Is Your Wig—you? How to Pick a Wig Color
A friend of mine was looking at the wig site and all she could say was, “Oh, that looks like so and so, mostly actors she had seen on television. Of course, she meant the HAIR looked like the style and color that person had worn or was currently wearing. I had to remind her that most of us choose to wear wigs that look good on us, not an actress or a model. And she asked the question that we have all asked, and still, do when we look at the wigs on the computer screen. How do I know it will look good on me?
I have written about this before but thought it was time for a refresher, and a reminder to myself and any others who might need it, especially those new to wig-wearing and that scary choosing process. And as a side note, please take advantage of the knowledgeable staff and reviewers at WigStudio1. Exceptional. I posted a picture of a wig to get color confirmation on the WigStudio1 FaceBook page, and I was answered in ten minutes, allowing me to make my final decision. That group is invaluable for many reasons, but I love it because I can see real people in different styles and colors, as well as links to great reviews.
With all that said, let’s review how the experts tell us we SHOULD be picking colors and styles:
My disclaimer - Though there is “collective wisdom” in the hair, wig, and beauty industry, it is an opinion, BUT because it really is collective wisdom, I am paying attention. In the end, it is you who has the final say:
While it's a beauty myth that women over 60 must wear their hair short, the real marker for whether you should be wearing your hair short is whether it would be flattering to your face shape and hair texture. This short hair look works best on those with naturally straight, medium-textured hair.
Does short hair make you look thinner or heavier? It is believed that short hair isn't suitable for women with round faces. (However, that's not totally true.) There are some cuts that do nothing for you, but some that can flatter your round face. The perfect ones will be cuts with choppy strands framing the face, asymmetric side-parted hairstyles, angled bobs/lobs, and styles with the volume on top of the head.
What is a good hairstyle for a 60-year-old woman? A wavy medium-length shag style is the best haircut for older women, especially women in their 60s plus. It looks flattering with bangs especially, and some say it can take about a decade off your age/look. Layers can mean more movement and a more youthful look. Shorter hair, which tends to expand at the ends, can leave you with an unflattering triangle effect. Whereas loose waves and that movement makes for a younger look. Beware that straight hair can age you, so play around with face-framing layers to give your hair some softness and movement.
The Ever popular and Debated “what hair for what face shape”:
(Here is what I found from the same so-called beauty “expert”):
· If Your Face Is Heart-Shaped: Wispy, Layered Cut.
· If Your Face Is Oval-Shaped: Angular Bob.
· If Your Face Is Square-Shaped: Shoulder-Length Cut.
· If Your Face Is Round-Shaped: Pixie Cut – What? Isn’t this the reverse of what this same expert said before?
· If Your Face Is Long-Shaped: Side-Parted curly bob
Everyone has an opinion. For example, I would not wear a pixie cut with a round face unless I had small delicate features. So, take this “collective wisdom” with a grain of salt. I think it’s about a bit more than face shape. It’s about hair color, hairstyle, density, texture, and one’s attitude too.
Can changing our hair color make us look younger? (an always popular question)
I think we can all agree this can be true. Here again, are some “experts” weighing in. What do you think? Again, I think it depends on skin tone and condition, and the hairstyle and volume. I am not a fan of gold tones because it doesn’t go with my complexion, but it works for many others. So we see again that these blanket declarations may not be right for everyone. Also, I have seen many women who can totally rock the white hair with no gold tones. But I do agree that tone can be important, and shading, highlights, and all those things can make or break a look. What I learned in my quest was that there are a lot of variety in gold tones, and it’s not good to rule out everything in that range. Again, take the following “expert’s declarations” with a grain of salt:
· Blonde. As we age many people experience premature gray. For blondes, this can look ashy and age the complexion. Rather than keep your tresses platinum or white, add some gold tones to your highlights and you’ll soften your skin tone.
· Red. Adding warmth to red and strawberry blonde hair has the same effect as adding warmth to blonde. It makes you look healthier. Ditch the blue reds and select something warm to add a youthful glow to your tone.
