Masculinity Is Fragile So I Dyed My Brows and Beard

What could go wrong
Publish date:
July 4, 2016
beauty, hair DIY, Hair Dying

A few months back, a friend of mine, who is attractive, was suddenly, like…more attractive. He’s known to use a beauty product or two to subtly switch things up on me, a spray tan or whatever. Something was different and I wanted to know.

I always feel like you have to use a lot of tact when you ask someone about their beauty regime. I love when people ask me about my lip color or mascara, or anything else, I’m an open book and I thrive off attention. When it comes to things that are less of a statement, like someone’s foundation, I never want it to seem like I’m saying “Okay I know you aren’t this good looking, so what’s your secret?” You know? I'm always curious but I never want to be rude.

But he and I are close so I basically said “Alright bitch, what are you doing differently?”

“Girl, I dyed my beard!”

“WHAT?” This was over text and my thumbs had never moved faster.

“Yea! I never realized how the patches of blonde or red facial hair were affecting how I felt about my appearance.”

Fiending for more, I pressed him. “What did you use?”

“Just For Men lol.”

And it was on.

I was reeling. I love my beard. Well, by “I love” I really mean other people love, and you know I will stop at nothing to make myself even marginally more attractive by general consensus. What I personally love is not having to shave or deal with razor burn, so we’ll call it a draw.

Between you and I, I don’t think I can actually grow a full beard because my facial hair is a little patchy around my cheeks. When it’s grown out to a usual scruff, it looks like I can, though, so that’s where it pretty much stays. With as dark as my hair is, though, I still notice I have a lot of hairs in my beard that don’t have any pigment at all, they’re basically clear.

I can’t believe I hadn’t thought of it sooner. BEARD DYE. A bunch of people told me to dye my beard lavender to match my hair, and that is not going to happen, but I never thought about the possibility of filling in the lighter hairs to match the darker ones. I couldn’t get it out of my head.

But why stop there? I figured I might as well tint my brows while I’m at it. I couldn’t rest until all of the hair on my head/face had been somehow chemically altered.

On Friday afternoon, my phone buzzed.

“Champagne?” A friend asked.

“Yes. But I’m tinting my brows first obviously.”

I knew a place by my apartment did brow tinting and blowouts and shit like that. I wasn’t even sure I needed it, but I knew I wanted it.

I walked into Arch Apothecary, basically a higher end Sephora (!) that has a blowout bar in back (and was apparently founded by a girl I went to high school with, which I did not know until literally two seconds ago). Over the NARS counter, I asked one of the co-owners.

“I think I want to tint my brows, but I’m not sure. They’re already black. Would it even make a difference?”

“Well,” she replied, “I personally think everyone needs a brow tint.” She got me. It was on.

I didn’t know what to expect, and honestly, I’m not even sure what happened. She sat me down and started applying what I thought was a primer, since it seemed relatively colorless. After she had finished coating the second brow, she wiped off the first and bam, I was tinted. All I know is that it was quick and painless and now my brows are HITTING. You'll see them below.

They’re bigger and blacker and every strand looks thicker. I’m dying. It’s almost like I’m wearing a (semi)permanent brow gel. At all times.

After leaving Arch with brand new brows, feeling like a brand new bitch, my friend, myself, and my brows split approximately 72 bottles of rosé. The afternoon kind of slipped away from me and before I knew it, it was time for me to go home, change clothes, and get ready to bar tend. I wobbled into my apartment and saw my newly acquired box of Just For Men beard color, staring at me longingly from my kitchen counter.

“I should just go for broke and do my beard before work!” I thought to myself. “That way, my hair, my brows, and my beard can all look great for the weekend!”

But then I thought better of it. I only had like half and hour before I had to leave, and using a dye on your face was a sure fire recipe for disaster.

“But maybe I should just check how long it takes…”

Five minutes. FIVE MINUTES?? I had all the time in the world! I could dye multiple beards in that amount of time! I could dye my beard and shower! Oh why not.

How hard can this be? I’ve colored hair at home more times than I can count! This wouldn’t be any different.

