’ve applied, always use a gentle, sulfate-free beard shampoo.
Natural and organic methods are usually healthier and also more fun. They may have some disadvantages over the mass-produced, commercially available artificial options. However, they certainly have their benefits too.
Many of these dyeing techniques have been used for millennia. It’s quite a fascinating subject.
It’s great to see this natural and DIY sector increasing in popularity within the beard grooming market. You only need to look at the number of DIY beard balm and beard oil recipes online to see for yourself.
Hopefully, this article has given you a better idea of what you’re looking for. Have fun with it.