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How Do I Dye My Roots Darker Than the Rest of my Hair?

How Do I Dye My Roots Darker Than the Rest of my Hair?

Do you want to know how to dye your roots darker than the rest of your hair? Although this sounds like quite a complicated thing to achieve, it isn’t as difficult as you might imagine. Here, we’ve brought you some expert tips and hints so that you can get it right the first time and create the look that you desire.

Touching up your roots at home is something that many people are keen to try, but it can be problematic if you don’t know where to begin. Follow the advice outlined here and you’ll be able to avoid a hair dye disaster.

What Are Shadow Roots?

If you avidly follow the style of top celebrities, you’ll no doubt have already spotted this phenomenon. Known in stylish circles as shadow roots, big-name stars like Nicki Minaj have been rocking the look for several years, and the trend seems to be going nowhere fast.

This hair color technique involves maintaining darker roots while the rest of the hair transitions to a different and, typically, lighter shade at the ends. The result is an illusion of the roots casting shadows on the remainder of the hair.

You can achieve the look by naturally stretching the dye from below the roots down to the hair tips to create a shadowing effect. Any color can be used to obtain this look, so whether you prefer to go from dark to light blonde or from dark to light brown, this is an effect that you can easily achieve, even at home.

Usually, hair stylists recommend that you try to keep the roots of your hair a color that is as similar to the natural color of your hair as possible. However, it’s also possible to achieve unique shadow colors like purple or blue if you dye the roots in the appropriate hue. Even when you do this, though, you should still try to keep the color the closest possible match to your roots’ natural color for the best result.

Should I Try Shadow Roots?

Although creating darker roots isn’t a look for everybody, there are many reasons to consider giving it a try. For example, if you’re trying to grow out your hair color, shadow roots are an excellent style technique to adopt. It makes it less awkward to grow out color while avoiding the damaged, dead look that so often comes along with growing dyed hair out over time.

The shadowing effect that this coloring technique creates also provides an extra dimension to the hair, and this adds the illusion of volume for a more luscious and full look. If you naturally have thin or flat hair, this style is ideal for you.

As an added bonus, shadow roots are quite a low maintenance solution for aesthetically pleasing hair. Only needing to be re-dyed around every 3 months, they can save you effort, time and money. Also, since dyeing your hair repeatedly isn’t good for the hair, this technique is a healthier solution, allowing your hair to remain in good condition while still maintaining an attractive style.

There are plenty of different color options to choose from if you’re keen to achieve the shadow roots look. One extreme example is Halsey’s rainbow roots that she sported at the 2019 MTV VMAs. This means you can achieve a wide variety of looks that perfectly complement your individual sense of style.

How to Choose the Right Color for My Roots

blonde hair with dark roots

Before you can decide on which tone you want for your roots, you should consider what you want to achieve. Are you hoping for a gentle transition from dark roots to the remainder of the hair? If so, you need to select a tone that lies within the same color palette as your existing natural hair. Opt for a shade that is just a couple of shades darker than your own hair.

For even darker roots, opt for a tone that is more than two shades darker. So, as an example, if you naturally have light blonde hair, choosing a light brown dye would give you the look you desire.

Alternatively, if you want a greater contrast between your hair and its roots, you could go for a more dramatic difference. For example, for very light blonde hair, you could choose a black dye for your roots.

Bear in mind, though, that this approach will take more maintenance and, if you wish to return to your natural lighter tone eventually, you’ll have to undergo a number of bleaching sessions in order to remove those darker tones from the roots.

DIY Shadow Roots

To achieve this look without needing to go to a stylist, you will need only a brush, a bowl, and your chosen hair color. If you’re attempting this look for the first time, it’s advisable to choose a color that is similar to your own natural roots until you have perfected the technique.

The good news is that it’s quite simple to achieve dark roots yourself because no precision is needed in the application process. In fact, being as imprecise as you can is the best course of action. Taking too much care over the application of dark tones to the roots puts you at risk of creating a strong dividing line between your roots and the remainder of the hair.

Therefore, you should make some of the streaks short and some of them longer with an irregular line when applying the hair dye. Using a brush is the easiest way to achieve this.

