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!
Make Wig Wearing Benefit You!
(Wig Pictured above: Kim Wig by Jon Renau)
Yes, we talk about the challenges a lot, but there are also many benefits to wig-wearing. Like most things, wearing a wig and caring for it takes some work. But maybe you (like I) sometimes forget to think of the upside, the benefits.
To get the most out of your wig it is important to know how to choose and care for them. Here are a few tips from the wig-wearing experts like some of you:
- Find a wig color that matches your skin tone. Treat the wig color just as you would picking a color to enhance your bio hair and your look in general. If you were a blonde before and know that blonde is a good color for you, it might help to stay in the blonde “family” when buying your first wig. You can branch out as you go and learn more about what wig colors are available.
- If security is a challenge for you, look at the many ways to secure your wig, and there are many to pick from. Don’t spend your time worrying about your wig slipping or worse, falling off when there are so many securing options to choose from. Tape, clips, glue, caps, grips, and the list goes on. Find what works for you. Reach out for help if you are new to the wig world. You’ll find many people willing to give you the benefit of their experience. But remember, it is THEIR experience, and your issues or questions might be different. For example, some won’t leave the house without a wig grip and other items. Some leave the house with absolutely nothing between their wig and their head. It’s a very personal thing based on many factors.
- Make the wig YOURS. I can’t stress this enough…do not think you will be able to pull the wig from the box, put it on your head, and love it unconditionally. This rarely happens. Believe me when I tell you, a one-time investment with a hairstylist to trim and shape it to your face is the best money you will ever spend. Along with this, please watch the many helpful videos WigStudio1 supports, and remember to take advantage of the great consultants they have standing by to help.
- Know your head size, and know that though wigs are mass made, you can find ways to achieve a good fit with a bit of work. You will find that some brands fit your head better than others. You will learn which cap construction types suit your head and your comfort level best. There comes experience.
- If your wig has a part, and most do, don’t make it so straight and perfect. Perfect is not realistic.
- Don’t be afraid to personalize it. You can wear clips/barrettes and other things to change up your look to fit your mood or outfit.
- Care, care, and care. Washing and conditioning your wig is important and can add not only to the look of your wig but to its life.
- Appreciate the good stuff about wig-wearing:
- You can change your look in minutes.
- There are no more bad hair days.
- There are no more minutes or hours in front of the mirror trying to hide your thinning bio hair.
- There is little styling time required, saving you time and frustration.
- You can try a new style and color without a costly long-time commitment as with bio hair.
- Wigs can help you through recovery from an illness or be a daily friend.
- Save your bio hair from repeated heat, coloring, or bleaching.
- Freedom! Change your style, your color, your look. Wigs are great!
Wishing everyone a great holiday season!
Show and Tell?
Though I blogged about this a while back, it has come up again in recent Facebook posts and elsewhere. So, I wanted to re-visit this topic. How much do you tell others about your decision to wear wigs? This is a decision everyone must make on their own. No one answer fits everyone’s situation.
My friend once said to me, “it’s a mind field of judgment out there” but that can’t be your concern. There is nothing we can do to stop someone from rendering judgment about anything we wear, eat, drive, or do. Humans will be humans. With this in mind, you must decide early on how you will incorporate wig-wearing into your life. Will you just tell your family and close friends? How will you handle telling (or not telling) work colleagues? Again, only you know the best way because only you know your level of confidence, and the dynamics of your relationships, both personal and professional.
Yes, but what about romance? That is a question that I see a lot. How and when or if—you should bring this up. This is tricky because trust places a big role here. I’d certainly not make it a conversation on a first or even second date. After all, if this is someone that you don’t know well, and may not see again, why put yourself through that stress? Now, the tricky part. If you do progress to a more serious relationship, an intimate relationship, then what—how do you prepare your partner ahead of time, or do you have to do that? Unfortunately, there are no rules about this and it comes back to you, your trust level with the other person, and the confidence that you are more than your hair.
If you do get to that point and are still not ready to have the wig discussion, there is one thing my friend recommended that worked for her and allowed her time to ease her way into having the conversation. When they got to the time when she knew their relationship had progressed to the next phase, intimacy, yet she was still not ready to have the wig talk, she told her partner that she had hair extensions in and to keep his hands out of her hair. Plain and simple, and that is what happened. She offered no other explanation until she was ready to, and that was months down the road when she was sure their relationship was one she wanted to cultivate. By then she knew what to expect from him in the way of a reaction, so she took the risk. It worked out for her, but I also know someone who took the risk and never heard from the guy again. But she realized that if she was dealing with someone that shallow, then him walking away was a good thing for her. Why waste your time on someone who judges others solely by their appearance.
If you are like friend number one and you want to take some time, then there are things that you can do to help. You can do as she did or you can just say up front that you are wearing a wig so please don’t mess with it and offer no further information. However, saying that will in all likelihood bring questions, so make sure you are ready to answer them. If you are in the early dating stages there are, of course, ways to secure your wig to keep it looking natural until you do get to a more serious point in your relationship.
What about your work colleagues? That can be handled any way you think best. Depending on the change in your look, you may have someone confront you about it. Only you know your work situation. If it’s just going to a lower density wig from your thinning hair, then you might not need to say anything. I worked with a woman who decided her thinning hair was becoming a confidence breaker so she got a log density wig that matched her bio hair color and length, and just wore it into work—and got compliments on her new haircut. And I take this opportunity to remind you of something that you already know—people are much too concerned about their looks and life to dwell too much on others. We are our own worse critics and this is a hard truth.
