Friday, June 14, 2024

The 13 Best Root Touch-Ups to Buy You Time Between Salon Visits

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1

Best Root Touch-Up Spray

L’Oréal Paris Magic Root Cover Up

Magic Root Cover Up

1

Best Root Touch-Up Spray

L’Oréal Paris Magic Root Cover Up

Cons
  • Some reviewers noted that it left a residue behind

If you’ve ever DIYed a dye job, you know that it can get messy. You might expect the same out of a root cover-up product, and while some of them might not be the neatest to apply, that’s not the case with this targeted mist. “The spray-on application of this product makes it incredibly easy to use, allowing you to quickly and accurately apply it to your desired area,” says Haliti. It also comes in nine different shades to effectively blend in with a range of hair colors.

Target rating: 4/5 stars

A Target reviewer says: “I absolutely love this product. The coverage is amazing with such a light coat. The color blend is perfect. It last all day. I wish these products were less transferable, but it’s way better than other brands I’ve tried. This is my new must have.”

Shade Range 9
Size 2 oz.
Key Ingredients Formaldehyde-Free, Dye-Free, Aluminum-Free, Sulfate-Free, Ammonia-Free

2

Best Root Touch-Up Crayon

Bumble and bumble Bb. Color Stick

Bb. Color Stick

2

Best Root Touch-Up Crayon

Bumble and bumble Bb. Color Stick

Cons
  • Only two shades

If you’re traveling or going to an event where you’re worried that you may need a root touch-up on the go, this is the product for you. “This has a really nice, velvety formula that is easy to apply, spread, and smudge into your root area,” says Denis. “It’ll almost feel like you’re using makeup on your hair. They have great coverage and wash out well, which is important because you don’t want to block your real root touch-up from penetrating when you finally do head back to the salon.” Note: there are only two shades to choose from as they’re mostly intended for blending and covering grays.

Sephora rating: 3.8/5 stars

A Sephora reviewer says: “This product is great for a quick fix… especially when I need to tie my hair up. It stays on well and doesn’t come off in my hands if I touch my hair.”

Shade Range 2
Size .12 oz.
Key Ingredients Jojoba Esters, Silica, Cellulose

3

Best Permanent Root Touch-Up

L’Oréal Paris Magic Root Rescue 10 Minute Root Hair Coloring Kit

Magic Root Rescue 10 Minute Root Hair Coloring Kit

3

Best Permanent Root Touch-Up

L’Oréal Paris Magic Root Rescue 10 Minute Root Hair Coloring Kit

Cons
  • More labor intensive than other versions

Looking for a more permanent option that you don’t have to worry about rinsing or sweating away? “This option offers a higher level of saturation, resulting in a deeper and more comprehensive coverage,” says Haliti. “Additionally, it features a more liquid base and lower levels of ammonia, making it an ideal choice for those seeking even greater depth of color.” Available in 15 shades, this DIY coloring kit has everything you need to cover your roots in as little as ten minutes and will last you several weeks. We especially love the mess-free brush for an easy application.

Amazon rating: 4.4/5 stars

An Amazon reviewer says: “I’ve never done my own hair. I had no time to get it done before a big trip overseas; I used one box of this before leaving and it worked perfectly. I was shocked at my own ability to ‘erase’ the grays and not spoil my natural hair color around it. During the trip, I repeated with less fear and perfect again. Please use this if you can’t get to your salon. I promise it works.”

Shade Range 15
Size .91 oz.
Key Ingredients Ammonium Hydroxide, Glycerin, Hydrogen Peroxide

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4

Best Root Touch-Up Powder

Color Wow Root Coverup Powder

Root Coverup Powder

4

Best Root Touch-Up Powder

Color Wow Root Coverup Powder

Cons
  • Some reviewers prefer more coverage

Essentially like an eye shadow, but for your hair, root touch-up powders are a staple in most hair stylists’ kits—and not just because they have a lot of clients who color their manes. Although this powder is great for covering grays, it can also be used directly on your scalp in your part, at your temples, or in other areas of sparseness as a hack to help your hair appear thicker and fuller. With the accompanying brush, it’s easier to apply exactly where you want it, rather than using a messy aerosol. You could also apply it with your fingers if you were really in a pinch.

