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How To Do Shadow Root Without Bleeding At Home

Have you been thinking about doing a root shadow at home but you’re worried about making a mistake? You may have become an expert at doing your own blonde hair color at home but you have yet to attempt a shadow root.

Your main concern is the shadow root bleeding aka the darker hair color used for the root shadow transferring onto parts of your lightened mane where it doesn’t belong (basically anywhere other than your roots).

Luckily preventing root shadows from bleeding is quite simple, all you need is a hairstylist to fill you in on how we avoid shadow roots from bleeding on our clients in the salon.

We’re going to give you our tips for getting the perfect shadow root with no bleeding! Follow along so you can apply your shadow root as professionals do and have great results every time.

What Is A Shadow Root?

A shadow root is applied right after you’ve finished lightening your hair. In the salon, it would be done at the shampoo bowl right after we’ve rinsed out your hair color in the shampoo bowl. It is done with a demi-permanent toner that matches your natural hair color or a shade darker.

shadow root
Shadow Root

A shadow root is applied to the root using a color brush and is gently feathered down about an inch. It processes for about 20 minutes and is then rinsed from the hair.

By doing a root shadow you will soften your newly lightened roots, making it look natural and dimensional. It also helps with your hair grow out between hair lightening, once the shadow root rinses out of the hair (in about 6-8 weeks) you’ll be left with a soft, natural root.

Why Is Bleeding A Concern With Shadow Roots?

When it comes to root shadow, the whole point of them is deepening the root but we want to keep that darker color on the roots only.

The darker toner can easily get onto the rest of your hair, creating bleeding, if you don’t take a few precautions before and during the shadow root application.

There’s nothing worse than lightening your hair for hours and spending extra time on a root shadow only to find that your shadow bled, creating a splotchy, messy-looking hair color. That’s why we’re here to tell you to prevent the dreaded splotchy mess.

How to Prevent Shadow Root from Bleeding

You know that fresh, salon-perfect look of your hair with a beautifully done shadow root? We all love that but there’s a little hitch sometimes – the color bleed.

The good news is, you can follow some advice and prevent shadow root from bleeding when coloring at home. Below are 5 things you can do to make sure your shadow root doesn’t bleed.

#1. Don’t Go Too Dark

choosing light hair color to prevent shadow root from bleeding

Stick with a toner for your shadow root that is the same color as your natural or only one shade darker. Using a toner that’s more than one shade darker than your natural hair will just up the chances of it bleeding onto the lighter hair and it will defeat the purpose of the shadow root overall.

Shadow roots aren’t meant to completely cover the fresh color at your root, they’re just meant to soften and blend.

You’ll be much more confident doing a shadow root at home if you stick with the rule of using your natural hair color shade or only one shade darker!

#2. Use the Right Tools

You may have gotten used to toning your hair at home with a toner bottle but for shadow roots, you’ll want to use a bowl and brush instead.

They will give you a more precise application and prevent bleeding. It’s also beneficial to use a brush to apply the root shadow because it will give you a very natural, soft blend.

#3. Keep Neat Sectioning

section hair for diy shadow root at home

When doing your shadow root at home, you’ll be able to have the most control and precision in your application by taking horizontal sections.

We like to start by parting the hair down the middle and then starting on one side of the ear, work your way up the head, take ½ in sections and apply the shadow root.

Keeping neat sectioning will help prevent bleeding because you’ll be able to see what you’re doing, keep the mids and ends of the hair away from the darker color, and easily maneuver your brush through each horizontal section.

#4. Don’t Go Crazy with the Feathering

When you apply your shadow root to each section of hair, you’ll want to very gently feather down the color about an inch down from the root.

You should be able to do this with ease and you won’t want to press too hard or drag the color down too far as this can cause bleeding and splotches. Be patient with your application and use a light touch.

#5. Rinse with Cold Water

rinsing shadow root hair with cold water

This is the last step in preventing your shadow root from bleeding. After you process your shadow root for about 20 minutes, you’ll want to rinse it out with cold water.

Warm water can cause the darker root shadow to transfer onto your lightened ends as you rinse because it opens up your hair cuticle and allows larger amounts of hair color to rinse away.

Cold water actually seals the cuticle and rinses away only excess toner, preventing bleeding. We know cold water isn’t always the most comfortable while rinsing but we promise it will be worth it!

And that’s it folks, those are the simple yet effective ways you can prevent your shadow root from bleeding.

Now that you have the knowledge to prevent this easily avoidable mistake, you’re ready to embark on your shadow root journey at home. We know you’ll enjoy the gorgeous results of your new shadow root!

Things to Remember:

  • The most common mistake when it comes to shadow roots is bleeding onto the rest of the hair, luckily this is easily avoidable!
  • A shadow root is a great technique to master at home, as it gives a softened, natural hair color and lets you go longer in between hair-lightening sessions
  • You can prevent shadow root bleeding by not going too dark with your toner
  • Use a bowl and brush instead of a toner bottle to apply shadow root
  • Neat and tidy sectioning will help you stay clean and organized, preventing bleeding
  • Be gentle when feathering down your shadow root to avoid splotches
  • Rinse with color water to prevent the darker root color from transferring to the ends of your hair