Reverse gray beard [Science, Dyes and more]

There are many people, myself included, who have the odd grey hair poking out through their luscious thick dark beard. As you get older these hairs start becoming more frequent and you can end up with a grey beard – or streaks of grey – very quickly. In this article, I will share with you how you can reverse your grey beard and also slow down the process so that you can hold on to your younger colour for as long as possible.

You can reverse a grey beard only if you have recently had an increase of grays due to stress. Hormonal changes caused by stress can be reversed returning your hair to its original colour. However, if your beard is going grey due to age there is not much you can do other than dying it.

Can you reverse gray beard?

Researchers from Columbia University have discovered that individual hairs that have recently turned grey can actually turn back to their original colour. The scientist plucked hairs from volunteers after noticing that some of the hairs were grey at the end – indicating that coloured hair had grown after it went grey.

The scientists looked back at the history of the volunteers and were able to correlate history of stress with the patches of grey in their beard. They found that once the stress was alleviated the hair turned back from its grey colour to its dark natural colour. They think that this is due to hormonal changes caused by stress.

In the future, they are hoping to reverse age-related greying through this approach offering up a plausible biological basis for reversing the graying of hair which could be targeted with drugs or other products.

If, however, your beard is going grey due to old age (which is determined by your genetics) there isn’t too much you can do. If you are not happy with your beard colour as you are getting older you have the option of dying your hair with permanent or temporary beard dying solutions.

We will go over these later in the article.

At what age beard starts Greying?

I asked my YouTube subscribers at what age there beard started going grey. This is the result of that study:

You can see that the majority of the people started going grey before the age of 40. Only 24% of people actually have no grays past 40.

This correlates well with my own experience with my beard going grey where I notice that white hairs started appearing at about the age of 32.

The exact age at which your beard will start to turn grey will depend on a variety of factors but the biggest one will be your genetics and heritage.

Now, let’s have a quick look over some of the best ways that you can reverse the grey hairs in your beard.

How to reverse a grey beard

Reversing your grey beard is likely to involve using dyes and temporary beard colourants. Like we talked about, above, reducing your stress levels can work only if the graying is caused by hormonal changes that are brought about by high stress living.

Reduce your stress

If you have recently gone grey and you have noticed that it is due to an increased amount of stress you may be able to reverse a grey beard by simply removing the stress from your life. Science has shown that it is possible and living a stress free – or less stressful – life will certainly make you feel better in a variety of different ways.

Some people try to alleviate stress by drinking alcohol or self-medicating in some other way. If you have just been through a large negative stress event in your life here are some techniques for testing this science for yourself by reducing stress:

  • reduce alcohol – our popular culture tends to drivers towards alcohol in stressful situations. This is not a healthy way to deal with stress and can actually compound the issues.
  • Reduce caffeine – caffeine can actually compound the effects of stress by making you feel anxious by raising your heart rate which your body interprets as being under stress. If you have loads of coffees a day you should consider reducing that considerably.
  • Exercise regularly – exercise has been shown to be a powerful stress reliever. Aerobics exercise has been shown to release endorphins which are a natural substance that can help you feel better and maintain a positive attitude.
  • Avoid smoking – people use nicotine often say that it helps reduce their stress levels however, smoking actually places more stress on the body by increasing physical arousal and reducing the blood flow through the body.
  • Meditation – I was a big sceptic of meditation for many years until I tried it myself. I found that I was able to significantly reduce my stress levels and feel much better throughout the day with a simple 10 minute mindfulness meditation. You can use apps like headspace and calm, as well as free options such as insight timer for finding a guided meditation. As little as 10 minutes a day can do the trick.
  • Avoid stress triggers – all of our lives are filled with stuff that can stress the site. If you know what your stress triggers are consider putting in systems to minimise your exposure to them.
  • Counselling – if you are struggling to reduce stress on your own you can seek professional help in order to guide the process.

These things are very easy to implement and could result in a reversing of your grey beard just like the scientists said.

Use dyes

For most people reducing stress will not change the amount of grey hairs in their beard. Instead, they will need to use hair dyes and beard dyes to change the colour of the grey to the colour of their choice.

