How to Bleach Your Beard

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    I recently came across a story of a man named Bradley who wanted to bleach his beard white in order to play Santa for Christmas. It’s a brilliant idea and he ended up with a fantastic Christmas card (below), but the process was a painful one.

    Man dying his beard white for Santa.

    He ended up using facial hair bleach to turn his beard from brown to white over the course of 9 applications. The chemicals stripped his face, making it red and raw. It was so painful that he had trouble sleeping, and ended up shaving the whole thing off after Christmas.

    So, I can’t really recommend the procedure. It’s a fun gag to get your beard white for Christmas, but really, they have masks for that. Still, if your heart is set on it, I have some products for you and have shared Bradley’s photos below. You can read his account here.

    Facial Hair Bleach

    Photo of a facial hair bleach set.

    Brand: Manic Panic
    Manufacturer: Manic Panic
    Product ID: 612600545050
    4 based on 97 reviews
    $12.39 New

    I have directions on how to bleach your beard after Bradley’s story.

    Bradley’s Beard Bleaching Journey


    Photo of Bradley before he bleached his facial hair.

    First Bleaching

    Photo of beard dye after first application.

    As you can see, the facial hair bleach takes many applications before it turns your beard white. Bradley’s beard is a nice honey color after the first try, which he had to do himself because no professional would dare to tackle the job. You’re not supposed to put this stuff on your face, apparently.


    Second & Third Bleachings

    Photo of a bleached beard.

    The first beard bleaching was such a bad experience that Bradley had to start wearing goggles to prevent his eyes from burning. He used a snorkel to breathe, as the chemicals were so strong they caused him to hack and cough.


    Fourth & Fifth Bleachings

    Photo of a man dying his beard white to play Santa.

    The beard lightens incrementally after the first application. Compare this, after the 5th bleaching, to the 4th and you’ll see little difference. It takes quite a few applications before the beard is truly bleached. It may help to use facial moisturizer after each application to save your face.


    Sixth Bleaching

    A man's bleached beard.

    At this point, his face was in constant pain. His bristles were coarse and thin, and any movement they made caused him agony. However, it’s working. See the contrast between his hair and beard.


    Seventh Bleaching

    A nearly white beard.

    By bleaching seven, Bradley was having a hard time sleeping. Sleeping on his face or side were out–only on his back could he sleep, and even then only a couple hours a night. Also, he describes his beard as “crunchy” now. Not good.


    Bleaching Eight & Nine

    Finally, a white beard.

    And here we have the finished product–a totally white beard. It looks great (this is two months of growth, he started growing in November and shaved it off at the end of December). On the night of Christmas, Bradley was so miserable, unable to sleep, that he shaved the thing off. Pity. A bearded man is a better man.

    A man who once had a beard.

    Looks like there was no permanent damage. Except loss of beard.

    How to Bleach Your Beard

    These directions are for the beard bleaching kit linked above. If you purchase a different kit, please refer to the directions that come with it.

    Also note that once you mix the bleach, you need to use it immediately, so be ready to bleach your beard the moment you finish the mixture.

    Your beard should be dry and unwashed before application.

    1. This kit comes with a pair of gloves. Use any you like, but make sure you’re wearing plastic gloves before you open the pouch. Open the pouch, and avoid inhaling the bleach powder. Use a mask if you have one.
    2. Take the pouch of bleach powder and empty into your favorite mixing jug. You can use the tub that comes with it if you wish.
    3. Slowly add the bleach developer (enclosed) to the bleach powder in the tub. SLOWLY.
    4. Using the brush that comes with the kit, stir the mixture until it becomes creamy and smooth.
    5. Apply mixture immediately (do not lollygag!). Using the brush that comes with the kit, coat every hair thoroughly. Sometimes it helps to start at the base of each beard hair and brush downwards towards your beard hair tips.
    6. Once your beard is coated, let the bleach sit in your beard for about 10 minutes. Every package of bleach is different, so check your beard bleach kit packaging for an exact time.
    7. After 10 minutes, wash the stuff out of your beard with some beard shampoo. Your beard will now be rough and “crunchy”. You should consider making it soft again with some beard conditioner.
    8. Remember, it takes several applications before your beard turns white (it took Bradley 9 attempts). You should purchase as many of these kits as you think will be necessary.

