The :host-context() CSS pseudo-class function selects the shadow host of the shadow DOM containing the CSS it is used inside (so you can select a custom element from inside its shadow DOM) — but only if the selector given as the function's parameter matches the shadow host's ancestor(s) in the place it sits inside the DOM hierarchy.

In other words, this allows a custom element, or anything within that custom element's shadow DOM, to apply different styles based on its position within the outer DOM or classes/attributes applied to ancestor elements.

One typical use of this is with a descendant selector expression — for example h1 — to select only instances of the custom element that are inside an <h1>. Another typical use would be to allow inner elements to react to classes or attributes on any ancestor elements - for example, applying a different text color when a .dark-theme class is applied to <body>.

Note: This has no effect when used outside a shadow DOM.

Try it

/* Selects a shadow root host, only if it is
   a descendant of the selector argument given */
:host-context(h1) {
  font-weight: bold;

/* Changes paragraph text color from black to white when
   a .dark-theme class is applied to the document body */
p {
  color: #000;

:host-context(body.dark-theme) p {
  color: #fff;


:host-context(<compound-selector>) {
  /* ... */


Selectively styling shadow hosts

The following snippets are taken from our host-selectors example (see it live also).

In this example we have a simple custom element — <context-span> — that you can wrap around text:

  Host selectors <a href="#"><context-span>example</context-span></a>

Inside the element's constructor, we create style and span elements, fill the span with the content of the custom element, and fill the style element with some CSS rules:

const style = document.createElement("style");
const span = document.createElement("span");
span.textContent = this.textContent;

const shadowRoot = this.attachShadow({ mode: "open" });

style.textContent =
  "span:hover { text-decoration: underline; }" +
  ":host-context(h1) { font-style: italic; }" +
  ':host-context(h1):after { content: " - no links in headers!" }' +
  ":host(.footer) { color : red; }" +
  ":host { background: rgb(0 0 0 / 10%); padding: 2px 5px; }";

The :host-context(h1) { font-style: italic; } and :host-context(h1):after { content: " - no links in headers!" } rules style the instance of the <context-span> element (the shadow host in this instance) inside the <h1>. We've used it to make it clear that the custom element shouldn't appear inside the <h1> in our design.


CSS Scoping Module Level 1
# host-selector

Browser compatibility

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See also