How to Touch Up Dark Roots in Blonde Hair

Updated on February 25, 2016
Source

Dark roots in blonde hair can be a problem when you have a hair color that is substantially lighter than your natural hair color. As your hair grows out, your natural color starts to appear and can cause your hair to look unsightly as it becomes longer. In order to keep your blonde hair looking great, dark roots need to be touched up every few weeks.

How often should roots be dyed?

Your roots can be touched up anywhere from 2 - 8 weeks after coloring. Dark roots in blonde hair need to be touched up sooner to keep your color looking good though as the dark hair is much more obvious due to the wide degree of contrast.

As a simple rule of thumb, roots can be touched up at any time as long as they are noticeable. However, the shorter they are, the more difficult it is to avoid overlap. Longer roots on the other hand, won't lighten as effectively because the warmth of the scalp works in your favor the shorter your regrowth is.

All of this means that for the easiest application, least damage, and best lightening, it is best to touch up your roots when they are about half an inch long. Anything shorter than this is hard to work with, and anything longer is more resistant to lightening.

The dye process

The dye process for dark roots in blonde hair is exactly the same as it is for the rest of your hair, with the exception that you'll only be dyeing your roots. Application technique is paramount here as you need to be able to apply dye to the roots without overlapping on previously dyed hair or else you risk damaging hair that has already been lightened.

When you have dark roots, the dye process consists of:

  • Lightening the dark colour
  • Toning the lightened roots

Source

Lightening dark roots

Dark roots in blonde hair need to be lightened first before they can be toned to match the rest of your hair. This requires the use of hair bleach to pre-lighten your hair.

Unlike previously dyed hair, which is notoriously resistant to lightening, your roots are virgin hair and this gives you and advantage when you lighten them. Not only will they lighten easier, but they will also generally lighten in one process, making it only necessary to bleach them once.

Choosing bleach

To ensure that your hair lightens effectively, it is important to choose a hair bleach that is strong enough to lighten in one process. Better bleach powders will even leave your hair healthier and less damaged after use than a generic product will, making them a good idea for more than one reason.

Hair bleach powders like Wella Multi Blonde or Schwarzkopf Igora Vario will usually guarantee excellent results. Unlike generic bleach though, these quality salon bleach products need to be used with a lower volume of developer on scalp as they are strong products. However, mixed with a lower developer, they will still lighten much more effectively than generic bleach.

Source

Application technique

To apply bleach for a retouch application and lighten dark roots, your hair needs to be sectioned out just like it would be for any other hair color. In fact, doing this will directly influence your results. Without proper sectioning, there is no method to your application and it will proceed haphazardly, causing you to miss spots and overlap previously colored hair.

Your hair needs to be sectioned out into four discrete sections before you begin applying bleach. This is achieved by parting the hair down the middle and then once more from ear to ear, forming four distinct quadrants that can be clipped up. These quadrants will keep each section of hair separate and out of the way.

You will also notice when applying bleach in this way that the hair in any section can be covered in one direction. Taking thin layers of hair from the top, you only have to continue in this fashion until the section is completely coated. After you have completed one quadrant, it is time to move onto the next.

When you apply the bleach, this needs to be to the roots of your hair only. Some amount of overlap can occur, but the closer you can get to a perfect application, the better the final result and the better the condition of your hair will be after many root applications if you intend to keep your blonde hair color for a long time.

To make this easy, apply by brush only, using a slightly thicker formulation of bleach. This is formulated by using slightly more powder to developer. A thicker product is less likely to swell or seep into other areas during application.

Once you have finished the application, allow your roots to lighten up to slightly lighter than the rest of your hair. Rinse the bleach out, shampoo, and then move onto the toning stage, which will take your yellow roots from yellow to a beautiful blonde.

Schwarzkopf Professional Igora Expert Mousse, 9.5-1, Pearl, Semi-permanent, 3.2 Ounce
Schwarzkopf Professional Igora Expert Mousse, 9.5-1, Pearl, Semi-permanent, 3.2 Ounce

Need to tone your blonde hair? Igora mousse is a non-damaging foam that is easy to use and can be applied right after shampooing for minimal hassle...

 

Toning

The toning process actually serves two functions when you're touching up dark roots in blonde hair. Most importantly, it neutralizes the golden or yellow color of the lightened roots. It also serves to refresh the color of the rest of your hair and even it out to match precisely.

To tone your roots, you need to use a cool-toned dye like an ash or a pearl shade that is one shade lighter than your current blonde color. If you've lightened your roots to a level 8 light blonde for example, you should be using a level 9 ash blonde dye to tone them.

Using a slightly lighter shade gives more controlled toning and the color of your hair will change over a longer period of time. This is important because if the dye is too strong, you will end up with an uneven result or over-toned hair.

Once you've chosen your dye, apply this with the same application technique you used during lightening. The toner needs to be applied to your roots first and allowed to develop. Once the color of your roots is close to your desired shade, take the leftover dye and apply it to your lengths for the last few minutes of application.

Applying the leftover dye to your lengths during a root application helps to produce a more even color result whilst refreshing the overall color. When your hair is nicely toned, rinse all the dye out.

