There’s nothing quite as charming as a man with a great looking salt and pepper beard.

But what even does the term salt & pepper beard mean?

It’s a type of facial hair that is a mixture of grey, white, and dark hairs which gives it the signature look resembling salt and pepper.

If you think of the beards sported by guys like George Clooney, Jon Hamm, or Chris Pine, then those are textbook salt and pepper beards with a touch of white and grey growing all around the darker hairs.

In this article you will be learning exactly how to grow a salt and pepper beard, how to trim and maintain it, what are the pro’s and con’s of having this type of beard, and finally some amazing salt & pepper beard style examples for you to get inspired by.

How to Get a Salt & Pepper Beard

ryan reynolds short boxed beard with salt and pepper color

1. Wait and Let Nature Do its Trick

This part should be obvious to everyone. If you want to have grey and white hairs naturally in your beard, the way to get them is to simply grow older.

As you age, gradually the body will produce less and less melanin in the hair follicles and the beard hairs will lose their natural color, turning grey or white in the process.

Some hairs enter this transition sooner than others, which is the exact reason why you will eventually develop a salt and pepper beard naturally as well.

2. Dye Your Beard Grey at Home or by a Professional

If you are a younger guy or just older gentleman who doesn’t want to wait out for his beard hairs to start turning grey, there’s an alternative solution available…

Dyeing your beard with salt & pepper beard dye.

Yes, it does exist, both as synthetic and natural dye, and while it often doesn’t look quite as good as a naturally transitioned grey/white beard, it can still do the trick.

Do remember though that coloring your own beard is not easy and especially trying to get those mixed colors of grey and white in there so that your beard still looks natural can be very challenging.

This is why if your goal is to color your beard grey for the salt and pepper look, the best way to do it is to walk into a local beard or hair saloon and just ask if they could dye your beard with the salt and pepper look, most likely they can.

3. Use Grey and White Beard Fillers

Let’s say you can’t grow out any grey and white facial hairs naturally, and you don’t want to go through the hassle of having your beard dyed either, would there still be a way to rock a salt and pepper beard?

Well, yes, there is.

As a third option, you could get yourself some synthetic beard fibers such as Toppik, which stick to your own beard hairs and fill the patchy spots for a natural full beard look.

Toppik and other hair building fibers are available in variety of colors, including multiple shade of grey, white, and black. 

4. Resist from Plucking the Grey and White Hairs

Getting a proper salt and pepper beard requires that you retain your patience and avoid plucking out the grey and white beard hairs that pop up.

Sure, some people do recommend that, but what’s the point really? You will lose out on potentially having an amazing charm-inducing beard, while also as the worst case scenario you will have to deal with fixing a patchy beard later if you keep plucking off hairs daily.

5. Decide your Perfect Shape and Stick to it

There is no set shape that has to be kept when going for a salt and pepper beard.

You could rock a salt and pepper stubble, long beard, BeardStache, short boxed beard, or anything you like.

The only requirement to get in to the club is to have some grey and white hairs growing in the mix.

How to Trim and Maintain a Grey Beard

trimming salt pepper mustache with beard scissors

If you are able to grow out white and grey facial hairs naturally, then your beard trimming routine will not need to change at all when growing the salt and pepper beard.

Just pick your best beard style according to your face shape and preference, and then trim as you normally would to maintain it, let the grey hairs come in as they will.

As for maintaining a salt ‘n pepper beard, you will want to have some beard oil at hand for daily use to give your beard its much needed moisture.

Having a beard brush and a beard comb for keeping your beard knot-free and perfectly aligned will help as well, and if you need some hold in your beard then maybe get yourself a tin of beard wax.

When it comes to washing the beard, I recommend doing it every 2-3 days with a mild beard wash, just so you’re not drying up the beard too much.

The Pros and Cons of a Salt and Pepper Beard

man with gray full beard

The first benefit of having a salt and pepper beard is obviously that women seem to love it, well some do at least.

You might also be asking yourself if salt and pepper beard makes men look older? And the answer is that it certainly does, but this can be both a good and bad thing, depending on your looks and goals.

What all beards do, and especially the gray ones, is that they make you appear wiser, heck it even allows you to dress up as Gandalf for every Halloween so you could consider that as a definitive win.

Last but not least, if you have some extra fat on your cheeks, then growing a beard (be it salt and pepper style or something else) is a great way to hide some face fat.

Best Looking Salt and Pepper Beard Style Examples

Full Beard in White and Grey Color with Glasses

full white and grey beard with glasses

Here’s an example of a classic full beard with plenty of gray and black hairs in it, a proper salt and pepper beard should I say.

Short and Groomed Salt and Pepper Beard

jon hamm with salt and pepper stubble beard
DFree /

You might recognize Jon Hamm from Mad Men here, he is often seen sporting beards of various lengths and as of late he has been seen quite often with a stubble beard style that includes a splash of gray and white hairs.

Patchy Salt & Pepper Beard Style

patchy salt and pepper beard style

Even if your beard is patchy and sparse, you can still rock it with confidence with a proper trim, just as the example in this image.

Scruffy Salt and Pepper Stubble with a Faded Haircut

scruffy salt and pepper stubble

Here’s another stubble beard with hints of gray in it. Judging by the length this would categorize as a heavy stubble beard.

The Salt and Pepper Heavy Stubble Beard

salt and pepper heavy stubble

Another example of a very short salt and pepper beard can be seen above. If you look closely, there’s bit of a faded beard action going on at the sideburns from where it gradually gets longer towards the chin.

Short Salt n’ Pepper Beard Style

short salt n pepper beard style

Here’s an example of a casually scruffy salt & pepper beard with some patches at the cheeks. If you want to give a style like this a try, it would not take long as a beard of this length can be typically grown in one month or so.

Bushy Curly Beard with Grey Hints

bushy and curly beard with gray hints

This black man has an interesting salt and pepper beard. It’s clearly dyed, and it’s more of a mixture of light yellow and black instead of full on black and white/gray.

Medium-Length Beard with Grey Patch at the Chin

medium length beard with grey patch at the cheeks

You can rock a salt and pepper look even if your facial hair would be lighter shade naturally. Here you can see a big beard cowlick at the chin area that clearly gets some grey hairs growing on it, with the rest of the beard being various colors from orange to dark brown.

Bald Head with Salt and Pepper Beard

bald head with salt and pepper beard

I’ve said it numerous times that beard goes well with a bald head, and same could be said from salt and pepper beards for sure.

Big and Bushy Beard with Grey Chin

big salt and pepper beard with grey chin

Every salt and pepper beard is unique, such as the one above with a giant white spot at the chin area and the rest of the beard being mostly dark in color.

Long Black Beard with Touch of Grey Hairs

long black and grey beard

In this example there’s a big bushy healthy looking beard with just few grey hairs growing in the mix, not a bad look at all.


Salt and pepper beards are amazing and can give a man some extra charm points.

However growing one isn’t as simple as just growing a beard, you also need to be at a certain age to be able to grow grey and white beard hairs. That is, unless you want to either dye the beard with salt and pepper coloring or go through the route of using synthetic beard fibers.

I hope this article helped you choose a salt and pepper style that suits you, maybe you can even pick one and show it as example to your barber or hairstylist.

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Ali is a published author and a beard grooming expert. To this date, his articles have been read more than 15-million times on various sites, and he has helped thousands of men make their beards look better and grow thicker. His work has been featured and cited in Seeker, Wikihow, GQ, TED, and Buzzfeed.


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