How to stop my beard going ginger [Science + Solutions]

Having a significant amount of ginger in your beard is common among men with every sort of hair colour. It could be that your beard is completely ginger or you may just have the odd ginger hair dotted throughout your beard. No matter what the level of ginger in your beard there are a few things that you can do to cover up the intensity and contrast of the orange hair beard.

There is no way to permanently change the ginger beard hairs to stop your beard going ginger. Your genetics dictate the colour of your beard. This means that you must use temporary beard darkening solutions such as beard dies and beard pens to hide the ginger hairs.

A study published in 2019 looked at the genetics of human skin and hair pigmentation. They note that the genetic make-up which determines skin and hair colour can vary dramatically within and across ethnic populations.

It is the melanin pigments and their chemical and physical properties that determine the colour of human skin and hair.

The genetics that determines hair colour is very complicated. No single gene dominates over the rest but genes influence each other resulting in a wide variety of beard colours.

You don’t just inherit genes from your parents – you also inherit genes from your grandparents and earlier generations of your family. We even get a very small amount of genes from even more distant relatives. You share about 0.78% of your DNA with your great-great-great-great-great grandfather (aka 5th great-grandfather). So, even though it is very unlikely that your beard growing potential comes from your great-great-great-great-great grandfather – it is a possibility.

Why your beard is going ginger.

To understand why your beard is going ginger we first have to understand what is causing the coloration in your beard. It all comes down to a molecule called melanin.

Melanin is a molecule which is synthesised in the body and is dark in colour which helps protect against the effects of UV radiation.

There are two types of melanin that are produced by the body: brown/black eumelanin and red/yellow pheomelanin.

It is the relative proportion of these melanin molecules which determine the colour of your beard and skin. As your beard grows the pigment molecules get incorporated into the hair structure. In my case I have many different types of beard hair colours in my beard. I have orange, light brown, dark brown, black, and now even grey hairs. If you want to know more about if it is normal to have different colours in your beard check out my other article – click here.

I have talked about why your beard turns orange and the science behind it in my YouTube video which you can find, below.

Clearly, if you are finding that your beard is going ginger it is because your beard is absorbing more of the red and yellow pheomelanin than the brown or black eumelanin.

This is typically also seen on other parts of your head. But, there are some instances where people have dark head hair but have a ginger beard.

Once again, that comes down to genetics.

Why your hair is black but your beard is ginger

For a person to develop orange beard hair despite the colour of the head hair they must inherit to mutated versions of the MC1R-gene. The thing about this gene is that it is what is known as “recessive”.

A recessive gene is dominated by other genes and since you inherit two versions of the MC1R-gene from each of your parents both must be mutated otherwise the non-mutated version of the gene would cover for the mutated version and their beard would not become ginger.

Petra Haak-Bloem from Erfocentrum, which is a company that promotes genetics and awareness of genetic disorders, told the publication Motherboard:

More than a decade ago, researchers discovered that one gene (MC1R) on chromosome 16 plays an important part in giving people red hair. MC1R’s task is making a protein called melanocortin 1. That protein plays an important part in converting pheolmelanine into eumelanine,”

“When someone inherits two mutated versions of the MC1R-gene (one from each parent), less pheomelanine is converted into eumelanine. The feomelanine accumulates in the pigment cells and the person ends up with red hair and fair skin.”

External factors

There are also a number of external factors which can cause your beard going ginger. This includes:

  • UV damage – this is just like when you’re arm hairs turned blonde after you have been on holiday and spent a lot of time in the sun. The UV light is so powerful that is able to cause structural damage to the surface of the hair and also degrade the melanin which has been incorporated into your beard hair.
  • Insufficient nutrients – if you do not eat the right balance of nutrients you could inhibit your body’s capacity to produce pigmentation. This is only really an issue in extreme circumstances like a very restricted diet but it could happen.
  • Overheating – if you regularly use heat treatments on your hair you could be damaging the pigments by simply eating them up too much.

These external factors are important if you regularly work outside for example, you are a labourer who spends a lot of time outside to perform your job. Simply using a beard conditioner with a UV protectant in it will help protect your beard from bleaching from the sun.

You can also just apply the sunscreen directly to the beard in order to protect it.

Now that we know all of the reasons why your beard may be going ginger let’s look at all of the ways you can stop your beard from going ginger and how to change it back to its natural colour.

How to stop your beard going ginger

As good as science and medicine has become, it is not able to change your genes yet. Ultimately, this means that you are going to have to work with the cards that you have been dealt, genetically.

Here are the ways that you can stop your beard from going ginger.

Pluck the ginger beard hairs

The first, and the most obvious, answer is to simply pluck out the ginger beard hairs.

If you only have one or two ginger beard hairs you could potentially pluck them out with little to no effect on the density or darkness of your beard.

