Shades of Gray?
So many women that I’ve talked with or heard from lately are saying that they are ready to give up the coloring processes and learn to love their hair the way it is now. Often that means a form of gray, silver, or white hair. The situation with wig wearers is a bit different. We can change our color any time and with little fuss. But the same desire might still be there. How can we make such a drastic change with ease?
Shades of silver, gray, or white don’t have to mean “old” or mean any age. However, the challenge seems to be learning how to make that change. If you have worn a brunette wig for five years, should you just turn up one day in a lovely gray or silver wig? What if you’ve not shared your wig journey with others who see you every day, should you have a transition color/wig? There is no one answer to that question. It all depends upon your comfort level. Fortunately, there are resources to support any decision you make.
If you do decide to “just go for it” get help if you think you need it—learn what brands carry the wig styles and cap construction that you prefer if you are new to wigs. If you already know all about caps, styles, brands, and what works best for you, then you are ahead of the game. All you need to decide is if the colors you are considering are found in the styles that you like…or is it time to re-visit other styles that might have colors that you love?
Tips from the professionals about choosing a color/shade and style:
- Go for a soft color, and one with dimension. Nothing screams “fake” like a flat solid root-to-tip color with no variation.
- Color should always be multi-tonal, especially as you age. That is true for blondes as well.
- Remember, in most cases, we lose a “plumpness” in our faces as we age. The styles that looked good on us at thirty might look a bit harsh now. Example: a too-blunt bob, close to the jawline and with no layering can be a very severe look.
- Go for a layered style, and one a little below the jawline.
- Tone—is so important, and wig wearers must learn how to care for their wigs to protect the wig’s color/tone.
If we must look at new styles to find the colors we like, there is that question again: Short or long as we age? This is the question that never goes away. Ask yourself if your style makes your face look younger or older. Does the too-long hair pull the face down? Would you look better with a shorter, more face-flattering style? So many people get caught up in the look of the wig on a model—we need to be interested in how the wig looks on us with our face shape, and our coloring—huge difference.
Don’t be afraid to claim your color—and don’t be afraid of shades of gray! Try different shades/tones and get help if you need it. There are in-between colors that you can choose, but often the salt/pepper colors age us more than a lovely silver or white. It’s all about shade/tone, color, and style.
If you had rather take the plunge more slowly, there are some lovely options. Ellen Wille Smoke Mix and Pearl Rooted are lovely, and Raquel Welch Silver and Smoke, Iced Granita, and Silver Mist come to mind.
Skin Tone! We must not forget that our skin tone will play a big role in how we look in these shades of gray, silver, or white. Yes, it is ever important as we age because our skin tone changes. Know your skin tone as it is NOW and that will help you key in on colors/shades that will look best on you. For example, if you have a cool skin tone you likely already know that ashy colors, shades of honey, beige, and gray work well for you. Just remember, the tone and color gradient, and dimension are the keys for gray shades just as it is for any color. Flat equals fake.
I am reminded of two in particular that I have recommended before when writing about the fear of going gray. Just two of my favorites. Notice the dimension, and the shadings. No flat, drab and lifeless look with these!
Until next time, here I am thinking that I might go gray…maybe silver.
Is it Time for a Change?
Are you at that place where you are hanging on to old styles and colors long after you should have let them go? How do you know when it’s time? Because in addition to the obvious wig aging there are other reasons to let that wig go. So, what are the indicators that you are holding on to something that is doing you no favors?
But one thing to consider before we start tossing our old wigs, we might consider if we can revive any of them. Should we spend the time and resources to rescue our old wigs—in other words--should they be rescued? The short answer is yes, if that wig can be made wearable again, then it is worth trying if only to sell it or donate it. Maybe it is time to move on for you and the wig, but that wig might be perfect for someone else and very much needed.
Another thing to consider: Have you stopped actually “seeing yourself” in the mirror? Psychologists tell us that we do one of two things most often in this regard: we look but don’t “really look” because we think that we already know what we will see. Or we look too much, too closely, criticizing every part, angle, and perceived flaw. Either way, we are not seeing ourselves as we are, or as others see us.
