How to dye your beard or mustache at home

Guys, let's face it. Gray hair isn't very fun. Sure, there may have been a time when a sprinkling of gray made a man look distinguished, but in this age of waxed eyebrows and Botox-injected foreheads, nobody wants to look "distinguished." Most men encounter the first gray hairs in the beard and mustache. Plucking these offenders out with tweezers may work for a while, but sooner or later you will have to take more drastic measures, such as using hair dye.

Since most men are in the dark when it comes to hair dye, here's a brief primer on dyes and how they work. Dyes generally come in three varieties: temporary, permanent and semi-permanent. Temporary dyes merely coat the hairshaft with color. These dyes usually wash out in a few days. Permanent dyes, on the other hand, work by depositing color molecules into the cortex (or middle layer) of the hair, thereby allowing the color to last longer. Only permanent dye has the ability to completely cover gray hair. Semi-permanent dyes last longer than a temporary dye, but aren't as long-lasting as a demi-permanent or permanent dye. While semi-permanent dyes cannot completely cover gray hair, they do have the ability to blend gray hair, which makes it a popular choice for those looking to remove some, but not all, of the gray. Some demi-permanent dyes, which are somewhere between semi-permanent and permanent, can also cover gray.

Depending on the type of product, it may be necessary to mix the dye with an activator of some sort; usually a hydrogen peroxide solution. This solution (often called a developer) is used mostly with permanent hair color. Some dyes may require mixing, others may not. Make sure you follow the manufacturer's directions when it comes to mixing the product and the processing time. Some dyes may get too dark if they are left on too long.

Once you have selected and mixed your hair dye, it is time for the application. This is where the talent comes in, and this is the reason why hair salons are businesses and not charitable organizations. A sloppy application will make or break your appearance; this is especially true when coloring the beard or mustache. Hair dye can and will stain the skin, so don't think you can shave off your facial hair if you make a mistake! It is a good idea to apply petroleum jelly with a cotton swab to the surrounding skin to prevent it from being stained by the hair dye. As for the skin beneath the hair, yes, it will get stained, no matter how careful you are.

When applying dye to facial hair, the best way is to use a disposable mascara wand. These wands are dirt cheap and you can usually buy a bagful of them in the beauty aisle at your local dollar store.  Unlike a brush, mascara wands allow you to place the dye directly to the hair without staining the skin. If you decide to use a brush, an old toothbrush works very well for the job as well. When coloring facial hair, it is usually better and easier to use the smallest brush possible.

Finally, the dye must be allowed to process. This can take anywhere from a few minutes to a half hour, depending on the type of dye being used. Always follow the directions-- they were printed for a reason.
There you have it, gentlemen; everything you need to know about dyeing your beard and mustache at home. Armed with this knowledge, you now have the ability to keep the ravages of time at bay. All you have to do now is go to the store and pick out a color.