How to Fix Hot Roots at Home With Toner, Box Dye, and More

An African American woman with naturally dark hair suffering from hot roots and relaxing on the ground outside.

Perfecting a hair color or dye job is no easy feat. If you’ve ever experimented with coloring your hair, chances are you’ve encountered many hurdles along the way.

One frustrating setback people run into when coloring their hair is hot roots. Anyone who’s had hot roots knows how difficult they are to get rid of. In this article, you’ll learn exactly how to fix those hot roots for good and prevent hot roots in the future. 

Key Takeaways

  • Fixing Hot Roots at Home: Hot roots are a common issue with hair coloring, particularly when the roots of your hair become a different color (usually lighter) than the rest of your hair color. These “hot roots” are often due to the heat from the scalp affecting color absorption.
  • Solutions for Different Hair Tones:
    • For yellow tones, use purple toning shampoo as a temporary solution.
    • For orange tones, use blue shampoo.
    • For darker hair or more permanent color changes, consider toners or box dyes matching the natural hair color or desired darker shade.
  • Application Technique and Timing: Apply toner or dye specifically to the root area with an applicator bottle. Follow the recommended time on the product label to avoid damaging hair.
  • Precautions for First-Time Users and Hair Color Enthusiasts: If it’s your first time dealing with hot roots, proceed cautiously. Skipping steps or incorrect application can lead to uneven color or hair damage.
  • Seeking Professional Advice: Consulting a professional hairstylist or colorist is the best option for persistent or complex color issues. They can provide tailored advice for your hair type and color goals, ensuring the best results and hair’s overall health.

What Are Hot Roots?

You’ve got hot roots when your hair color is lighter or darker at the roots than at the mid-lengths and ends. When applying a color treatment, the heat from the scalp causes hair at the roots to absorb color faster than the rest of the hair, hence the name “hot” roots. 

A beautiful black woman with a dark brown natural hair color has hot roots from using dark dye on her virgin hair.

Can You Fix Hot Roots at Home?

If your roots are hot and ready to be fixed, don’t worry. There is hope. You can fix your hot roots at home. But you should be aware that no method is guaranteed to work for everyone. You may have to play around with a few different solutions to achieve the look you originally planned out.

How to Fix Hot Roots

There are a few methods that you can try immediately with the tools you likely have in your possession. Keep reading as we discuss a few ways to fix those pesky hot roots at home. 

Note: As you read the instructions below, keep in mind that skipping or altering steps can further ruin your hair color and possibly damage your hair. 

Use Purple Toning Shampoo

If your hot roots are yellow, a purple shampoo will do the trick. Since purple is directly across from yellow on the color wheel, the purple shampoo will counteract the yellow and tone those hot roots right down.

Using purple shampoo is one of the most straightforward techniques to fix hot roots. Follow the steps below to complete a wash with purple shampoo.

  1. Run warm water over your hair. This will slightly open up the outermost layer of the hair called the cuticle, allowing the shampoo to penetrate the hair strands with ease. 
  2. Evenly distribute a generous amount of shampoo on your hair, covering the entire length of the hair from roots to tips. If you make a mess on your clothes or sink, don’t fret. Purple shampoo does not stain. 
  3. Let the shampoo sit in your hair for the time specified on the product label. If the brand label does not show a specific time frame, let the shampoo sit for up to 15 minutes.
  4. Rinse the shampoo out with cold water. The cold water will help seal in the neutralizing effects of the shampoo and close the hair shaft. 
  5. Finish with a moisturizing conditioner for hair and scalp rehydration. 

Purple shampoo is not meant to replace your regular shampoo. It should be used no more than twice a week. Results are not immediate.

It could take a few weeks for your roots to begin to blend with the rest of your hair. If you have hot roots with tones that are more orange, try blue shampoo, following the same process above. 

Young African American female with previously colored hair that has hot roots after trying to dye it a shade darker.

