Hairstyles, Hair Care & Fashion

Bleaching a Beard

Q: I am 60 years old and started my very first beard. It is mostly white, but with some dark in it. I would like it all white. Is there any way to do this?
A: You can try bleaching it, but I should warn you that the best you can usually achieve is a pale yellow (with bleaching) or platinum blonde color (with lightening and toning the hair) on the dark hairs. There's currently no product available that will give you the "white" hair you're looking for as a permanent color. There are temporary haircolors that are opaque which will whiten the hair, but they would have to be applied every time you wash your face.
Be aware that if you go with the lightening and toning process for a platinum blonde color, you will most likely end up coloring the gray hairs as well. With the bleaching, you may end up with pale yellow on the dark hairs, but the grays will remain unchanged since they have no color to disperse. If you do choose to go the bleaching route, be extremely careful to only use hair bleach that is safe to apply to the skin. Some bleaches, especially powder bleaches, are only for use off-the-scalp and can cause pretty severe chemical burns if they come in contact with the skin.
Visit your local beauty supply store and ask a clerk to help you find the hair bleaching products they carry. Choose one that will be safe to use in contact with your skin, or ask about additives you can buy that will help prevent chemical burns when mixed with a product. This would be a good idea no matter which finished look you choose to pursue (you'll have the bleach the dark hairs before adding a color toner for the "platinum blonde" look anyway).
Be prepared for needing to really condition your beard hair after these processes. Lightening dark hair to a near-white stage will be harsh on your hair, and even facial hair can become brittle and prone to breakage when exposed to harsh chemical processes.
Related posts:
How to color hair
How bleaching hair works
Is it possible to color a beard or moustache?