Dhaka: From shades of startling red to hues of vivid tangerine, brightly coloured beards have become a fashion statement on the streets of the Bangladesh capital.
Facial hair of sunset tones is now the go-to look for older men wanting to take off the years, with an array of henna options available to the style-conscious.
“I have been using it (henna) on my hair for the last two months. I like it,” says Mahbubul Bashar, in his 50s, whose smile reflected his joy at his new look.
Abul Mian, a 60-year-old porter at a local vegetable market, agrees that the vibrant colouring can be transformative. “I love it. My family says I look a lot younger and handsome,” Mian told this agency.
While henna has been used widely in the country for decades, it has reached new heights of popularity here. It is now virtually impossible to walk down a street in this city without seeing a coloured beard.
Orange hair – whether it’s beards, moustaches or on heads – is everywhere, thanks to the popularity of the coloured dye produced by the flowering henna plant.
“Putting henna on has become a fashion choice in recent years for elder men,” said Didarul Dipu, head fashion journalist at ‘Canvas’ magazine. “The powder is easily found in neighbourhood stores and easy to put on,” Dipu added.
But the quest for youth is not the only reason why more and more Dhaka barbers are adding beard and hair colouring to their services.
Top imams also increasingly use henna powder colour in what experts say is a move to prove their Muslim credentials as some religious texts say the prophet Mohammed dyed his hair. In Bangladesh most of the population of 168 million is Muslim.
“I heard from clerics that the Prophet Mohammed used henna on his beard. I am just following,” said resident Abu Taher, a resident here.
Previously, aficionados created the dye by crushing henna leaves to form a paste. It was messy and time-consuming but modern henna powder is far more user-friendly.
Taher, who goes by one name, asserted that the dye has given his beard added vigour. “Look at this growth. Isn’t it strong?” he exclaimed pointing to his chin. “”The powder turns the grey hair red but does not change the remaining black hair,” explained Taher.
Some said that henna powder has health benefits and, as it is natural rather than created using man-made chemicals like some dyes and does not cause any medical issues.
The new trend has also boosted barbers’ fortunes – more men feel compelled to dye their hair and to do it more often at the salons.
“In the past we hardly would get any customers for this,” recalls Shuvo Das, who works at the Mahin Hairdressers in the Shaheenbagh neighbourhood here. “But now there are clients who come every week to get their beard dyed. It takes about 40 minutes to make the beard reddish and shiny. It is also cheap. A pack cost only 15 taka (four US cents),” Das explained as he massaged the dye mixture – imported from India – into a customer’s beard.
PNN & Agencies