I suspected this could get some readers going:
A word to the wise... With beards, as with writing, one must embrace the Claus.
Look, now that gays can see an end to DADT, and can realistically anticipate full acceptance of their justly equal position in society, it's time gays started realizing that as fashion trend-setters they have a responsibility to men as a whole, not just to their gay brothers.
To put the matter squarely: my beard looks like hell. So stop with the pro-beard propaganda.
Seriously. It's patchy, dude. I look like a rabbinical student with a skin condition. It's not a good look.
I had a full beard from the time I was a sophomore in college until about 45. Over that time it got grayer and shorter, in keeping with the rest of my hair, of course. The final straw was when I chanced upon a newspaper article with an accompanying photo of seven entrants in a Kenny Rogers lookalike contest in Bransom, MO. I shaved the next day.
Be careful with "Just for Men" as it can stain ones skin if left on even a fraction too long resulting in the dreaded Fred Flintstone syndrome. The advice to use a light shade is good. I find it turns the gray to blond.
Andrew, Andrew, Andrew... We ARE "that age" (I'm 50). Quite the opposite of discreetly "covering up" the visible signs of aging, we should be reveling in them, celebrating them to the world: shouting to the hilltops and thanking heaven we're ALIVE to actually GET old. You know far better than I that was not always such a foregone conclusion...
I've dabbled in beards - mine have never grown as long or full as I'd like - and I mean to tell you, I cannot wait for the day that my beard grows just a tiny bit of grey, like yours, so it can graduate from a hipster-doofus beard to a wise-sage beard.