There is the day we notice a little line on our faces and wonder how long it had been there. We catch a close-up look at the ends of our favorite wig and wonder then they got raggedy or stiff. Change is often slow, and when the accumulation of it is finally enough, we notice, and we are shocked. But if we had been looking, we would have seen it in progress. But we are busy humans and who has time to stand in front of the mirror and look at themselves all the time? Or inspect our wig every time we take it off? And therein lies part of the dilemma as to why one day we do look in the mirror and wonder why we ever bought that wig in the first place. The style, the color, doesn’t seem to be us anymore—sound familiar?
Wigs are even more of a challenge than coloring and cutting bio hair. First, they cost more, and you hope the relationship will be a long one because it doesn’t grow out if you have made a mistake. So, we are afraid of making a mistake, and because of that we often default back to our old styles and colors, trying so hard to get something “close to what I had before” and we think that is a good thing. It is not always a good thing. Maybe your lifestyle has changed. Maybe you retired, or work from home now and can be less structured in your life, including your look. Maybe you like short wigs for summer and want to take things up a notch with new styles or lighter colors. Don’t worry about trying to copy your old styles. There are many styles that look good on many people. The wig companies know that and why there are so many bobs of different lengths and short boy/pixie cuts.
When a friend of mine got a new wig (a first wig) and asked my advice I cringed because it made her look ten years older. Suddenly, she looked like her mother, and it was the wig—color and style. Both were wrong for her, and I had to tell her. I asked her to try on two of my wigs to see the difference in how she could look just to make my point that there were wigs for her that would work. I loaned her the one of mine she liked best and she forgave me for telling her that her new wig made her look older. She was able to swap it out, and she learned a good lesson.
The moral to my story is don’t be so intent on reviving your old wigs that you can’t see it is time to move on. Some might work, like one of the two that I worked on recently. Trying to revive an old wig can be frustrating and time-consuming because success can depend on so many things: age, wear and tear level, general care, type of fibers, and style. The one that I was able to rescue was in great condition because I had just stopped wearing short wigs for some time and had put it away (and had forgotten about it) before it had suffered much abuse. It just needed some TLC. Sadly, the other one had seen better days. Is it time to revive it for ourselves, or time to sell or donate? Rescue or toss season at my house seems to happen in the spring, even for wigs!
Now, it’s holiday season time, and what better time to gift ourselves with a new wig? A new style and color would perk me right up. How about you?
Until next time,
Vickie Lynn (in my Muse, which seems to last forever).
You Are Not Your Hair – and Who is the Real Expert?
As we all know by now, attitude is important. If you look at your wig and all you can think of is loss—hair loss, then touching that wig, wearing that wig can have a negative effect on your self-image, mood, and how you act and interact with others.
Hair loss, like any other condition one might have, is often something that we can’t reverse, but there are a lot of things that we can do to live with it. Wearing a wig does not change who you are, but it can change how you look and feel—for the better if you let it.
Now that I have reminded you (and myself) of this, let’s move on to some other practical things, like advice from the so-called “experts” and how much faith should we have in what they say.
My disclaimer - (Though there is “collective wisdom” in the hair, wig, and beauty industry, I’m not convinced that all of this advice below is much more than opinion, so read it with your skeptical glasses.):
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.) Some cuts 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 very 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 myself 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 rock white hair with no gold tones. But I do agree that tone can be important, and shading, highlights, all those things can make or break a look. 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, I wanted to point out that everyone has an opinion and that often these “experts” know less than we do. I say that we know best—you know best. 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 that you loved, you will likely be more comfortable. But remember, our complexion does change as we age, and we get lighter in the winter, darker in the summer, at least to some degree usually. And more than that, we have undertones in our skin that run from yellow to pink. The hair color that looked good on you at twenty-five may not look so great now. Don’t be afraid to change your color if it looks good on you. Look at the colors in your wardrobe. What do you gravitate to, 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 also will have shades/tones to compliment your skin tone. There are tons of videos and articles about picking your skin tone and under-tone.
