What Are “Hot Roots”?

Let Your Hair Do The Talking

Just be careful what it says. If you read our April entry “If Hair Could Talk” then you know a color change can change everything. Your hair color is just as powerful for your identity as your haircut.

But what happens when you make the change –– whether at home or in the salon –– and realize your roots are noticeably warmer than the rest of your hair? This unwanted and unintentional result is known as “Hot Roots”, and no, it’s not a compliment. Hot Roots can occur in any color shade, and often appear red, brassy, or even orange.

A little color contrast is okay (can you say balayage?), but your roots are the newest growth, making them naturally darker than your ends. When your roots look lighter or are tinted differently, they appear artificial, drawing negative attention to the crown of your head

Why Do I Have Hot Roots?

Anyone can experience hot roots but it most commonly occurs with redheads or blondes. There are two main reasons people get hot roots:

  1. Coloring previously-colored hair a lighter shade. Hair dye responds to different sections of hair in different ways. The hair at your roots is hotter thanks to its proximity to your scalp, so it responds faster than the mid-lengths or ends. The result can look lighter than the rest of your haircolor, which may not lighten at all.
  2. All over color application on natural (uncolored) hair. Again, the hair closest to the scalp is progressively hotter, so your roots will most likely lighten faster than your ends.

How Can I Avoid Hot Roots?

The only sure-fire way to avoid hot roots is to see an experienced stylist who can help you achieve your desired look without the risk of a halo-effect. But for those do-it-yourselfers, remember this:

  1. Mind the time. Processing your roots requires less time than processing your ends, so start at the bottom and work your way up. Then mix fresh color and apply to the roots only, gradually working it through your hair from root to ends right before you rinse.
  2. Be color-concious. Select a hair color the same shade or darker than your hair, and only apply it to the roots. Leave on only until the last 5 minutes of processing time.

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