While some clients will choose to rock their grey beards, others aren’t ready to embrace grey yet and they don’t have to.
As it turns out, colouring men’s facial hair is becoming a more common service in salons and barbershops and there’s a tried and true technique to colouring beards that will give your male clients a natural, polished look. “Unless your client is icy blonde or platinum, in which case a darker beard is a great contrast, I like to keep hair colour consistent with beard colour because it provides a natural look,” says Fabrizio Perciballi, a men’s hairstylist at Toronto’s P&H Salon. Here’s advice from men’s grooming experts on beard colouring best practices along with tips for keeping this colour service real.
Stay Away Grey
Even if they only have a handful of grey hairs cropping up, some clients (you know the ones) just can’t handle it. “For clients who aren’t fond of a little bit of grey popping up in their beards, I always recommend a semi-permanent colour rinse,” says Perciballi. “Semi-permanent colour is great for concealing grey hair at sideburns and in the beards because it is translucent colour that will cover white and grey hair, but still give you a natural result.” In addition, this colour service only takes five minutes, which makes it quick and easy to achieve.
According to Ian Daburn, a barber at Barber & Co. in Vancouver, a man’s natural hair colour makes a big difference. “A man with lighter hair will typically have a lot of red in their beard so they will need a dark blonde or light brown colour with heavy deposits of ash so that the red would be neutrally balanced,” says Daburn. Also, keep in mind skin tones as darker skin tones can handle a darker beard.
Beards with a few stray grey hairs are one thing, but when men are more than 50 per cent grey, that’s a different challenge. For these clients, Perciballi says you need to take two factors into consideration. “First, ask them about maintenance, how often he cuts his hair (which then would require a colour touch-up) and how regrowth of the grey will be reflected in the colour you’re applying,” he says. Once you have discussed those factors, selecting a colour that matches skin tone is key.
Daburn recommends opting for a lighter shade. “Grey coverage has a double deposit of neutral colour with can lead to a much darker result than anticipated says Daburn. “Also, comb the colour into the grey areas of your client’s beard for a natural balance so that you skip over some grey areas and he looks a few years younger.”
Similar to haircuts, the shape of your client’s face should determine the type of beard they have. As with a good haircut, a beard is what will frame their face, accentuating their best features. “When a client has a round face, you shape the beard to complement the haircut too,” says Perciballi. “For someone with a round face, remove the hair at the side of his beard for a narrow-sided beard, leading into some weight on the bottom to elongate the face.” Perciballi also considers how both the beard and haircut work together, aiming to counterbalance by incorporating different shapes into both the beard and haircut.