Sephora rating: 4/5 stars

A Sephora reviewer says: “This product is amazing, it covers my gray hair a lot and is perfect for a touch-up. The best thing is I don’t have to color my hair every three to four weeks to cover my grays.”

Shade Range 8
Size .07 oz.
Key Ingredients Reflective Crystals and Pigments, Zinc Stearate, Emollient Blend

5

Best Waterproof Root Touch-Up

Tarte Big Ego Dab & Go Hair Concealer

Big Ego Dab & Go Hair Concealer

5

Best Waterproof Root Touch-Up

Tarte Big Ego Dab & Go Hair Concealer

Cons
  • Can be hard to find a perfect color match

For a waterproof option that’s “a quick and easy solution for covering up hair,” according to Haliti, try Tarte’s Dab & Go Hair Concealer. The cream-to-powder formula is easy to apply thanks to its sponge applicator that allows you to dab and go as the name implies. Similar to the brand’s face makeup products, this formula is made with Amazonian clay for seamless blending. It also taps scalp and hair-loving oils including argan, grapeseed, and castor for moisturizing benefits. All you have to do is press the applicator into the lid to dispense concealer, then dab the formula onto your roots or areas of thinning for buildable coverage.

Tarte rating: 4.3/5 stars

A Tarte reviewer says: “Extremely handy product! Now I have no stress due to breaking through gray hair or lack of density at the temples. Very convenient to use! The release form is beyond praise.”

Shade Range 7
Size .26 oz.
Key Ingredients Amazonian Clay, Argan Oil, Grapeseed Oil, Castor Oil

6

Best Hybrid Formula

Moroccoanoil Dry Shampoo Light Tones

Dry Shampoo Light Tones

6

Best Hybrid Formula

Moroccoanoil Dry Shampoo Light Tones

Cons
  • Doesn’t provide a lot of coverage

OK, you caught me, this isn’t technically a root touch-up product, but that doesn’t mean it can’t double as one. If you’ve ever experienced greasy hair, you know that it makes strands look darker. Enter: This dry shampoo for light-colored hair that nixes grease and brightens just slightly for a cleaner, more vibrant-looking mane. I swear by this even when my hair isn’t greasy, because it allows me to buy some extra time before I need a more serious root-concealing product. The formula comes in a version for dark tones as well.

Sephora rating: 4.6/5 stars

A Sephora reviewer says: “I have very fine, thin, light blond hair. This is the first dry shampoo I’ve ever repurchased, and I’ve tried them all. I will be sticking with this one for sure.”

Shade Range 2
Size 5.4 oz.
Key Ingredients Argan oil, rice starch

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7

Best Airbrush Root Touch-Up

TEMPTU Root Touch-Up & Hair Color Kit

Root Touch-Up & Hair Color Kit

7

Best Airbrush Root Touch-Up

TEMPTU Root Touch-Up & Hair Color Kit

Cons
  • Pricey

Pricey, yes–you need to purchase the spray gun in order to dispense the formula and each refillable pod will cost you $39. But if you’re a makeup lover, you can use this airbrush system for a number of other things from foundation and blush to body makeup– which is why I own the airbrush gun and just had to purchase the root touch-up pod. Thankfully, the pods are full of more concentrated liquid and the gun dispenses it into a fine mist, so you don’t need to use too much product at a time. In fact, each pod can last up to 120 uses, so if you’re going to be using this kit a lot, it’s a more justifiable purchase. My favorite part is the root touch-up doesn’t weigh hair down, leave it looking matte or greasy, nor leave it feeling sticky or gunked up. There are eight shades to choose from, even a pure white and gray hue should you want to amp up your platinum or lightened color.