· Brunette. Lighten up dark roots with caramel highlights and you’ll ditch the drab. A few highlights will soften your look and recapture the youth of summer days long past.
· Black. This is tricky. Black hair can be undeniably mysterious, but when in doubt – leave the blue out. A warm shade of black looks more natural and believable than Elvira’s blue-black, and there’s nothing worse than an off-tone box job look, no matter your age.
In summary, everyone has an opinion. Most women have had enough hairstyles and colors that they have learned what looks best on them. If you are a new wig wearer and get close to your bio hair color family, you will likely be more comfortable with that to start. Are you a brunette who has always wanted to be a blonde? Great, but what shade of blonde? Knowing your skin tones will help you decide.
The hair color that looked good on us at twenty-five may not look so great now. Don’t be afraid to experiment a little. Yes, buying the wrong wig is annoying, but you can cut down on the chances of buying a color that doesn’t suit you by knowing how colors and tones work with your skin. Look at the colors in your wardrobe. What do you gravitate to or have more of in your closet? That will give you a clue if you are warm, cool, or neutral in the tone family. Once you know that it is easier to pick a wig color that will have shades/tones to compliment your skin tone.
I may have made a color jump myself and will share that picture next time.
Until next time,
Happy short Wig Season (for me anyway)
Why the Big Deal about Blonde? And what about Red?
(Pictured above: 100% HUMAN HAIR BANG BY RAQUEL WELCH )
Blondes heads up! Not only do women find blonde hair attractive, but men do too. And some men have a preference for red-heads. What makes blonde or red hair such a big deal? It seems there is a “scientific” reason, or would that should be a “biological” reason?
I’ll explain, but first let’s consider this: There are almost as many shades of blonde as there are personalities. From warm caramel blonde to the most silvery-white platinum. Most of us who wish to jump in the blonde pool can find a shade that’s right for us. We all know that shades of color are important, but I am continually amazed when I see women with colored/bleached hair or women with blonde wigs that have done themselves a disservice. All blondes (or red shades) are not created equal and all shades won’t work on every woman. Be picky, investigate, learn about skin tones, and undertones, and try a wig boutique if you can, to see the shades for yourself, and in indoor and outdoor lights. (And if you go blonde or red from a brunette shade, especially a darker one, remember to change your makeup!) Yes, it matters.
WHY are blondes considered “above average attractive” to so many people? There is a bit of science behind the answer. Don’t believe that it’s all Hollywood’s fault (think Marilyn Monroe and Jane Mansfield in the fifties). Here is what the “experts” tell us: blonde gives a woman a kind of eternal youth look. But the real reason, even more, “experts” agree on is this: the scarce is always more attractive. And this is where science comes in.
If we go back in time, we would see a lot of people with the same coloring, shades of brown for hair, and eyes. It was the way we evolved from darker to lighter as humans migrated to different parts of the earth, some having access to more or less sun. When more southern groups stumbled onto the groups in the far north, those who had been in those Nordic areas, for example, they found people with lighter hair and eyes because they had adapted to the climate by their DNA changing to let more sunlight into their bodies. The blue eye color was a mutation, and those mutations have continued to this day. It is common to find light eyes in the majority of natural blondes and many others of northern European ancestry (myself included).
Now, the really interesting part: Blonde hair originated through a kind of genetic necessity. There was a time when there was a shortage of food and males, leading to a high ratio of women competing for a smaller number of partners (Evolution and Human Behavior – 2/27/2006). Academic researchers have discovered that women in northern Europe evolved with light hair and blue eyes at the end of the Ice Age to stand out from the larger group so that they could attract the mate they desired. It was later when the Neanderthals came on the scene that the red hair gene started to spread among the populations. Scientists argued for decades about whether they intermixed with the more modern human. They did. More current ways to verify that have closed the argument. So, in reality, that red gene is just as rare or more so. We see it today in Scotland, Ireland, and Scandinavia in higher numbers, but the red-head gene originated in central Asia. It’s due to a mutation in the MC1R gene that fails to produce sun-protective, skin-darkening eumelanin and instead causes pale skin, freckles, and red hair. Unfortunately, some cultures equated red hair with witchcraft for a few generations, and this
gene didn’t spread as fast as it might have. Blonde women have their myths too and they are found all over the Nordic areas. Two of the Norse goddesses, Sif and Freyja were blondes.