We are the real experts, you, me, and other wig wearers. Follow the talented ladies here on this site for some great demos and information for all types of wig-wearing assistance. Also, follow us on Facebook, another great place for information from the real experts, those who know wigs, wear wigs, and know colors, and styles!
Until next time,
Happy short Wig Season (for me anyway)
No—Don’t Give Up!
This week’s blog was to be about wig rescue…but I changed it to be more about our rescue from wig disappointment. It is about giving yourself a bit of grace, time, and space to find the right wig, one that feels right to you, and one that compliments you, your complexion, and your face shape. Lately, I have been sad to see a lot of people on different media formats say: “I give up on wigs. I’ll just have to deal with this hair loss some other way.” The general theme seems to be that they try one or two wigs, and decide it is not for them. They are upset, disappointed, and often needlessly so. Things might have been different if they would have given themselves more time to do research, ask for help, and to understand it is a journey, not a sprint. Learning to buy a wig, the right wig(s) is a skill. Like any other skill, it takes time to master it.
Reading all the comments and learning about all the disappointments was frustrating. I wanted to give all those ladies a hug and say, “it’s because it is all so new—it feels like too much hair, the color might not be the best fit, you are not used to wearing something on your head—but it will get better with time.”
I am writing this in the hope that I will reach someone or several people who might be going through this now. One bad wig experience does not mean you will never be able to wear wigs comfortably. Even several bad experiences don’t mean failure. Yes, wigs are expensive and can be intimidating to work with at first. But you have to make friends with your wig, make it your own. Once you claim it, you can begin to work with it. Also, you need to manage your expectations. Everyone’s head (and neck length) is a bit different in size and shape, and you will eventually find the wig brands and caps that work best for you, and that will make your journey much easier. Also, please remember that your wig can be modified. I don’t have the talent in that area that I wish I had, so I take mine to a stylist to maybe get it trimmed, or most often just to get the bangs trimmed.
There is a process and a learning curve. A lucky few will take to wig wearing right away and have all kinds of fun trying new styles and colors. But most of us go down a different path. We struggle to learn about wig fit, the different wig caps, the difference in the fibers, wig care, colors, and sizes—it can be overwhelming. In my field, writing, we have “tags” for the different kinds of writers: Plotter or Pantser. I think the same idea can be applied to learning about wigs. Did you start researching all about wigs, view hundreds of videos, pictures, research manufacturers, talk to wig wearers, find wig blogs (a plotter)? Or did you find a local wig boutique and go in and trust the person there to just tell you what you should wear? Or did you go all out Pantser and just order a wig online that looked good to you because it looked good on the model? Maybe it was something in-between these actions, but you get my point. Did you approach wig-wearing in a more thought-out process or did you make an emotional decision? (In writing, a pantser is one who just sits in their chair one day and starts writing with just an idea and maybe doesn’t even know the story or the characters or how they want it to end.) As you can guess, I don’t advise this technique for wig buying. It can get expensive!
So, yes, there is a process, but it’s one that you can learn. I can remember my own experience in my early days of wig wearing. I was too overwhelmed to ask for help. I bought my first wig in a wig boutique, but after that, I owned my process—I did my research, asked questions, and then I ordered my first wig online and never looked back. I was not lucky enough back then to have a company like Wig Studio1. I didn’t feel comfortable asking questions of those at the wig boutique if I wasn’t going back there to buy their products. So, for me, it was research-research, and trial and error.
In closing, I want to highlight two things: 1. please, ask for help. If you are reading this blog, then you know that you can find it at Wig Studio1. There is so much expertise there! 2. Do NOT give up, and if you are in this phase, or if you know someone who is struggling, pass this on. There is a wig and style that is for you, likely there are several, but you will never know that if you give up too soon.