    Good luck, O bearded gents!

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    About the Author

    Brandon M. Dennis
    Greetings, fellow beardsmen! I'm a beard health expert and journalist working out of Seattle, Washington. I'm also an author, marketer, and story-teller. Read my swashbuckling fantasy sea adventure novel, The Tale of Cloran Hastings, and click my name to learn more about me. Enjoy the site!
    Brandon M. Dennis

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    1. NINE applications of bleach! No wonder the man was in pain, nine bleachings in the course of a month. He’s lucky his beard didn’t fall out altogether! If anybody endeavours to emulate this man, I’d recommend stretching your bleaching out over a longer period of time, allow yourself to recover between applications – at least two weeks between bleachings, preferably more.

    2. 9 times that’s crazy!!! I’m a hairdresser with dark hair
      I get my white beard and mustache, with creme bleach + perodixide 30v. (9%) for 45 minutes.
      cleaned with paper (not water, because the hair cuticle closed) and apply some ash blonde dye + 30v creme peroxide (9%) 20-30 minutes to Tone Brassy hair into cool toned silver blonde

      Plus use silver shampoo (l’oreal blue ) every week and moisturize with blond – Dry hair moustirazer

      greetings from germany

    3. Having a hard time finding information dyeing/bleaching beards when I came across this article. I’ve a very dark beard but looking to go a natural looking blonde.
      @aldolfp did you manage this in one sitting or how many times did you bleach before you used the ash blonde?

    4. Hmmm. I join the list of those who say “Nine times???? Sheesh!!”

      I’ve had a beard for 50 years. It eventually began to be flecked with white hairs. Same on my head. In my mid- to late-50s, it was more white than otherwise, but the effect looked dirty. I decided to go all white.

      I went to Sally Beauty Supply and asked the manager there for her advice, explaining what I wished to accomplish. She showed me two products.

      Product one was a bleach. She had two brands. She told me both were the same thing, that I should purchase whatever was less expensive. Bleach is a very fine powder.

      Same with the second product, a thing called a developer. It’s a goopy product. Developers come in four strengths. They are: 10 volume, 20 volume, 30 volume, and 40 volume. Volume refers to the percentage of peroxide in the developer. Mixing bleach with 40 volume developer gives you the maximum strength and maximum whitening.

      I initially purchased small amounts of these products to test them. Nowadays, I buy the large economy sizes, since I know they work for me.

      Here’s what I do with them:

      1. Mix the same number of scoops of powder and developer in a non-metal container. For my head and face hair, two scoops of each are sufficient. If I had a much longer beard and a fuller head of hair, I’d use three and three. Mix them very slowly and carefully (the bleach powder is very fine stuff–like talc, and it scatters easily).

      The stuff stinks like ammonia! You must be brave and breath through your mouth when you work it into your moustache.

      2. I apply it to my head first, and very gently to my eyebrows, with my fingers, making sure the stuff is pressed down to the bottom of all hair. Once the head and eyebrows are covered, I pull of some strips of plastic wrap (e.g. Saran-wrap, any brand will do) and lay it over the areas covered, to help it avoid drying out.

      3. Next I apply it to my beard and moustache, again making sure to get the stuff way down to the bottom hairs. By the way, this is messy, and you’re gonna want to get in the shower in the last step, so I recommend doing this bare-chested. Again, when you’ve got your beard, moustache, and sideburns all covered, apply strips of plastic wrap.

      You’ll look ridiculous, so don’t do this when the kids are home.

