How To Fix Hot Roots

If you love to experiment with box dyes at home, chances are, you’ve likely experienced hot roots at some point. 

Hot roots is a term used when your scalp hair appears lighter or warmer than the rest of your hair. This happens because of several reasons. 


How do you get hot roots?

Scalp hair is closer to your head, so your body heat accelerates the speed of the coloring process of bleach and hair dyes, making it appear lighter than the rest of your hair.

The second reason is keratinization. When new hair grows, it takes about a month to fully “harden”.

So new hair growth is softer and doesn’t have as much hardened keratin compared to older hair. This makes bleach and hair dyes penetrate the new hair shaft faster, even if it’s left for the same amount of time as the old hair growth.

Hot roots can also happen if you apply a lighter color to your previously dark dyed hair.

Since “color cannot lift color” dark hair dye can’t be lightened by using a lighter hair dye. So only your new hair growth is lightened since it doesn’t have any dark dye.

Will hot roots go away?

Hot roots won’t go away on their own, but they can be less noticeable once your hair grows out. 

You can correct hot roots, though, by going to your trusted hairstylist or trying any of the at-home tricks down below.


How do you fix hair color that is too light at roots?

If you have the dreaded hot roots, there are a few tips and tricks that you can try out, whether it’s your first time coloring your hair or doing a touch-up.

How to fix hot roots with purple shampoo

Purple shampoo is formulated with violet pigments to cancel out warm or yellow tones in the hair. Now the question is, will purple shampoo fix hot roots?

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If your hot roots have warm or yellow tones, purple shampoo can cancel them out since purple is the opposite of yellow on the color wheel. 

  1. Wet hair with warm water to open up your hair shaft, allowing the shampoo to penetrate your hair shaft better
  2. Apply purple shampoo evenly from the roots to the ends  
  3. Leave the purple shampoo on according to the label to avoid over toning your hair
  4. Rinse thoroughly with cold water to close the hair shaft, and to seal the color in
  5. Follow up with a moisturizing conditioner to keep your hair hydrated

Also, note that purple shampoo works best if you have hot roots on blonde or red hair. Use blue shampoo if your hot roots appear more orange. 

How to fix hot roots with toner

Toner works the same way as purple shampoo, it cancels out the warm or yellow hues in your hair.

The difference is, toner gives immediate results, while purple shampoo works gradually. Toner is also applied like hair dye, once you know which type and color toner to use, it’s easy to apply.

  1. Mix one part toner with two parts developer
  2. Use an applicator brush to apply the toner to your hot roots
  3. Leave the toner on according to its label to avoid over toning your hair
  4. Rinse and apply a moisturizing conditioner to hydrate your hair

How to fix hot roots with box dye

Can you dye over hot roots?

I know, since box dye may be the reason for your hot roots in the first place, you can be hesitant to dye your hair again. But fear not, box dye can actually cover up hot roots, when applied correctly this time.

Wait for a day or two for the color to oxidize, then on your roots, apply a color that’s a shade darker than the dye you used before. Make sure to use a shade that’s in the same color family so that the rest of your hair color can blend well. 

It’s also recommended to use the same brand of box dye to avoid mixing chemicals and getting unpredictable results.

How to fix hot roots with box dye

How to fix hot roots on bleached hair

Whether you just bleached your hair all over or just did a root touch-up, sometimes naturally dark hair can appear brassy or yellow.

You can correct this by applying purple toner or purple shampoo to cancel out the unwanted brassy tones. 

You can follow the easy steps mentioned above to achieve uniform blonde hair. But how do you decide which one to use?

If you want immediate results, you can choose to use the purple toner. You can then use purple shampoo later to maintain your blonde hue once you start to see your shade go brassy or warm.

If you’re a hair-dyeing newbie or are hesitant to use purple toner, you can choose to use purple shampoo. You can apply it once or twice a week until the brassy tones fade out.

Just remember to leave the shampoo on your hair based on the label to avoid having purple tones on your hair.   


How to avoid hot roots

If you have experienced hot roots in the past and are now hesitant to dye your hair again, rest assured, there are tips to help you avoid that from happening again.

These are also important if you’re learning to dye your hair for the first time.

How to avoid hot roots
  • To avoid overprocessing your roots, apply hair dye starting from the middle down to the ends of your hair first and let it process for a few minutes, before applying it to your roots
  • If you already have dark dyed hair, do not use a lighter colored dye to lighten the hair. You need to use bleach to lighten the dark color since “color does not lift color” 
  • If you have naturally dark hair and want to go lighter, pick a shade that has the label cool or ashy to cancel out the warm tones in your natural hair. 
  • Consider using a lower developer for the roots of your hair as it wouldn’t lighten the hair as much as a higher developer does. You can use a double 10-volume developer for your roots, and a 20-volume developer for the rest of your hair. 
  • Once you’re done applying hair dye, cover your hair with a shower cap to retain heat more evenly

Applying hair dye at home can take a little practice.

But a little hair mishap shouldn’t stop you from experimenting with your hair in the future.

If none of the tips above worked to cover up your hot roots, you can always go to your hairstylist, and can even ask for tips on how to properly apply color at home.

Last Updated: November 13, 2021

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