Unfortunately, “hot roots” does not actually mean people think your roots or even your hair color look really good. On the contrary, hot roots is a term that professional colorists use when the roots of your hair are noticeably–and unintentionally–warmer than the rest of your hair color. With hot roots, the hair color near your scalp is usually redder, and can appear orange. This can occur with any shade of hair color, from blonde to brown, redheads, even black hair color. Bear in mind that roots are naturally a little darker than the rest of the hair but not warmer, so hot roots appear unnatural...and unwanted.
How Do Hot Roots Happen? How Do I Avoid Getting Hot Roots?
Hot Roots can happen for one of two reasons:
1. When you try to color previously-colored hair a lighter color
It may not feel like it, but your scalp is always a bit warm, so when you are coloring your hair, the heat from your scalp can cause your roots to respond faster to hair color than the mid-lengths and ends. This results in hot roots, when the natural hair closest to the scalp reacts to the light hair color more quickly than the rest of your hair, and your roots lighten while the already-colored hair doesn’t. Not exactly the look you’re going for.
How to Avoid Hot Roots: Lightening your hair color yourself can be difficult. If you absolutely want lighter hair color, we recommend only trying to lighten your own hair at home by one or possibly two levels. (Not sure what level your hair is? Check out this post for help.) If you want to lighten your hair more than that, you will need to use bleach, and we do not recommend using bleach on your own hair at home. If you want to go lighter, you can always go for highlights. Of course, we are partial to our Light Works® Balayage Highlighting kit for gorgeously subtle, sunkissed highlights.
But if you are looking for all-over color, we recommend choosing a shade of hair color the same level or darker than your existing color-treated hair. And here’s the best pro color tip of them all...if you have previously colored hair, you should really only be coloring your roots (unless you are drastically changing the shade you are using). The best way to color your hair is using The Perfect Pair: permanent hair color on the roots, and a gloss for the mid-lengths and ends of your hair. Most people who color their hair at home don’t know this, and they color their entire head of hair every time they color. But doing this will eventually make your hair color turn out too dark and dull. So only apply the permanent color to your roots for the correct processing time—usually 35 minutes, or 45 minutes for stubborn gray hair. And apply gloss to the rest of your hair. The result? No hot roots, and your hair color won’t turn out too dark! Win-win!