How To Make Your Beard Darker Naturally (Without Harsh Dyes!)

The hair on your head is dark brown and you wish your beard matched. Is there a way to darken your beard hair without using toxic chemical dyes?

There are plant-based natural options for darkening your beard such as henna, gooseberry, coffee, cocoa, tea, black walnut, and sage. Oils, like mustard seed oil, can make your beard look darker if used consistently. Pencils and pens can be used to darken lighter patches in the beard. Grooming techniques can create the illusion of a darker beard.

Keep reading to learn more about the best ways to darken your beard naturally.

10 ways to darken a beard naturally

It is common for head hair and facial hair to have slight variations in color. Many men find their beard grows lighter than their hair color. Age, genetics, and even sun exposure can cause this issue.

Natural plants and oils can darken a light beard. Colored wax pencils, beard filler pens, and even grooming techniques can make a lighter beard appear darker.

As we age, gray hairs begin to creep into our facial hair due to a lack of melanin. Most men see those first light hairs appear in their 30s. Other men may see some red or orange hairs appear due to genetics. Sunlight is another factor that can cause hair lightening if a protectant isn’t applied.

While some women definitely love the look of a grey beard, it might not be for everyone.

If you want to darken your hair at home without using chemical hair dyes, there are some natural options that are effective. We’ve scoured the internet and discussion boards to provide some of the most popular.

Here are the ten best ways to naturally darken a beard:

  1. Henna
  2. Indian gooseberry (Amla)
  3. Coffee
  4. Cocoa powder
  5. Black tea
  6. Black walnut hulls
  7. Sage
  8. Plant oils
  9. China pencil/Beard filler pens
  10. Grooming techniques

Keep reading to learn more about each of these techniques, how long the effect lasts, and how to implement them in your grooming routine.

Henna

Henna is a natural plant dye that comes from the “henna tree” or Lawsonia inermis. This plant grows in hot climates and the reddish-brown dye has been used to color skin, hair, and fabric for centuries. 

Henna is a great natural beard colorant because it binds to keratin. Fresh henna dyes stain the darkest. Your final color is determined by the color of hair you start with.

To dye your beard with henna:

  1. Protect everything! Your skin included – henna WILL stain.
  2. Mix henna powder with water to form a paste.
  3. Let the color develop – it will be dark brown when ready to use.
  4. Paint the paste onto your beard hair and let it sit. The longer the better – aim for  2 hours.
  5. Rinse it out carefully. Remember, it stains everything!

Indian gooseberry (amla)

Indian gooseberry, or amla, is a fruit that grows in Asia.

It has been used for centuries in Ayurvedic medicine to darken hair and improve overall hair health. Amla powder can be mixed with henna to tone down red tints too. This product provides more of a gradual darkening so needs to be used consistently.

To dye your beard with India gooseberry:

  1. Heat coconut oil.
  2. Add amla powder and mix to form a thin paste.
  3. Allow it to cool slightly, then apply to the beard.
  4. Leave on at least 2 hours or even overnight for best results.
  5. Rinse out.

Fun Fact: Taking Indian Gooseberry tablets has been shown to reduce heartburn. Animal and in-vitro studies show gooseberry extract can neutralize cancer cells.

Coffee

Coffee isn’t only great for a pick-me-up. It can dye your beard!

The coffee you’ll be using is similar to the one you would drink (albeit quite a bit stronger) and is liquid instead of a thick paste, so you will want to use some type of dye applicator to make it less messy.

To dye your beard with coffee:

  1. Brew 2 cups of dark roast or espresso coffee (use double the grounds you normally would for this amount of coffee).
  2. Allow the coffee to cool.
  3. Add liquid to applicator.
  4. Apply liquid to your beard.
  5. Let sit for at least an hour for best color.
  6. Rinse out.
  7. Repeat often for best color results.

Cocoa powder

Cocoa powder makes a mean chocolate pie, and can also darken your beard.

