Root Regrowth

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30 September 2001

Bleaching your roots is a pain in the butt. However, it only takes about half the processing time of a full-head bleach. One thing to remember is that your scalp is very sensitive and to avoid chemical burns you should never use anything stronger than a 30 volume peroxide (20 is usually a better idea) for the bleach. The strength of the bleach will be written on the peroxide bottle – 20, 30 or 40 volume.
How often you bleach your roots depends on your preference. It’s not a good idea to do it too often in case you damage your scalp. Generally when your roots are about 1cm long is the best time to retouch.

If you’re unsure about bleaching your hair yourself you should have a professional do it for you.

When you bleach your roots you should expect to feel some tingling or slight itchiness on your scalp. If it starts to burn wash it out immediately! Also, never bleach your hair if you have sores or cuts on your head and when you wash it out make sure you use shampoo to ensure all the bleach is out of your hair.

Bleaching the Re-growth on Long Hair
Doing roots on long hair can be really difficult and time consuming but not impossible. Here are two methods.

Using Sectioning Clips
Put the hair in a middle parting. You’ll need about 20 small hair clips; butterfly clips or sectioning clips are best for this. Start next to the parting and create a ½ cm horizontal parting. Twist this section and clip it out of the way. Continue separating hair in a horizontal strips and clipping until you reach ear level. Repeat with back and other side.
Starting at the bottom unclip one section, paint both sides of the re-growth with bleach, then unclip the section above and repeat applying the bleach. Continue this until the whole head is covered. Try to do this quickly as the back of your head may have bleached to the right shade before you’ve even got the top of your head covered. Remember to check the progress every 5 – 10 mins then shampoo out when it’s the right colour.

Section as You Go
Make one long parting along the middle of the top of your head and down to the top of your neck. Make another parting from the tip of one ear to the other. Apply bleach to the partings. Start with one of the front quarters and using the point of a tail comb lift a thin section of hair from the corner of the two partings. Paint on bleach to the root area and put the hair back out of the way. Continue working like this until you reach the hair around your face. Move all the sections back and continue in the same way on the other three quarters. There are further details on this technique in the beginner’s guide to bleaching.

You can use these methods when dyeing your re-growth with bleach or permanent colour.

Bleaching Re-growth on short hair
Short hair is easier to do because there isn’t the problem of long hair getting in the way.
My method for doing roots on short hair is as follows:
Spike the hair out from the head all over. Starting at the crown apply the bleach with the use of a tint brush to the roots and work out radially from there. Make sure you get both sides of each section of hair with bleach. Finish off at the front and sides as this hair usually takes less time to bleach. Use the pointy end of the tint brush to poke through the hair checking for missed bits. (Behind the ears and the nape of the neck usually get forgotten).
Check every 5-10 mins until it’s the right shade and then shampoo out.

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  • Read the manufacturer's instructions as these may vary
  • Hair 1cm closest to your scalp bleaches faster. Keep this in mind with longer roots
  • Always shampoo out bleach


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