Blue-eyed people (who are becoming even more scarce now) for example, can trace their ancestors back to ONE person who lived about 10,000 (give or take) years ago, near the Black Sea. The research was published in the Journal of Human Genetics. They identified a single mutation in a gene called OCA2, which arose by chance about 8,000 years ago (best guess currently). This gene turns off the mechanism that produces brown melanin pigment. Originally, as I noted earlier, all humans had brown eyes.
In the end, the most likely theory that most can agree on is that blonde hair and blue (or green) eyes arose because of sex selection. This is where males and females choose their mates and those with “special” characteristics. So, we are back to the value of what is scarce.
Why skin tones are important in picking hair color: Those humans from Europe and the Near East have many characteristics that set them apart from the rest of the human race. Not only are Europeans far more likely to have blue eyes (some green) (95 percent in some Scandinavian countries have shades of blue or blue-green) they also have a far greater range of skin tones and hair colors than any other ethnic grouping. So good news! Those of us from European ancestry (a lot of us) are in the position of having at least a few blonde shades that work for us because we all have that varying skin tone advantage. I am British-Welch-Irish-Swedish/Dane-Scottish-Norwegian-German – in that order of percentage, the DNA tells me. My ancestors were hanging around in northern Europe for a long time. Most of my family has blue or green eyes—still. Only when they marry someone with brown eyes (dominant gene) does the brown win out for their children. I am not a natural blonde, but a very light brunette. But now, since I know that skin tone is the big thing, I know that I can find a blonde shade that is right for me.
So, if you find yourself drawn to the blonde shades, you’re in good company. Listen, you brunettes, if everyone goes blonde or red, pretty soon YOU will be the scarce ones!
Until next time,
How to Pick the Right Wig (and Makeup)—Do You Make These Mistakes?
(Wig shown above: KRISTA WIG BY ENVY)
The word “right” doesn’t ring true for me—maybe there should be a better word, maybe “best” is more accurate for this topic. When I ran across an article about picking the right wig, I had to smile a little. We wig wearers know that there is the best one for our mood, the weather, and the occasion, and this might not be the same wig at all. But I know what the article was trying to do. It was trying to advise wig wearers to beware of the pitfalls of picking a wig.Pitfalls are real. Unless we know about wigs in general and what we are looking for in particular, we are at the mercy of pictures and descriptions on a website, YouTube videos, and pictures of models. The article in question was one about women over 50 (but applies to all women) and talked about what is “right” for them. Again, that word doesn’t fit. So, let’s use “best” instead. Yes, some styles look better on older women than others. What do you want your wig to do for you? Do you want it to hide a large forehead, not call attention to a wide face, not emphasize a long face? Or do you not want to call attention to lines around the eyes?
This calls for an honest assessment. I have a good friend who is a stylist and married to a professional makeup artist who does the makeup for one of our local TV stations. Between the two of them, they gave me some asked for assessments that made me cringe a bit, but I was grateful. Now I know what styles work best, what colors, and what lengths work for me at my age. Any wig can look beautiful, but does it make YOU look beautiful? Don’t get caught up just looking at the wig itself. Learn what the wig can do FOR you. My stylist friend said that one of the biggest mistakes that he could see even from a distance is that women tend to pick wigs with too much hair. He says that so many wig wearers put on wigs with three times the density of what a normal head of bio hair would have. If the wig wearer knows that, likes that, then fine. But if you are trying to fool the rest of the world and you are not trying to call attention to your hair/head in this way, then think about the density. “We seldom see ourselves as others see us,” he reminded me. His wife, the makeup artist, said the one biggest mistake that she sees is that women forget that as they age their skin tone changes.
