One of the best things about wearing wigs is their versatility. You can be subtle and reserved one day, then bold and vixen-like the next. Even better, human hair wigs can be dyed just like your natural hair. That means not only can your fashion change to suit your mood, but your hair color can, too.
Many people ask how to color a human hair wig–and it’s a great question. When you invest in a high-quality human hair wig, you want to prolong the hair by using proper dyeing techniques. Thankfully, we’ve put together this guide to help you pick the best color, the best wig, and the best tools so you can craft your hairstyle just the way you like it.
How to Pick Your Wig Color
Whether you’re looking for dye color or wig color, it’s a commitment that you want to feel good about. Once the hair is dyed, it’s much harder to go back. So, before you make that all-important decision, here are a few things to consider:
Pick a Color to Complement Your Skin Tone
Choosing a wig color is all about which color you want to bring out in your face. First, it helps to know what your skin’s undertones are. Ask these questions to help guide you:
With this information, you can determine your undertones. Most likely, your skin, hair and eyes will fall under one of the following categories:
Warm: yellow, gold, olive/green undertones
Cool: pink, blue, red undertones
Neutral: a mix of cool and warm tones
So, how to dye a wig in the color that looks best? According to experts, choose a hair dye color that’s the opposite of your skin tone. For example, if you have a warm skin tone, try a cool shade of brown like chestnut or ashy colors. For cool skin tone, try a warmer blonde with caramel or amber colors. If you’re neutral, go for them all!
And never shy away from going totally bold if you’re feeling fierce and feisty. A shimmery purple, pop of pink, or deep mahogany can really take your look to the next level!
Pick a Color to Show Off Your Personality
Numerous studies have been done to show the relationship between color and people’s moods, also known as color psychology. So whether you’re feeling sassy or shy, check out how these colors and moods for inspiration:
• Blue: calm, peaceful, content
• Red: bold, passionate, confident
• Yellow: energized, cheerful
• Pink: flirty, happy, romantic
• Purple: mysterious
• Black: fierce, confident, grounded, strong
Remember, if you’re going to be dyeing a dark color wig a bright or vibrant color, you MUST bleach the hair before to ensure the best results. That being said, it’s recommended to purchase a color like 613, a light platinum blonde color, so that you can skip the bleaching step.
Essentials for Dyeing a Wig
There a number of ways to dye your hairpiece, and each requires different tools. Depending on the type of wig, its original color and your desired color you may choose a different dyeing method. The two most common methods for dyeing a human hair wig are to watercolor the unit or brush the dye on.
The watercolor dyeing method is extra-heavy, and for good reason: it’s quicker and easier than other methods. Water coloring involves dipping your wig into a concoction of hot water and hair dye. If you try this method, you may want to take precautionary measures to protect the lace and knots.
A more widely known hair dye method is to apply color directly on the unit with a dye brush or hands. This is very similar to the way natural hair is dyed in a salon and gives you more control over which pieces of hair you color. On the flip side, it can be time-consuming, especially if you’re trying to dye the whole wig one color.
With those two methods in mind, let’s get into the details of how to dye a human hair wig.
Build Your Hair Dye Toolbox
How to color a human hair wig? Start with the right tools. Use this checklist to get started:
• Dye brush
• Wide-tooth comb
• Dye (amount will depend on thickness, length, and color of wig)
• Bleach (only if you’re dyeing dark hair a light or bold color)
• Glass bowl or ceramic bowl for mixing, or large plastic tub for water coloring
• Long, plastic spoon to mix dye in water for water coloring
• Wig head
• Towel that can get stained
• Wig/unit to be dyed
As you’re gathering and preparing to dye your wig, consider the density of your unit. Density can range from 130 percent (light) to 200 percent (heavy). The denser the wig, the more product you’ll need. You’ll also need more time to prepare and dye the hair.
Prepare the Hair
Before any dyeing method, you want to prepare the unit for the best results.
