How to color-match hair extensions to natural hair

How to match extension with your natural hair color

Matching the color of your hair extensions to your natural hair is crucial for achieving a seamless and natural look. It's an art that ensures the additional length and volume enhance your hairstyle without revealing that you're wearing extensions.

Selecting the ideal match requires a keen eye and attention to detail, ensuring that every strand complements your natural hair's hue and texture. From understanding undertones to checking matches in the right light, every detail counts in achieving a harmonious blend. 

Below, we delve deep into the steps and considerations to ensure your extensions look as natural as possible.

Determine Your Base Color:

Your Base Color

When determining your base color, it's essential to focus on the middle to the ends of your natural hair, especially since this is the area where the extensions will predominantly blend.

Instead of solely relying on the roots or the very tips of your hair, which can often be a slightly different shade due to factors like regrowth or sun exposure, the mid-lengths provide a more consistent representation of your true hair color.

Examine your hair in natural daylight, as artificial lighting can distort color perceptions, making the hair appear either warmer or cooler than its genuine shade.

Natural light will provide the clearest and most accurate reflection of your hair's dominant hue, ensuring that the extensions you choose will meld seamlessly with your natural strands.

Understanding Hair Undertones: The Key to Perfect Color-Matching

Understanding undertones is a nuanced aspect of color-matching that can significantly impact the overall harmony between natural hair and extensions.

Hair colors aren't just about the surface shade; they possess underlying tones which can be cool, warm, or neutral. Cool undertones manifest as silvery, ash, or blue-ish tints, giving the hair a crisper appearance.

Warm undertones, on the other hand, showcase golden, red, or yellow hues, imparting a radiant warmth to the hair. Meanwhile, neutral undertones strike a balanced chord between warm and cool, providing a versatile base that often blends seamlessly with varying shades.

Recognizing these undertones and ensuring the extensions align with them is paramount for achieving a cohesive and natural look.

Check Multiple Points:

Checking multiple points for hair extension shade matching

When attempting to achieve an accurate color match between extensions and natural hair, it's essential to recognize that one's natural hair may not be a uniform shade throughout.

In fact, many people have varied shades, highlights, or even lowlights interspersed within their strands. Therefore, instead of focusing on just one section or point of your hair, it's beneficial to examine multiple areas, especially the mid-lengths to ends, which is where extensions tend to blend the most.

By doing this, you ensure that you're choosing extensions that match the dominant, overall color of your hair, rather than an isolated highlight or lowlight, leading to a more harmonious and natural integration of the extensions into your own hair.

Use Swatches for Accurate Matching

Swatches for hair extension matching

When selecting the ideal shade for hair extensions, many hair extension companies provide color swatches or sample strands.

These swatches are incredibly useful because they allow you to directly compare the extension colors against your natural hair. By placing the swatches next to or even beneath various sections of your own hair, you can see how well the colors blend.

This direct comparison, especially in natural light, offers a more accurate visual gauge than simply relying on online photos or descriptions, ensuring that you choose the shade that best complements your natural hue.

If a company offers this service, it's highly recommended to take advantage of it, as it often leads to more satisfactory results.

Consider Texture and Shine:

Matching color and texture

Hair texture, whether it's straight, wavy, or curly, can significantly influence how seamlessly the extensions integrate with your natural strands.

For example, straight extensions might stand out if blended with naturally curly hair, and vice versa. 

Similarly, the shine or luster of the extensions should be compatible with your natural hair's sheen. Some extensions may have a glossier finish, while others might appear more matte. If there's a stark difference in shine, the extensions might not look as natural when blended with your own hair.

Therefore, when picking out extensions, it's important to ensure that both the texture and the shine level closely mirror your natural hair to achieve the most harmonious and realistic look.

Choosing Multi-tonal Extensions

Multi tonal hair extension

Multi-tonal hair extensions are designed with a mix of varying shades and undertones, allowing them to blend seamlessly with a range of hair colors. This multi-dimensional color approach mimics the natural variation found in most people's hair.

