Hot Roots on a Blonde Hair

Hot roots are generally frowned upon in the hair industry.

If you’ve ever done hair coloring at home, you’ve probably ended up with hot roots at some point.

Hair color enthusiasts know all too well the frustrations of hot roots.

Colorists use the term to refer to the effect where the hair’s roots have a warm, orange tone.

The roots usually look lighter than the rest of the hair length.

These orangey-red roots come about 3 to 4 weeks after dyeing your hair. 

It can be a common issue for those with ombre, caramel or partial balayage and highlights, basically, any hair color technique that involves lightening the hair.

Likewise, brassy roots can also happen if you have gray hair that you dye a darker brunette or black color.

Hot roots are most noticeable at the temples or parting and around hair that frames the face.

They are referred to as hot roots because of the brassy orange or redder tones that show through.

These tones are usually warmer than the rest of the hair.

While hot roots are not necessarily bad, the banding effect looks off balance, and the tell-tale stripe of orange can ruin an otherwise good hair color.

So how do hot roots happen, and what can you do to prevent and fix them?

Continue reading to find out.

Why Do Hot Roots Happen

When one colors their hair, it’s usually because they have an outgrowth that they are looking to cover. That means that you’ll start with two different base colors. That’s important to mention so you know how hot roots happen in the first place.

Generally, there are a few reasons why you may end up afflicted with hot roots. First, it could all be because of the dye you’re using.
If you pick your hair dye off the drugstore shelf, then chances are that it’s as high quality as salon-grade hair dye.

The same also happens when you use box dye. In both situations, the color may not take as well to your strands resulting in brassiness and an unwanted warmth at the roots. The second reason could be how you apply the dye.

While you may start by checking out as many hair color ideas as possible, your technique will still never match that of a professional hair colorist. You will likely have hot roots if you are not coloring your hair correctly.

Regarding technique, here’s something to keep in mind; hair that has never been dyed (virgin hair) takes hair dye differently than hair that’s used to dyeing and bleaching.

Finally, hot roots may develop simply because of the natural color of your hair. For instance, if you have darker hair, you will most likely end up with hot roots, even if you use high-quality hair dye.

This happens when your natural hair color shows through the growth, creating a brassy effect. That’s why it’s advisable to do touch-ups every 4 to 6 weeks. 

How to Prevent Them

The best way to prevent hot roots is to get your hair colored by a trained professional. They can match the tone and level of your hair’s roots to that of the rest.

However, you may not always be able to go to a hair coloring expert every time you need your hair dyed, so how do you prevent hot roots if you’re dyeing your hair at home?

Dye Your Roots Last

Unless you are using a bleach-free hair lightening solution, if you have dark hair, you will most likely have to bleach it first before applying hair dye. If you are lightening virgin hair, avoid using hair color to the root area until the rest of the hair is at least 50% done processing.

If you must dye your roots with the rest of the hair, use a shade darker. This will prevent the root area from going lighter than the rest of the strands.

Dyeing Hair Roots

Carefully Pick the Color and Developer

If you must dye your hair at home, ensure you carefully pick your hair color and developer. You may have to formulate bleach or color different from the outgrowth than the rest of the hair. For instance, you may have to use a lower-level developer for the outgrowth.

When touching up the outgrowth, ensure you don’t overlap the color of the previously colored hair since that may cause a color-banding effect.

Blend Different Tones

Avoid significant color changes when lightening your hair. Adding cooler tones is ideal when lightening the hair since the cool tones mute the natural warmth, leaving a tonally balanced result.

If you have gray hair that you want to color with warm tones like copper or golden-based hues, blend the warm color with a neutral one.

Best Ways to Fix Hot Roots

So, how do you fix hot roots if they do happen? Here’s how:

Use Purple Toning Shampoo

You may have to use purple shampoo to fix hot roots if you have blonde hair. Purple shampoo works the same way as regular shampoo, only that it is designed to counteract orange and yellow tones in blonde hair.

So, if you have brassy new strands already showing, purple shampoo can help tone them down so they are less noticeable.
Apply the shampoo to wet hair, leave it on for a few minutes and then rinse it.

Follow the same process you would when washing your hair after coloring. You can use purple shampoo as often as you want, but it’s always best to use it at least once a week to keep the brassy tones at bay.

Use Box Dye

Box dyes aren’t the best when coloring your hair, especially for the first time, but they do an incredible job of removing hot roots.

The dye helps even out the roots so they blend with the rest of the hair. When using box dye, ensure it’s the same color as most of your hair, not the color of your roots.

Use a Toner

If you have hot roots already showing, consider using a toner. Toners are usually semi-permanent hair colors that help neutralize unwanted tones. While toners won’t eliminate the entire orange warmth, they help tone them down, making them less noticeable.

Like dyeing wet hair, apply a cool toner and let it sit for the recommended time before rinsing it out. When using toners, please remember that they are not permanent and only last a few weeks, so you will have to re-apply again soon.

Toned Hair Before and After the Process

Try a Semi-Permanent Hair Dye

Use a semi-permanent hair dye, a shade or two darker than your current hair color. While this may seem counterintuitive, it is one of the best ways to get rid of hot roots. The dye helps camouflage the new growth making it less noticeable.


Why am I getting hot roots?

There are several reasons why you are getting hot roots. One, your hair is dark, and as you know, darker hair is more susceptible to hot roots. Two, you may be using the wrong hair dye for your hair color, and finally, you’re using the improper dye application technique.

Going to a professional if you’re thinking about dyeing your hair is always advisable.

Do hot roots go away on their own?

Unfortunately, hot roots don’t go away on their own. The only solution is to color over them or tone them down with a semi-permanent dye, toner, or purple toning shampoo if you have blonde hair. However, as your hair grows, they become less noticeable.

Are hot roots bad for your hair?

No, hot roots aren’t necessarily bad for your hair. They won’t damage your hair. The only problem is that they make your hair look unnatural and like you messed up with the dye or used a cheap hair dye.

Can hot roots be fixed at home?

You can fix hot roots at home with a purple toning shampoo, semi-permanent dye, or toner. If you don’t want to put your hair through all that, consider waiting it out. As your hair grows, the hot roots become less and less noticeable.

Jay - Barber

About the author: Jay – Barber

Jay is one of the members of the Beardoholic writers team and NFL, celebrity barber. As a master barber with years of experience, Jay can make your beard look any way you envision. Jay’s specialty is black men’s hair and beard styles, but he also has deep knowledge on how to create a perfect neck and cheek line, short or long beard and virtually any beard and hair shape and style.

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