HAIR CARE How to Do a Shadow Root at Home

by Better Natured

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If there’s one beauty takeaway we’ve learned from lockdown life, it’s that low maintenance doesn’t mean you’re letting your looks — or locks — fall to the wayside. Perhaps that’s why one of the hottest color trends of 2023 is the humble yet impactful shadow root. It’s a technique pros use to extend the life of your hair color by creating a more natural fade from your roots to the rest of your tresses, eliminating any harsh demarcation lines. 

Applying a darker hue at the crown — typically a shade close to your natural color — is an easy way to make any hair color more manageable while providing depth and dimension. Its distinctive characteristic is the transition from one tone to another, creating an illusion of a subtle shadow. 

Of course, there are a few techniques to master before giving yourself lustrous lived-in locks — but that’s where we come in. Here’s everything you need to know about doing a shadow root at home so you can pull off effortless hair color every time. 

Benefits of a Shadow Root

By now, you’ve probably picked up that one of the most appealing benefits of a shadow root is that it’s super low maintenance — but here are a few other reasons this trend is so well loved: 

  • It’s easier to grow out natural hair color to a longer length. 
  • An excellent option for those who don’t want to change their hair color dramatically but still want a polished look.
  • Any hair length or hair color can pull it off.  
  • Adds dimension that accentuates a variety of haircuts and styles. 
  • It’s a budget-friendly technique that saves you time and money — fewer touch-ups.
  • No need to worry about the distinct growing-out phase when your regrowth appears darker than your colored or highlighted hair. 

Choosing the Correct Shadow Root Color

While root shadowing is popular with blondes, this pro technique can benefit any hair color. Pick your perfect shade of Better Natured® Hair At-Home Hair Color to pull off your natural yet polished look.

When choosing a shade for your shadow roots, consider your natural hair color — aka your hair color level. Opt for a hue in the same tone family (warm, cool, neutral, etc.) and at least one shade darker — but no more than two to three shades to help maintain a more natural look. 

If you’re unsure of which direction to go, take our Hair Color Quiz or contact one of our professional customer service representatives via the phone (1-800-242-9283) or email.

Shop Better Natured® At-Home Hair Color

Better Natured® At-Home Hair Color

Gather the Correct Supplies 

Fortunately, you don’t need many supplies to achieve this low-maintenance look: 

  • Choose the Better Natured® At-Home Hair Color of your choice. Our all-in-one hair color kit provides everything you need for salon-quality, professional-level hair color at home.
  • Hair color mixing bowl and brush (with a pointed end). An applicator bottle isn’t recommended for a root shadow. 
  • Disposable gloves
  • Comb
  • Clips
  • Hair cape or an old shirt 

Use the Right Technique

  • Use the bowl and brush application versus the bottle method. Using Better Natured® Hair At-Home Hair Color, pour the developer into the bowl, add color, and mix with a brush. Our color kits include a 1:1 ratio  — 2 ounces/60 milliliters of color ratio to 2 ounces/60 milliliters of developer.
  • Once your color is mixed, use the pointed end of your brush to section thin slices of hair to effectively target the roots. Clip away the areas you’re not working on.
  • Starting in the front, work down in rows about ¼’’ apart and then repeat in the back. Unclip and re-clip each section if necessary. Since you don’t want a severe demarcation line between your roots and lighter tresses, drag the flat, broad side of the brush a bit past the root using a light hand. 
  • Set the timer for 30 minutes. If you have stubborn grays, leave the color on for an additional 10.
  • Rinse well with warm water until the water runs clear. Next, shampoo and condition with our Color Care Shampoo and Conditioner
  • Style as desired. 

Maintain Your Look

While a shadow root is a low maintenance look, you can extend your color by creating a home haircare routine:

Correct Any Unwanted Tones

If brassiness starts to appear, reach for our blue (for brunettes) or purple (for blondes) Color Correcting Creams. These power-charged conditioners are designed to neutralize brassy tones and deliver cooler results in just one to three minutes. 

Stick with Color Safe Shampoo and Conditioner

Our Color Care Shampoo and Conditioner will keep your hair shiny, hydrated, and frizz-free. When used together, this dynamic duo leaves color-treated hair smooth and silky from root to tip and helps keep your hair color vibrant for up to nine weeks.* Hair becomes softer and less prone to breakage.**

*When used as a system with Better Natured® Color Care Shampoo.

**Against combing breakage on damaged hair when using Better Natured® Color Care Shampoo and Conditioner vs. a non-conditioning shampoo.

portrait straight hair

Source: Irina Bg/

Give your hair an upgraded moisture boost with Better Natured®’s award-winning Deep Conditioning Balm. This color-safe deep conditioner locks down the brilliance, depth, and tone in color-treated hair for up to nine weeks.* With an intensely restorative formula, this deep conditioning treatment delivers serious TLC that helps return strands to their soft, shiny, healthy-looking glory.

*When used as a system with Better Natured® Color Care Shampoo two to three times weekly.

Shop Better Natured® Shampoo and Conditioner

Accentuate Those Multidimensional Tones

Highlight the different tones in your hair with Better Natured®’s Beachy Texture Spray. It adds just enough grit and volume for perfectly imperfect, fresh-from-the-beach waves with a light, brushable hold. And like your shadow root, the salty spritz helps you achieve those “I woke up like this” vibes.

Give your single-process color an upgrade with a shadow root, one of the hottest color trends of 2023. We’re here if you need advice on color and technique. Customer Service is available Monday-Friday, 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. EST, and Saturday, 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. EST. 

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    Better Natured® Hair Color

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