How to Avoid Hot Roots

How to Avoid Hot Roots Featured Photo

This is an article detailing ways on how to avoid hot roots.

Hair dyeing and coloring is all fun and games until your new hair color doesn’t come out as you expected it to be. Even worse is having hot roots, as what professional colorists like to call it.

And don’t let the name fool you! Hot roots are indeed not hot at all! It’s a mistake, is unintentional, and not a very pretty sight. Hot roots is what professionals call it when the roots of colored hair have significantly warmer tones than the rest of the hair.

Hot roots create a vast difference and not-so-pretty regrowth look on colored hair. Everyone has experienced it at least once, especially for someone who likes at-home hair coloring jobs aka me.

If you want to find out more about hot roots, what causes it, and ways to avoid and fix hot roots, read on below!

What are Hot Roots?

Hot roots are what professional colorists call regrowth roots that appear warmer than the rest of the hair. Hot roots are unintentional warmness on the roots of colored hair. This makes colored hair look unnatural, which is the opposite of what you’re going for.

Hot roots can take on a red, orange, or brassy tone. This creates a vast difference of color between your roots and the rest of your hair.

Hot roots can appear and show up in any hair color – whether you’re blonde, brunette, ginger, or if you have black hair.

While natural roots are always a different color than the color you dyed your hair with, it’s never warm. This is why hot roots appear unnatural and why it should be avoided.

What Causes Hot Roots?

While hot roots happen due to a variety of reasons, there are two leading causes for hot roots to appear on colored hair.

Your scalp is constantly warm

It may not seem so, but the scalp is always a little bit warm. This constant heat from the scalp has significant effects on your coloring or dyeing job.

The heat from the scalp causes the hair closest to it (aka your roots) to develop permanent hair color faster. This means the roots portion of your hair develops color faster than the mid-length and ends of your locks.

The heat from the scalp also warms the roots. Hot roots, therefore, not only mean the warm color it appears as but also the warmth on your scalp.

You color previously-colored hair a new and lighter color

If you already have previously-colored hair and you try to change it up with a different and lighter color, this leads to hot roots.

If you want to lighten your existing color-treated hair all over, you can’t just plaster on a new lighter hair color on top of your old hair dye job. You need to first lighten and lift your previous hair color before going in with a new lighter color.

When you don’t lighten or lift the previous darker color first, only your roots and regrowth will lighten in color. Putting the new and fresh hair color on top of the old color doesn’t make it lighter, it actually produces a darker color as you’re just putting it on top.

How to Avoid Hot Roots

Hot roots are not the prettiest sight and people who enjoy dyeing and coloring jobs can develop them if they don’t do it with caution.

If you want to avoid the dreaded hot roots at all costs, lucky for you because we have the best ways below!

Choose your color wisely

One of the best ways you can to avoid and prevent hot roots is to choose the same color or go for a shade that’s only slightly darker than your previous hair dye job.

When you’re touching up your roots’ regrowth and natural hair color, never go for a lighter shade. Keep the color consistent with the rest of your hair. Never go for a lighter shade.

Save the roots for last

If you’re aiming for an entire head all-over hair color change, this is for you.

Because of the warm scalp, the roots that are closer to the scalp tend to develop color faster. To prevent hot roots, never apply hair color on the roots first. Apply the dye on the ends and mid-lengths first. They’re cooler than the hair closest to the scalp so they take longer to develop.

You only apply the hair dye on the roots in the last 10 minutes of the total processing time or when the rest of the hair is 50% done processing.

Clean, clean, clean application

When you’re retouching your roots for regrowth, it’s best to do it in a very clean application. Use a brush or an applicator bottle to make sure you’re only applying dye on the roots, never overlapping on the rest of the hair.

Also, if you’re only retouching your roots, keep the hair dye on the roots only! Don’t let the color overlap over the already color-treated hair. This will only result in more disastrous hair.

You only go over the already color-treated hair if you’re changing your overall hair color.

How to Fix Hot Roots

So you already have dark roots and ways to avoid them seem pointless now – what can you do now?

Don’t worry because there are a couple of remedies you can try to fix hot roots.

If you end up with brassy and warm roots, you may be able to remedy it with a toner. A toner can color-correct it and tone down the warmness with cooler undertones. In extreme cases, you might have to have your roots bleached then blended with a new overall color.

You can also turn to purple shampoos to counter the warmness and brassiness of the roots.

If the above methods fail, you can always opt to color your roots with a dye that’s one shade darker than the rest of your hair. With this, wait it out a day or two to give your roots some time to bounce back.


Hot roots are a common mistake to make when you have color-treated hair. Whether you’re just touching up your roots or hoping for an all-over hair color change, it’s a mistake people have gone through once or twice.

Lucky for you, avoiding hot roots is more than possible.

To prevent hot roots, make sure you choose the same shade or a shade that’s only slightly darker than your previous hair color. If you’re retouching your roots, keep the color on the roots only and never overlap.

And if you’re going for an all-over hair color change, never start application at the roots. They develop faster than the rest of the hair. So always go for the ends and mid-lengths of your locks before the roots.

And that has been our guide on how to avoid and prevent hot roots! Happy hair coloring!