So, next week, I will let you know how my old wig rescue came out and will have some tips for how to rescue your old wigs—or if they should be rescued. Sometimes, it is time to move on. Until then, look in that mirror and see possibilities. Refuse to accept failure and disappointment about wig wearing. If thousands of people can do it, so can you. So, whether you are a plotter or pantser, keep trying because the right wig is out there waiting for you. Before you know it, you will have a collection of your own. The day will come when you will look at your wigs and be happy that you have options, and you’ll be happy that wigs are so well made now—all they need is you to make them your own.
Until next week, take a look at the wigs on sale now (and ongoing) and maybe start there. If you are not sure about style or color, ask for help. There is a world of expertise at Wig Studio1. There are wonderful blogs, videos, and all kinds of great resources. And remember, we are all in this together. Pass it on.
Our Old Wigs – or what was I thinking and why do I still have them?
I went on a wig hunt this week—inside my own closet. I retrieved a dozen or so boxes of wigs from the area in my closet where I kept the “maybe someday” things. You know what I mean, like those jeans that used to fit, and I might get back into them “someday” maybe. In the case of wigs, these were from my earlier still learning days. And as tried them on one at a time, one thought kept going through my mind—what was I thinking? I must have thought they looked good at one time, but now, not so much. So, what happened?
Most of us are all pretty hard on ourselves, very critical of every perceived flaw, and I am no exception. But I think that when I first started out wearing wigs, I didn’t know what to expect, and what looked good (meaning believable). I think I was more concerned with that than comfort, finding the right color or style. I didn’t know how comfortable they were supposed to be, nor did I understand much about caps and how they were made or supposed to fit. I picked a few that looked good on the model, and well, lived with them. We all go through a rookie stage, and I think mine lasted through a half dozen wigs at least, maybe more. We live, we learn, we make corrections, and that includes buying wigs. So, maybe we should give ourselves a break about it, especially starting out.
Out of the dozen, I removed from my closet, only two were worth trying to salvage. I am going to see if I can bring them back to life this week. They are totally different in style and color so it will be interesting to wear them again if I do manage to rescue them. I have learned a lot about caps, fit, style, colors, and what works best for me now. So, when I shop for a wig now it is pretty easy for me to put my own filters on before I begin the shopping phase. I know what I want: mono top or mono part at the minimum, lace front, and heat-friendly fibers. I don’t have the patience for human hair care, and I don’t have the talent to style them as I would like, so synthetic works best for me. But I do like the look of human hair and I get that much easier in the heat-friendly fibers. Knowing that I am free to look at styles and color and that makes it easier to shop. Now that I don’t go to an office and see the same people every day, I am free to wear different wigs out and about. Before I didn’t discuss wigs with people I worked with but that locked me into wearing the same wigs all the time.
As I tried on my old wigs, I tried not to be so hard on myself about how they looked because after all, they had been boxed up for some time. Also, I have aged, I am paler now after the lockdown, and that is not a good look under the harsh bathroom lights. But I did have to keep wondering—what was I thinking when I bought them? I can’t answer that, but I also wondered why I kept them after looking at the condition some were in. Clearly, I liked them enough to wear them a lot! In the end, I decided it was the same as looking back at anything, your clothes from years ago, old picture of yourself in different hairstyles, shoes, whatever. Wigs are the same. We pick them for many reasons, and it seems right at the time.
If you have some old wigs put away that should be taken out and donated or revived or tossed – do it. They are serving no one in the closet. It is like the clothes rule, if you haven’t worn something in a year, get rid of it. You will feel better afterward, I promise.
What I need to buy now is not more wigs, but some good products that might help me revive two. I have put a link below to some of the products that I will be trying on my two rescued wigs I will post pictures of them in my next blog if I am successful. Wish me luck. One is a short one that I would love to wear this summer, so I have high hopes for that one. The other is a chin-length, straight bob-style in an unflattering color—which I wasn’t aware it would be at the time I ordered.
So, until then, see if any of these products might help you rescue a wig, or maybe make your current favorites last much longer. If we care for them, they will not be sent to the toss pile too soon. Oh, that conditioner and conditioning spray looks promising!