How to Touch Up Dark Roots in Blonde Hair
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
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.
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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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Do you have a question about dyeing dark roots in blonde hair? Leave a comment for tailored advice...