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.
There is much more to choosing a wig than liking how it looks—in theory. I was asked to address this topic again: What are some of us doing wrong with our wigs? I will re-review some of the answers I got when I interviewed some stylists in my town, and who I knew would tell me like it is. They work with clients who wear helper hair, so they understood what I was asking.
Though wigs are different from natural hair in a lot of ways, the same rules apply when it comes to color, length, and style. There is nothing worse than getting the perfect wig and finding it is not perfect for you. (This was the first hard lesson that I learned.)
What follows is the advice of two stylists who have devoted most of their careers to hair. They nicknamed their advice their “dirty dozen” rules for hair—wigs included.
Here are their opinions based on their experience.
“The Dirty Dozen” questions and concerns from clients:
- Center parts—not for everyone. They can make you look older. It takes away from the fullness at the crown. If you are young, it’s not so much a concern. Most people do tend to look better with more fullness at the crown. It draws the eye upward.
- The ongoing debate of whether should older women have long hair or not: If your hair is too long it can make you look older. They agreed that it doesn’t have to be short to work best for mature women, but long hair draws the face down, and the eye down, especially with heavier bottom ends styles with a lot of volume. Do you want people to focus on your chin and neck? For longer styles think layers and less density. Women of all ages can wear long hair and look good, but style and color are everything. They did note that if you have a heart-shaped face you have an advantage in wearing longer styles, especially with bottom volume. This style works best to “fill out the face triangle” by having more hair at the bottom under the chin area.
- Manage your expectations. Understand what your style really is – meaning, what you like and what looks best on you may not be the same thing. Also, make sure you are using volume in the right places. Refer to their comments on face shape. How does your hairstyle work with you or against you to compliment your face?
- If you have a full or very round face, watch for too much volume on the sides near the cheeks. A lot of hair there will make your face look wider. Try for more volume on top and a longer style that comes under the chin—not at the chin and curving around to accentuate more roundness.
- If you have a long face, go for that side fullness and less volume on top. You can still wear longer styles if you like, just balance the hair with the face. Bangs are also good for long faces. More about bangs in number seven.
And for all the face shapes in-between round, long, heart-shaped, well, you get the idea. The stylists’ mantra: where do you want the focus? What features do you want to highlight, or dimmish?
Bangs – handle with care was their advice. No thick straight across-cut bangs unless you have a long face and even then, it can be tricky depending on the style. Thick straight bangs will “close your face” and make a round face look even more so. Their advice for most bang lovers is to keep it light, don’t cover your entire forehead, ever. Keep your face open by making sure your forehead can be seen, at least part of it.
Color can make all the difference. Natural hair is not just one color. For wigs, you must have some shading and dimension to look natural. Know what colors work for you. For example, gold blondes tend to age some people depending on their skin tone and undertones. For some people ashy shades make them look ill or washed out. Learn if you are a cool, warm, or neutral in the color family, and pick your hair colors appropriately. A special note for those over the fifties: Going too dark can look harsh and fake. Better to lighten up, and don’t be afraid to go salt and pepper or silver/gray. It will make you look younger than the too-dark shades.
Layers are important for styling in that they keep things more balanced, and the look is less heavy– hair that just hangs in one length brings the eye down.
Don’t use too much product. If your hair won’t move it dates your style, and makes you look older. Don’t be a helmet head.
Visit a stylist and let him or her make your wig more you—have it tweaked to bring out the best in the wig so that your wig will bring out the best in you. It is a good investment especially if you have an expensive wig and wear it every day.
Be open to trying new styles. There is nothing that dates you more than keeping the same style for too many years.