Why Fat Joe Decided to Start Selling Beard Dye

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Photograph: Getty Images; Collage: Gabe Conte

Fat Joe was 28 when he spotted the first white hair in his stubble. He hated it. The Bronx rapper wasn’t ready to lean back into his silver fox era then, and at 53, still isn’t. So he's been hitting the dye aisle ever since.

“I'm confident in many areas, but the one thing that really bothers me is white hair,” says Fat Joe on call from his Miami home, where he’s in the process of coloring his beard as we speak.“I used to sneak my wife into the CVS at three in the morning to pick up dye. I never told nobody."

He became an experienced customer of beard dyes, and often found them lacking. "A big problem with some brands is they're not true to color, so every now and then it's hit or miss. The box would say medium brown and I'd use it and it looks black. They would clown me on Twitter, talking about, ‘You got a fake beard! A spray-on beard!’”

Sick of the slander and derision, Fat Joe has entered the beard dye business himself to ensure quality control. The result is Rewind It 10, a new men’s haircare line he calls “the Rolls-Royce of hair coloring.” It boasts an Italian cream formula enriched with aloe vera and macadamia seed oil, ensuring maximum nourishment and minimum shoe polish resemblance. The rapper has recruited some esteemed friends to front the boxes, including Swiftie-scrutinized Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce, model Tyson Beckford, singer Tank and chronic winner DJ Khaled.

Rewind It 10 Light Brown Beard Dye

$15.00, Rewind It 10

Threre's a strong case for letting your beard age like a fine wine, but not everyone is ready to uncork that bottle. Maybe that chin frost is coming in earlier than expected, or unevenly. And with the global men’s hair coloring space projected to be worth $864 million by 2030, there may be more guys reaching for the dye box than ever.

Fat Joe wants to eliminate the stigma around men dyeing their beards. “Man, in the ’90s, there's no way I would've thought I'd be selling hair coloring, but it's a different time,” he says. “We let our wives do their eyebrows, we let them do their eyelashes, we let them do their nails. We let them do everything they want to do in the world. Can't we have a little coloring to make ourselves feel better? Why fight time when we can rewind time?”

Rewind It 10 is a partnership with the beauty brand It’s a 10 Haircare, whose founder and CEO Carolyn Aroson is close friends with Fat Joe’s wife. The rapper implored her for years to work with him on a men’s beard line.

Aroson tells GQ she finally agreed after seeing an opportunity “to raise the bar in what, to me, was a very archaic industry. It’s been dominated by one particular brand, and they aren't even very good at it. It’s just cheap box color.” Aronson says she worked with chemists in Italy for three years until the product’s shades met her standards. “There’s always been a stigma about men’s dye because a lot of times the color would come out bad.”

Cheap box color also has a reputation for containing chemicals that can irritate darker-skinned men, which is why Fat Joe pushed for his product to be ammonia-free.

This was important for Tyson Beckford, who is on the box of Rewind It 10’s jet black color. “For some of us men of color, the ammonia in some of these dyes will burn and give you a rash," he says. "It never happened to me but it happened to my brother.”

The model says he turned to dyes in his mid-40s when his beard started growing sporadic patches of gray. “One side of my beard would be grayer than the other and it looked really weird to me. When I had it evenly jet black, I looked well groomed. I looked more put together,” he says.

And if one of the most accomplished models of all time can’t convince you that beard dyeing is cool now, maybe Taylor Swift’s boyfriend can.

“[Kelce] uses it in a little bit of both, the hair and the beard,” says Rich Gretah, Fat Joe’s manager, who hops on the call while the rapper washes the dye out of his scruff.

“I know he uses it,” the rapper reiterates, though he can’t confirm whether Kelce has started sprouting grays. He points out that men without silver are dyeing their beards simply to create a fuller look.

“A lot of young kids that don’t have white hairs use the products to get their lines sharper and fill in patches," he says. "There are some beards that ain’t as full, and the color makes their beards even.”

Which is all well and good, but something about all of this rankles coming from a rapper who’s built his brand on unwavering confidence and staying true to one’s roots. What about embracing the natural evolution of one’s hair and aging with dignity and grace? Shouldn’t a man named Fat Joe, of all people, know a thing or two about self-acceptance?

“Hey, everybody has a choice,” the rapper chuckles. “I'm just letting ‘em know I got a product that could make ‘em look ten years younger. You want to look older? That's on you. I think America's trending towards looking younger. You wanna take some Ozempic to get skinny? You want some Botox? To each their own. I'm giving 'em a way to look younger with less complications.

Originally Appeared on GQ