The darker the cocoa powder, the darker the dye, so you may need to experiment if you’re trying to color match your beard.

To dye your beard with cocoa powder:

  1. Mix cocoa powder with enough water to make a paste.
  2. Apply paste to your beard.
  3. Let sit for at least 30 min – the longer, the darker it will be.
  4. Rinse out.

Black tea

Black tea contains many tannins that have been dyeing fabrics and paper since ancient times. It’s also a great hair dye.

To dye your beard with black tea:

  1. Boil several black tea bags with water.
  2. Continue boiling until at least half the liquid has disappeared.
  3. Allow to cool.
  4. Using a dye applicator, apply the cooled tea concentrate to your beard.
  5. Let sit for at least an hour.
  6. Rinse out.
  7. Repeat often for best results.

Black walnut hulls

If you have a black walnut tree, you know that the hulls will stain your hands if handled. You can also use the hulls to dye your beard! If not, don’t despair you can buy black walnut hull powder.

To dye your beard with black walnut hulls:

  1. Bring 2.5 cups of water to a boil.
  2. All 2.5 tablespoons black walnut hull powder.
  3. Let it simmer 1 hour.
  4. Strain the liquid.
  5. Apply cooled liquid to your beard using an applicator.
  6. Let sit at least 1 hour.
  7. Heat can intensify the process (wrap in plastic and sit in sun or blow dry).
  8. Repeat often for best results.

Sage

The herb, sage, can flavor your Thanksgiving turkey stuffing and dye your hair! In fact, sage dyeing is one of the oldest hair dyeing methods.

To dye your beard with sage:

  1. Bring 2 cups of water to a boil.
  2. Add ½ cup of fresh or dried sage leaves.
  3. Boil together for at least 2 minutes.
  4. Let steep an hour.
  5. Strain the liquid.
  6. Apply cooled liquid to your beard with an applicator.
  7. Let sit at least 30 minutes – longer to intensify.
  8. Rinse.
  9. Repeat often for best results.

Fun Fact: Ancient herbalists believed that the man who drank sage tea would never grow old. The Romans would hang sage on the bedposts of married couples to promote fertility and a long marriage.

Plant oils

Oils are great for frying chicken and making salad dressings, but did you know they could make your beard darker? Certain oils are known to darken hair over time. They nourish the hair follicles promoting the production of hair pigments. Some oils can even reverse nutritional deficiencies that can lead to premature graying.

The best oils for darkening beard hair are mustard seed, coconut, castor, curry leaf, and almond. Many popular beard oils already contain these oils. Oils can also be added to some of the previously-mentioned powders and botanicals to intensify the darkening effect.

To dye your beard with plant oils:

  1. Wash beard.
  2. While the hair is still damp, apply oil.
  3. Distribute through beard with a comb or brush.
  4. Leave in.

China pencil/beard filler pen 

Colored pencils and pens can help fill in small light spots in your beard. A combination of these two methods results in the most natural look.

A China pencil is a waxy colored pencil. It colors in bald or light spots. A beard filler pen provides color too, but coats hair more like a mascara would. It has a brush applicator on one end.

To color in your beard with a China pencil and beard filler pen:

  1. Color in any bald or light spots with the China pencil.
  2. Follow up with the beard filler pen by coating the hair.
  3. Use the brush end of the filler pen to create a more natural “hair” look and brush out any clumps.

Grooming techniques

Last, but not least, there are some grooming techniques that don’t require the application of color to make beard hair look darker. 

To make your beard appear darker without dyeing:

  • Trim any split ends – When the hair splits, it becomes thinner. The thinner the hair, the lighter it looks. Regular trims can minimize lighter hairs.
  • Grow your hair longer – If you have dark hair, letting it grow past your ears can make your beard hair look darker. 
  • Wear darker colors – Believe it or not, the color shirt you wear can make a difference in the perception of your beard.