Use a Toner

Toners are similar to purple shampoo. They work to neutralize the light or dark tones at the roots that do not blend well with the rest of the hair.

If you’re looking for immediate results, a toner is one of the best options out there. Choosing a toner can seem intimidating at first. But relying on the color wheel will simplify the process.

Whichever color you’re looking to eliminate at the roots, your ideal toner color will be the opposite. For example, if you’re looking to remove yellowish hot roots, you’ll want to use a purple toner.

Keep reading to find out how to tone your hair at home. 

  1. Change into clothes that you don’t mind ruining. If you don’t want your hands to stain, put on a pair of disposable gloves.
  2. In a small bowl, combine one part toner with two parts developer (20 volume for permanent results and 10 volume for semi-permanent results). 
  3. Brush toner onto dry hair at the roots using a tinting brush. Be sure to cover all areas at the root. 
  4. Let the toner sit on your roots for the duration indicated on the product instructions. This should be no longer than 30 to 45 minutes.
  5. Rinse hair thoroughly with lukewarm water. 
Cute black girl with dark brown hair that has a reddish tint after an unsuccessful coloring process.

Use Box Dye

Box dyes are a no-nonsense way to get rid of hot roots. The dye will even out those roots and help them to blend in with the rest of your hair.

The color of the box dye should be the color of the majority of your hair, not the color of your roots. The steps below will outline how to use a box dye to eliminate your uneven roots.

  1. Put on an old shirt that you don’t mind ruining and gloves to protect your skin.
  2. Part your hair down the middle to expose the roots for easy access.
  3. Combine the dye and a 10 to 20 volume developer in a plastic bowl. Choose a 10 volume developer if you want to darken your roots and a 20 volume if you want a lighter hair color. Stir until the dye is well mixed.
  4. Using a tinting brush, apply the dye mixture onto the hair, focusing on the roots.
  5. Let the dye sit on the hair for 30 to 45 minutes or the specified time indicated on the label.
  6. Rinse hair with cool water.
  7. Follow up with your regular shampoo and conditioner if desired.
  8. Gently towel dry hair.
  9. Blow-dry hair on the medium heat setting to seal in color and promote evenness.
Beautiful black girl with bleached hair enjoying her time outside while sitting on a painted park bench.

Try a Semi-permanent Hair Dye

Semi-permanent dye is a great way to combat your hot roots if you’re apprehensive about using a permanent dye. Unlike permanent dye, semi-permanent dye will wash out gradually.

This dye also does not require a developer. These simple steps below can help you to touch up hot roots.

  1. Prep your hair by washing it with your ordinary shampoo. Oil and dirt can prevent hair strands from being saturated with your desired hair color.
  2. Protect your hands with disposable gloves and suit up with clothes that you don’t mind tossing afterward.
  3. Apply dye to the roots liberally using a dye brush.
  4. Let the dye sit for the duration shown on the product label. This should be no more than 30 minutes.
  5. Rinse hair out with cool water.
  6. Style hair as normal.

If you are hesitant about any of these methods, talk to or visit your trusted hairstylist for tips on how to proceed with fixing your hot roots.

It never hurts to speak to a professional, especially when it comes to something as permanent as hair dye. 

Do Hot Roots Clear Up on Their Own?

African American female with color-treated hair and blue eyes enjoying the weather on an autumn day.

Hot roots do not just vanish without help from color treatments or toning. The roots will either have to be colored again or grow out and be cut off. 

Though hot roots won’t completely clear up on their own, they may become less noticeable as time goes on. But who’s got time to wait for that? We recommend correcting the hot roots so you can enjoy your color now. 

Related Articles

Hot roots can be a huge disappointment. Luckily, they can be fixed right at home without spending hundreds of dollars. Remember that DIY hair dyeing is a process.

It often takes several tries to attain your dream color. We hope that the tips in this article make it easy for you to eliminate those hot roots fast (and avoid hot roots in the future). Good luck!

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