The :host() 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. :host() has no effect when used outside a shadow DOM.

The most obvious use of this is to put a class name only on certain custom element instances, and then include the relevant class selector as the function argument. You can't use this with a descendant selector expression to select only instances of the custom element that are inside a particular ancestor. That's the job of :host-context().

Note: While other functional pseudo-classes such as :is() and :not() accept a list of selectors as their parameters, :host() takes a single compound selector as its parameter. In addition, while :is() and :not() only take into account the specificity of their argument, the specificity of :host() is both the specificity of the pseudo-class and the specificity of its argument.

Try it

/* Selects a shadow root host, only if it is
   matched by the selector argument */
:host(.special-custom-element) {
  font-weight: bold;


:host(<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-context(article, aside) { color: gray; }" +
  ":host(.footer) { color : red; }" +
  ":host { background: rgb(0 0 0 / 10%); padding: 2px 5px; }";

The :host(.footer) { color : red; } rule styles all instances of the <context-span> element (the shadow host in this instance) in the document that have the footer class set on them — we've used it to give instances of the element inside the <footer> a special color.


CSS Scoping Module Level 1
# host-selector

Browser compatibility

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See also