Does Beard Dye Fade or Wash Out? (With 3 Easy Removal Options)

You look in the mirror and see not one, not two, but many silver hairs glistening in your beard. What’s a man to do? To dye or not to dye? That is the question. Beard dyes have come a long way in recent years, making them an attractive solution to hide the gray.

Beard dye does fade or wash out over time because frequent washings, the elements, and new hair growth affect the color and longevity. The type of dye also determines its color life. Permanent dye will stay until your beard grows out, which may take two months, while a semi-permanent dye can last up to six weeks. 

Read on to learn the ins and outs of beard dye!

How long does it take beard dye to fade?

Whether you’re trying to mask gray hairs, fill in thin patches, or just want a new look, beard dyes can answer the call. Different men can expect different results with different products. One man’s permanent color can last a fraction of the time another man’s hue does.

Depending on the formulation, most beard dyes fade within a few days to a few months. Exposure to sunlight and the number of washings are factors affecting color retention.

Temporary colors are perfect for spot coverage or those who don’t want to commit. These colors don’t dye the hair, they coat it. They will wash out before they get a chance to fade. New technologies have made some temporary colors water-resistant, which combats an awkward caught-in-rainstorm moment. Once you apply water and shampoo, the color will wash out.

Semi-permanent beard dyes can last a few weeks. The more you wash your beard with soap and water, the quicker the color will fade. Semi-permanent dye is a perfect in-between choice. It will give your beard more sheer coverage. As your beard grows out, new growth will likely be a different color, so frequent touch-ups may be required to avoid a two-toned look.

Permanent dyes can last months, depending on washing frequency, sun exposure, and hair growth rates. This type of dye is thicker and gives broader coverage. Permanent dyes are a good choice if you have widespread gray and you are confident in the color choice. 

Is there a permanent beard dye?

beard dye and accessories

The word “permanent” in the hair dye world doesn’t mean forever. Permanent color will fade, but it lasts longer than its temporary and semi-permanent cousins.

Some dyes are labeled as permanent, but this doesn’t mean they last forever. Beard dyes come in temporary, semi-permanent, and permanent formulas. Temporary colors only last until they are washed out. Semi-permanent dyes can last a few weeks, and permanent dyes can last two months or more.

One thing to remember with any kind of hair color is that individual results will vary. One man’s hair strands may soak up color easily, while another man’s strands might not. One man’s lifestyle may lead to quick fading, while another man’s color seems to stick around for eternity.

Your beard is going to grow; therefore, the color will eventually grow out unless you are regularly touching up the roots. Washing your beard is a must for hygiene purposes, but the more you wash with soap and water, the quicker the color will fade. Sunlight is essential for Vitamin D, but UV rays will fade color quickly if you don’t protect it with an SPF product.

What happens if you leave beard dye on too long?

It happens. You finally decide to color your beard and get distracted by a phone call or football highlights. Before you know it, the dye has been on double time. What will happen?

If you leave beard dye on too long, it can cause the color to be darker than you intended. Chemical dyes can also irritate and damage your skin if left on too long. 

In the case of a too-dark scenario, following the tips in the next section can help you lighten the color or clean the slate and start all over. When choosing a beard dye, look for products without harsh chemicals. It’s also smart to dye a small test area first to see how your hair and skin react. This will reduce the chance of skin problems if you do exceed the processing time.

Fun fact: Chemical hair dye was discovered by accident in the 1800s.While searching for a malaria cure, an English chemist produced the first synthetic dye. It was the color mauve. This discovery soon led to the understanding of the PPD derivative, and permanent dyes were born.

How do I remove dye from my beard?

You decided to bypass the temporary color and dive straight into the permanent dye pool. Now you are left with a color way too dark for your skin tone. Is there any way to speed up the fading process? Yes, there are some steps you can take to lessen the dramatic effect.

You can remove dye or significantly lighten the color from your beard by using clarifying shampoos, baking soda, vinegar, or a specially formulated hair corrector.

Individual results will vary with all of these methods. Factors like color formulation, hair type, and time elapsed since dyeing can affect the result. Darker colors are going to be harder to remove than lighter ones. In that case, you may have to be satisfied with lightening the beard color instead of complete removal. 

Chances are these removal methods will dry out your hair, so plan to hydrate your beard with a good conditioner afterward.

Clarifying shampoo

Clarifying shampoos are hair-wash heavy hitters. They have a high volume of surfactants, which are strong cleansers used to strip your hair of impurities. Most clarifying shampoos are NOT color-safe. This is good news if you are trying to remove dye from your beard. 

Baking soda

Baking soda is often used as a household cleaner because it has powerful scrubbing action and deep cleans. This common pantry staple, combined with a clarifying shampoo or vinegar, can help lift the dye color.


Is there anything vinegar can’t do? Add dye removal to the list. Apple cider vinegar is a common ingredient found in some store-bought clarifying shampoos. Mix vinegar in with shampoo, or make a mixture with baking soda, and leave on your beard for 10-15 minutes.

Hair corrector

If you’re not satisfied with your beard dye job, never fear. Hair dye mistakes have been happening for decades, and you better believe someone has capitalized on them. Salons and mass retailers carry hair dye removal products that you can use at home or visit your barber for help.

How can I dye my beard without staining my skin?

preparing beard dye for use

You found the perfect dark brown dye to match your hair color. How do you apply the dye without adding color to the skin around your beard? You need a barrier!

To dye your beard without staining your skin, apply a barrier to the skin around the dye area. Petroleum jelly, oils, or pre-packaged barrier products are all effective. Apply the product thick enough around the hairline.

Petroleum jelly is an ideal barrier product and easily accessible, too, since most people have a jar of petroleum jelly in the medicine cabinet. If you already use beard oil, it will work too. If not, raid the kitchen cabinets for olive oil or coconut oil.

Salons and other retailers have barrier products, but they carry a premium price compared to already on-hand household products.

How do you get beard dye off your skin but not hair?

If beard dye gets on your skin, it will take it a couple of days to fade naturally. Is there a way to speed up the process? Yes!

Scrubbing with soap and water easily removes beard dye from the skin without disturbing the beard color. Isopropyl alcohol applied with a cotton ball or pre-packaged dye removal wipes can effectively remove dye stains from your skin.

Here are a few tried and true methods to remove dye from your skin:

  • Soap and water
  • Exfoliator scrub 
  • Isopropyl alcohol
  • Dye removal wipes

Scrubbing with soap and water is effective, especially if done soon after dye application. Using a little exfoliator can speed up the process even more. Rubbing alcohol is also very effective. 
Just remember alcohol dries the skin, so follow up with a moisturizer to avoid skin irritation. Retailers sell dye-removal wipes that are convenient and mess-free.

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