Beauty Q&A: What Is Hair Color Banding?

January 21, 2022
Mary Honkus
By: Mary Honkus | by L'Oréal
How to Prevent Hair Color Banding

If you regularly dye your hair you’ve probably stretched the time between salon visits at least once. It may seem like the right thing to do, but waiting an extra week to touch up your roots can result in a weird color effect called banding. This phenomenon, also known as the halo effect, happens when new hair has grown out too far from the scalp resulting in an uneven dye job. So how long can you go between hair appointments without increasing the risk of banding? We spoke to Laura Gibson, professional hair colorist and Rusk global artistic director to find out. Below, she explains what causes banding to occur, plus how to prevent and reverse it. 

What Is Hair Color Banding? 

According to Gibson, color banding happens when the hair has grown out too far which prevents it from lightening evenly because it isn’t close enough to receive an adequate amount of heat from the scalp. “This ultimately results in a ‘band’ of contrasting colors from the hair closest to the scalp to the hair that sits further away,” she says.

The good news is not everyone who dyes their hair should worry about banding. “It primarily occurs when you are going for a lighter color,” says Gibson. The lighter you venture away from your natural color, the more likely banding is to happen. 

How to Prevent Hair Color Banding 

Hair banding is completely avoidable if you visit the salon for touch-ups regularly. Gibson recommends visiting your colorist every four to six weeks to ensure banding doesn't occur. “Don’t go longer than eight weeks without a touch-up because by that point hair typically grows enough for banding to appear,” she says.

Of course, the amount of time between salon visits depends on how quickly your hair grows, too. When your roots grow out about an inch, it’s time to head in for a touch-up. “Banding becomes most noticeable after that one-inch mark,” says Gibson. 

If you do experience banding, don’t panic — it’s completely reversible with the help of a professional. “You can correct banding by either having your colorist apply color twice, or if you see a talented colorist, they will know how to properly formulate the color in order to avoid the banding,” says Gibson. “There is nothing you can do at home to fix it, though. It’s best to trust the professionals to properly reverse banding.”

While it’s imperative to schedule regular salon visits, you can extend the amount of time by a week or two by using a color depositing mask like the Garnier Nutrisse Color Reviver Hair Mask. This treatment comes in two shades for blondes — golden blonde and cool blonde — and helps to refresh color vibrancy while restoring softness and shine. 

Garnier Nutrisse Color Reviver Hair Mask
Photo: Chaunte Vaughn, Design: Juliana Campisi

Read more

Back to top