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Colourists use the term hot roots to describe the effect where your hair’s roots are visibly warmer than the rest of your hair colour.

Hot roots generally look lighter than the colour result in your lengths, and they typically have a warm, orange tone.

Why does this happen?

The lighter, warmer result at the roots which characterises hot roots can be seen;

  • If you use a colour which is lighter than any older, darker pre-existing color on your mid-lengths or ends. This can lead to a lighter color result at your roots than the rest of the hair. Bear in mind that colour cannot lighten pre-existing colour, so if you apply a lighter colour then it will only be able to lighten your roots, not your lengths.
  • Colour can process faster at the roots than the lengths due to the proximity to the heat at your scalp. If you use a neutral or warm colour which is even slightly lighter than your natural colour you may see warmth at your roots. The lightening process exposes natural warmth in your hair, which can contribute to a lighter, brassier colour result at your roots.

How to avoid hot roots:

Colour selection is critical to avoid hot roots. Here are some key points to bear in mind to help you avoid hot roots:

  • If you have older colour in your lengths, you could consider a bleach wash lightening process to remove any older, darker colour pigments in your lengths, so that any new, lighter colour application does not contrast and look lighter than the colour in your lengths.
  • It is almost always best to use a colour with cool tones if you wish to achieve a neutral, tonally balanced colour result and if you are colouring with a colour which is even slightly softer than your natural colour. Adding cool tones can be helpful if you are lightening even by just one colour level, as the cool tones will mute natural warmth revealed during the lightening process, leaving a tonally balanced result.
  • If you are covering greys and you prefer warmer tones, such as a golden or copper based colour, it can be best to blend a warm color with a neutral colour. The neutral color will fill pigments which are missing from any greys at your roots. Colours with brighter or warm tones will look lighter and brighter over greys. Your greys will be seen mainly at your roots, and using a warm colour alone can lead to a lighter, warmer and brighter colour result over greys.

How to fix hot roots:

  • Adding depth and cool roots is the best approach to correcting unwanted warmth. If you only have unwanted warmth at your roots, then applying a colour with a bit more depth and cool tones at your roots only can correct hot roots. Apply the colour as a root smudge only, without adding depth to your lengths. A bit more depth at your roots add some dimension and can look very natural.
  • Change to a cool based colour. Cool tones will counter-balance and correct unwanted warmth.
  • Try using a toner, which will deposit cool tones only to balance unwanted warmth.
  • If you prefer to see warmer tones in your colour and you are covering greys, you will see a better, more even and consistent colour result if you blend your warm or bright colour with a neutral. The neutral pigments will anchor and fill the missing pigments in grays, leaving you with an even, consistent colour finish. We offer Duo colour Kits which include everything you need to blend two colours together, and blending a warm colour with a neutral colour will give you a more consistent colour result over greys than using a warm colour alone.

We recommend that you get in touch with our colourists for personalised colour advice to help you avoid lighter, brighter colour results over your roots.

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

16 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!

  • My hair is probably 99%white and I colour it with 7.4 and 7.6 ( I think, as I don’t have anymore but you’d be able to look up my colours! My problem is the root area goes really bright red but after couple of washes it dies down and looks great! How can I overcome the brightness first?

    • Hi! Thanks for getting in touch! The colour is at its brightest right after colouring. If the colour is a bit too bright for you then you before washing, and you prefer the colour brightness after a couple of washes, then you could wash your hair again the same day or next day after colouring and double-shampoo when you wash will will soften the brightness just a tiny bit, which will hopefully work best for you. I hope that helps and please contact our colourists if we can help further!

  • Hi there,

    I have been using Modena golden brown hair dye for some while now and have a hot root problem (didn’t know the correct term for it until I received the email from The Shade). I also have stubborn greys. I would really appreciate your advice as to how to overcome the hot roots problem? 🤔

    • Hi! Thanks for getting in touch! Warmer colours can look a bit lighter and brighter over greys because greys lack pigments to anchor the tone. A colour blend with one neutral toned colour can be the best colours to cover greys because neutrals fill and anchor the pigment missing from greys, which can help grey colour coverage. So it could be best to either blend your warm tone with a neutral if you still want to retain some warmth in your colour, or to change colours to a colour with cool tones which will counter-balance and mute unwanted warmth. Please contact our colourists directly and they can provide specific suggestions to help with your hot roots and stubborn greys. Thank you very much!

  • Hi there I have more than 50% grey hair with my original hair color which is somewhere between medium brown.

    Recently I visited a salon where they lifted my color and made it around dark blond.
    now I tried to touch up my grey hair with level 7 color honey dip and it shows red roots.

    Please tell me the color and proper technique to cover my hot roots.


    • Hi Amber! We prefer to see a pic and to have a bit more information before we provide personalised colour recommendations. Please complete our colourist questionnaire and we will get back to you asap with a detailed response including suggestions for a colour and application technique which will let you achieve your colour goals. We look forward to hearing from you. Thank you very much!

  • I have been using majereal color 7.43 6.45 and5.3 to get a copper auburn and lately her roots are coming out too bright and hot roots . If I don’t use the 5.3 and use a 5 instead would that help?!?

    • Thanks for getting in touch! Warm colour will pop and look lighter and brighter over greys, so it is best to include a neutral colour in your blend to anchor the colour, which will give you a more consistent, even color result. I hope that helps!

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