Episode 55

HOT ROOTS equals Hot Mess! Learn how to FIX them FAST

presented by podcast host kristina russell


What I'll be talking about

If you have ever struggled in the salon with root glow from uneven tints and knowing how to fix it, this is the podcast for you!

In this episode of the Colour Kristina Talks Podcast, I'll be talking about how to avoid HOT ROOTS with on scalp global colour and what to do to avoid this problem plus how to fix it when it does happen.

Hot or glowing root colour is usually caused by miscalculations in the formula painted on when using a permanent dye to go lighter or brighter. It’s one of the most common mistakes I see Hairdressers making at all levels of experience. This episode of the Colour Kristina Talks Podcast shares the WHAT + WHY + HOW to FIX  Hot Roots for Blondes, Brunettes and Redheads.

Show notes for episode 55

hot roots equal a hot mess

Hot Roots equals a Hot Mess is certainly an attention-grabbing show title. I teased this topic a little in the last episode when I was chatting with Sophie B.  A hot root is an Aussie slang term for something totally unrelated to hair colour, which is why whenever I taught at the Redken New York Exchange as a Former Global Creative Colour Facilitator for many years, the US team would always somehow work it into one of our conversations on stage. It gave everyone a giggle and I now understand that a Hot Root can mean 2 totally different things.

I will leave that with you to go google Australian slang hot root if you don’t know what I am talking about. LOL

Hot or glowing root colour is usually caused by miscalculations in the formula painted on when using a permanent dye to go lighter or brighter. It’s one of the most common mistakes I see Hairdressers making at all levels of experience. I’m going to share with you in this episode a few quick-fix solutions to correct your own colourwork if this Hot Roots Hot Mess happens to you.

In my 20+ years as an Industry Educator that travels all over the world presenting at main stage shows with dynamic support teams or teaching private small team training, I am asked one thing more than any other question…. And that's “how do I approach long roots to get an even result? Want to know my answer?”

Of course, you do! 

What are hot roots or root glow?

Hot Roots or Root Glow happens when the formula for the heat band from body temperature is not accounted for in your colour formulation and application technique.

Tint or Global Colour retouches with permanent dye would be done within 4-7 weeks. This depends on a few key factors such as;

  • How fast the hair grows
  • How grey the client is and whether it is a coverage colour or not – I have some that come every 3 weeks for a hairline tint for example
  • Can also depend on whether the natural colour is similar to the artificial colour or several shades lighter or darker plus other factors such as fade, lifestyle, home maintenance and so on….

There are 2 ways to approach Long Roots or a Virgin Tint. I prefer the Modern Contemporary Approach over the Classic Traditional Approach because it works for me on busy days with success. And I measure success with a few key factors in mind – predictable even results, clean and professional application methods within a workable timeframe for a busy salon, plus a happy smiling client at the end of the process. To learn more about this approach click this link to listen to episode 29 Hot Tips for Long Roots. Learn how to paint Virgin tints without banding.


Why does root glow happen?

Body temperature affects the processing of global colours, on scalp bleaching, and virgin tint applications or tints on clients with really long regrowth. The heat band is approximately ½ inch from the scalp. The heat band processes the on scalp colour to be lighter and brighter and therefore you need to adjust your formulas to allow for this when hair painting for blondes brunettes and redheads

How to fix hot roots for blondes, brunettes and redheads

Usually, the heat band is lighter and warmer than the rest of the hair. This is the same in Blondes, Brunettes and Redheads. It’s the result of the body temperature heating up the colour painted closer to the scalp to increase the lift and brightness of the hair colour.

  • How to Fix it for Blondes – these instructions are designed to help you in a quick-fix scenario that might need a bigger adjustment next visit with a few highlights to blend any undesirable tone. Drop the roots with a beige or cool natural semi toner at the level your mid bands and ends are or 1 shade darker if the client is ok with a slightly darker root shadow. Tell the client that you are depositing more colour at the root area to create the most natural blended look possible & next time you might do something different depending on fade and regrowth (this removes your fear and helps educate the client without them knowing they have HOT ROOTS)
  • How to Fix it for Brunette Tints – this is probably the easiest one to fix. You will just need to paint more brown on the root area. Let’s not over complicate this issue. Oops! You made a mistake or you were rushing and your brunette tinted client who might or might not be a grey coverage has glowing brighter roots. Chances are it’s lighter and more of a ginger tone than you or your client desires. Quick fix it with a long-lasting semi in a natural brown colour the same level as the rest of the hair or ½ shade darker to be sure it covers the brass. If you want it really flat inject a little blue-based ash toner. Keep it simple. Don’t panic! Just paint and know why it happened to avoid doing it again in the future if possible.
  • How to Fix it for Redhead or Copper Tints – this mistake can make even the most experienced Hairdresser panic. Believe it or not, I have been here too several times & that’s why I am so passionate about sharing with you how to fix it. Let my experiments that resulted in copies with corrections help you to avoid them… or at the very least know how to fix them with confidence when these unexpected outcomes happen.

*** If you have a glowing root when trying to go copper the result is usually light yellow copper roots and dull brownish ginger ends…. Or if it’s a darker red it’s probably bright lipstick red roots and a dark auburn all over. 

** There are two options to consider – if your roots are closer to your dream colour – you need to do a heavy freehand basin balayage to lighten the rest to match and then do a global toner to boost colour and create incredible tone and shine.  Or you can drop the Roots to match the rest >>> this is the formula you need to correct the coppers that glow > ½ warm natural & ½ Gold (because you need to drop and fill it)  or if it’s a darker red you will need to use ½ warm natural and ½ auburn or brown-based gold red in your colour range. In a simplified explanation mix a natural to go darker and the gold to mute the glow but keep it bright.


Keep scrolling down the page to find all the links discussed in our interview. Chat soon colour lovers x

Links and resources


link to my insta @colourkristina


DM ME @colourkristinatalkspodcast


link to podcast episode 29 on how to approach virgin tints


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