What determines beard hair color?

Facial hair comes in all kinds of different shapes, sizes, and also color.

But why is it that some people have a black beard, others a brown, red, or even a mixture of different colors? Let’s find out.


What influences one's beard hair color?

Image of a man who dyed his beard in multiple colors.

One’s beard hair color, as is the case with any hair on the body, is determined by the amount of melanin in the hardened cells of the hair.


What does melanin mean?

Melanin is a pigment that’s present in our hair, but also in our skin. A copious amount of one particular kind of melanin, called eumelanin gives people black or brown hair. An abundance of another pigment called pheomelanin, gives people red hair.

Important to note is that melanin also influences and basically determines our skin color. In addition, it will also influence a man’s beard tint.

Hair colorAmount of melanin present and type
BlackLarge amount of eumelanin
BrownModerate amount of eumelanin
BlondVery little eumelanin
RedMostly pheomelanin with a little eumelanin

The amount of melanin present varies from individual to individual and is subject to change as one gets older.


What determines pigment?

What determines pigment?

Hair color is influenced by two different kinds of pigment:

  1. Eumelanin

    Eumelanin has the biggest influence. It is a black pigment.

  2. Phenomelanin

    Phenomelanin is a yellow or red pigment.


What determines hair color?

Guide about hair pigmentation.

Hair color is determined by three factors that are influenced by pigments:

  1. Amount of pigment present

  2. Amount of eumalanin or phenomelanin present

    The more eumelanin a person has, the darker their hair will be.

    Eumelanin is made out of melanocytes, which are cells that give the hair their particular color. Not just their hair, but it also determines their skin color.

    For this reason, light haired people often have a lighter skin tone, while dark haired individuals often possess a darker skin tone.

    Phenomelanin is passed down via a gene called allele. This gene is exclusive to European-Americans. If one of the parents has these alleles, then it is probable that these alleles will be passed down. Nevertheless, if a substantial amount of eumelanin is present, this will be shown more than the phenomelanin.

  3. How close the melanin granules are together


Parental influence on hair color

Image of a woman together with her child who's playing.

Our parents play an important role in our expressed hair color.

Each parent hands out 4 hair-color genes, for a combined eight genes.

Eumelanin genes are not recessive or dominant. Rather, a eumelanin gene is either “on” or “off.” For example, using the representative letter “E,” a large E will be an “on” gene, while a lowercase e will be an “off” gene. The mom contributes EEee while the dad contributes EEEE. The result for the child will be EEEEEEee, meaning a child will have dark hair. The more “on” E genes a child receives, the darker the resulting hair color will be and the tighter the granules will be packed together.

Hair color genes are additive instead of dominant or recessive. This means that a child will not necessarily have the same hair color than their parents. As a matter of fact, their hair color might differ wildly.

However, parents with really light or extremely dark hair likely carry many “off” or “on” hair-color genes.

Thus, we can conclude that hair color, or facial hair color for that matter, is influenced by our parental genes.

Typically, the amount of melanin hair follicles can produce decreases when a person gets older. When people get older, more air often gets trapped inside the hair. When this happens, the hair loses its color and turn white. Depending on one’s original hair color and the number of white hairs that grows, one’s scalp hair then turns gray or possibly white.[1]https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK546248/ This is also the reason someone can get a gray beard, or why one’s beard can turn white when becoming older.



Our facial hair color as well as our skin color is determined by the amount of melanin in the hardened cells of our hair and skin.

Our parents play an important role in our expressed hair and skin color. As our hair color genes are additive instead of dominant or recessive.

Whatever your hair and skin tone is, own it. There is no such thing as one being better than the other. One of the beauty’s in life is that no two persons are the same, and that each individual has their own unique features. Using beard hair supplements can help to keep your facial hair in tip-top shape!



1 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK546248/