Source

After coloring

After touching up dark roots in blonde hair, your hair is going to be slightly dry because of the bleach and dye used. This is normal and isn't an indication of damage.

Like with all chemical processes however, touching up your roots can lead to damage. As your roots are new hair, this damage is greatly minimized. The more you were able to avoid overlap during application of the bleach, the less of a chance there is of any further damage to the lengths of your hair.

If damage has occurred though, this can be treated with the use of protein treatments like Redken Extreme Cat. Protein treatments like these are applied after shampooing your hair and left for a period of time to absorb. They are then rinsed from the hair, conditioner is applied, and you can dye and style your hair as normal.

The use of conditioner is the most important thing after any dye process, and when you bleach hair, you should use a conditioning treatment or rinse directly afterwards to add moisture back into your hair and balance the pH. Doing so will lead to smoother, healthier hair that feels great afterwards.

Once you have done all of this, leave your hair to rest for a few days before you wash it again or use any other form of chemical process.

Source

Hair that is properly colored and cared for is beautiful. If you treat it well, you can keep it looking great for as long as you care to keep your color.

Do you have a question about dyeing dark roots in blonde hair? Leave a comment for tailored advice...

Questions & Answers

    Comments

      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment

      • profile image

        Giedre Liaugminaite 

        4 months ago

        Hello. I have question. If girl have blond hair, but they colored maybe caramel color. Or bit lighter. And roots are grow up already, and she wanna color on the top highlights... Is she will get same effect from roots till end of hair?

      • profile image

        7 months ago

        I have long blonde hair with long dark roots. I am getting my hair done in a couple days and I am wanting to bleach my roots and this article sounds exactly what I'm trying to do. When I talked the lady doing my hair (someone new because I moved), she said it will be very hard and it will probably burn my scalp and it is generally not recommended but we can try. What do I say to that? Should I be worried? Should I find another person to do my blonde?

      • profile image

        Nikki 

        9 months ago

        I have ginger hair naturally and find it ridiculously hard to find a good bleach to get the ginger out and my hair blonde...which bleach would lighten my hair the best in your opinion?

      • profile image

        angie 

        9 months ago

        my hair is bleached blonde and every month i just touch up the roots dark growth with a cap on..but my hair got really dry an dbrittle this last time and i been giving it good treatments.so its time for another touch on roots what hair bleach would be gentle so no more hair will break off i guess the bleach touched the other hair when rinsing.i usually use 30 devolper

      • profile image

        carol 

        11 months ago

        if you highlight close to root will you get a tiger look?

      • profile image

        Kate G 

        11 months ago

        I am looking to bleach highlight my roots and some parts of my existing colour that was meant to be the same colour as my top colour but is a complete different colour. I have never done this before and I know my hairdresser uses 9.1 very light ash blonde but I have no idea what products to use ie bleach, devloper and toner ? Also I need to learn to highlight aswell.

      • profile image

        AnitaTaco 

        15 months ago

        Hi there! Okay, so I hate to admit this, because it makes me feel older than I should, but I've been dyeing my own hair since I was 12, for 20 years now. I wanted to go silver again, I did it about 5 years ago & loved it! I'm already about 1/3 premature silvery white naturally,(found my 1st one when I was 15!) and with a level 1 or 2 natural color, it's obvious! It grows in like the Bride of Frankenstein's temple streaks and they don't come in gray, they have zero melanin at all, it's just sparkly white. I've actually tried to find if there's a way to speed up the process or decrease melanin production, but no one wants to know that online, and I mean NO ONE! lol

        I digress, I decided to wait on the Feria pastel silver & have it white for awhile. Turns out I love, love, love the white!! So I bleached, like I have many, many times before, and it went as expected. Over the next month I conditioned, conditioned & conditioned in between a few bleach baths & then one final strong bleach bath. I guess I didn't get the bleach all washed out, even though I rinsed for 20 mins, didn't feel any or see any, plus I used a bit of co-wash & rinsed that we'll too! As it started to dry, I noticed a patch that felt STRANGE! I went back & rinsed the living hell out of it. The damage was done, when it's wet it has that weird, overcooked, wet pasta feeling & is breaking on occasion. My hair is about 2 inches below my bra strap, the damage? Oh ya know, that's up about 2 inches from the scalp, to the left of my crown. Now I have 1/2 inch roots & don't know wtf to do! I'm devastated because I ADORE my white hair, I want to keep it forever!! Lol I was in severe depression, I could not have cared less about my appearance or anything at all for the last 3 years; this hair changed everything! I feel amazing with it & am so sad thinking there's nothing I can do to upkeep it aside from using my homemade purple toning shampoo. (If anyone reading wonders, I just get Manic Panic Ultraviolet & mix a bit in with my fave shampoo, I even used some in my co-wash.

        I have a silver pastel Feria box (I know) So I don't know if I should just use it & forget about my dreams of keeping my lux white hair, or if there a way to ensure you don't get it on the already bleached part.....

        *Big Sigh* I have never, ever damaged hair before. Sorry this is so long! I truly need some insight!

        Thank you, you're a doll!