If you love wigs and want to wear different styles, and colors regularly to work, then you’ll just have to go for it and tell everyone what you’re doing. In a week or so, it will no longer be a topic. This is the jumping into the fire with both feet approach. Some people can handle it, some rather not make this attempt. Only you can decide.
I hate to end on a negative note but you will run into those, be they family, friends, or co-workers who will have something to say. There are people who seem to see their mission in life is to offer their opinion on everything, whether they know anything about the topic or not. In the case of wigs, I’ve found that it those who know nothing about them who feel they must their critique. Be ready for them. They will ask dumb questions, comment on the color and/or style, ask you the cost, and in general, make you uncomfortable if you let them. I have found a few well-chosen sentences can usually shut them down. Here are some retorts that I’ve heard used over the years by seasoned wig wearers.
“Why yes, it is a wig. Do you have wig or hair styling experience?”
“If you’re interested I can send you some information.”
“Costs vary. I can point you to a few good websites if need more information.”
“People wear wigs for all sorts of reasons. You must feel lucky that you don’t have to.”
“I like being a blonde, but hold on, I could show up as a redhead tomorrow.”
I could go on, but you get the idea. You really DO NOT owe anyone any explanation. How much you decide to “show and tell” is your decision. Don’t let someone force you into it before you’re ready.
Until next time,
Pull out that little bit of the magical witch in you and stand tall.
Fixing Fringe Flop
There are many things that can flop in life of which we have no control, however, when it comes to bangs flopping in our face, this video/blog has come to the rescue. For our subject, I have chosen Miss Macchiato HF by Belle Tress in Roca Margarita Blonde. You will need the following:
Patience, a wig head to place your wig on other than your own, 2 to 3 mesh rollers, T-Pins, and a steamer. Optional: Blow dryer, rat-tail comb, and end papers.
Needless to say, this is demonstrated on a wig that has been freshly washed and conditioned for this presentation. After securing your wig, simply section off one front fringe at a time, and carefully roll it up in the mesh roller, you may use end papers but this is not necessary. Proceed to the other side of the wig depending on the style and desired re-direction. Secure the rolled-up sections with T-Pins. Following this, plug in your steamer, I recommend using distilled water or spring water, and when the steam emits you are ready to direct the steam to the rolled-up sections for approximately 5 to 7 seconds. This can be repeated later if necessary. Be careful to avoid the lace front and concentrate the steam only on the fibers. This process can be utilized on both Heat Friendly and Regular synthetic fibers.
The most important point here is the fact that most of the work is done during the cooling down process so I would recommend leaving it to set for a few hours or overnight. If you are in a hurry you can utilize the blow dryer method. Use the low setting on the blow dryer and please take into account that this also needs to dry completely until cool to the touch. If the roller is disengaged prematurely it will not be set.
I hope you enjoy the accompanying video demonstration with the goal of seeing the light at the end of the fringe flopping tunnel.
FYI: I am wearing Kendall by Henry Margu in 10/613GR
Both wigs were purchased by creator from Wig Studio 1 (Clearance Section).
“On Being a Blonde Detective”
The world of blondes can seem as convoluted as splitting the atom. Now I’m no Einstein but I can certainly read a color chart. But if you think that’s going to be much assistance in decoding the numerology of your next blonde crowning glory it might be easier to figure out how to be in two places at the same time.
Let’s say for the sake of argument we look at the color by Henry Margu in 10/613 GR. Seems pretty straightforward, 10 is a Medium Golden Brown, 613 is French Vanilla Blonde (sounds more like ice cream but okay). GR stands for gradient dark root, light tips. Upon further research, I have discovered the following: “Light Ash Blonde with Platinum Blonde Highlights and Medium brown roots”. Really? Seems to me you can sooner judge a book by its cover than select my next wig based on the above description. If there is Platinum in there why didn’t I get the memo? Because my dear partners in crime, where is the number 101 mentioned which is the official number assigned to said color “Platinum”? A secret code perhaps? One only a “color detective” can decipher? And if so, where is that Agatha Christie when you need her? As for the number 613, is that not a pale natural gold blonde? Or is that applicable only to another brand’s color chart?
Moving on to John Renau’s Palm Springs Blonde, FS17/101S18. Ah, there is the 101 Platinum, I knew we would find it somewhere except this was not in the description, which I was as mystified as anyone to read: Lt. Ash Blonde with Pure White Natural Bold Highlights Shaded with Dark Natural Ash Blonde. (No mention of Platinum) but okay, so much for math, and if nothing else let it be BOLD. Is Bold a color or an attitude? Or is that the attitude that you have when you wear the color?
As we further investigate this color conglomeration we know that FS translates into Fashion Syrup making me hungry already and 17 is a Medium Ash Blonde (Shaded meaning kinda rooted) signified by an “S” and 18 Dark Ash Blonde.
Assuming I am not alone in my confusion I have decided to provide my only key to help unlock this mystery. Clues are provided in the form of visuals; color comparison photos and also a video. Sometimes it seems playing by the numbers works as well in choosing a blonde as it does at the Blackjack table at Caesar’s Palace in Vegas.
I hope you enjoyed reading and viewing my take on this challenge, this blog is composed for educational and entertainment purposes.