Root Stretch | The Ultimate Guide To The Grown Out Look.

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Goodbye worrying about your hair color growing out! Root stretch is a way of styling your hair that’s taking over Instagram and all of our hearts.

It’s an easy and fun style trick to give your look some extra texture and volume, whether it be for a night out or just everyday wear.

But there’s so much information about this trend, how do you know what works best for you? We have everything you need to know right here!

You can learn all about whether this look is for you from our guide. It covers everything from the basics of how it works to styling tips and tricks.

And if you want more inspiration, check out our gallery featuring some amazing looks we found on Pinterest!

There are even before-and-after photos showing exactly what kind of difference this on-point technique makes in someone’s appearance.

If you want to know how to rock this on-trend look, let’s go!

What is a root stretch?

Root stretching is a clever and sassy technique that celebrates your roots regrowth and builds your style around them. Genuis!

As the name suggests, it’s a style that elongates the hair at the top of your head and crown, giving the appearance of thicker, fuller hair.

Styles that look fabulous with this technique include balayage, ombré, and half head highlights or babylights.

This technique can be used on any hair color, so it’s perfect for people of all skin tones. It looks particularly ravishing on blondes with dark roots.

By using this technique, you’ll have beautiful locks that look natural and last longer between touch-ups.

So, if you’re looking for a low-maintenance way to have gorgeous hair, this is the way to go!

Check out the latest looks on our Blonde hair with dark roots Pinterest board for ideas and inspiration.

root stretch collection pinterest board

The Perks of a Root Stretch

  1. Low Maintenance: With the root stretch, your touch-up sessions are less frequent, saving time and money in the long run.
  2. Natural Look: Embrace a more authentic appearance. Let those roots shine!
  3. Versatile: Suitable for all hair colors and skin tones. From ravishing blondes with dark roots to the sultry brunettes.

Understanding Hair Lingo: Root Stretch, Shadow, and Smudge Explained.

Ever feel a tad overwhelmed by all the hair terminology? We’ve all been there. So, let’s break it down:

  • Root Stretch: This technique celebrates your roots by letting them grow out naturally and blending them seamlessly with your dyed hair. It gives an elongated appearance to the top and crown, making hair look fuller.
  • Root Shadow: Similar to the stretch but a tad more subtle. This technique darkens the roots while lightening the ends, creating a natural-looking gradient. It’s perfect for short hair, giving an illusion of length.
  • Root Smudge: It’s all about blending! With a smudge, the transition between the dark root and the lighter hair is gentle, softer, and super natural-looking. It’s like the shadow’s delicate cousin.

What is a blonde root stretch?

A blonde root stretch is the most popular style for a root stretch. It’s a technique that is used to blend the darker roots with the lighter hair.

It can be done by using a darker shade of blonde to create a shadow root, or by using a temporary cover up product to darken the roots.

This will help to create a more natural bronde look and extend the time between appointments.

For lighter color blondes, go for ash blonde and platinum white to create cascading highlights.

For the darker blonde shades, caramel blonde, dirty blonde and dark honey blonde create warm golden tones.

What is a root shadow stretch?

Root shadow is a very similar technique to a root stretch that creates a more subtle look.

It’s perfect for those with shorter hair, as it gives the illusion of longer hair without having to grow it out.

To do this, your stylist will darken your roots and lighten the ends of your hair. This creates a natural-looking fade that elongates the appearance of your locks.

What is a root drag in hairdressing?

A root drag is another name for shadow root, root blur and root melt!

It’s usually used to blend the lighter hair with darker new growth, or to give a more natural effect on colored hair.  

The root drag is created by gradually adding more and more of the darker shade into areas that are meant to be filled in, allowing for an extremely blended finish.

What’s the difference between root smudge and shadow root?

The difference between these two techniques is that with a smudge, it’s a much less dramatic and more blended effect.

With this technique, you gradually build up the color towards the scalp. It can be seen as more of a natural look than the shadow style because it’s softer and more blended.

With a shadow root, the contrast is more dramatic. The darker color is only added near the scalp to give a sharp contrast with lighter balayage highlights throughout the rest of your strands.

How do I get a root stretch?

There’s various different methods that will help you master your own technique. You need to decide if you want a more dramatic look, or something softer and more subtle.

Once you’ve decided on the effect you’re going for, start by choosing the right shades for your hair.

You’ll need a dark shade that is two or three levels darker than your natural hair color, as well as a light shade that is two or three levels lighter.

You can then start to blend the colors together, using the darkest shade at the top and gradually adding more of the lighter shade towards the ends.

If you want to create a blonde grown-out look, use a dark brown or black shade to create a shadow effect, and then blend in a light blonde shade towards the middle and ends of your hair.

Use a light hand when blending the colors together, and make sure that they are perfectly smooth so that there are no harsh lines.

Can I do a root stretch at home?

Yes! it’s totally possible to recreate the look yourself at home. Here are a few top tips:

– Use a temporary root cover up product to darken your roots.

– Use a darker shade of hair dye at the roots to create a shadow effect.

– Use an ombre kit to add lighter ends to your hair.

Watch and learn: How to do a root stretch at home.

Here’s a great video that shows you how to do a really easy, quick root stretch smudge hair hack yourself at home!

How long does a root stretch last?

A root stretch or melt usually lasts around 4-6 weeks, depending on how fast your hair grows.

It will gradually fade and blend in with your natural hair color over time. You can touch up the roots as needed to keep the look fresh.

The benefits of a color melt are that it can help to blend the regrowth with the rest of your hair, creating a more natural look.

It can also help to extend the time between appointments, and is a low-maintenance style that is easy to upkeep.

How do I care for root stretch hair?

It’s also important to take care of your hair during and after the process. Make sure to use a good quality hair mask or treatment to help keep your hair healthy and hydrated.

You may also want to try using a heat protectant when you’re styling your hair.

A good purple toning shampoo will keep blonde brassiness at bay and neutralize any yellow tones that show through.

And don’t forget to follow our top tips on how to keep your color looking lush for longer!

Parting words

So, there you have it! Our guide to how to own the beautiful blurry look! We hope that you find this helpful and that you are able to create the perfect look for your own hair. Good luck!

This article was written by:

  • Nicola Freeman, Creative Director & Content Lead
    Creative Director & Content Lead

    With over two decades of passionate hair dyeing experience, I've experimented with nearly every shade imaginable. My journey began long before blogging; as an award-winning copywriter in London and New York, I shaped narratives for iconic brands. However, when friends sought advice during lockdown for at-home hair dyeing, I realized my true calling. Beyond being your hair color expert, I'm a mom of two girls, wife to artist Tony, and an avid soccer player!