Articles > Blonde > Root Taps, Shadows & Melts—Do You Know The Difference?
Last updated: October 21, 2022

Root Taps, Shadows & Melts—Do You Know The Difference?

3 Ways To Elevate Toning For Lived-In Blondes

When creating a lived-in look, which technique delivers the most natural result: root tap, back tap, shadow root or root melt? Trick question—all of the above! Joico Celebrity Artist Jill Buck (@jill901) is here to explain what each of these techniques are, plus when and where to use them when blending out harsh lines.


Technique #1: Root Melt For Interior Depth

Jills wants her end result to be bright around the face and have more depth in the interior. So, she applies her root melt in the back sections first, so it has a longer processing time.


Thinking of the hair in zones: Zone 1: The base, Zone 2: The mids and Zone 3: The ends—Jill focuses her root melt in Zone 1. To achieve a flawless melted effect, Jill applies her product in a V-shape.


Below, she demonstrates with the back of her brush how far down she tones the root melt. 




Try Jill’s go-to products to achieve a naturally bright, healthy blonde: Joico Blonde Life Demi-Gloss TonersLightening Powder and Coconut Oil Developers.


Technique #2: Natural Shadow Root Roadmap

Jill’s fool-proof trick for mapping out a shadow root? She places her hands above the client’s head and notes where there is a natural shadow. Not only does this create a natural placement, but it helps the client visualize what their shadow root will look like before Jill applies product.




When applying her root shadow, Jill works in a teardrop section, only applying her formula to the base and stopping right at the round of the head, helping her achieve a natural, lived-in result.


Technique #3: Back Tap For A Bright Face Frame

Here’s the thing: Blondes want to SEE brightness. That’s why Jill opts for a back tap along the hairline. Sectioning off the hairline to stay organized, Jill grabs a smaller brush (for more control) and taps the toner just enough to blur any lines of demarcation.


Pro Tip: If you’re doing this technique at the bowl, don’t direct the hair away from the face. Jill likes to bring the hair towards the face so that she can hit the top side of the hair.




But Wait—What Is The Difference Between A Root Tap & Back Tap?


Root Tap: 

  • Tapping toner onto the roots, about an inch or two down
  • Painting both sides of the hair
  • Jill uses this technique for clients with thick/coarse hair and brunettes/darker tones


Back Tap:

  • Tapping toner onto the roots, about an inch or two down
  • Painting only one side of the hair, letting the toner penetrate through to both sides
  • Jill uses this technique for clients with finer hair and blondes/lighter tones


Slide to see the before & after:

close formula


Tap the beaker to see Jill’s formula:

open color formula
close formula
  • Formula A (Lightener)

    Joico Blonde Life Powder Lightener + 20-volume LumiShine Creme developer

  • Formula B (Roots)

    Blonde Life Demi-Gloss 8N + 5-volume Blonde Life developer

  • Formula C (All-over gloss)

    Blonde Life Demi-Gloss 10N + 5-volume Blonde Life developer


Get a FREE sample of Blonde Life: click here!


This content is sponsored.

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