Root Shadowing is the New Beach Blond. Here's How to Ask Your Stylist For It

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Chic West Coast women are known for their effortless-looking (but artfully highlighted) blonde hair. It’s a classic look, but just as there are new fall wardrobe trends (including new pieces we never thought about before but now must own), there are seasonal hair trends that refresh your look with just a tweak or two at the salon. That’s the story behind “root shadowing,” the subtle color trend we’ve seen around town. We asked Eric Torres, the stylist-owner of Bombshell Salon in Santa Monica.

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Torres says that post-lockdown, his clients are asking for a more lived-in, easier-to-grow-out blond. (After months without access to professional colorists, they’re understandably reticent about jumping right back into a high maintenance color regimen.) So, he gives them root shadowing: “It’s a full head of bright highlights with a gloss that’s a shade or two more subdued over it, painted on a couple inches below the roots to blend everything together,” he explains. A gloss is what used to be known as a toner; it neutralizes any unwanted tones and enhances desired hues. “It also gives a youthful, glossy shine,” Torres says. “With a gloss blended in at the root line, the color looks a little more ‘lived in,’ and is easier to grow out.” Torres says some of his clients go three or four months between appointments with an artful root shadow.

Torres suggests asking your stylist for an application of a root-shadowing gloss after getting highlights, and he recommends adding warmer tones to any blond hair that’s been lightened by the summer sun.

“Ash is not a destination, but a tool,” he says, citing numerous clients’ requests to move toward a darker blond base with highlights. And to really nail the Santa Monica beach blond look, the stylist mandates a seasonal trim for hair health. “Remember, a trim doesn’t mean losing length.”

dana dickey

Senior Editor

Dana Dickey is a PureWow Senior Editor, and during more than a decade in digital media, she has scoped out and tested top products and services across the lifestyle space...