      • profile image

        TD 

        16 months ago

        My hair has THREE highlights in it

        Bleach blonde (I bought Joico ultra high lift) a dark brown in back n odd highlights & a golden blonde

        Which I also bought all 3 from Joico K-Pak-Question

        Do I really need to bleach my roots prior to re-highliting my hair

        I've watched so many vids on YouTube I am now LOST

        PLEASE HELP

      • profile image

        Tiff 

        17 months ago

        Hello I have a client with level 5 roots and highlighted ends I want to use high lift color on roots and tone the whole hair after. She wants a more solid look have u ever done this ?

      • profile image

        Ashley hall 

        17 months ago

        I have naturally light ash blonde hair I have a inch n half of regrowth what toner should I use

      • profile image

        keithcalder@outlook.com 

        18 months ago

        What products should I buy as in dye developer and toner. Show pictures of the easiest way to see the back of your hair when doing it yourself.

      • profile image

        ZoĆ« 

        21 months ago

        I would like to know how much bleach I would need to redo my roots? When I bleached all my hair I needed three packs!

      • profile image

        priya 

        23 months ago

        please give me formulation of black touch up hair color

      • profile image

        ashley 

        23 months ago

        good morning, i have been bleaching a level 4 or darker to 9s and 10s (after thousands of dollars spents and years later.. my hair is fried and curls are gone and im tired of the root touch ups and all together tha maintenance of being blonde. sooooo i decided to take on the project of putting a frosty brown color on the blonde.. and break it off with adding some caramels in between hear and there and at the tips. BUT i need to determine what the formulas are for a one step process.. i learned about adding yellow, red, and the brown i want after a protein filler treatment.. because you cant just smack on the brown dye.. but i wanted to get advise before i just go out and start mixiing up reds and golden blondes and warm browns.. can wella products allow me to mix up a formula to get me completed in one day.

      • profile image

        Tara 

        2 years ago

        Hi! I'm touching up my roots tonight to get them close to the same color as my salon bleached hair. I couldn't afford going to the salon and my local drugstore didn't have any bleach so instead I'm using the garnier nutrisse nourishing color creme in extra light ash blonde as it seemingly will look close to the same color as my toned bleached hair. Do you know if this will be okay?

      • profile image

        Jojo 

        2 years ago

        Hi. I love your blog, it's awesome that you share your knowledge with the world. Now I've got a question. I bleached my medium/dark, red/brown, many times dyed hair to yellow and been using a 7a demi color, and bleaching my roots. My roots grow in at probably a 4 or 5 and my hair tends to go super brassy when I color. I'd like to stop bleaching my roots, but I am not ready to go darker yet. Is it possible for me to do my roots with high lift dye and ash intensifier instead? Or would it be better to just stick with bleach till I'm tired of being blondish?

        Thanks

      • Maffew James profile imageAUTHOR

        Maffew James 

        2 years ago

        Hi Justine,

        It could be a reaction to the Olaplex. Of course, this is just speculative because I don't use the product so I don't have any experience of whether it can cause allergies or hair loss. Usually with bleaching or dyeing you won't see hair fall out from the follicle though; it snaps further up the hair shaft where the hair has been most heavily processed. I'd suspect a potential allergy or the higher developer volume is to blame if there was a lot of scalp irritation.

        For now, unless you're in the middle of achieving a new colour and need to finish it, the best idea would be to give your hair a rest and watch it for a while to see if you experience any further hair loss over the next two weeks or so. Particularly, pay attention to how much hair ends up coming out whenever you wash it. It's perfectly normal to lose hair during washing because it molts, but if the amount you're losing seems more excessive and this continues, this is where you should consult a dermatologist to have a look at your scalp to be on the safe side as well as work out what is happening. Once you've given your hair a rest, if everything is fine, you can try bleaching it again when your dark roots come in. If you experience the same thing happening, try dropping the Olaplex from the mix and see if that makes a difference.

        Lastly, if you're using any kind of beauty product and are experiencing a rash, getting a lot of itchiness, or feel like it's hard to breathe, these kind be fairly clear indications of an allergy and you should rinse out whatever you're using. You can also be allergic to something without experiencing these specific symptoms and this is where something strange like hair loss might occur and may be the only thing you have to go off for diagnosis. The best idea is to be careful with any new product you use and do whatever patch test the product recommends before applying it fully.

      • profile image

        Justine 

        2 years ago

        Hi again Maffew!

        I have a question about bleaching dark roots. I bought a sample size of olaplex for my recent touch up and it seemed to work wonders at first! Usually my hair starts to shed when Im washing the bleach out and now there were no hair on the shower sewer at all! Until... I did the second phase of olaplex and when washing that out I could see alot of hair in the sewer.. What was surprisin was that the hair that fell out was not broken, but it had gone off from the root!

        I did use 30 vol developer as with olaplex you need to up the level, and it did burn my scalp but just a little bit..

        Can I still bleach the roots? What if soon I dont have any hair to bleach... I know hair can break when bleaching but never heard that you can lose the whole hair!

      working

      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, bellatory.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://bellatory.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

      Show Details
      Necessary
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Features
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Marketing
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Statistics
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)