Dyeing my beard orange -- how?
November 7, 2011 7:17 AM   Subscribe

I'm going to dye my beard orange at the end of the month. What's best to use for this? Henna? Something else?

I saw the previous question about Muslim men with orange beards, and this is the exact color I'm going for. So, I'm guessing henna would be best. I have zero knowledge/expertise when it comes to henna/hair dyes. Is there a good brand of henna that you would recommend? Is the process involved enough that I should just go to a salon to get this done?
posted by cog_nate to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (8 answers total)
I am not a henna expert, but I have used it to dye my own hair. I would recommend against using henna to dye your beard; for me, it was more trouble than it was worth.

After you have prepared the dye (which is pretty simple, although you have to let it sit for several hours before it's ready), you need to let it sit on your hair for a couple of hours, compared to maybe 15-20 minutes with commercial hair dyes. You also need to keep it covered with plastic wrap, which may be challenging to do with a beard. My other big complaint was that I did not find the odor of the henna to be pleasant at all, and it lingered in my hair for several days after I dyed it. I think you will be able to achieve the same effect using Manic Panic (or a similar brand) of regular ol' hair dye.

Here is a site with lots of information about henna and how to use it to dye your hair.
posted by kitty teeth at 7:48 AM on November 7, 2011

If you decide against henna, that colour looks a lot like Manic Panic's electric lava. Googling reveals a number of references to people using Manic Panic dyes on their beards with sucess - though you shouldn't use bleach there, so may not get colours as bright.

I like Manic Panic dyes - on unbleached hair they have a gradual fade that nicely brings you back to your own colour without roots. Though as beards grow much faster, you probably will have to deal with roots.
posted by Coobeastie at 8:39 AM on November 7, 2011

You will only get that color with henna if your beard is blonde or gray; henna does not lighten at all.

I don't know what brand of henna kitty teeth used, but I hennaed my hair regularly for about ten years and 1) never let the mixture sit for more than ten minutes 2) left it on my hair for about an hour. The smell is earthy, slightly funky, and yeah, will linger for about a week. I used to add cinnamon and ginger to the mixture to combat the funkiness. Henna will temporarily stain your skin, so I suggest applying Vaseline to skin adjacent to your beard line. I think you could skip the plastic wrap, but beware: the henna will get a bit crumbly as it dries (it's got a mud-like consistency) and the crumbs will stain.

If your beard is brown or black, go with Manic Panic.

Please update thread with pics.
posted by Specklet at 9:22 AM on November 7, 2011

To clarify my earlier post: I dyed my hair with body art quality henna powder that I mixed with lemon juice (as described on the site I linked to), not a boxed kit of henna hair dye; It sounds like Specklet may have used boxed kits and if so, I think this might explain why it was less of a pain for her! I think that the boxed henna dye kits work more like regular boxed hair dye kits that you can find at drugstores.
posted by kitty teeth at 9:48 AM on November 7, 2011

To clarify my earlier post (heh): the Manic Panic won't lighten your hair either, so you may want to bleach first. Although... bleaching your beard may not be wise due to inhalation of peroxide fumes. Maybe you could sit in front of a fan while it's on your face.
posted by Specklet at 9:54 AM on November 7, 2011 [2 favorites]

Beard is mostly white, interspersed with a little bit of brown and red.
posted by cog_nate at 10:50 AM on November 7, 2011

Cool! I'd go for the henna, then, unless you want the traffic-cone-orange Manic Panic color. Which could be pretty cool, just more... plastic-looking than the shade you'll get from henna.

I've used Light Mountain and Rainbow brands, but anything you find in a healthfood store is going to work. Get the brightest red shade they have.

Wash and dry yer beard. Follow directions included with your henna, which will most likely advise applying Vaseline on surrounding skin and using plastic gloves. Henna stains anything it touches (including porcelain), so make sure any drips are immediately wiped up. Like I said, you can probably skip the plastic wrap (it's to keep the mixture from drying out too much), but beware of crumbles. Maybe sit on the couch with a towel in your lap and watch a movie. Get in the shower to wash it out, use tepid water. It will bleed color a little bit for a few days, so beware staining towels.

If it doesn't turn out as bright as you want it, do a second application. I don't know if beard hair texture means that will take the pigment more readily that head hair, or the opposite.

Post pics!
posted by Specklet at 11:07 AM on November 7, 2011

I dye my hair with henna regularly. FWIW I like the smell (it smells like earthy hay).

I get all my henna from mehandi (it's related to the site kitty teeth linked to). If you go the henna route, get the powder. You can get test samples for cheap - 3-4 might be enough for the whole beard depending on the size. I get away with just mixing it with tap water and waiting a couple hours before applying (testing it on my palm to make sure it'll dye orange), and I can refrigerate it up to a week, but it varies based on how potent the dye in a particular batch is.

Make sure to wear gloves!

I have noticed on my head that spots that dry/crumble (hair at my temples) rarely take up the dye, so if you can figure out a semi-comfortable way to keep the moisture in then I would definitely do that.

(I've never had henna stain anything except for the small towel I leave around my neck and my gloves. It's washed out of all my white towels, my bath rug, and my white sink is still white).
posted by subject_verb_remainder at 11:33 AM on November 7, 2011

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