This becomes an issue if your beard is already then or you have so many orange beard hairs that it significantly reduces the density of your beard and causes it to look thin and see-through.

If you want to know more about whether or not it is bad to placate your beard hairs check out my other article – is it bad to pull out beard hair [science and solutions] – click here to be taken to article.

Is it bad to pull out beard hair?

Regularly plucking hair has been shown to produce a thinner finer hair. Research published in 1995 shows that after plucking some hair follicles produce a thinner, finer hair whilst others may convert vellus (thin light hairs) to thicker courser hair.

Also, you have the potential of damaging and distorting the hair follicles upon plucking. So, you must be careful about the consequences of plucking your beard – as you may end up swapping one beard issue for another.

Dye it

Dying your beard hair to change the ginger hairs into a darker shade of red, or making them brown, is a simple and effective treatment for a beard which is turning ginger.

There are plenty of options online for darkening of beard which include natural ingredients and are very effective. One of my favourite beard darkening products is the grizzly mounting beard dye.

Grizzly Mountain Beard dye is full of organic ingredients that have been specially formulated and manufactured to leave your Beard looking darker whilst also retaining its natural look. The one thing I love about this Beard dye is that there are no chemicals which could cause any sort of reaction or contact dermatitis with your skin.

It is primarily made up of plant extracts and uses Indigo and Hannah as a large portion of the active dying ingredients. For example, the light brown Beard dye contains this selection of plants/herbs:

Lawsonia Inermis Extract, Indigofera Tinctoria Extract, Emblica Officinalis Extract, Eclipta Prostrata Extract, Melia Azadirachta Leaf Extract

Each pack is designed to last from anywhere between two applications up to 8 months – depending on the length of your Beard. If you have a Wizard length Beard the pack will only last about two applications. If you have a goatee, expect much more milage from your package.

Shampoo and conditioner dye

If you do not like the idea of dying your hair permanently you can use a semipermanent hair colour which is in a conditioner.

Buying a dedicated beard shampoo is an important step in your beard growing journey. A beard shampoo has specifically formulated for the environment of the hair on your face and therefore is much less effective at stripping oils – since your beard needs all the natural oils it can get especially as it gets longer.

You could back up this shampoo with a semipermanent hair colour such as Keracolor Clenditioner Hair Dye:

This hair dye is a non-lathering condition cleanser which is designed to instantly infuse colour into your beard with every wash.

This formulation is never tested on animals and they are also sulphate, paraffin, and gluten-free. The colour lasts for up to 15 shampoos and the lighter your beard the more vibrant the results will be. On dark blonde and light brown hair multiple washes may be needed to really see the colour.

Just be careful when using this Beard dye regularly as it is very potent and can leave your beard a different colour for a relatively long time. If you want to remove the ginger hairs from your beard I recommend that you buy the mocha colour – or the colour that is closest to your natural hair colour.

Use temporary beard darkeners

If dyes, or even semipermanent dyes, are too much for you there are plenty of temporary beard darkening solutions to remove the ginger beard and stop your beard going orange.

A lot of the products, below, only last for one wash and need to be reapplied daily. These are perfect for men who do not want to cover up their orange or ginger hairs in their beard all the time but want the option of having a darker beard occasionally. For example, special occasions or when you just feel like.

Beard pen

Beard pens do exactly what a sound like – they allow you to draw in hairs so that your beard looks fuller and darker. Beard pencils come with different types of tips from a typical pen tip to one with a micro fork. This micro fork allows you to apply more product to your face in a shorter period of time. The Beard filler is designed to reduce the appearance of gaps in your Beard, moustache, and eyebrows.

It’s as easy as using a pen and it lasts all day. The long-lasting formula of many Beard pen and pencils allows you to wear the product for up to 24 hours and many of them are sweat proof and water resistant. This means that if you get caught in the odd shower or you sweat a little bit through the day it will be likely to stay in place.

Using a brush after application will soften the lines that you have just drawn into your Beard and evenly distribute the product throughout your Beard so that there are no harsh gradients or lines for people to pick up on.

Blackbeard for men

Blackbeard for men – formula X is like a mascara for beards. You can use this to cover up specific areas of your Beard by simply wiping the applicator brush across the problem areas. You can use it to fill in a few patches or you can use it to vary the colour intensity of your beard.

It only takes about a minute to brush on and the application is mess free. You do not need to mix chemicals and the clean-up is as simple as putting the applicator back into the bottle.

This product lasts for about 12 hours and fades naturally over time. The good thing about this product is that if you need to touch up it only takes seconds and the bottle is small enough to store in a pocket or bag.

If you have a particularly long beard it may take a while to perfect the application to the point that it looks even throughout your beard. Application every morning will be required and it will fade throughout the day.