We lose that natural “bloom” of youth and then overcompensate with blush, and it’s usually too much and in the wrong place on the face. She said that our mantra should be, “less is best” and step away from the mirror. She went on to say that women often pick a color that looks good in the case but does not suit their coloring. Again, she advises you to put just a little on your face and then literally step away. Go back in fifteen minutes, take another look, and see what you think. If all you can see is a blotch of artificial color, you know you made a mistake. In summary, the wig colors and the makeup colors should work with us and not against us. When we change wig colors, we might want to think about changing makeup/blush colors if the changes in the wig colors/hues are very different. It’s easy to fall back on the “old-faithful” products and get into a rut. The stylist and makeup expert advises that we take a fresh look in the mirror every couple of months and think about our wig style, color, length, and the same goes for what we put on our face—does it work with our new style and color? Remember we have undertones to our skin. Those undertone colors and the outward skin tone work together to reflect your face to the world.
Until next time, go look in the mirror and see what you think. My session with the
experts was very helpful for me. I learned my face has become more oval and less round-ish as I have aged, and I can now wear some styles that didn’t work as well before. I learned that peach blush is not my friend, but a rosy pink is. I learned that “too blonde” wash me out, but a light brown with blonde highlights works best for my skin colors and gives me a more natural look that I prefer.
Happy mirror session - good luck!
Dealing with the Psychological Challenges of Hair Loss—Fear and Acceptance
(Wig shown above: BECKY WIG BY RENE OF PARIS)
When I started this blog months ago, I tried to tackle the feelings, questions, and frustrations that most all women deal with as they go through the process of realizing that they will lose their hair—forever. I would expect the feelings and process is very similar for men as well.
After writing my blog, getting feedback from real wig-wearing women, and learning from those experiences, I wanted to share what I have learned in the hopes that it will help someone out there who is reading this.
Not all hair loss is forever, of course. There are many reasons a person can lose their hair. The shock, loss, and the necessity to learn coping skills are just as traumatic whether you think the loss is temporary or permanent when it first happens.
At first, you may notice a little thinning, then more, and there is hair in the brush and hair in the shower—much more than you have ever seen. Now, you panic. What could be wrong with you? And then it begins, the search for answers, trips to the doctor or doctors. Some get that diagnosis that they dreaded most. They are told that their hair will continue to fall out and it will never grow back. As we know many conditions can cause this, so I won’t go into all that here. I was disappointed in my experience with the medical community. In the end, I had to be my detective, comforter, advisor, because no one had answers for me.
Once I figured out my issue and made my own diagnosis from my research (good research, not from the weird internet sites and YouTube), I felt better. While I didn’t want it to be true, at least I had an answer of sorts and knew it was time for the next step. That is where I found the world of wigs.
Since I had a background in research, I began to research wigs the same way I had researched hair loss. Once I settled on the right wig for me, it didn’t take me long to get over the fact that I was now a wig-wearer—every day. Very soon in the process, I stopped thinking about it and wondered if anyone could tell. The only looks and compliments that were coming my way were all about how much they liked my color, cut, etc. I never told anyone outside my immediate family and best friend. No one. I had more than one person every week ask me who did my hair. I knew then that I had found the right wig, and then was able to branch out as time went on and I gained confidence in my ability to pick the best styles, color, brand, cap, etc.
The challenges will be different for everyone. The acceptance process will be different for everyone also. No matter if you are an introvert or extrovert, or always confident or not so much, losing one’s hair is a huge issue. Your hair has been with you all your life, it has been a part of your identity, the way people see you, and who they think you are to some degree. You’re the girl, lady, woman with the long brown hair and silly laugh, or the person with the cute blonde pixie and full of energy. People see you and your hair is part of it. Now your hair is betraying you—your body is betraying you. How you deal with that can make a big difference in your life, but you will need to deal with that, and how you do that will depend not only on the reason for your hair loss but how much support you have. I am not a psychologist, but one of my best friends is, and I didn’t even talk to her about my experience for a long time, and after I had dealt with it all myself. If you have someone to talk to it can help, even if they know nothing about wigs. Wigs are done so well now that there is no reason for you to ever tell anyone that you are wearing a wig unless you want to do that. Ask for help if you need it, that is the most important thing.
Until next week,