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Hair color hacks: tricks to color your roots


Mandy asks: Whenever I dye my hair either at home or at a salon, my roots never catch the colour. Do you have any ideas why?

Left Brain says:

This is an interesting question Mandy. I’m assuming you’ve considered and rejected the obvious answer that you are not putting enough coloring paste on the hair at the roots. This is understandable because you are encouraged not to get any chemicals on your scalp. But beyond this, the most likely reason your roots aren’t taking up color is that they are just too “healthy” or undamaged. Let me explain.

How hair grows

First, you have to know a little about hair growth. Hair grows by pushing its way out of the hair follicle onto your head. It’s a bit like one of those Play-Doh factory sets where you squeeze the putty through a small hole. So, the newest hair is closest to the scalp. When hair is exposed to things like UV, heat, combing, shampooing, wind, etc. it becomes damaged. And while damaged hair doesn’t look or feel as good as less damaged hair, it does have one significant advantage. It is easier to color. Why? Read on.

Damaged hair colors easier

When you color hair, part of the process involves chemically loosening the outer layer (cuticle) so the color chemicals can get inside. It turns out to be much easier to loosen damaged cuticle layers. New, undamaged hair, such as the kind found at your roots, has a much stronger outer layer and does not loosen up enough to let as many color molecules in. When the color molecules can’t get into the hair, they can’t change the hair color.

**Warning: Try the following tips at your own risk. You could end up with a hair color you did not want.

Tips for coloring the roots

If the warning didn’t scare you, then feel free to try either of these 2 things to get more color on your roots.

1. Leave it on longer.

Leave the color solution on the roots for a longer period of time before rinsing it out. So, if the time on the box says 20 minutes, leave it on your roots for 30 minutes. This will give the chemicals more time to get into the hair.

2. Color the roots twice.

If the first method isn’t successful, try this. The first time you do the coloring process, just follow the directions as normal, but save a small part of the solution (don’t even mix it together) to use for later. After you’ve finished coloring, combine the remaining solution and color the roots a second time. This double process should damage the hair enough to get it to absorb enough color. Everyone’s hair is different so you’ll have to experiment with how long to leave the color on.

Beauty Brains Bottom Line:

Coloring your roots is harder but it is possible. You just need to do things a little different and be prepared for some unexpected results.

{ 9 comments… add one }
  • christine February 19, 2016, 9:26 am

    My roots don’t cover anymore fully even with gray magic and then a few weeks later the gray is showing through the roots, I have tried leaving it on longer, using the gray magic in the color but then the color faded away anyway after a few weeks.

  • Natalie March 10, 2016, 2:13 pm

    Im having a problem with a client she has blue hair so I bleach her roots when they come through then dye her hair blue after and the last few times its been not taking a or going greeney help what shall I do she’s a Base 6 shall I still lift her roots or just put blue dye on to her virgin hair??

  • lois June 8, 2017, 7:57 pm

    thought I was going bald but realize I must not use oils and put more product on

  • Agnes King March 28, 2019, 4:13 pm

    I have Revlon Hair color & I am just doing my roots I mix 1 cc of no.7nn & half cc of no.7 nng then I add 1& half volume cream but my hair turns too dark What can I add to get blonde color
    Please advise

    • Perry Romanowski April 3, 2019, 7:39 am

      You should use a blonde color if you want to get blonde. The ingredient that makes hair blonde is peroxide but don’t use too much. This is something best done by professionals or at least have a friend do the applications.

    • Renic February 10, 2020, 10:39 pm

      Your hair isn’t turning blonde because color does not lift color. If you have dark hair then you must lighten it 1st because hair color is only able to lift up to two levels unless it is a high lift and that is only 3 levels on virgin hair only. Otherwise you are just adding color on top of color.

  • Tammy L Simpson December 16, 2019, 12:10 pm

    I need to touch up my roots but the hair dye I was given is going to be too dark, how can I make it so it doesn’t dye so dark

    • Renic February 10, 2020, 10:42 pm

      If you did a stand test and the color turned too dark then you need to either mix that color with a shade at least 1-2 shades lighter so that you end up with a middle level between them or just choose a shade that is 1-2 shades lighter.
      For instance if you are using a level 3 but your hair is actually a level 4 then you can mix the level 3 color with a level 5 to achieve a level 4 color. If it is still too dark you can mix it with a level 6 and you will have a level 5 if mixed equally.
      Alternatively using a level 5-6 would deliver similar results.

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