For instance, natural hair often has subtle highlights, lowlights, and different tones throughout, especially when exposed to sunlight. By selecting extensions that incorporate multiple tones, you can achieve a more organic blend with your natural hair, enhancing the overall look and ensuring that the extensions don't appear flat or monochromatic against your own strands.

This approach is especially beneficial for those with highlighted or balayage hair, as it can effortlessly merge with the different hues present.

Consult a Professional:

Consult with a professional.

consulting with a professional

Seeking advice from a seasoned hairstylist or colorist is invaluable when trying to achieve the perfect color match for hair extensions.

Professionals have trained eyes and years of experience working with a wide range of hair colors and types. They can not only help you identify the precise shade and undertone of your natural hair but also recommend brands or types of extensions that would best suit your hair texture and quality.

Additionally, some salons have hair extension samples available, allowing you to see and feel the extensions in person before making a purchase. This hands-on approach, guided by expert advice, significantly increases the likelihood of a flawless match.

Custom Coloring Extensions

If you can't find extensions that match your hair color, don't worry! You can dye them. But make sure they're made from real human hair, not fake hair. Fake hair can't handle regular dyes and might get ruined. If your natural hair has special colors

like highlights or shades, a hair expert can dye the extensions to look just like it. This way, when you wear the extensions, they'll blend in and look natural.

Always get a professional's help when dyeing extensions to make sure they turn out right and stay in good condition.

Test in Natural Light:

When attempting to color-match hair extensions to your natural hair, it's crucial to evaluate the color match under natural light.

Indoor lighting, whether it's fluorescent or incandescent, can significantly alter the appearance of hair color, making it either warmer or cooler than it truly is.

By stepping outside or positioning yourself near a window with ample daylight, you can get an accurate representation of both your hair color and the extension's shade.

This ensures that the extensions seamlessly blend with your natural hair in everyday settings, avoiding any noticeable discrepancies that might be visible under different lighting conditions.

Buy Before Dyeing:

If you're planning to dye your natural hair a new color, purchase the extensions first. It's generally easier to match the dye to the extensions than to find extensions to match a newly-dyed hair color.

Always Opt for a Shade Lighter (if in doubt):

If you're torn between two shades, it's often safer to go a shade lighter. Darker extensions can create a stark contrast, while slightly lighter extensions can blend more naturally and might even create a highlighting effect.

Remember, the goal is to achieve a blended, natural look. Even if the match isn't 100% perfect, as long as it's close, it can still look very natural. And if you ever feel uncertain, consulting with a professional hairstylist is always a good idea.


How to match hair extensions with highlights?

To match hair extensions with highlights, select multi-tonal extensions that mirror the base and highlight colors of your natural hair.

When you have hair with highlights, it features multiple shades rather than a single, uniform color. As such, using hair extensions with a single shade can appear unnatural or mismatched. Multi-tonal extensions, on the other hand, are designed with various shades weaved into them, similar to naturally highlighted hair.

By choosing extensions that incorporate both your base color and the shades of your highlights, you ensure a blended and seamless integration with your natural hair, creating a more harmonious and undetectable extension look.

What are the Common Mistakes People do When Color Matching Extensions?

1: Choosing the wrong undertone:

Hair color isn't just about being dark or light; it also has undertones, which can be warm (golden or reddish), cool (ashy or blueish), or neutral. Picking extensions with the wrong undertone can make them stand out instead of blending in seamlessly with natural hair.

2: Matching to root color instead of mid-lengths and ends:

Often, the roots of one's hair might be a different shade (usually darker) due to new growth. Extensions generally blend with the lengths of your hair and not the roots, so it's vital to match the color to the mid-lengths and ends for the most natural look.

3: Ignoring hair texture and shine:

Even if the color is a perfect match, if the texture (straight, wavy, curly) or the shine level of the extensions is significantly different from the natural hair, it can be a dead giveaway that one is wearing extensions. Matching texture and finish is crucial for a seamless integration.

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