1) Wash your wig: This is especially important if the hair is not virgin, or if you’ve processed your wig with chemicals or styling products. Only shampoo before dyeing–no conditioner.
2) Let wig dry completely: We suggest washing a couple of days before you dye to allow plenty of drying time. Alternatively, you can blow-dry your wig using proper techniques.
3) Brush the hair: Place the unit on a wig head using T-pins to secure and gently comb through the hair to remove all tangles. Brush hair from the ends moving upward to avoid tangling. For best results, the hair needs to be flat and free of knots.
Step-by-Step: How to Dye a Human Hair Wig
Here it is, the moment you’ve been waiting for: step-by-step instructions for dyeing your human hair wig. Hot tip: always test a small strip before dyeing your entire wig! Let’s jump in:
1) Take clean, dry wig and lay onto a protected, flat surface.
2) To protect the lace from the dye, spread styling gel on the lace until completely covered. Use cool setting to blow-dry the gel, or let it sit overnight. Seal the dry gel with a freeze spray and dry.
3) For watercolor: fill a plastic tub with very hot water (almost boiling), just enough to submerge the wig or bundles. Add dye to the water and use a long spoon or whisk to completely mix the water and dye.
a) Wearing gloves, submerge the entire unit in the water and use your hands to move the hair around, making sure all hair gets covered.
b) Timing depends on hair density and desired color saturation. Read instructions for your dye for best results. Typically, leaving the wig submerged anywhere from 2 – 5 minutes will produce results.
c) If the color comes out patchy or not the desired tone, you can repeat the process until satisfaction.
4) For applying dye with brush: Mix the hair dye in a glass bowl with hair developer according to package instructions. Wear gloves!
a) With hair laying on a flat surface, brush the dye into the hair, being sure to coat all strands, avoiding the lace and hair knots near scalp. You can also apply dye while the unit is on a wig head, but this is better for highlighting specific parts of hair.
b) Leave dye on hair according to box instructions.
c) Rinse with warm water until it runs clear.
d) Apply conditioner as instructed on box.
5) Towel dry hair so that it’s not dripping, place on a mannequin head, and allow it to thoroughly dry or blow-dry to your liking.
How to Choose a Wig that Holds Color
You’ve chosen your style ordered your wig, dyed it and then…it doesn’t hold. That’s definitely not the look you were going for. Thankfully, there are ways to avoid those dreaded dyeing disasters. One of the first things to know about dyeing a wig, is which type of wig to buy. These tips will help you pick the best:
Virgin Human Hair Wigs
When it comes to the best results with dyeing wigs, you can’t beat virgin, human hair. Virgin hair hasn’t been permed, dyed, colored, bleached, or received any chemical process. This makes it more absorptive and ready to receive those luscious hues. If you’re wondering how to dye a human hair wig that will last, start with virgin hair.
Non-Virgin Human Hair Wigs
The difference between virgin and non-virgin human hair wigs is in the processing. Non-virgin hair has received some kind of processing, either before it was collected, or after collection. It can still be dyed, but it may receive color differently since it is not as porous as virgin hair.
Synthetic Hair Wigs
While it is not advisable to dye synthetic wigs, some people do try. Synthetic hair will not hold pigment like human hair, so if you do attempt dyeing, you can’t use regular hair dye. Synthetic wigs are usually made of polyester, acrylic, or polyvinyl, which gives them a more human look. Unfortunately, synthetic hair does not last as long as human hair. If you’re set on dyeing your wig, it’s best to start with the highest quality human hair wigs.
Customize and Care for Your Wig
One of the great things about using human hair wigs is all the customization options. From color to style, you can change your look from day-to-day. Care for your human hair wig and you’ll be able to enjoy your styles for months and years to come.
If you really want to get fancy with your style and color, installation but don’t feel confident with how to dye a wig, contact one of our expert Mayvenn stylists and they’ll help you out with free wig customization.