Colourists use the term hot roots to describe the effect where your hairs roots are visibly warmer, than the rest of your hair colour. Hot roots may appear lighter with an orange effect. It’s not a great look and is one that is best avoided.

Why does this happen?

Hot roots occur because the heat from your scalp causes the colour at the roots to develop faster than the colour on the mid-lengths or ends, so the colour at the roots has a lighter colour than the rest of the hair.

Hot roots can also occur if you select a lighter colour on your previously coloured hair. The lightening process exposes naturally occuring warmth in your hair. Bear in mind that colour can not lift colour – meaning that if you have a permanent colour in your hair, you won’t be able to achieve a lighter colour result by changing to a lighter permanent colour (you would need to do a lightening process to lift out the older, darker colour pigments before you can achieve a lighter colour result).

Know your limitations when going lighter. Select colour within 2 levels of your natural colour, or a colour which is darker than your already coloured hair to avoid hot roots.

How to avoid hot roots?

Careful Colour Selection: We recommend colour changes which are no more than 2 levels lighter or darker than your current colour. Moderate colour changes, especially when lightening your hair help to avoid the hot root effect. Our online Colour Consultation will only select colours which are within 2 levels of your current colour, meet your hair goals and compliment your natural colour undertones. If your hair is already coloured lighter than your natural hair colour, choose a colour which matches your existing colour, do not attempt to go lighter at home.

1 Tools

Hairdressers know that you really need the right tools for true salon results at home.

Using a tint brush lets you apply colour with precision and avoid layering colour layering or banding.

2 Technique

If you are going lighter or have had a problem with hot roots before, begin your hair colour application about 1.5 inches away from your roots. Continue applying the colour to your lengths, and then the ends of your hair, and only apply the colour to your roots in the last ten minutes of the total processing time.

Colour applied at your roots will process faster due to the heat from your scalp, so you want to place colour there last (unless you are looking to cover greys).

You can avoid hot roots and get even, consistent colour results with the right colour and right colour application.

I’ve been having my heir coloured professionally for ever and decided to try to do it myself to save myself some time and money……. what could possibly go wrong?! As it turns out – nothing! It’s a simple process and the results have been excellent. It even lasts longer than my salon colour! Would highly recommend The Shade.

J. Nairn

I adore my colour from The Shade. They colour matched my previous brand but The Shade is much better quality. It’s better for my hair, simple to use and I live the results. I’m definitely a repeat customer.

S. Carter

OBSESSED! Honestly wish I discovered The Shade sooner. My hair feels amazing afterwards and unlike normal box dye when I dye my roots they don’t turn a horrible orange/yellow. 100% recommend!

S. Harlow

8 replies on “Hot Roots”

  • Hi m, I am currently using your hair dye in monte christo and have a hot root problem. I also have stubborn greys. Please tell me what I need to do to fix this.. 🙁


    • Hi Ligia! Thanks for getting in touch. Our colourist will reply directly shortly. Thanks again and have a great day!

  • Hi! I’m a brunette with grey roots, I always stay with my brunette color but recently it’s getting harder to cover up grey without getting hot roots. I’ve even tried a color corrector to remove the red and used a neutral brunette color but still no luck. Can you please help me to find a solution to avoiding hot roots?
    Thank you

    • Thanks for getting in touch. You need a colour with cool tones to counter-balance and mute unwanted warmth.
      I would need more information before I can recommend a specific colour and colouring technique, so if you could please complete the colourist questions, then I can follow up with a colour recommendation personally. Thank you!

  • Hello my hair is a medium brown I have gray as well and I’ve been coloring with medium golden brown and the top of my crown is lighter than the rest of my hair what can I do ?

    • Thanks for getting in touch! Warm tones in colour can look lighter and brighter over greys, as greys lack all pigments, which fill and anchor the colour. You may get a better colour result by blending your warm toned colour with a neutral, which will fill the missing pigments and give you a more consistent, even colour result. Please talk to our colourists – we’ll need a little bit more information so if you could take a minute to complete the questions in the questionnaire, one of our colourists will respond in more depth personally. Thank you!

  • I am having hot roots with color red trying to be a brown red what should I do maybe go midnight plum will that help

    • Hi! Thanks for getting in touch. Depending on your percentage of greys, you may achieve a better colour result by blending a neutral colour with a warmer copper brown colour, as neutral pigments fill the pigments which are missing from greys and give an even, consistent colour result over greys. Alternatively, as different application technique could be helpful too. It is best to speak with our colourists directly, as they would need more information before they can provide you with advice that will help you avoid hot roots, so please get in touch with them here. Thank you very much!

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