To get started, you’ll require:

a bowl and brush for applying hair dye

  1. First, use your hairbrush to brush your hair thoroughly to remove any knots or tangles. These will get in the way and make it more complicated to apply the dye to your hair if they aren’t removed before you begin.
  2. Then, use a long-tail comb to section the hair into four separate sections with the comb’s pointed end. Create a center parting first so that you have two separate sections and then create a straight line upwards from the back of the ears to create four. This will allow you to easily see where your roots are so you can achieve your desired look more simply.
  3. Next, mix the dye into the bowl, following the instructions provided in the pack. Take care to protect your clothes so that they aren’t damaged by the dye. Put on a pair of gloves to protect your hands from the dye, then put the dye and developer into the bowl or plastic container before mixing it well with the brush until its consistency is uniform with no lumps.
  4. Apply dye to all sections of the hair. Begin lightly at the root, then apply more dye as you progress down the hair shaft. This helps to achieve a faded look while maintaining the natural appearance of the roots.

To create the most natural look, don’t apply the dye evenly – it should blend from the top to the bottom. Using irregular application techniques is ideal here. Don’t draw a precise or straight line with the brush. Instead, make different lengths of streak down the hair shaft but don’t apply any dye to the hairline as this will spoil the effect you’re trying to achieve.

Some people find it easier to achieve this imprecise effect by using a tail comb rather than a brush to streak the dye down the hair. To do this, simply apply dye to the hair then comb down the section, pulling the dye in 3-5cm strands. This helps to achieve a mixed effect with your hair’s natural lighter color.

  1. Once the hair has been covered with dye, secure it using a clip to keep the ends away from the darker dye at the root. Wrap a hair towel or bag around it and allow the dye to rest. This speeds the process so that the hair will absorb all the dye effectively. Allow 40 minutes for this process to complete.
  2. Once this exposure time is complete, rinse out your hair using plenty of fresh lukewarm water. Continue rinsing until the water runs cleanly with no dye traces remaining.
  3. Avoid shampooing your hair at this stage, as it will remove the recently applied pigment. Instead, wait for 48 hours for the color to set before washing once more with your favorite shampoo. This will create the best and most long-lasting result.

Follow these steps and you’ll find that you can effortlessly dye your roots a darker color than the rest of your hair and achieve a flawless result.

Dye-Free Shadow Roots

Using dye to darken the roots of your hair is, of course, a long-term solution, particularly if you use a permanent hair dye. Even if you use a semi-permanent formula, you will need to wait for several weeks to wash out the color. Therefore, some people wonder if it’s possible to darken their roots without using dye, especially if they just want to experiment with a different look in the short-term.

There are a few options available to you if you want a short-term solution for darkening your roots:

Use a Touch-up Product

Root touch-up products can be bought in stores, salons or online. The pens look similar to felt-tip eyeliners, while powder looks similar to an eyeshadow. Hair mascara has a wand that looks similar to a traditional mascara brush. All can be used to cover roots in between dyeing sessions. They can also disguise grey hairs for an important occasion.

Just follow the instructions supplied with the product, as all brands are different, to achieve the result you desire.

Use Makeup

If you’re in a pinch and need a quick and simple way to dark your roots for a short period of time, you could try using makeup products like eyebrow pencil, eyeshadow, tinted eyebrow gel or mascara. While these products aren’t as long-lasting or concentrated as a root touch-up powder or pen, they will help you to create the look you desire quickly and easily.

Just apply eyeshadow to the roots of your hair using a large brush or paintbrush with taklon, sable or kanekalon bristles, or apply mascara to your roots using a clean brush (avoid using the one that you typically use on your lashes).

Use Spray-on Colors

These spray-on hair color products are quick to use and are cheap so they’re an ideal option if you’re short on time and need to create a stylish, short-term look in a hurry. Available in a wide variety of shades, from natural colors to vibrant hues, these sprays are user-friendly but won’t last long. You can buy them in stores, in salons and online.

Just hold the spray can around 2 – 3 inches from the roots of your hair and spray the color onto your locks using a gentle sweeping motion. Allow the color to dry completely, then brush out your hair so that the color blends in correctly.
a woman applies a spray to the roots of her hair

Final Thoughts

Although these are effective ways to darken your roots at home, they aren’t long-term options. If you want to know how to dye your roots darker than the rest of your hair with a long-lasting result you’ll need to use dye as outlined earlier in this article.

The good news is that it isn’t difficult to achieve a stylish result if you follow the steps we’ve set out above. It’s also easy to maintain this look, so you can enjoy beautiful, trendy hair for as long as you want to.