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What is shadow root hair?

Should I add shadow roots to my hair? What are the pros and cons of root shadowing? And show me the variations of the shadow root hair technique, please.

If you are following 2024’s hairstyling trends, you must have heard about the shadow root technique. What’s more, you have probably seen many ladies rocking numerous shadow root variations. No wonder, because shadow roots suit everyone! The options of shadow root hair vary, and the limit is just your imagination! However, it is advisable to keep the root color natural for the look to stay fresh longer. Yet, if you chose a shadow root hair technique with brighter colors, you may need to dye the roots of your hair to create a fitting transition. Read on to find out all the nuances of this styling technique!

What Is the Shadow Root Technique

Shadow root hair is a dyeing technique that is all about darker roots and lighter ends. However, its distinctive characteristic is that the transition from one tone or color to another is in most cases extremely smooth, creating an illusion of a subtle shadow. Essentially, it is being achieved by stretching the dye from the roots to the ends, creating a gradient from dark tones to lighter ones.

Shadow Root: lighter than your natural hair color, but darker than your highlights. This in-between shade goes over your fresh highlights for an illusion of the “rooted” look giving you a seamless grow out every time! @huntlynnhair

Root Smudge vs Shadow Root

Root smudge and shadow root are similar techniques used to achieve different goals. Both approaches create a seamless blend of colors, making a blurred transition from the roots to the rest of the hair. However, the key difference is that the shadow root technique works with more contrasting colors. So, if you are up for a dramatic gradient from roots to ends, shadow root is your go-to style.

Shadow Root vs Balayage

Balayage and shadow root may appear similar, especially on shoulder-length hair. However, these two techniques are diametrically opposed. To put it simply, balayage lightens the lower part of your hair, or some of its parts (think face-framing highlights), while shadow root makes the roots darker.

Benefits of Shadow Rooting

There are plenty of advantages that come with the shadow root technique, such as:

– visual boost of the hair volume

– growing hair out without having to dye it regularly

– trendy hairstyle

– space for color experiments

– suitability for any hair length

DIY Shadow Root at Home

Performing the shadow root technique on your hair at home is possible. There are plenty of tutorials online that demonstrate how to correctly divide your hair into sections and apply the dye. The trickiest part of the process is selecting the tone that would fit your goals best and create a beautiful blend with the rest of the hair. So, if you have some experience in dyeing your own hair, you may try root shadowing. If you are a beginner in this matter, better book a good hair colorist.

How Much Does a Shadow Root Cost

A shadow root style is extremely low-maintenance. Therefore, it will only cost you as much as one visit to the hairstylist once every three months or so, depending on which dark and light tones ratio you are fine with. This may be additional $50 to other salon procedures, or if done alone, it may be around $100-200 depending on the place of service and hairstylist’s skills.

The 20 Best Shadow Root Hairstyles

The shadow root technique is a gem among hairstyles, giving so much space to let your creativity out. Check some inspiring ideas below!

1. Inverted Lob with Shadow Roots. A shadow root blonde lob is a classy style that fits everyone! Shadow root blonde hair is ideal for highlighting the beauty of your facial features.

2. Pink Shadow Root Hair. Do you want to make heads turn? The pastel pink and shadow root combination is a sure way to succeed!

3. Brunette Hair with Shadow Roots. Shadow root brunette styles are rather common but they do not appear too mainstream thanks to their timeless elegance.

4. Blonde Hair with Shadow Roots. Dyeing hair blonde every two weeks can be time-consuming. Opt for shadow roots to avoid the hassle!

5. Red Shadow Root Style. Naturally dark hair dyed red will create a beautiful shadow root gradient to captivate everybody’s attention.

6. Platinum Blonde with Shadow Root. If you can’t decide between two contrasting colors, why not embrace both of them? After all, platinum blonde hair with shadow root looks stunning!

7. Pastel Hair and Shadow Root. This style is very punk-rock, and we love how cheeky it looks with violet and icy blonde shadow root! Combine this dye idea with a shaggy cut and embrace your rebellious nature.

8. Shadow Root Pixie. A pixie itself is already a fashion statement. With shadow root short hair and an undercut, you will be an indisputable style icon.

9. Ash Blonde Shadow Root Lob. The shadow root technique resembles ombre when applied to a lob cut. Besides, blonde with shadow roots is low-maintenance and chic!

10. Root Shadow Blonde Layered Hair. Shadow roots together with a layered cut create extra texture and visually thicken the hair.

11. Shadow Root Balayage. This style delivers a flattering gradient of colors from shadow root dark hair to light blonde ends. Check how beautifully it highlights the facial features!

Dark Shadow Root for Blonde Balayage
By Hiro

12. Shadow Roots with Patchy Highlights. If you want to create an uncombed look, try to combine shadow roots and uneven highlights. Bright colors work extremely well for this purpose!

13. Shadow Root Blonde Straight Hair. Sleek hair may seem lacking dimension sometimes. The shadow root platinum blonde and warm bronde combination fixes this issue effortlessly!

14. Shadow Root for Brunettes. If you want to visually elongate your face, try the shadow roots and curtain bangs combo. Darker tones closer to the crown and lighter ones at the tips will create the desired effect!

15. Shadow Root with Highlights. Such a gorgeous ensemble of golden locks and shadow roots oozes beach vibes all year round.

16. Shadow Root for Sunset Balayage. Shadow root brown hair looks very natural and plays with the lights beautifully. Try it to freshen up your look!

17. Babylights with Shadow Root. If you are a gentle and elegant person, there is hardly a better hairstyle for you. Sweet babylights and tender shadow roots are a perfect match!

18. Shadow Roots with Pastel Pink. Get inspired for radical changes by these shadow root before and after pictures! Shadow roots and bright colors can make you look like a completely different person.

Bright Pastel Hair with Shadow Roots
By John

19. Shadow Root and Lowlights. Start with the shadow root technique and add highlights plus lowlights throughout the length for an incredible flare of colors.

20. Purple Shadow Root. Why settle for only one or two colors? Opt for shadow roots, pick a purple shade, and add highlights from lavender to orchid.

Shadow rooting is a popular technique it-girls often opt for and recommend nowadays. Moreover, this trend is suitable for all ages, younger women and seniors. As you see, it can also be adapted for all natural hair colors. Shadow roots can be almost unnoticeable or contrasting, placed only at the top or faded to midshaft. Plenty of variations! Shadowed roots are definitely an option for you if you need something fresh, low-maintenance, and volume-adding in your hairstyle.

by Donna Sullivan
Donna is a hairstylist with 8 years of experience. Ask her about any hair-related problem (haircuts, hairstyles, colorings, hair care) and get a pro advice!