It’s so easy. All you do is mix the color base and the color developer one to one, brush it in, and leave it on for five minutes. WHAT COULD GO WRONG.

So that’s what I did. I started brushing it into my left sideburn and down my jawline where the hair is pretty dense, and then down my cheek where it thins out. I’d like to say that I was careful about not getting on my skin and only on the beard hair, but, I wasn’t. “It’s only gonna be on for five minutes, how bad could it possibly stain?”

Which is when I noticed a speck of dye on my knuckle. It couldn’t have been there for more than 20 seconds, as that’s how long I’d been applying, but it was dark. I tried to rinse it off. The dye washed away, but the stain, the very dark stain, did not. Which was the precise moment I knew I was in trouble.

But like, what was I supposed to do? Not finish? I applied the dye to the rest of my beard quickly, which also means carelessly, which means more stains. I figured I was already doing it, so I might as well just do it.

I left the color on for probably four minutes, knowing I had already fucked myself but trying to minimize the damage. What I saw when I rinsed was not great.

Major stain.

Listen, if I knew I was going to write about this, I would have like, put clothes on. But I had to leave for work in 20 minutes and the bottom half of my face was stained black so I really didn’t have a whole lot of time to pull wardrobe options and actually frame these photos.

I had a few choices here:

1. Skip town

2. Try to pull off a last minute theme night at the bar and wear a mask to cover my face

3. Try to convince my coworkers that in my normal mentally fragile state, I was exploring a new pirate persona (this might be worth revisiting)

I used my roughest charcoal exfoliator and scrubbed the stain, trying to at least soften the hard line. Nothing. I hit it with my Clarisonic, twice, and still nothing. Well, the stain had maybe lifted a little since I felt like I scrubbed the top five layers of my skin off, but, barely, if at all.

I grabbed a full coverage foundation and a concealer and started laying it on, trying to cover the stain from the dye. Did it work? Marginally. It softened it, for sure, but I could still tell. I knew. And, all the makeup and my new darker beard only worked to enhance each other: my beard looked even darker than it already was because I had knocked all of the natural shadow out of my face. I kind of looked like a Lichtenstein version of myself which, for once, wasn’t the aim.

All of my newly enhanced facial features were…kind of a hit? My boss noticed that something was different, but then again, I’m always fucking with my face so it’s not groundbreaking for me to look a different than usual. My friend Danielle, fellow lover of beauty and living legend, caught sight of me and announced “She is PAINTED.”

Someone mentioned that it made me look more masculine to which I responded "GENDER IS A SOCIAL CONSTRUCT."

I think the best review came from my drunk friends, “Oh my god, your beard! It looks so good! I wanna sit on it!”

I was relieved that more focus went to the facial hair than the semi-hidden stain. By the time I got home late that night, the staining was still visible.

I used the Garnier Charcoal Cleansing Face Wipes to take off my makeup and, I’m not saying those lifted the stain, but it did look more softened than it did after I tried everything else. Garnier's charcoal line has some of my absolute favorite skincare products so shoutout to them as always.

The next morning, after a hot shower and another good scrub, the stain was almost entirely gone, leaving me to gaze at my newly darkened facial hair. I loved it!

It was a hit with my friends, too.

My beard looked fuller now that every hair was darkened to a uniform color. It was a little longer than I usually keep it, so I trimmed it up and liked it even more.

And here's the "before" picture, for comparison.

Am I going to tint my brows again? Of course I am. I keep talking about getting them tatted or microbladed, and I just keep coming back to the fact that I don't like how permanent brows look (unless any of you have them in which case I love them.)

Am I going to dye my beard again? Probably, since I can't stay away from a bad idea. Actually, I think it will go much better, knowing that I should do my best to keep it off of my skin.

Sometimes, it's those subtle changes that make all the difference, you know? Do you guys get your brows (or whatever) tinted? Have you ever had a beauty mishap like I did? Tell your horror stories in the comment below!

Tynan's beard is darker on Instagram and Twitter @TynanBuck.