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Base Breaker coloring technique: Among the many ways to dye the hair, this one is very special

If you want to create a rock star look with your hair color, there is a technique that colorists use for this purpose: blurring the roots or, as some experts call it, the base breaker coloring technique. If you haven’t seen this look yet, get ready – this trend will be everywhere in the coming months.

What is the base breaker coloring technique?

Base Breaker coloring technique - Among the many ways to color your hair, this is a very special one

Base Breaker coloring technique (also called Root Smudge or Root Shadow) is a foil-free correction that refreshes your look by blending your natural color with new highlights and blurring the demarcation that shows exactly where your roots end and highlights begin. The main goal of the Base Breaker coloring technique is to create a vibrant look that lasts longer than a traditional highlight. Placement is key with this service, and a good root wiper will make you look like you’re always in good light.

You can achieve this by using a shade that is very close to your natural color, such as one to two shades lighter to create a small gradient near your roots. The base breaker coloring technique creates a smoother transition to the newly placed highlights, creating a more organic and natural look.

Root Shadow vs. Root Melt

Root Shadow vs. Root Melt - What is the difference?

I’m sure this isn’t the first time you’ve heard about the world of root touch-ups, but with a number of terms like “smudge” or “melt,” you may not know how to ask for the right treatment for your hair. The main differences between these techniques are how far the mixture is worked into the hair shaft and how drastic the difference is between the colors that are mixed.

The Base Breaker coloring technique is closest to the hair shaft. Root Melts are applied and mixed further down.

Advantages of Base Breaker hair

A root smudge is perfect for those who want to maintain their color with as little maintenance as possible

A Root Smudge is perfect for anyone who wants to maintain their color with as little maintenance as possible. It opens up a world of possibilities for all dark haired people who have been shy about trying something new, because there is now a low maintenance way to keep your lighter color looking natural and effortless.

Of course, the biggest benefit of Base Breaker hair is that you can refresh your highlights at regular intervals, as a Root Smudge can last up to two to three months without the need for touch-ups. To get the most out of your base breaker coloring technique, hairstylists recommend doing the treatment with fresh highlights: If the hair has grown out too much, you will most likely get a root melt.

But the time you don’t have to spend in the salon is not the only advantage. The Base Breaker coloring technique offers a wide range of other applications.

Applications of the Base Breaker coloring technique

Base Breaker coloring technique creates a smoother transition to the newly set highlights


Swap highlights for balayage: This is also the perfect service for someone who wants to switch from traditional highlights to balayage, but doesn’t have enough hair roots to stroke without compromising the integrity of the hair.

Revive old highlights that have grown out: light colors need a darker color to show them off. Root Smudge is a foolproof way to give old highlights a new look.

Newly graying hair: hairstylists call this “gray blending” and it’s ideal for those with less than 25 percent gray hair.

You can find out the pros & cons of the balayage technique & ombre here !

How to prepare for Root Smudging

The key to a smooth hair blending appointment is to bring sample pictures or videos of the desired result. It’s best to do this because the use of terminology can vary. This can make it difficult to figure out if you and your colorist mean the same thing. So help your dyer help you: Make sure you get the result you want by confirming it with a picture.

And with a wide range of undertones, color matching can be a risky business (for any DIYers among you, we recommend leaving this to the professionals). It’s always ideal to come to the salon with fresh, clean hair so your colorist can see how your hair reflects the light.

How long will you have to sit? Root shadowing typically only requires the color to sit for 15 to 20 minutes. The application and processing time is relatively short compared to traditional color services. Depending on the desired results, you can expect appointments that last no longer than an hour from start to finish.

The bottom line is that Root Smudge is the perfect solution for dark-haired people who want a lighter look but are worried about the grow-out phase. Since the demarcation can be quite harsh depending on the contrast between base and highlight color, the base smudge color technique creates a seamless transition that helps you get the most out of a fresh color.

Note: In this article, the terms “base breaker color technique”, “root smudge” and “root shadow” are used as synonyms.