      4. Wait 30 to 40 minutes. You’ll learn the proper amount of time needed by experience. Start on the 30 minute side. Go longer in future applications if 30 minutes wasn’t enough. Don’t exceed 40 minutes.

      5. Pull the plastic wrap off carefully so you don’t get the stuff in your eyes or around the floor. Get in the shower, close your eyes, and thoroughly but gently rinse the stuff out of your hair and beard. Add a hair conditioner and let it set while you shower the rest of yourself. Rinse out the hair conditioner.

      When I do this, my beard and hair and eyebrows are blindingly white. I need to repeat this about every six weeks as the remaining hair that has some color begins to show at the roots. Plus, the blindingly white begins to look dull white, sort of dingy.

      This may not work for you if you have really sensitive skin. I guess my hide is pretty tough. I don’t experience any skin problems. As I said above, the odor is not nice, but I’m happy to endure it for the result I get.

    5. when it comes to applying the bleach to your beard you definitely don’t wash it out with shampoo.There is a reason they recommend that your beard has not been shampoo’d prior and it is because first of the natural oils that protect your hair have been stripped of making your hair(and probably your skin) much more vulnerable to the bleach.Secondly the chemicals from the two products could mix and cause unforeseen effects to occur to your hair. Also nine applications is simply asking for trouble , if you are to bleach your beard you should be sure that when you do to consider letting the bleach actually sit for maximum lightening.BE CAUTIOUS however because leaving bleach in is bad for your hair and can cause it to fall out.10 minutes however , to me seems to cautious and would seemingly lead to much more applications than desired.IF you are truly concerned you should research your hair type and find a bleaching method that best suits it but.. i usually just go with it.

    6. 2016 will be my first year as the big guy. I will actually be attending Santa school in October. I’ve been shaving bald

      for years and I just started growing my head and facial hair about two weeks ago (mustache and goatee about four

      weeks ago) and plan on bleaching before I attend school. I’m pretty grey (47 years old) so it shouldn’t be too difficult.

      I’m taking monthly photos all year and will post on Pinterest at the end of the year. I have very sensitive skin so I’m

      having it done professionally. If things go according to plan I won’t be shaving after Christmas but will continue to

      grow everything even longer for next year. Thanks for the great and useful website.

      Wish me luck.

    7. It should only take two or three applications. Make sure to get a bleach with 7-9 levels of lift and a 20-30 developer formulated for sensitivity.

      Apply coconut oil to the beard about 30 minutes prior to each application and really work it in so the beard is fully saturated (this will not adversely effect the color lifting, though I’ve been told some other oils can).

      After each application, wash the bleach out and spray and rub in lemon juice (bleach is base, lemon juice is acid – it also helps lighten the hair a bit). Wash out after the lemon juice dries and moisturize with argon oil periodically over the next 24 hours before doing your next application.

      When your beard is a light yellow (maybe a bit lighter than the skin of a banana but darker than the inside of said banana) you are ready to tone with something like Wella T18. Don’t keep bleaching to get it white – a toner will get you there more safely with a bit less damage than additional bleaching (though toner is more painful than bleaching, it also doesn’t need to sit in the hair as long).

      • Apparently argan oil can stain your beard if you use it enough. I’ve been using a purple conditioner which is probably canceling out it’s yellow-brown tones. Use mineral oil instead.

    8. Can this work for a very low beard. I love the low greyish look.

    9. Raymond Pauszek says:

      I just had my beard bleach,this is my 4th year doing so.we’ve learned (Jodi,my stylist)by trial & error what works best (so far).first l put on chap stick to protect my lips,swimming goggles,ear plugs up my nostrals& l use a snorkel w/ an extention.Jodi mixes up the same bleach she uses on all her ladies and applies it to my beard and eye brows,the first 10 min. or so are intense.She’s found that having me go under the hair dryer helps achive a whiter look.She works in the bleach ocatinaly while l sat there for an hour and 15 min. this time.l use to have a reddish tint when done,but this year w/ the heat it came out nice and white.

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