Finding the right beard die for you is going to take a little bit of trial and error before you get the perfect result.

Everyone’s beard is slightly different and therefore I recommend that you try two or three beard dies before settling on your favourite. Different methods of application such as pastes or creams may also work better than others.

Here is a rundown of some of the best beard dyes currently on the market.

Grizzly Mountain Beard Dye

This beard dye is full of organic gradients and has been specifically designed to leave your beard looking as natural as possible. There are no crazy chemicals that could cause any sort of reaction or irritate your skin and also there are no additives which you will not recognise.

It is primarily made up of plant extracts and uses indigo and henna as a large portion of the dying active ingredients.

Cremo No Mix No Mess Hair and Beard Color

this product is a premixed no mess premium hair and beard colour. Unlike other options in this list it is a foam which may be easier for some people to apply. All you have to do is click together the two components pressed the button and the comb will start foaming. This means that no gloves are required and it easier to control and won’t get on your skin as much.

In terms of using a no-fuss method to cover your beard – I think this is it. It lasts up to 6 weeks too.

Use temporary beard colorants

Grey Reversing oil

There is a beard darkening oil on the market which combines an exotic blend of natural herbs to darken your beard.

It contains a combination of dark naturally occurring dies which enable you to cover up the premature greying of your beard. All you have to do is take a few drops of the oil and massage into your beard for about two minutes. Then you should leave it in overnight or for at least one hour before washing your beard.

There are many positive results and reviews online for this product and many people find that to get good results you need to wait for a significant amount of time but if you are patient you will get good results.

Temporary 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.

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 sweatproof 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 formula

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 cleanup 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.

Can grey beard be turned black naturally?

There are a ton of different options for naturally darken in your beard and I have a full article which gives you a rundown – if you want to know more about how you can actually darken your beard – click here to be taken to article. I go through everything you need to know about using natural products and I talk about many options that may suit different people.

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.

There are also recipes for darkening your beard using Amla powder which is the Indian gooseberry as well as black walnuts which you buy as a powder.

They all rely on mixing up a fine powder into a paste and then applying that pace to the beard. As a little bit more preparation using natural products but the results are not as intense and can look much more natural.

How can I stop premature greying of beard?

Besides dyeing your beard you can also slow down the premature greying of your beard by stopping smoking and eating a diet rich in antioxidants.

Stop smoking

A study published in 2013, looked into smokers hair and investigated the question: does smoking cause premature hair greying?

This study was conducted in a non-clinical setting and included 207 participants. The participants were classified into two groups which were premature hair graying and normal hair graying stop premature hair greying was defined for the case of this study as the appearance of grey hair before the age of 30.

The study found that there was a significant relationship between the onset of grey hair before the age of 30 (premature greying) and smoking cigarettes.

The prevalence of smokers in the premature hair greying group was higher at 40.2% versus 24.7% for normal hair greying.

By using some complicated mathematics smokers were found to be 2 ½ times more prone to develop premature hair greying.

I think based on this study we can confidently say that if you are a smoker you are much more likely to end up with premature grey beard hair!

Diet rich in antioxidants

Eating a diet rich in antioxidants can certainly help delay the onset of graying. Just like we saw with the smoking example, anything you we can do to protect the melanin which is being produced at the base of the hair will help us retain colour for as long as possible.

If you want to know more about eating a good diet that will increase your beard growth and also protect your beard from going grey check out my YouTube video where I go through everything you need to know, below.

Summary

In this article we have gone over everything you need to know about reversing a greybeard stop if you are lucky, you may be able to reverse your greybeard by reducing the amount of stress in your life. This is particularly true if you have recently gone through a high stress situation and you have noticed a significant increase in your grey hairs. The science says that you may be out of reverse it by simply reducing the hormonal response in your body that comes from the stress.

However, for most of us, we’re going to have to put up with dyes and other temporary beard solutions for covering up and reversing a greybeard.

We can also slow down the process by stopping smoking and looking after our body by eating the right foods and increasing the amount of antioxidants that we are consuming on a daily basis.

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!