Adding depth at the roots and transitioning to a softer colour in your lengths is one of the bigger colouring trends of the last decade.
Root smudges add depth and dimension and leave a gorgeous, natural-looking finish.
What is a Root Smudge?
Root smudging is a colouring technique in which a darker shade is applied to the roots and feathered into lighter lengths. Smudges buffer and blend the demarcation line of coloured hair at the roots.
Root smudging can cut down on hard colour lines. Adding subtle depth with a soft, seamless contrast between a darker root and lighter lengths lets you create more dimension and visual volume. A seamless transition to lighter lengths can reduce lightening at the roots, which supports healthier, stronger hair.
We’ll show you how you can replicate the effect at home, with colourist guidance to assist you to successfully achieve root smudging at home.
Lighter lengths reflect light to your face. This effect can also be used to maintain and emphasise balayage colours applications. Adding depth to your roots will naturally emphasise lighter lengths, and the effect can be striking. Neutral, darker roots are very low maintenance and a root smudge can be a great way to stay on top of fast-growing greys in particular, as the application is easy and effective.
Root Smudge Colour Selection
Our best advice for your root smudge colour selection is to get colourist advice for your colour selection.
Our colourists are available 7 days a week to provide (free) colour advice and personalised colour recommendations. They will consider your hair history, texture and goals and recommend colour/s and application techniques which work for your needs.
The best colours for root smudges are usually either very close or just one level lighter than your natural colour.
Cool colours are generally best if you are lightening, because lightening always reveals natural warmth and cool colours will tone and mute unwanted warmth.
You can also use a root smudge to create eye-catching contrast between darker roots and lighter, brighter lengths, for a more dramatic effect. A clear difference in colour levels at the roots and lengths gives you two distinct colours, with a flattering, fun finish.
Healthier Hair, Perfect Colour
If you are looking to keep your regrowth regularly covered, and to keep your hair as healthy as possible, then root smudges can be a great approach to meet your colour goals. The key is to apply permanent colour only at your roots, so that each section of hair only undergoes one permanent colour process, which gives you colour coverage, and preserves the health and condition of your hair.
Cover your roots with a a colour blended with either a 20 or 27 vol (for resistant greys) developer to achieve permanent growth of your regrowth. Boost the colour and tone in your lengths with a colour blended with 5 vol developer, which will deposit tone and shine only, leaving your with complete coverage, and healthy, beautiful hair.
Duo Root Smudge
Duo colour blends create a perfect root smudge opportunity. Add depth, dimension and volume at your roots, with a lighter, brighter blend which shares the base colour on your lengths.
Use one of the two colours in your blend (the darker, cool or neutral colour is often the best choice) as a root smudge which blends beautifully with brighter lengths.
Root Smudge Colour Application:
A root smudge application is similar to a roots only colour application. The difference is that root smudges only extend the colour down an inch or two before it diffusely blends with the lengths, without extending colour to the ends.
It can be helpful to spritz the roots with 2-3 sprays of water from a spray bottle before applying colour to your roots. Applying colour to damp hair makes it easier to glide the product through the hair, creating a natural transition with the lighter lengths.
Follow the instructions in your colour pack to section your hair and mix your root smudge colour.
Use your tint brush to tap the colour to your roots only. Then use a wide tooth comb to extend the colour down an inch or two. This approach will feather the colour transition, softening the lines between roots and lengths.
Top Tips for Root Smudges:
- Personalised colourist advice is critical
- Use a wide tooth comb
- Apply the colour to damp hair
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