ND Colour Left1Two top hair colour experts share what you need to know about the shadow root trend to help your clients achieve this stunning new look.

What is Shadow Root?

According to George Alderete, North American creative ambassador for Keune Haircosmetics, “a shadow root is a soft blending or melding at the root and throughout the mid-lengths and ends of the hair. It’s an application that’s perfect for softening the harsh line of demarcation that can happen with a traditional highlighting colour process.”

This effect is ideal for clients who want a splash of colour, or love the idea of having a more natural, lived-in look, since this forgiving shade application requires less maintenance. Clients that change their colour seasonally can do it with ease and deepen the shade for fall or lighten up for spring.

“I’ve been playing with this type of hair colour for a few seasons, and I find it’s a great, fun way to punch up colour without too much commitment,” says Alex Chabot, artistic director for Matrix Canada.

Playing it Up with Pastels ND Colour Left2

When it made an appearance a few years ago, pastel hair was perceived as being a novelty shade. Fast-forward to today and not only have pastels endured, but some colourists now consider them to be a staple, and even a new standalone category.

“Some of the most popular trends we are seeing are the influx of vibrant and pastel tones. One of my favourite hues of the moment is a light ash violet blonde (created with Keune Semi Color 8.17), which is then hand-painted with Ultimate Power Blonde Powder Lift to give a seamless blend from dark to light. To create a soft pastel, I’ll mix the Lightest Pearl Mahogany Blonde (Keune Semi Color 9.25) to balance and give that perfect hue,” says Alderete.

But Also Staying Natural 

“A shadow root is also beautiful when you achieve it with natural tones. I like the effect with two to three different colours, because it also helps create the illusion of more density for a client with very thin hair,” explains Chabot. Of course, the type of effect you create all comes down to the colours your client prefers. If she likes to change colour every time she comes in for a service, you choose demi-permanent shades. If you’re looking for an effect that will last the entire season, pick a permanent formula. Chabot adds that it’s important to remember you will have to lighten the hair after a few weeks so that the shadow root doesn’t grow out too much.

The Process

Chabot likes pre-lightening hair to a level 10, and then applying colour at the roots, one to two inches from the scalp. “But make sure you foil the hair so that the lightening mix doesn’t bleed onto the rest of the hair. You actually need to be pretty meticulous so that the colour effect is even.” 

Alderete recommends maintaining a light pressure and soft brush strokes to best blend your shadow root. “Lay your brush flat to soften colour saturation and achieve a seamless effect. Heavy saturation of colour is hard to blend, so apply smaller amounts of colour. Less is more to create a beautiful result.”

And keep in mind that for the holiday season, a smokey shadow root hair colour service is perfect for adding dimension or to accent pastel hair because it’s the time of the year that your client will likely want to flaunt something more eye-catching and dramatic. 

Product Picks

Photos courtesy of Keune Haircosmetics and Matrix Canada 


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