As a Color Master, “Formula Boss” David Stanko (@thedavidstanko) has tackled many the color problem as both a practicing hairdresser, educator and product developer. He has guided thousands of colorists, training both novices and experts, on the latest techniques to correct or address common color “situations.”

Here Stanko offers his top five tips on dealing with this all too common problem – the HOT ROOT:


1: To avoid hot roots in the first place, stay within 1-2 levels lighter than the natural hair color. Deviating from this rule of thumb will always lead to disappointment. The heat from the scalp is a contributing factor in this unusual brightening effect, seen most often with copper, gold and natural shades, respectively. 

2: To correct hot roots, select a color that is the same level of the shade that cause the problem, but make two key revisions. Drop down to 10-volume developer and select a Natural or Ash-based color to neutralize unwanted warmth.

3. Another idea:  Colorists who overlap and pull through too many times can create a darker color on the midlengths and ends. You end up with what looks like a hot root but really isn’t one. The root is correct—the midlengths and ends went too dark. 

4.  To minimize the potential of hot roots when working with a permanent ammoniated hair color and creating shades like red, red-violet or copper, mix the target shade with a shade that’s one level lighter (and the same tone), and use 10-volume developer. Alternately, use a non-ammonia (MEA) permanent hair color, which tends to lift less than an ammonia-based color.

5. Mineral build-up can possibly cause the same darkening of the midshafts and ends.  If you suspect this, perform a service that “cleanses the palette.”

In this video, Stanko deals with several HOT color questions, many that have troubled colorists on a regular basis:

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