Long gone are the days of bold, chunky highlights that are the most sought-after hair color at the salon. Mixed and natural hair color is here to stay and if you want to be on trend and also have hair that looks natural and requires less maintenance, it is important that you learn about Root stains and Shadow roots.
It is important to know what they are and what is the difference between them. These two techniques are often confused because they sound so similar and the terms are used interchangeably, however, they are different.
Knowing the differences between a root stain and a shade root will be a huge help when you describe to your hairstylist what hair color you’re hoping for or when you’re doing your hair at home.
First, let’s start with the basics of root stains and shade roots, so all the information we’re about to give makes sense!
Both a root stain and shadow root use a toner (a toner may also be described as a gloss in some salons). So what is a toner and why do you need a toner?
What is toner?
A toner is a semi-permanent hair color that neutralizes unwanted tones in the hair (ie, eliminates brassiness), adds more tone to the hair (ie, more gold, ash, etc.), or adds dimension or depth.
Toners are usually applied to damp hair immediately after color treatment and processed between 5-20 minutes, depending on the desired end result. Toners can last between 2-8 weeks; Factors like how often you wash your hair or how dark the toner was affect the longevity of the toner.
Do you need toner?
Yes! Don’t be afraid of toners. In most cases, especially after highlighting your hair, you will need a toner. Toners refine your hair color and turn it into the perfect shade for you.
Toner is like a top coat for hair, a very important final step that will make your hair color brighter and last longer. It customizes your hair color and adds the little details that make hair color look expensive and well done.
What is a root stain?
To blur something is to blur it, and that’s exactly what root blowout does to your hair. A root stain is done after a hair lightening service, usually traditional foil highlights or balayage.
A toner in your natural hair color or a lighter shade is applied to damp hair right at the root and stained about an inch down using a comb or paint brush. The root stain will work for about 15 minutes and then be washed out of the hair.
The root stain blurs the highlights and your natural hair color, creating a softer, more vibrant look. The root stain also uses a lighter toner just to deepen the roots a little to the point where you can see the dimension from your newly lightened hair.
They also work perfectly to soften the line as your hair grows out and allow you to go on a little longer before your next salon visit.
What is shadow root?
Shadow root is used when you want more depth and dimension than the root stain can provide. Shadow root is done with a toner a shade or two darker than your natural hair color.
They are also applied after a hair lightening service, on damp hair, at the root, but in this case, the toner will be applied down more than an inch to really give depth, especially in areas like the crown and sides of your hair.
A root shadow works for about 20 minutes. The shade root adds softness to your new color and increases the time between visits to the salon. The main difference from the root stain is that the root shade is darker and is applied later on the head.
Anti root stain. The root of the shadows: how to decide which one is right for you?
When deciding between a root stain and a shadow root, it comes down to the overall look you want to achieve. If you want something light and soft, root stain is a great choice.
If you want something a little darker and moodier, then choose the shade root. The best thing about these techniques is that they are done in a semi-permanent color so you can always try both at different times or use one for summer and one for fall!
Things to remember:
- Toners are used to create both a root stain and a shadow root.
- Toner is a semi-permanent hair color that is applied after a hair color treatment and is almost always necessary. Don’t be afraid of the toner!
- A root stain is done with a toner close to natural or lighter.
- Root stain is applied just one inch down from the root and mixed with a colored brush or comb.
- Root shade is about two shades darker than your natural
- Shadow root is applied an inch or more down from the root and also blended with a colored brush or comb.