So you’ve decided to come over to the dark, I mean *fabulous* side – and buy your first wig/topper/etc. So many options! You’ve selected a piece that you think will reflect your style, but now you have to choose the color. 1BRH30, 12/30BT, 24BT18S8, EXCUSE ME?! What language is this?! And how can I possibly choose the color from a TINY little thumbnail?! HELPPP!
(If you’re ADHD like me and don’t want to read – scroll down for my cheat sheet PDF at the bottom)
Don’t worry, I am here to help. I’ve been where you are. Let’s break this down.
There are six main color families in the world of faux hair. (Now if your dream wig is in some odd color like green – you’re on your own here boo. These are “hair” colors).
Red: 27-33, 130-134
Platinum: 101-104, 613
Now here’s where it gets interesting. When you start adding in various blends, shading, rooting, highlights, ombre or tipped styles – the codes can get a little bit… complicated.
Here’s a handy dandy little chart from Jon Renau to break this down. Note, not every manufacturer codes their shades this way, but generally speaking the main color codes at the top of this post are quite standard. For example a 4 will always be a dark brown, never a blonde, etc. So here’s the chart:
And here’s my advice to you:
Choose a color family first, understand what the gist of the color code means. Then go on google image search and do a search for that specific color code. Do the same on YouTube. You will get a ton of search results, photos of that color in multiple lighting sessions, YouTube reviews, etc. Even if the specific wig or topper style is not the one pictured – you’re worried about the color. Take note.
If you’re shopping for blondes, take note of whether a warm blonde or cool blonde suits your skin tone. So you don’t look washed out like Kim K. when she went platinum – yikes!
Another thing you can do is buy a color ring. Most people don’t do this, because you get a slice of hair, but when you read what I am about to mention below, this will be a life saver.
Here’s a surprising fact for you…
The same shade can look pretty dang different based on the fiber. Here’s an example of Jon Renau 14/26S10: Human Hair on the left, and synthetic hair on the right – both in the SAME COLOR.
Mind blown, I know.
Here’s the deal. A royal blue silk blouse will not look exactly the same as a royal blue flannel T-shirt. It’s a difference in the fiber. Generally speaking, the human hair pieces will appear lighter than their synthetic equivalents, and this includes the rooting. Human hair will also appear warmer than synthetics. Heat defiant shades also present warmer. So here’s a list of the most popular JR shades and how they present in different fibers. Keep this in mind when you buy hair. This will save you frustration!
If you’re new to wearing hair and are concerned about people “noticing” your hair, choose a shade that’s close to your bio hair. Rooted shades also add to the realism, especially if you’re like me (a Latina) trying to pull off a platinum blonde. 🙂
If your goal is to DYE the human hair wig – start with a Jon Renau RN (Renau Naturals) color. Or if you’re going with a different brand – choose a shade that is as LEAST processed as possible. Why? Jon Renau standard human hair shades are colored using textile dyes to ensure they don’t fade. While this is cool regarding the no fading issue – you’re going to be in a world of hurt trying to dye a piece that won’t predictably darken or lighten. So save yourself the trouble and buy a Renau Naturals piece first. And realize that these can be lightened or darkened (deposited or lifted) 3 levels. If you’re doing some crazy colors, for instance a pink wig, start with the lightest color first. It’s always easier on the hair to deposit color than to lift it.
I hope that helps!
Here’s a PDF cheat sheet I made for you, feel free to save/print/etc.
Thanks for Reading!
**Note: I am an education ambassador for Jon Renau. Jon Renau team provides education and materials so that I can share that expertise and knowledge with my audience.
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