My hair is lighter at the roots and darker on the ends, how can I fix it?

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  • If you colored your hair and the roots ended up being lighter than the ends, you probably didn’t apply the color correctly.
  • You may also have chosen a different hair color brand to the one you usually use, chosen a lighter shade than you should, or not mixed the right proportions of color and peroxide.
  • To match your roots’ color with the rest of your hair, you should reapply a hair color, making sure it is the same color as your ends. This time, you will do it first on your roots, let it work for 30 minutes, and then you will color your mid and ends.


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When it comes to coloring, you can claim victory once your hair is dry.

That’s when you can really evaluate whether the color performed as you expected it on your hair fiber.

Have you noticed that your roots are lighter than your ends?


 Before you run out and buy another hair color or try to cover your roots under a hat or scarf, my first piece of advice is: don’t despair. 


When you decide based on desperation rather than common sense, usually solutions are often even more frightening.


There are three reasons why your hair may have become lighter at the roots than in the ends:


All these problems have solutions, and, later, I will share them with you.

Of course, some solutions are simpler than others.  Possibly, if you don’t have any experience in coloring, ideally, you should get a professional to match the color between the roots and the rest of your hair. 


To understand why your roots look lighter, you need to understand how hair color works on your hair.

Then, I’ll tell you how to unify your hair step by step.


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How does dye work, and why does hair sometimes result in two colors?

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Believe it or not, there’s a science behind hair dye. When you apply dye to your hair, a chemical reaction takes place.

A chemical reaction occurs between the molecules in your hair and chemicals such as peroxide and ammonia in the dye.


When you use a permanent dye, the hair cuticle has to be opened with ammonia. That way, the dye can be deposited inside the hair, stripping away the existing color to deposit the new one.

Peroxide breaks the existing bonds in the hair, removing the melanin pigment and allowing the new color to adhere to the hair.


In turn, the roots are virgin hair because that is where the new hair is born. That hair has other characteristics that differ from the rest of the hair. Why?

The rest of your hair is older. So, it’s been more exposed to weather, styling tools, and even other dyes.


This will cause the lengths to absorb the color pigments much faster than the roots. Therefore, your ends are darker than your roots.

That’s why it’s super important to apply your hair color, bearing in mind that each hair section requires a different exposure time.


Why is hair lighter at the roots?

even out the color

Go back to the moment you mixed the dye with the peroxide and started applying the color to your hair.

  • Do you remember that moment?
  • Where did you start applying the dye?
  • Did you apply the color to all the hair at once?
  • Did you apply it in sections?


  • If you applied the dye to all the hair at the same time, that’s why your roots became lighter.

See, you’ll need to think of your hair as three different sections: roots or new hair, mediums, and ends.

Color is processed differently in these sections. Of course, if you’re just touching up your roots, you don’t need to apply color to all your hair. It makes sense not to apply color to your mediums and ends every time you color because that will make your tone look darker and duller.


 But if you’re coloring your hair for the first time or changing your hair tone, you’ll need to apply color with different processing times. 


It always starts at the roots, unless you are coloring your hair for the first time. The color at the roots needs more processing time, as it is virgin hair and takes longer to absorb the color pigments.

If you have virgin hair and have decided to change color, you should leave two fingers of margin when applying the color and apply the dye from there downwards.


Have you recently had formaldehyde treatment, such as a straightening treatment?

Then, that´s the reason why your roots became clearer.


  • Formaldehyde hair treatments interfere with the processing of the dye in the roots.

Each time you get a straightening or keratin treatment, a film is progressively generated in the hair fiber, making it more difficult to deposit the color pigments.


  That film does not exist in the roots, which is a new hair. So, the dye is perfectly absorbed there. But, in the rest of the hair, where the products used for straightening are found, the pigments do not penetrate the hair fiber. 

What is the result? Light and medium roots and darker tips.


Did you try to lighten your hair by choosing a color four or five times lighter?

Remember the following.


  • One dye doesn’t clear another dye.

If you want to lighten your hair in more than three or four shades, you'll need to bleach it. If you don't, you'll end up like some of the clients who visit me at the salon: with two-tone hair.


Once you have colored your hair, you must understand that it has been modified in its structure and pigmentation. So, the only way to lighten it is by bleaching it.

If you dye your hair lighter, the only part that will change color will be your virgin roots. So, your hair will be lighter at the roots and darker at the ends.


  • Always use the same dye brand to prevent roots from becoming lighter.

Each brand of dye uses different pigments, even to achieve the same shades. Therefore, a dark brown from one brand may be slightly different from another, even if it is the same shade.


  • If you do not respect the exact proportions of peroxide and hair color, the roots may become lighter.

It is vital that, when preparing the dye, you use the amounts of peroxide recommended by the manufacturer. Otherwise, you may alter the final result, causing your roots to become clearer.


Matching the color of your roots to the rest of your hair

Although matching your roots' color to the rest of your hair can be quite simple, it's best to consult a professional if you don't feel very confident.


  If you decide to fix it yourself, you'll need to consider two things: the shade of color and the processing time for each section. 


Let's start with the color.

Always choose the same shade of dye that you have on your ends. At the hairdresser's shops, you can get perfect advice if you have any doubts.

Once you have the right shade of dye, it's time to apply it.

Where should you start?


Exactly! By your roots.

  • Comb your hair with a parting in the middle to make it easier to visualize the growth.
  • Mix the peroxide and the dye in the proportions indicated by the manufacturer.
  • Apply the dye only to the roots and leave it on for thirty minutes.
  • After this time, apply the dye to the mid and ends, and leave it for ten minutes.
  • After the exposure time, rinse your hair with plenty of water, if possibly cold, and apply the post-color treatment from the coloring kit.



In most cases, the roots are lighter because the dye's exposure times are not respected according to the sections of the hair.

To match the roots' color with the rest of your hair, you should choose a color of the same shade as your ends and mid parts. Also, always apply it first to the roots, leaving it on for thirty minutes.

This way, you will defeat the problem of lighter roots.

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