Roots Only, A Problematic Hair Dye Applicator – Review

Hello readers, I hope your having a wonderful weekend. This below is going to be an unusual post for Joan and Riah’s as most companies don’t want me to post a review that isn’t positive.

Roots Only Applicator Bottle in Package

I have to say I AM impressed, very impressed with the integrity of Roots Only, since they asked me not once but twice to please post this review even though they have been forewarned that the product doesn’t meet my standards.

I admit my standards are not that of a normal user for such a product, but as a former professional Cosmetologist and Trainer for Advanced & Continuing Education for Professional Cosmetologists and I have achieved my PHD in Color as well… So I’d like to start off saying “I am NOT the typical user for such a product.”

I feel that I should first apologize to Roots Only for lateness in posting this review, but what is a person to do, when she is not impressed with a product that a company was kind enough to send your way? Please pardon my review, and understand that I may be a bit biopic as I can only see the product as a result of my extensive Cosmetology training and I am not the layman to which this product will be sold.

Without further adieu here is my review of Roots only:

Upon first examining the bottle and the “tips/comb” where the color comes out, I must admit I already saw this product as problematic.

I then examined the box for what it advertises to do and who to use it, reading the front of the box, I read:

“Salon Professional results at home”

  • Protects already colored hair by targeting new growth
  • Applicator works with all liquid and crème brands
  • Evenly distributes color so you use less solution


and to paraphrase, just a few points on, the side of the package:

  • Color flows through hollow teeth to new growth at roots.
  • Comb & Squeeze to apply color; no parting or sectioning required
  • Complete root coverage with 1 box of color uniform distribution = zero waste.

Cute Roots Only Applicator Bottle, Pretty in Pink

Using this with a gel & enough water added to duplicate the constancy of a liquid hair dye product and liquid developer.

  • Side Note: This is a technique (above) was/is used in beauty schools to test application by the students, before they would be allowed to apply actual hair color.

I want to add a warning that you MUST remember when shaking to mix your hair dye, mix with gloved hands. Before shaking, place a gloved finger over top of all the holes on this bottle…Hair dye does release oxygen and has a tendency to spit out the holes with a bit of your solution that, when shaken, works it’s way into the applicator tips. When removing your gloved finger from tips of the applicator point the tips away from your face. Getting the hair dye solution into your eyes can be hazardous. If you do get some in your eyes, rinse your eye out well with water and seek medical attention immediately.

As I tested my mixture, I saw that the applicator is does not apply the dye throughout the roots. The results showed that you would still need to part the hair & check it to spread the hair dye evenly on the root area to cover all of the area. Also some areas there was an overlap past the line of demarcation (which is the line on the hair shaft between the natural and dyed hair)… This can be quite problematic as the previously dyed hair will absorb the dye as well since, in those overlapping areas, the hair can become darker or lighter then the rest of the hair and this result would be prominent as the hair grows.

Why would the above problems happen, as a result of using this product? It would happen because of a number of factors.

  1. Inconsistent pressure while squeezing your bottle, which would give you more or less of the hair dye applied to your hair.
  2. Letting your hair grow out to a length that is more then the Roots Only is made to handle. But then again this too could be adjusted, but only to a degree, with heavier pressure as you squeeze the bottle.
  3. If you have lifted the bottle from your hair without parts in it, could result in getting some of the color again on previously colored hair.

I also tested this out with the theory of most laymen hair dye companies now have gone to the “no drip” solutions. Meaning basically that the hair dying products are thicker with a cream based activator (peroxide) making the hair dye a thicker constancy.

I also wish to insert a warning here too while we are on the topic of thicker hair solutions: No body should use this or any applicator bottle while bleaching their hair! Bleach when perfectly mixed is to the consistency of Frosting (and cannot be mixed in an applicator bottle) and should be applied with a brush and mixed in a plastic or glass (non-metallic) bowl! With bleach and it’s hyper releasing of Oxygen, if in an applicator bottle, it is very likely to explode. Not to mention that it would be impossible to get bleach out of the holes in an applicator bottle.

Again, to be fair, I also tested the results of the applicator with a thicker solution, then in the first trial. This was to have the resulting consistency of the cream developer and/or the creamy-tube dyes. The reason for this test was to test the scenario of a thicker or “no drip” solution. Again keeping in mind that the directions on the package state, the hair doesn’t need to be parted.

