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The Dreaded ‘Hot Roots’: What They Are And How to Fix Them


Hot roots

Hot roots… sadly, they have nothing to do with looking hot. Sure, they can be a head-turner, but not for good reasons. Doing some at-home hair coloring treatment or simply starting out from blonde hair can make you susceptible to this problem. (Mind you, hot roots can happen to redheads, brunettes, and black-haired girls, too!) But, what exactly are hot roots?

To put it simply, hot roots mean that the regrowth or new hair near your scalp appears warm and brassy – and noticeably more reddish or orange than the rest of your new hair color. This can happen right after the first time you wash your hair post-coloring, or as time passes by and your hair grows longer by, say, half an inch or so.

Billie Eilish inspired Hair trendHere’s an over-the-top depiction of hot roots from Instagram that has now become a Billie Eilish inspired trend.

If you want to find out more about hot roots, how they can happen, how to avoid them, and how to fix them if they do happen to you, keep on reading!

What causes hot roots?

There can be a multitude of reasons why one gets hot roots after a hair color treatment, but it all boils down to a heated scalp, different colored regrowth, treatment application time, and using the wrong shade of hair color.

(Although, of course, aside from these reasons, you’re almost always guaranteed a sprinkling of hot roots if you use bleach and lightening products on your hair before coloring, so unless you 100% know what you’re doing, it might be best to get your hair bleached and colored at a salon.)

Uncooperative hair and scalp

For starters, your roots are essentially new growths, which makes them a lot easier to lift (aka lighten their shade) than the rest of your hair. This problem is compounded by the fact that your scalp emits heat, which is the perfect catalyst for hair color lifting.

The result? The first inch of your hair appears lighter and brighter post-coloring.

appears lighter and brighter post-coloringLike this one from an Instagram user.

All this is an issue in itself, but there’s a way to avoid and/or fix that, as we’ll get to later. But, things can get a lot trickier when it’s time to touch up or mask hair regrowth, say, a couple of weeks or so after your initial hair color application.

Poor touch-up job

This is because, one, your scalp once again heats up any treatment you apply on your roots, so unless you cut the developing time shorter and find that sweet spot, your touch-up job might just make the situation worse.

And two, the color you used on your initial application may not be the right one for your touch-up, since you’re working with different colored hair this time around, aka a new base color that you need to match for a flawless touch-up job.

How can you avoid hot roots?

Now for some good news: there are several tips and tricks you can try to make sure you don’t end up with the monstrosity of an orange scalp, whether it’s your first time coloring or you’re touching up hair regrowth.

For root-to-end applications

For first time hair color applications, start from the coolest part of your hair – the tips – then go upwards from there. Wait a couple of minutes before you finish off your roots just to give the rest of your hair more time to absorb the product, so that when you wash it all off, you get nice, uniform results.

If you really want to get technical, however, you can opt for a hair color cream that is one shade darker – and cooler – than the one you’re applying to the rest of your hair.

This won’t only prevent the occurrence of hot roots, but also make touch-ups easier or even unnecessary, since you’re getting a smoother and more natural looking transition between your colored hair and your eventual regrowth. Do make sure, however, that you’re using a cool-toned gloss, not warm or glazed.

And, if you like, you can also forego the 20-volume developer you’re using for your mids and ends, and instead use a double 10-volume developer for the roots to drive the tones of the hair color better without exposing as much of your natural undertones.

For regrowth touch-ups

Alternatively, if you’re touching-up your roots, use tint brushes and applicator bottles that you can find on Amazon and your local drugstore to make for a cleaner, more even application and avoid overloading your roots with the hair color treatment.

More importantly, use the exact same hair color mixture that you used in the initial application – or if you have some brassiness showing on your roots, maybe go for a slightly cooler shade.

How can you fix hot roots?

Let’s say you’ve done everything we mentioned but you still ended up with sad-looking hot roots. Is there a way to fix this mess?

You betcha!

Try any of these expert-approved tips and see the results for yourself:

fab with a bit of color correctionGo from mess to fab with a bit of color correction, like this.

  • Smudge the line between your colored hair and new regrowth by applying Bold Uniq Purple Hair Mask and get better, more natural-looking transitions. Make sure to follow it up with a hair wash using Bold Uniq Purple Shampoo & Conditioner. This is a great trick to achieve a more natural appearance, but keep in mind that this method will tone the rest of your hair, too.
  • Use a slightly deeper hair color shade that is neutral or gold and apply this on your roots to match them with the rest of your hair. It’s perfect if you really just want a clean and uniform look. The downside, however, is that you’ll have to keep doing this every time there is noticeable regrowth in order to maintain that uniform look.
  • Embrace the lighter color on your roots and match it with the rest of your hair by using cleansing lightening oils like the Sun Bum Blonde Formula Hair Lightener, followed by a brighter and lighter hair color on your mids and ends.

embracing her hot roots and absolutely rocking itHere’s an Instagram pic of someone embracing her hot roots and absolutely rocking it.

Remember, whatever you decide to do with your hair – hot roots or not – make sure to protect your hairline with some petroleum jelly, don’t apply any product on your scalp, and wear some gloves!

That’s all for today. Keep safe and look fabulous!

Read also related articles: What is the ratio of bleach to developer, best conditioner for bleached hair, and how to get rid of yellow hair after bleaching.


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