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What is the streak of color underneath hair?

The streak of color that can sometimes be seen underneath hair is called the root or regrowth. This refers to the section of hair closest to the scalp where new hair is growing in. As hair grows, it originates from follicles in the scalp and pushes outwards. New hair growth starts out with the natural color of a person’s hair before any artificial coloring or bleaching is done to it. So if someone colors or lightens their hair, the roots where new growth is occurring will show the original untreated hair color resulting in a noticeable line of demarcation.

What Causes Visible Roots?

Roots become visible when there is a difference between the natural hair color at the scalp and the artificially treated color along the lengths of the hair shaft. Here are some of the main reasons roots may be noticeable:

  • Growing out previously color-treated hair – After coloring or bleaching hair, new growth will come in the natural shade while the rest of the hair retains the artificial color. As more time passes, the colored hair grows out and the root section expands as natural regrowth occurs.
  • Dark natural hair with lightened styles – People with naturally dark brown or black hair sometimes lighten to blonde or other lighter shades. The regrowth will show their dark roots.
  • Going longer between touch-up appointments – Color-treated hair requires regular touch-ups to cover roots as they grow in. The longer someone waits between appointments, the more obvious the demarcation line will become.
  • Hair graying – As people age, gray hairs emerge at the roots. This can create a stark contrast between the natural gray regrowth and color-treated hair.

In people with uniformly natural hair, the roots should blend seamlessly into the rest of the hair. But when there is a mismatch between natural growth and artificial coloring, the roots become noticeable.

When are Visible Roots Most Apparent?

Roots tend to be most conspicuous in certain situations:

  • Partings or parts in the hair – Parting the hair can expose the roots by separating the hair to reveal more of the scalp underneath.
  • Pulling the hair back – Styles like ponytails and buns that pull the hair back tight can emphasize the roots by making the color discrepancy around the hairline more visible.
  • Bright lighting – Roots show up more under bright natural or artificial lighting. Soft mood lighting helps camouflage and obscure roots.
  • Hair health – Dry, damaged hair allows more visibility of the scalp. Smooth, shiny, hydrated hair helps minimize the appearance of roots.
  • Hair length – The shorter the hair, the more obvious the regrowth. Longer styles help disguise roots better.

Being aware of these factors can help manage situations where visible roots may be more or less conspicuous.

How are Visible Roots Dealt with?

There are a few approaches people use to handle visible regrowth showing at the roots:

  • Root touch-ups – Getting salon root touch-up services in between full color appointments helps blend new growth by matching the artificial color to the rest of the hair.
  • Full color treatments – Some choose to do full color treatments to completely cover all hair rather than just roots. This helps provide a uniform look from roots to ends.
  • Letting it grow out – Others opt to simply let the roots grow out completely back to the natural color. This avoids maintenance but results in obvious contrasting roots in the meantime.
  • Embracing the regrowth – Some intentionally show their roots as a contrasting pop of color. This can create a stylish ombré look.

The approach depends on personal preference, time, budget and the desired overall hair color effect.

Common Concerns About Visible Roots

There are a few common concerns people may have about visible regrowth showing at the roots:

  • Roots looking messy/undesirable – Obvious roots especially with a stark contrast can sometimes be perceived as looking unkempt.
  • Making age more apparent – Gray roots growing in can betray age despite color-treated hair.
  • Revealing natural hair color – Light roots with darker hair can expose someone is not a natural blonde, for example.
  • Needing to cover up frequently – Fast-growing or graying hair may require very frequent root touch-ups.

However, attitudes toward visible regrowth have shifted, especially among younger generations who see it as a stylish statement. And thanks to new root touch-up products and techniques, covering or blending roots has also become easier and faster than in the past.

Do Men Experience Visible Roots?

Men can also develop visible roots when coloring or lightening their hair.

However, it tends to be less noticeable for a few reasons:

  • Men generally get haircuts more frequently than color treatments, so regrowth is often trimmed off before becoming conspicuous.
  • Men traditionally wear shorter hairstyles that don’t obscure the scalp as much.
  • Graying roots on darker hair blends better and is less stark in contrast.
  • There is less stigma around men having gray hair and looking undyed.

So while men can get visible roots too, societal norms and typical haircare habits help conceal it.

Celebrities Known for Signature Roots

Some celebrities have turned visible roots into a signature style choice. Here are a few famous examples:

Celebrity Description of Roots
Rihanna Often wears slicked back hairstyles to show off her regrowth.
Gwen Stefani Has maintained her platinum blonde hair with dark regrowth showing for decades.
Bella Hadid Flaunts brunette roots with bleached blonde lengths for an edgy, modern look.
Kate Hudson Lets her blonde hair grow out to reveal darker roots for a low-maintenance look.

These celebrities illustrate how visible regrowth can be embraced as an intentional style choice when cared for properly.

Tips for Managing Root Regrowth

Here are some tips for managing root regrowth between color appointments:

  • Use dry shampoo at the roots to absorb oil and make regrowth less noticeable.
  • Try tinted or colored root powders to temporarily disguise new growth.
  • Use headbands, hats, clips or accessories to cover visible roots.
  • Style hair in looser styles rather than tightly pulled back.
  • Book salon root touch-ups every 4-6 weeks for optimal upkeep.
  • Invest in an at-home root cover up kit for touch-ups between salon visits.
  • Use a clarifying shampoo once a week to prevent product buildup at the roots.

Employing a few of these techniques can help keep roots looking neat and blended between appointments.

Maintaining a Healthy Scalp

To encourage healthy new hair growth, it’s important to take care of the scalp where roots originate. Here are some tips for scalp health:

  • Massage the scalp with fingertips regularly to increase circulation.
  • Use a scalp brush or exfoliating scalp scrub to remove product buildup and dead skin.
  • Avoid harsh shampoos and over-washing hair, which can strip natural oils.
  • Cleanse scalp thoroughly after coloring services to avoid irritation.
  • Apply essential oils like tea tree, peppermint or rosemary to stimulate the scalp.
  • Drink plenty of water and maintain a balanced diet for overall hair health.

A little extra TLC for the scalp and roots can go a long way towards having healthy, vibrant hair growth.


Visible regrowth at the roots is a common issue when coloring or lightening hair. New growth comes in with the natural untreated shade while the lengths retain artificial coloring. Factors like hair partings, pulling the hair back, and hair health can all influence how conspicuous the roots appear. Regular root touch-up services are the best way to conceal new growth. But letting the roots grow out or intentionally using them as a stylish pop of contrasting color are also options. With the right techniques, visible roots can be managed for a flawless and well-maintained hair color look.