Your goal is to grow a thick, luscious beard, but all you ever seem to manage are practically invisible stragglers. Will your beard ever get darker?
Beards do get darker with age – to a point. After puberty, the endocrine system produces more androgens, turning thin, fine hairs into mature hairs. The mature (or terminal) hairs grow long and intertwine with each other, giving the beard a darker appearance. While the actual color of your beard hairs may not change, your beard will appear darker.
Read on to discover the changes your beard will undergo as it grows. See how your genetics, environmental conditions, and diet all affect how much pigmentation will be in your beard.
Why do beards get darker with age?
How much your beard darkens will be based mainly on how much melanin or pigment lives in the follicles. The different variations of melanin present will most likely dictate how dark your beard will get. So, if you really want to understand why your beard gets darker, look no further than your genes.
The primary factors involved with beard hair color are:
- Diet and stress
Let’s take a look at each of these and see how it affects the appearance of your beard.
Look at your father, uncles, and grandfathers. Chances are, your beard looks exactly like one of theirs did at your age.
Your beard color is determined almost entirely by your genetics.
There are many genes that determine hair color and how dark your beard will be, but the melanocortin 1 receptor (MC1R) is the one that has been studied the most. The gene lives on the surface of the melanocytes, or mature, melanin-creating cells.
Melanin is the behind-the-scenes ingredient that gives everyone’s skin, hair, and eyes their color.
Just like it matters what you put into your body, your surroundings also play a role in your beard’s hue. You need to protect your beard the same way you protect your skin.
Some researchers say prolonged exposure to the sun’s UV rays can damage your beard hair follicles and you should limit your time in the sun. Spending extended periods of time in the sun can cause your dark beard to lighten.
An Australian study found that your beard can prevent over 90% of UV rays from reaching your skin. Your beard is your skin’s first line of defense against the elements. Once your beard follicles become damaged, they may not recover. The sun can harm the natural oils of your beard, leaving it susceptible to damage.
Diet and stress
The condition of your beard depends on how well you take care of your body. All the good, wholesome ingredients that help keep you moving, also help your beard grow and thrive.
A diet containing vitamins A, C, and E, as well as B6, B12, Biotin, and protein will keep you feeling good and have your skin and hair in top shape as well.
Here are some suggestions for vitamin-rich foods:
- Vitamin A and Beta carotene – cheese, milk, egg yolks, sweet potatoes, and pumpkin
- Vitamin C & E – citrus fruits (oranges, lemons, etc), spinach, and broccoli
- Vitamin B6 – fish, poultry, and lean meats
Although you can do nothing to prevent stress in your life, you can control your reaction to it, which will help your overall health in the long run. Working long hours, poor diet, and excessive alcohol use all directly impact your body.
Those effects will trickle down to every aspect of your body, including your beard.
If you want to keep your beard in good condition, watch what you eat, stay hydrated, and get plenty of rest.
At what age does facial hair start to darken?
Puberty lasts much longer than we usually think about – the obvious stages of development may happen in our teens, but puberty lasts well into adulthood.
Even though your facial hair most likely started coming in when you hit puberty (usually around the ages of 13 to 16), it could take well into your twenties or thirties before your beard is dark and thick.
After puberty, an increased amount of androgens causes the vellus hair on your chin, upper lip, and cheeks to become thicker and darker. You may even grow hair on your chest and back.
Other potential reasons for beard hair getting darker
Besides your diet, environmental conditions, and genes, some influences cause your beard to become darker.
The primary reasons your beard might suddenly become darker is that medication is affecting the pigment and melanin in your skin.
You must remember that any and everything you put in your body can affect your hair and skin.
Sometimes the medications you take to keep your health conditions in check can affect the development of pigment and melanin in your skin.
Prescription medications can stimulate an increase in some hormones that can change the appearance of your beard.
There are some types of heart medicines and antibiotics that amp up the melanin production in your body directly affecting the color of your beard.
How to make your beard darker
If after letting your beard grow for months, it still doesn’t have the dark color you want, there are ways for you to darken it.
You can darken your beard using natural ingredients you probably already have in your pantry. Beard oils and fillers, cocoa paste, coffee, and walnuts can be darkening ingredients.
Let’s check out some great ways to darken your beard:
- Beard oils and fillers
- Cocoa paste
Keep reading to find out exactly how each of these products can be used to darken your beard.
Beard oils and fillers
Some products, such as beard oils, do not necessarily change the color of your beard, but they will make your beard appear darker.
Using beard oil helps keep your beard follicles moisturized so they can remain strong and grow and thrive. The oil will make the hairs soft and easy to manage and the oil will give your beard a darker appearance.
If you do this two times a day, your beard will be soft and supple with a darker, healthy appearance.
A beard filler can also give your beard a darker look. You can apply it with a pencil, an airbrush machine, or as a powder form. Similar to an eyebrow filler, this product allows you to fill in the sparse areas of your beard and add a hint of color to darken your beard. Make sure you select a color that closely matches your natural color.
You can combine cocoa and water to form a thick paste and apply it to your beard, wait a while and then rinse.
The longer you let it sit, the darker your beard will be; but you should at least wait 15 minutes before rinsing.
Another great natural way to darken your beard is to use coffee.
You can brew a pot of dark roast, allow it to cool, and then mix it with your shampoo. Evenly apply the mixture to your beard and wait at least 1 hour before rinsing.