Types of Jean Finishes – Which One is Right for You?


What’s the difference between raw denim and pre-washed denim? What about sanforized, pre-shrunk and rigid? Learn the answers to these questions and more about denim finishes in today’s article. Spoiler alert: there’s not just one answer to what’s right for you! In fact, each type of jean finish has its own benefits, so take your time figuring out which one best fits your needs before pulling the trigger on your next pair of jeans. When you’re done here, be sure to read my follow-up article on picking the perfect fit .

Raw vs. Washed
One of the first things you need to decide when shopping for jeans is whether you want a raw or washed finish. Raw jeans are untreated and often come in shades of indigo. They’ll usually shrink a bit when you wash them for the first time, so keep that in mind when choosing your size. Washed jeans have been pre-shrunk and come in a variety of shades, from light to dark blue. Some types of jean finishes can only be achieved through washing, like distressed or ripped jeans.

So if you’re looking for a particular type of finish, make sure to check the product description before making your purchase. Keep in mind that as long as you follow the care instructions for your chosen jean finish, it’s not difficult to get different looks without having to buy an entirely new pair of jeans.

For example, after you’ve worn your jeans a few times and they’ve become too tight in the waist or crotch area, simply turn them inside out and put them into the freezer overnight. The next day remove them from the freezer and wear as usual. That should loosen up those problem areas enough to give you more room for movement! And since raw denim needs to be broken in anyway, this will just speed up the process.

Alternatively, when your jeans start getting holes due to constant wear, instead of throwing them away you can use a leather patch on each hole with a special adhesive for denim. Depending on how large the hole is and how much effort you want to go through repairing it, there are plenty of ways to revamp old favorites!

Dark, Light, or Medium Wash
When it comes to jeans, there are three main types of washes: dark, light, and medium. Dark wash jeans are great for a night out or a formal event. They can also be dressed down with a tee shirt and sneakers. Light wash jeans are perfect for a casual day or running errands. They can also be dressed up with a blazer and heels. Medium wash jeans are versatile and can be worn for any occasion. Choose the right wash for your outfit and you’ll be sure to turn heads!

If you aren’t quite sure which wash looks best on you, try getting one in each finish and take them all on test runs. Pick out an outfit that you would wear in different settings, from dressy to everyday casual, and see which wash goes best with that type of clothing. Remember that darker washes may show dirt more easily than lighter ones so if you’re thinking about investing in a darker pair make sure to keep them clean! The same is true for lighter washes as they will show stains much easier than a dark wash.

Investing in a quality leather care product will help extend the life of your jeans and maintain their color. Try not to dry denim in direct sunlight or high heat as this could cause fading. It’s important to remember that everyone has different tastes when it comes to what wash looks best on them, but don’t let your favorite jean fade away.

Pre-Distressed vs. Distressed (With Tools)
Jeans are a wardrobe staple for many people. They can be dressed up or down and are comfortable and stylish. There are many different types of jean finishes, from pre-distressed to distressed with tools. Here’s a guide to help you choose the right type of jean finish for you.
Pre-distressed jeans have a worn-in look that is achieved through a variety of methods, including sanding, washing, and fading. This type of jean finish is perfect for those who want the look of distressed jeans without the hassle of breaking them in themselves.
Distressed jeans, on the other hand, are achieved by actually distressing the fabric with tools like scissors, sandpaper, and wire brushes. While this method is more labor intensive than pre-distressing, it yields a higher quality product. So if you’re looking for high-quality jeans with an authentic appearance, this may be the way to go.
Distressed jeans also come in two variations: light and heavy. Lightly distressed jeans will show some signs of wear but will still maintain much of their original color whereas heavily distressed jeans may show uneven coloring due to increased use over time. So if you’re looking for something softer and more natural than heavily distressing your own pair, go for lightly distressed instead!

How to Wash Your Jeans
To extend the life of your jeans and keep them looking their best, it’s important to wash them properly. Here’s how:
1. Check the care label first and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
2. If your jeans are really dirty or have a stain, pretreat them with a stain remover before washing.
3. Choose the right cycle on your washing machine. For most jeans, the gentle or delicate cycle will do the trick.
4. Wash your jeans in cold water to prevent fading and shrinkage.
5. Don’t overload your washing machine—jeans should have plenty of room to move around so they can come out clean.
6. Hang or lay your jeans flat to dry to prevent them from shrinking in the dryer.

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