Skip to Content

What Is the Difference Between 1B Hair Color vs 2 – Extensions, Braids, Dye, and More

Pretty African American female with virgin hair wearing gold earrings and fingernail polish

The first thing many notice while shopping for extension hair is that there are tons of colors to choose from. That’s why it’s easy to get lost when trying to find your perfect shade.

Two of the most confusing hair colors are 1B hair color vs 2. In this article, we’ll jump into the differences between the two and everything else you need to know about them. 

1B Hair Color 

There are two shades of black hair; 1 and 1B. Hair color #1 is jet black, the blackest of all blacks, whereas 1B is as dark as natural black hair can be.

From far away, 1B hair can look totally black, but you’ll realize that it’s not 100% black when you look at it up close. It’s more of an off-black. 

When it comes to human hair extensions, 1B hair is usually unprocessed and healthier than other hair that has undergone hair color processing.

1B human hair also has random color variations – usually grey and brown hairs. It’s more of a natural black hair color, since it’s real human hair. 

Synthetic 1B hair does not have hair color variations. It’s all off-black – no grey or brown hairs intermixed. 

Black lady wearing the darkest shade 1B weave hair extensions

2 Hair Color

#2 hair color is the darkest brown hair that you can find. It looks black from afar, but up close, you can see that it’s brown. Most black women have dark brown hair, and the number 2 hair color will often match perfectly. 

What’s the Difference Between 1B and 2 Hair Color?

People get 1B and 2 hair colors confused because they look very much alike. But there are a couple of subtle differences that you should know about. 

  1. 1B hair color is darker. Being that 1B is naturally black hair and 2 is the darkest brown color, 1B is darker. However, this may not be immediately noticeable. 
  2. 1B human hair is usually unprocessed, while number 2 hair is colored to look uniform. So, 1B human hair often takes better to dyes than pre-colored #2 hair. 
  3. 1B human hair often comes with color variations, while #2 hair does not. 
Young African American woman with off black color hair extensions and natural makeup

1B Hair Color vs 2 Hair Color: Which is Better?

Neither color is better since the right color will depend on a person’s natural color, desired look, and more. But here are a couple of ways to help you decide: 

  • Matching your natural hair color – Go out and look at your hair in the sun. If your hair is truly black, 1B is the color you should pick. If your hair looks black with a hint of brown, 2 is your best bet. 
  • Hair extension health is most important to you – Unprocessed virgin natural hair extensions set the standard for hair quality, so you should always be on the search for them. Since 1B hair is natural black, the chances that it has been processed are very low. So, given a choice between 1B and 2 colored hair, 1B is the best option for human hair health. 
  • Your skin tone. In general, the darker your skin is, the better dark hair will look on you. So, if your skin is medium to dark, go for 1B. If your skin is on the lighter side, go for color number 2. 

It’s important not to stress over the choice between 1B and 2 colored hair. They are so similar that many won’t notice the difference. If you were choosing from hair colors 1 (jet black hair) and 2, that’d be a much more significant difference. 

Matching your Natural Hair Color with Extensions

If you’ve already bought your extensions and found that the hair color isn’t right, you can color your own hair to match the extensions. If your natural hair is darker than the extensions, use a permanent hair dye to gently lift your hair color to match the extensions.

If your natural hair is lighter than the extensions, a permanent or semi-permanent hair dye can do the trick in a half hour. The least damaging option is semi-permanent color since it doesn’t require you to use ammonia or a developer to lift your hair

Black girl wearing a blue and white t-shirt, red lipstick, gold earrings, and a natural black hair color

How to Color Your Hair to #1B (Dark Brown Color) or 2 (Jet Black)

Coloring your hair 1B is extremely easy since it’s rare to have hair darker than 1B. So the only option you’ve got is to darken your hair with permanent or semi-permanent hair dye. 

If you want to color your hair #2 and your hair is darker than #2, you’ll have to use permanent hair color to lift your natural hair to that level. If your hair is lighter than #2, you can use either a semi-permanent or permanent dye – it’s your choice

Semi-Permanent Color

When coloring your hair with semi-permanent dye, you should follow the below steps: 

  1. Apply a detangler to your hair and then comb it through. You want your hair to be completely tangle-free.
  2. Wash your hair with a clarifying shampoo and let it air-dry. Don’t condition your hair, as this will create a film on the hair that could result in uneven color. 
  3. Put on gloves and put newspaper on the floor to protect it from the hair dye. 
  4. Apply Vaseline to your hairline, ears, and the skin below the nape of your neck. That way, the hair color won’t stain your skin. 
  5. Part your dry hair into sections and apply the hair color to all of your hair. 
  6. Wait about a half hour or for the amount of time on the hair dye packaging. 
  7. Rinse the hair dye out of your hair and style it as usual. 

A couple of great 1B semi-permanent hair dyes include: 

If you want to color your hair to #2, follow these same procedures with one of these semi-permanent dyes: 

Cute African American female with natural black hair color

Permanent Color 

Follow the below instructions to color your hair 1B or 2 with permanent color. 

  1. Gently detangle your dry natural hair with a wide-toothed comb and then part it into at least four sections.
  2. Put Vaseline around your hairline, ears, and the skin below the nape of your neck. It’ll protect your skin from the hair color. 
  3. If you’ll be using a box dye, mix the hair color with the developer in the package and shake vigorously. If you’re using professional color (not box dye), mix the hair dye with 10 or 20 volume developers using a 1:1 ratio. Use a 10-volume developer if your hair is lighter than #2 and a 20-volume developer if your hair is darker than #2. 
  4. Apply the hair color according to the instructions on the package. Make sure that your hair is completely saturated with the hair color so you can get an even color result. Note that the hair color will process quicker at the roots due to the heat from your scalp, so apply it there last. 
  5. After about 20 to 30 minutes (or the amount of time on the package), rinse the color out of your hair. 
  6. Condition your hair with a regular conditioner or a deep conditioner. Depending on the product that you choose, you may be instructed to shampoo before your condition. Follow the instructions on the package. 
  7. Style your hair as usual. 

The following are highly-rated 1B permanent hair dyes:

These are some of the best #2 (darkest brown) permanent hair dyes 

You now know what hair colors 1B and 2 are, how to choose the right color, and how to color your natural hair to match them. We hope that the information and product recommendations are helpful to you and wish you the best of luck.