The result of this test, showed that the small holes in the comb like applicator tip to the bottle, made it much harder to squeeze out the solution, consequently the thick solution created some streaking (at best) and in a lot of areas spotting of the color all as a result of inconsistent application of the hair dye along the hair shaft.

Honestly, I have to say that, a laymen may not see the problems with using this hair dye Applicator until the hair grew out exposing the spotty & streaking areas. Basically the hair would start to reveal the natural hair color in random areas all over their head. To top it off, the thicker consistency, causes the solution to stick on the tips of the applicator and if care is not taken, to comb the applicator past the hair length, the dye could be deposited on the already colored portion of the hair.

As a result of my testing (and my professional experience), I am sorry but I just cannot give a good review of this product. For the inexperienced consumers, this product may sound like a God send, however I see this product as problematic and would more then likely be used only for a few months before the damaged (overlapped, missed areas etc) is seen by the customer. The end result after months of use would (more than likely) result in hundreds of dollars spent to have color correction done by a salon to fix the problems caused by using the Roots Only. I must say that, I am glad that I didn’t use actual dye on my own head with the applicator, I just could not afford the cost of the correction, even with all my extensive training, I couldn’t correct the resulting problems by myself. So thankfully, I had my education in my arsenal that gave me a sensible way to test the applicator.

I cannot, in good conscience, recommend the Roots Only product for anything but applying scalp treatments to the scalp. A person should not rely upon this product for replacing the correct application of hair dyes. There just are not any good short cuts folks, and always be skeptical of the things that sound too good to be true.

I wish to end this with thanks and recognition of Roots Only and their integrity. I still cannot believe that they requested that I go ahead an post this review, although they were aware that it wasn’t favorable. I wish the company well and perhaps, someday, they can develop something with this product to make it mistake proof or find other uses for it like scalp treatments.

I must say that I do feel like this was the most difficult review to post, it’s not so much that it’s a negative review, but for the fact that I am impressed with Roots Only for wanting even a negative review and for their ingenuity with this new style of applicator… even if I can’t recommend it for what it was made for. I sure wish more companies showed this integrity like they have… I plan to watch this company, as I am sure that there are many great things to come in the future.


Mariah Lockwood personally reviewed this product. I did not receive any monetary compensation for my review, Roots Only provided me with a free sample of this product to test. I was under no obligation to review it if I so chose.  Nor was I under any obligation to write a positive review or sponsor a product giveaway in return for the free product.. All opinions are mine and belong to me solely. My thoughts and opinions may differ from yours. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255 Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising. The photo’s used in this review were provided by me (Mariah Lockwood).

8 thoughts on “Roots Only, A Problematic Hair Dye Applicator – Review”

  1. Mariah, I too would like to add in that in my dealings with this company on your behalf, in your absence, I let them know that there were negative issues, they asked it still be posted as this is how they learn and can make changes, etc! I was blown away as I have had several companies that I had negative issues and they did not want anything at all posted.

    1. I am so glad that we found this company… I have no ill will towards them at all and think that with integrity like they have that they will go far! Honestly learning from the negative and moving onward and upward, I am sure! And I forgot to mention that it is Bonnie who, has a facinating story on how the product came to be…check out her story, it’s a story of true American ingenuity!

  2. That’s great! It is a shame the product didn’t stand up to what you, a professional, would want from something like this, but it’s great that the company stands by their products AND their reviewers enough to want the review published. ‘Everybody’s mileage may vary.’ It’s a good company that really knows this. Way to go, Roots Only!

    And ‘way to go’ to you, too, Riah, for publishing your honest opinion in a professional and fair way. Personally, I really appreciate it when I KNOW reviewers’ opinions are truthful; otherwise, what’s the point? To be honest, I’m not sure all bloggers are quite as committed to the truthful evaluation of the products they review. You rock!

    1. Thank you Heather. 🙂

      My philosophy is in the lines of a quote:
      If you’re sincere, praise is effective. If you’re insincere, it’s manipulative. ~by Zig Ziglar

      I would NEVER ever want to manipulate others, nor do I like dishonesty so Joan & I agree here and you won’t see us giving out a dishonest review. When we say we like it, we like it… if not the companies have a chance to back out before we post. 🙂

  3. Do you think you could use this product to apply the dye and then use a applicator brush to touch up areas that missed color?

