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Nicotine Stains In Facial Hair - How To Remove

Nicotine from cigarettes may leave behind an oily residue which may become hard to remove with just simple soap and water.

Smoke sticks to hair discoloring mustaches, beards and hair adjacent to the nose or mouth when exposed to ongoing cigarette smoke.  The stains are usually yellow or brown and are caused by the tar in the cigarettes.

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Nicotine Stain in Mustaches & Beards - How To Remove

Nicotine stains are often a more common problem with men who smoke and have facial hair.  Women usually don't encounter this problem since they don't usually have facial hair. If they do, it's usually either removed or kept very short and unnoticeable.

However, sometimes women may get nicotine stains on hair directly adjacent to the nose and mouth areas.

What Are Nicotine Stains?

Nicotine, in its natural form, is an oily liquid which can be absorbed into the hair cuticle.  As the smoke from the cigarettes pass over the mustache, beard and adjacent hair a residue of nicotine will settle down into the strands.

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Methods Of Nicotine Removal

There are several methods for removing nicotine stains from beards, mustaches and hair which is adjacent to the nose, mouth or chin areas of the face.  Of course the easiest way to handle the stains is to be religious about daily maintenance and prevention.

If the stains have been allowed to build up over a period of time you may wish to either trim off the most stained edges or even shave the facial hair and start over with a planned method of elimination and prevention.

If you wish to remove the stains without shaving or trimming affected areas the following stain removal options can be utilized:

- Clarifying shampoo

- Blue based shampoo for brightening and whitening gray/white hair

- Yellow based shampoo for brightening blonde hair

- Color enhanced shampoo for stains on any other facial hair colors

- Baking soda paste

- Smoker's toothpaste

- Baking soda/smoker toothpaste mixture

- Hydrogen peroxide (not hair bleach)

- Facial hair bleach

- Mustache bleach

- Vinegar

- Lemons

- Potatoes

- Aspirin

Clarifying Shampoo

Luckily nicotine stains are usually only surface stains and can most often be removed with a clarifying shampoo. Clarifying shampoo products are developed to remove build-up from the hair and in most cases should remove nicotine stains with continual use.

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If the facial hair is gray use a blue based shampoo designed to brighten and whiten gray hair. You can buy these types of shampoos at beauty supply stores. If you are unsure about the blue based shampoo option ask your hairdresser for a product recommendation designed to brighten gray hair and bring out the whites.

Yellow Based Or Color Enhancing Shampoo

If your hair is blonde or white instead of gray opt for a shampoo designed to enhance the blonde or the white shades.

Baking Soda Paste

Another option is to make a paste of baking soda and water and apply it to the stained areas of your facial hair. Leave the mixture on the stained facial hair areas for up to 30 minutes. Rinse and check the stains. Using a paste of baking soda may take more than one application to get your facial hair to a point it's unstained.

Smoker's Toothpaste Mixed With Baking Soda Paste

A smoker's toothpaste can also be applied to the facial hair and allowed to remain for up to 15 minutes. This option may also require repeated applications, but should work since it's designed to remove nicotine stains to smoker's teeth.  To amp up the impact of the smoker's toothpaste add a little baking soda and water to make a paste and apply.

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Hydrogen Peroxide

Although some home remedies include using peroxide this is usually not the best choice. If you decide to go with this option use hydrogen peroxide which has mild bleaching properties but not hair bleach.

Never use traditional hair bleach used for the hair on your facial hair. Brush hydrogen peroxide onto facial hair with a clean new toothbrush and allow it to sit for several minutes before rinsing.  Rinse well.

Facial Hair Bleach

Facial hair bleach is used by women to lighten facial hair.  This bleach can be utilized to remove nicotine stains on facial hair.

Mustache Hair Bleach

There are commercial hair bleaches designed specifically to remove stains from mustache and related facial hair.  Mustache hair bleaches are similar to facial hair bleach used by women.


Vinegar dabbed on cotton balls and applied to nicotine stains often remove them quickly.  If not, try repeated applications.

Fresh Lemons

Cut half a lemon and rub through the stained facial hair.  Allow the juice to soak into the stain for 15 to 30 minutes. Lemon is a natural astringent and will cleanse naturally without being overly drying.


Try using a potato for nicotine stain removal. Cut a potato in half.  Rub it into the stained facial hair. Allow the juice from the potato to set for up to 30 minutes before rinsing.

Aspirin Mix

Dissolve an aspirin tablet into one cup of hot water.  Do not use a coated headache pill but an old fashioned aspiring.  Avoid making the water too hot so that it will burn your fingers or skin.

Use clean cotton balls and soak into the aspirin mixture. Dab the aspirin coated water onto the facial hair stains.  Allow to soak for up to 30 minutes.  Rinse and repeat if necessary.

Prevention And Maintenance Is Key

Once you have eliminated all the stains it's important to maintain stain free facial hair.

Coat your facial hair with a leave-in conditioning product every day after washing your face.  A conditioning product will create a barrier to the nicotine preventing it from soaking into the hair.  Applying a thin coat of Vitamin E will also help provide a natural nicotine barrier.

To prevent nicotine stains on hair around the face always apply a good leave-in conditioner to block absorption of nicotine.

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