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Smoked Out Roots: What To Know About The Trending Technique

photo of blonde woman with dark roots

As women, our relationship with hair color is complicated. We wanted it to look healthy, shiny, and model perfect, but can sometimes find ourselves delaying salon visits and existing with hair that’s just okay instead of brilliant.

Salon pros have been listening to their clients and understand the dilemma, which is why we’ve seen a serious uptick in hair color techniques that require less maintenance. With regular checkups from a hair expert and salon quality products, it’s easier than ever to find a color that grows out beautifully.

Enter smoked out roots (also known as shadow roots), a trend we’ve seen picking up across social media. Instead of color that goes all the way to the scalp, colorists are leaving the root darker than the rest of the hair. Whether that’s done with a sharply defined contrast or a blended line, the effect adds dimension and ensures hair color that grows out seamlessly.

Participating in the smoked out root trend may also help ensure your hair’s health. If you’re a natural brunette who’s not lightening her roots, that’s all the less damage to contend with. By letting your color to grow out between visits to the salon, you’re allowing new growth to come in.

Curious about smoked out roots? We’ve taken the liberty of collecting our favorite examples for the next trip to the salon. Read on to determine the cutest way to wear smoke out roots—whether you’re a blonde, brunette, or something in between.

Technicolor Roots

You don’t have to wear a traditional hair color in order to participate in this trend. If you’re already interested in a fantasy color (be it blue, red, yellow, or green), there’s no need to change your plans. Just talk to your colorist about incorporating a shadow roots into the finished look.

Interestingly, the technique does more than just add interest to your hair and help it grow out more gracefully. A skillfully executed contrasting root can actually help your hair appear thicker and more voluminous. Just the same way that you use dark powder to contour under your cheekbones, the dark root can trick your eye into thinking there’s a shadow present. It gives depth to colors that might otherwise appear one dimensional.

Grayscale Roots

The granny hair trend isn’t going anywhere, which means it’s about time you embraced it. Smoked out roots are a natural choice for silver or gray hair, adding depth to a shade that needs to be expertly executed. Instead of roots with a defined line, ask your colorist to blend them down into the rest of your hair.

Just like the smoky eye look you’ve been practicing for decades, a color gradient from black to light silver will create movement—not to mention, you’ll basically be a walking comic book heroine. The idea of creating a full color gradient is called color melting, and your colorist is the ultimate resource on the subject.

Blonde Roots

If you’ve ever colored your hair blonde at home, you may have noticed something curious: Often, box dye can’t give hair the dimension that a salon professional can. Much of that depth happens thanks to smoked out roots. The darker the root, the more natural and voluminous your shade appears.

We’d recommend this technique for blondes of all hair lengths, particularly those aiming for lighter shades. Blonde hair requires special care, so be sure to talk with you colorist about creating a custom product regimen that keeps you brass-free between appointments.