Made by the Shade: Matching Extension Color Perfectly

There’s a lot that can go wrong with hair, especially when it comes to color. An uneven cut can be remedied with a pair of scissors and a practiced hand, but a bad dye job could last weeks on end. It isn’t as simple as running back to your colorist for a second try; you should let your hair heal after a significant change in color, which means living with your skewed-hued locks until the color fades.

Made by the Shade: Matching Extension Color Perfectly

Yet, even botched coloring is bearable compared to mismatched extensions. Eye-catching and heartbreaking, extensions that don’t blend into a person’s natural hair immediately stand out and look dreadful. Though you might not be able to predict which colorist you can trust, you absolutely do have control over the shade of your extensions. Here’s how to avoid that particular hair color catastrophe.

Ignore Your Roots

It’s important to remember where you came from, but you can safely forget about the hair at your roots. Whether you regularly dye your hair or not, the ends of your locks are undeniably a different shade of the hair close to your scalp; sunlight, air, diet, age, and other factors can change your hair’s hue as it grows. New and natural hair is almost impossible to match because it tends to be less lustrous than your extension options.

Plus, if you attach your extensions properly, they shouldn’t come anywhere close to your roots. Regardless of whether you use clips, bonding, weaving, or braiding, your extensions should be hidden low in your locks, just above the nape of your neck. Unless you plan on fashioning all sorts of up-dos — which you shouldn’t when using extensions — no one will think to compare your extensions and your roots.

End the Search

Now that you are properly ignoring the top of your head, you can turn your attention to the ends of your strands. At several points around your head — including near your face and from different layers within your mane — you should isolate individual locks. Then, you should trace each lock from the midsection to the tip, noting the dominant hue and whether it changes toward the end.

It is entirely possible that locks from different sections are different colors. There are a few ways you can manage this circumstance:

You can purchase extensions of varying shades to attach to appropriate areas around your hair. This is the best option if you have dramatically different colors in your hair — like a rainbow or hidden rainbow hair.

You can dye your hair to one matching shade. This is likely your best option if you are annoyed that your hair varies in color or if you are having a difficult time distinguishing between your root color and end color. Then, you have complete control over your hair color, and you can be certain to find matching extensions.

You can cut your ends, giving your hair a more unified tone. Your ends are often the lightest areas of your hair because they have enjoyed more time in the sun and air. You should cut your ends relatively regularly anyway, to keep your hair healthy, but you can also cut them before you buy extensions to keep your hair closer to a single shade.

Made by the Shade: Matching Extension Color Perfectly

Test Your Guess

Most people purchase their hair extensions online because online stores are cheaper and more convenient than visiting wig shops or hassling your hair stylist. Unfortunately, this poses a problem for people who have trouble matching their shades: You can’t compare in person before you buy, so every online extension purchase is a gamble, right?

Actually, that’s wrong. First, most online extension shops provide a hair color chart that helps you determine which shade is right for you. Additionally, for a small fee, you can purchase a color sample of a few close shades to make sure the color is right before you make a larger order. Alternatively, some companies will ask you for a sample, in which case you would send them a small snip of your locks that they’ll match perfectly.

You should never feel intimidated to ask a retailer for help matching your color; they want you to be happy with your purchase, and they will do almost anything to ensure that. If all else fails — if you used your roots to choose your color, if you ordered the wrong shade, or if you simply hate how your extensions look — you can always visit your hairstylist for a cut and dye job that will make you look great.

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