5 Tips for Shadow Root Success

photo courtesy of @sheismeaganlee

Dark roots are a painful part of the natural grow out process, so why not embrace them? Shadow roots have taken over our social feeds lately, and with good reason. A shadow root makes hair color appear more natural, while also allowing the color to grow out seamlessly.

Truth be told, most clients prefer low-maintenance locks, and incorporating a shadow root is a great way to keep your less-frequent clientele satisfied. Fear not, adding a shadow root can actually increase your ticket price, so low-maintenance doesn't necessarily mean less money. 

Like other techniques, the shadow root takes time to master. We talked with a few of the best blenders in the business to learn their secrets to shadow root success. Here, they share their top tips. 


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Make it natural. Because the goal is to create the look of natural depth, Max Gourgues (@maxgourgues) suggests keeping the root color as close to the natural color as possible—only two or three tones of difference. 

Move the root. Erik Gutierrez (@hairerik) says it's crucial to keep the root moving rather than letting it sit. To do so, be sure to constantly comb through as you're applying color. 

Use a cool neutralizer. If you're looking to neutralize warmth, using a cool-level tone neutralizer is key. Ami Leigh (@createbdbyami) says this step is crucial for giving the root a deeper shadow effect, rather than a brassy hot root. 

Paint the hairline last.  This way, you'll have control over how soft or deep you want the hairline to be, Ivan Hernandez (@justhairobsession) says. 

Comb it out. You don't need to apply as much color as you think. Meagan Lee (@sheismeaganlee) suggests only painting an inch and then using a comb to diffuse the color naturally.