If you find that you touch your face a lot during the day this product may end up transferring to your hands and clothes.

Beard filler

Beard gains is a company which focuses on manufacturing products that make your beard look better. This Beard product can be used to cover up bald spots on your beard, fill in any patches, and add volume to your hair. It can also be used to change your Beard colour and make it darker.

This product is you just have to dab the sponge into the product and then touch the sponge with the powder onto your face way you want the fibres to stick. They also supply a mirror in the lid so that you can see what you’re doing at all times.

This product is easy to wash out which means that if you are doing excessively sweaty and hard labour at work it could end up dripping down your face. Alternatively, you can use their Beard colour locking spray for keeping your hair darker after application of products and dyes.

Natural products

You may also want to consider using a natural dye for darkening your beard. There are many options for naturally darkening your beard and I have a full article which gives you the rundown. If you want to find out more about how you can naturally darken your beard – click here – I go through everything you need to know about using natural products and I talk about a few more solutions that I do not have space for in this article.

Henna powder

Dyeing your beard with henna powder is a relatively simple process and you can even buy a pre-packaged henna dye  (like this one on Amazon).

All you have to do with a pack is to prepare the mixture using warm tap water as indicated on the packet. Then you evenly apply throughout your beard and wait for a minimum of two hours.

A lot of people wrap their beard in cling wrap to make sure that there are no drips which stain your clothes or your furniture. Two hours is quite a lot of time to be walking around with dye in your beard.

If you decide to buy henna as a dry powder you can also find tune the mixture so that your hair can be more auburn, orange, chestnut brown, or burgundy. This takes a little bit more preparation but here are the basic steps:

  • Before getting started remember that henna will dye anything it touches on this includes your skin. Remember to wear gloves and protect the area in which you will be applying it to your beard.
  • You will need about 50 g for short beards and about 100 g if your beard is wizard in length. Mix with hot tap water slowly until you create a paste that is the consistency of cake batter.
  • Allow the mixture to sit for about 12 hours with a plastic wrap on top. This will mean that the dye is a great consistency when you want to work with it. You’ll notice that the mixture will darken to a dark brown over time, this is an indication that is ready to use.
  • Apply the paste throughout your beard and spread as evenly as possible. You can’t use too much and if in doubt apply more.
  • If you get a dye on your skin wipe it quickly with a hot wet towel.
  • Wait for at least two hours for washing out the henna dye. The longer you leave the dye on the deeper the colour will be.
  • After two hours rinse out your beard over a sink. Do not be tempted to do this in the shower because the henna will stain your body and bathtub/shower cubicle.
  • Wash with shampoo and follow-up with conditioner and your beard is now darker!

You can add a range of different things to change the colour of your beard once you have applied henna. For example, assets like lemon juice and vinegar makes the dye more strawberry blonde. You can use coffee or tea to make it a darker colour and some people even use brandy to give it a more intense red colour.

Amla Powder

Amla Powder is also known as the Indian Gooseberry. It is found in places like India and the Middle East and has been used in some form of medicine for centuries.

Besides being a supplement, you can use Amla powder on your hair. There are plenty of recipes online but here is a basic rundown on the steps that you need to go through if you are going to die your beard using Amla powder.

  • Add about one half of a cup of Amla powder to a bowl and add ¼ cup of water.
  • Whisk the water and the Amla powder together to make a thin paste. You want to aim for it to be thin and spreadable without being too runny.
  • Apply this paste to your dry beard hair and moustache into the hair until it covers your beard evenly.
  • Cover your beard with a beard wrap and leave for at least 30 minutes. The longer you leave this in your beard the darker the results will be.
  • After 30 minutes jump in the shower and rinse your beard hair with water. You know when you’ve got it completely out because the water running off your beard will be clear.

There are some unsubstantiated claims about other benefits such as strengthening your hair and preventing beard dandruff but using it to dye your beard naturally is something people have been doing for a long time and getting good results.

Summary

In this article, we have been through all of the ways that you can stop your beard going ginger.

Ultimately, the colour of your beard is dictated by your genetic make up as well as a potential mutation in some of the genes which dictate the colour of your beard. There isn’t anything you can do, at the moment, to change the genetic make-up of your beard.

However, there are a range of temporary and permanent beard dyeing solutions which means that you do not have to put up with Ginger beard hairs if you don’t want to.

Choose a dyeing solution which best suits your use case and I’m certain that you will be much happier with your beard after using the product of your choice.

Happy beard growing!

The Author


Andy Stapleton

Andy is a writer and YouTuber with a PhD in science. He has written and/or produced videos for Science Alert, COSMOS magazine, and Australia's Science Channel among others. He is an avid beard grower and after many years of growing and trialing different beard styles, he started this blog to share the tips, tricks, and science that he has learned along the way!