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DIY Hair: How to Touch Up Roots at Home
Depending on how quickly your hair grows, you may need to perform a root touch-up anywhere from two weeks to a month after dyeing! My hair grows pretty slowly, so I usually wait about a month or two before I actually do something about it. I think everybody knows my natural hair color isn't really blue by now.
However, the majority of people in need of a root touch-up are using natural hair colors. It's necessary to keep your current hair color looking fresh, and potentially hide the fact that your hair color isn't REALLY what people think it is.
Ideally, you'd touch up your roots with half an inch to an inch of growth showing. If you let your roots grow too far past an inch, it can be difficult to bleach/dye them evenly. The warmth from your scalp helps the chemicals process faster, so if your roots are super long the color may end up uneven.
You're either going to need to bleach your roots, or dye them. Are you going lighter, or darker? Decide what process will work for you.
When my hair was its natural dark brown, I used to dye it to a natural red. My skin tone was light enough that red hair on me looked believable - until the roots came in. Luckily, the red hair took to my brown so well that I didn't need to bleach at all. You may find yourself in a similar situation.
If you end up needing to dye your roots, you're in luck! The process is pretty easy and can be completed at your own home. Stores like Sally's and WalMart have kits specifically for touching up roots - or you can purchase a regular box dye (just be prepared to not use all of the mixture.)
There are special bottles available for just a few dollars that allow you to deposit color easily at your roots. After you mix your dye according to your box instructions, fill up the special comb bottle (pictured below). Comb it through your hair while gently squeezing the bottle.
You want to make sure you're coating your roots while not overlapping your previously dyed hair too much. You'll need to massage the color into your roots to ensure it's spread evenly! Leave the dye in for the specified amount of time, and rinse it out like normal with lukewarm water.
Bleaching Roots (Before Dying Pink)
If you have lightened hair and your dark roots are coming in, you're going to have to pick up some bleach! This process is going to be a bit more delicate and tricky than just dyeing light roots dark.
Simply bleaching dark roots will not be all it takes to fix your 'do. When dark hair is bleached, it tends to lift to orangey and yellowey tones. That means you're going to have to neutralize those tones after bleaching, to get your roots to match the rest of your hair.
The above video shows how I bleached my own roots, before dyeing my hair pink. Most likely, the first half of that video is all that will be relevant to most of you - unless you're going for the unicorn thing.
If you went to a stylist to get your initial process done, try to find out what kind of toner they used - brand, product number, tone. Was it golden? Ash? These things will be important in toning your hair at home!
You'll need to bleach your roots within half a shade of the rest of your hair. Go easy with some bleach powder and a 20-volume developer. Separate your hair into four even sections - divide it down your part vertically, and then horizontally across the back of your head. You'll want to apply your bleach layer by layer, section by section, covering the full growth of the roots and being careful not to overlap hair that is already bleached.
Once the bleach has lightened your hair to the proper shade, wash it out and get ready to tone! Toner is typically mixed with 20 volume developer as well. I've included below a Wella toner chart to help those looking for the right blonde shade!
Apply toner in the same way you've applied the bleach - this time, you'll want to cover your roots first. When your roots are just about the shade you're trying to achieve, use the rest of the mixture to blend into the length of your hair. This will help the color to appear more even and intentional. Rinse and condition!
Whether you've dyed your roots or bleached and toned them, ease up on the shampoo for a few days. Coloring processes tend to dry your hair out and leave it feeling fragile, and shampoo will only further strip the natural oils your hair needs most.
A great product for re-moisturizing your hair is coconut oil! The molecules penetrate your hair shaft and repair from within. I always apply a small amount of coconut oil after processing or washing my hair to keep it conditioned. I've had a few readers that are allergic to coconut oil, and if that's the case for you, argon oil and vitamin E oil are great substitutes! Make sure to massage just a small amount at a time into your ends and dry areas.
You may also want to avoid heat or products on your hair for a few days while it bounces back to its old self. Heat can further damage your hair, so it's a good idea to give it a rest after processing so you don't fry it off.