    I bleach and color my hair at home. It is difficult to color the hair and not overlap the dyed areas a bit. (Especially difficult in the back of my head, where I use a mirror to help me apply the dye.) What is worse is not coloring up to the line of demarcation …then having a gap where your natural color comes through between the two dyed areas.

    I was hoping to use this product on the back of my head, where it is hard to see and apply dye with precision. However, you suggested not using it with bleach.

    Any suggestions on applying root touch ups to the back of the head?

    1. Hi there Holly, thank you for your questions, I am more than happy to work with you and your home hair dying experiences.

      “Do you think you could use this product to apply the dye and then use a applicator brush to touch up areas that missed color?”
      Yes, I do think you can do this… what I would suggest is that you very carefully cross check your hair. What is cross check? It is when you go the opposite from the way you apply your color, bleach or when cutting hair. For instance if you have applied the solution in a downward motion on your hair (vertically) you would gently part the hair the horizontally in small sections and check for any missed spots that way and apply or spread out the product where you don’t see the solution on your hair. This should help you a lot, and yet the applicator brush is your friend when doing this as you can gain much control with this method, good idea using the brush.

      “I bleach and color my hair at home.”
      let me take a couple of fun guesses: either you are somewhat experienced in haircolor (former hairdresser?), or your perhaps using Couleur Experte by Loreal? Or is it that you are just an intelligent (well asking questions like you are, you MUST be intelligent) searcher for info on the web. 🙂

      “…What is worse is not coloring up to the line of demarcation …then having a gap where your natural color comes through between the two dyed areas.”
      Oh I understand that, it is very difficult to color or bleach your hair in the back of your own head. Do you perhaps have a friend or spouse that you trust to take the time to help you? (silly question, I know, you probably thought of that yourself, but didn’t find a way around it). If you do have someone you trust, but your afraid of inconveniencing them, remember that if they do their own hair, or have wanted to, you can make a fun time of it exchanging services (hairdye, nails etc…) with each other… I used to do that with some Cosmetologist friends we’d make a bit of chili or something and have it going while we dyed each others hair and put on each others nail tips… makeup etc… we made a night time party of it all together having a glass of wine or beer, listening to music etc.

      ‘I was hoping to use this product on the back of my head, where it is hard to see and apply dye with precision. However, you suggested not using it with bleach’
      You can always give it a whirl, the bleach product tends to release a lot of oxygen and what I fear most is if the container where to explode because of that, as well as how the bleach is the consistency of frosting and the holes in the product are very small. I would give it a try if you can take your bottle and uniformly cut down the tips to make them wider, I would almost suggest placing another hole in the cap somehow to help both release the oxygen and assist in getting the product out easier. The only problem with the afore thoughts are, perhaps then the product may come out the hole… and I worry also about mixing the bleach that way. Anyway if you want to try this, please protect your eyes and anything in the room (by covering and removing from the room) that may get blasted with bleach and possibly lightened if the product in the bottle were to explode, just in case.

      Suggestion, have you gone to a place like Sally’s Beauty Supply and seen the high lift colors out there? some of these newest colors can really life the hair color almost as well as bleach would do.

      Go ahead and ask away, if you have any further questions… I did get my PHD in Color, although I may not be in the bus. anylonger, I am very willing to help out in any way that I can. 🙂 Thanks again for the questions Holly, I love sharing my knowledge. 🙂 I hope I may have helped you some.

  4. Hello,I am aware this is an old review,and of ur expertise.I just wanted to let u know the unprofessionals opinion. I have been using this product everytime I dye my hair for at least 10 years.I swear by it when coloring by urself.I do have to section my hair but it gives much better coverage over the applicator bottles that come with home dyes. Just wanted to share another perspective I just happened to run into this, looking for a friend 🙂

    1. Thank you for your input Jennifer, it’s always nice to hear others thoughts and opinions on any of my posts. I am glad you have had great results with the product, and I hope you were able to find the Roots Only for your friend. Thank you again for your input. 🙂


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