mary-kate ashley olsen visible roots

Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen represent their twin bond with matching roots. Photo: Dario Cantatore/FilmMagic.com

Feeling the pressure to constantly keep up with coloring your dark hair roots? Relax. Showing a little outgrowth is hanging in there as one of the coolest Hollywood hair trends.

Celebrities everywhere are successfully pulling off visible roots, and we know it's not because they can't afford a trip to the salon. Instead, stars like Gwyneth Paltrow, Sarah Jessica Parker and the Olsen twins are proving that time in between color appointments is not always a bad thing.

According to Stacy Cox, TV personality and owner of Pampered People in Los Angeles, roots are in. So when did it become OK to stop feeling like we're running around in the buff whenever our natural hair color starts to show?

When you reflect on the visible root trend, think back to the punk rock movement in the late 70 and early to mid 80s, says Cox. "Young adults wanted to unleash their individuality on the world, albeit with limited funds. There was a keen proclivity to push the envelope." With shock value at a premium, contrasts in hair, makeup and clothing was the easiest way to create some autonomy. Leading the trend back then were Debbie Harry, Nancy Spongen, and, later, the iconic Madonna.

Fast forward to 2010, and the hottest celebs in Hollywood are nodding to '70s and '80s hair. "The visible roots made their way back into fashion by Victoria's Secret models [like] Gisele and also from Carrie [Sarah Jessica Parker] in Sex and the City," says Head & Shoulders' celebrity hair stylist Ryan Trygstad. Since then, we've seen some of Hollywood's finest pulling off the look: Gwen Stefani, Sienna Miller, Drew Barrymore and even Julia Roberts.

But can the rest of us pull of the look? Cox says yes. "It works best on teens, 20 and 30 year olds," she says. "It's perfect if you have an easy attitude and style and want a more natural, earthy, bohemian appearance; and it's an ideal look if you are on a budget and need to spread out the time between getting your hair colored."

Sarah Jessica Parker showed off visible roots at the Sex and the City 2 premiere in New York City. Photo: Getty Images



Plus, says Cox, it's the perfect look for those in a creatively-driven industry such as entertainment, design, beauty, art, fashion, or PR. "If you happen to work in a more conservative field such as medicine, law, finance or education the contrast in shades may not impress your boss or fellow executives. Its these types of arenas where less is more so you would have to dial it back a bit."

For those thinking about trying the look, keep in mind it works better on some hair colors than others. "Exposed roots tend to look sharpest on light brown to blonde hues because that's when you can really detect the contrast and the look pops," says Cox.

And who should avoid it? "If you are brunette, exposed roots are, simply put, gray!" she warns. Although visible roots are meant to look edgy and hip, on brunettes it actually works in reverse, making them look older.

When it comes to hair styles, Trygstad says girls that have thick, soft, wavy hair are the types that should wear exposed roots, and those with wavy, beachy hair have the best texture to pull off the look. "This is also not a good look for women with really coarse hair," he adds. For Cox, it's length that is key : "When you realize that stars like Ashley Olsen, Sienna Miller and Jessica Simpson sport this look, you begin to notice a pattern: they all possess longer tresses. With exposed roots, shoulder length or longer shows it off the best."

If you do decide to bear your roots, take some precautionary methods to make sure you end up looking trendy, not trashy. "The public knows celebs are doing it for fashion," Hewitt says. "But when it's the average person on the street, they may mistake it as just having roots because they couldn't afford it or are overdue to go in."

To prepare your hair for a look that is unmistakably fashionable, Cox recommends investing in a sturdy flat iron. "Clean, straight hair helps illuminate the contrasting shades. Also make sure to keep your hair properly conditioned so that you don't have dry, brittle visible roots; that's not so pretty," she says. Finally, if you are in the process of adding new length to your hair, space out your hair trims less frequently.

Now sit back, relax and let your roots grow in.

And for more modern hair ideas, check out these modern takes on ponytail styles.

Kim Peiffer contributed to StyleList using Seed.com. Go to www.seed.com to learn how you can contribute too.