TEMPTU rating: 4.5/5 stars

A TEMPTU reviewer says: “This root touch-up stays on for days when I skip washing. It’s nice because I don’t have to apply hair spray. It washes out with the next wash and I start over. I am able to extend my salon color treatment from every four weeks to every seven or eight weeks because 0f this product.”

Shade Range 8
Size 8 mL.
Key Ingredients Vitamin-enriched (provitamin, B-5, vitamin E)

8

Best for Root Touch-Up and Brows

Madison Reed The Great Cover Up Root Touch Up + Brow Filler

The Great Cover Up Root Touch Up + Brow Filler

8

Best for Root Touch-Up and Brows

Madison Reed The Great Cover Up Root Touch Up + Brow Filler

Credit: Ulta
Cons
  • The brushes may feel flimsy

Madison Reed is known for their at-home hair color products, phenomenal customer service, and helpful tutorials and video consultations to help you navigate the process (the latter being a game-changer for me during quarantine) And chances are, if you’re covering gray hairs on your head, you might see a few sprouting throughout your brows, too. This root concealer powder works for covering both, complete with a handy dual-ended tool featuring a mini spoolie and brush to make covering brow hairs a breeze. Even if grays aren’t your issue, you can use this as a brow or scalp fill-in product to achieve fuller-looking brows and hair.

Ulta rating: 4.7/5 stars

An Ulta reviewer says: “I’ve been using another brand of root touch up powder and thought I’d try this since I use Madison Reed hair color. This color was suggested for my hair, and it matches perfectly! I was using another eyebrow powder, but this one is perfect. So happy I ordered it!”

Shade Range 6
Size .13 oz.
Key Ingredients Keratin, Argan Oil and Ginseng Root Extract

9

Best Root Touch-Up for Blondes

dpHUE Blonding Brush

Blonding Brush

9

Best Root Touch-Up for Blondes

dpHUE Blonding Brush

Cons
  • Only for blondes

I have a love-hate relationship with my blonde hair. I swore I would never go all the way to the root with my highlights because my hair grows way too fast (a good thing, I know!), but alas, I have gone blonder and blonder. Now that my highlights start closer to the scalp, root growth is a real problem for me. But this little brush-on product is my permanent solution. Formulated by celebrity colorist Justin Anderson, the heat-activated product is packed with hydrogen peroxide, lemon juice, and purple pigments to lighten and brighten for a fresh blonde effect when I need it. I simply apply it to areas that need a little boost, then blow dry to activate the formula.

Ulta rating: 3.3/5 stars

An Ulta reviewer says: “I’m shocked this works so well. I’ve had natural light blonde hair for 41 years, then it started fading. My roots were getting a little darker, a little gray/silver. I want my blonde hair, but I’m not willing to go to the salon every six weeks to keep it up. This product is AMAZING! I brush it into my wet hair, blow dry, and instant highlights. I’m a huge fan.”

Shade Range 1
Size .65 oz.
Key Ingredients Hydrogen Peroxide, Lemon Juice, Purple Pigments

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10

Best Root Touch-Up for Volume

Clairol Root Touch-Up Color + Volume 2-in-1 Temporary Spray

Root Touch-Up Color + Volume 2-in-1 Temporary Spray

10

Best Root Touch-Up for Volume

Clairol Root Touch-Up Color + Volume 2-in-1 Temporary Spray

Cons
  • Small amount of product

For color-boosting and styling all in one, the Clairol Root Touch-Up Spray is a good choice. It offers volumizing benefits so that your hair is left looking full and freshly colored. We like this one for covering grays in particular versus dark root growth. Because it’s a two-in-one product, it’s a great option for travel to maximize space in your toiletry bag.

Amazon rating: 4.1/5 stars

An Amazon reviewer says: “My hair is thin, so I try to stretch out my color as long as possible. When the roots start showing gray, I can get a few more days by using this. It’s a bit of a learning curve to use it without getting it all over your forehead, but when used as intended it’s great!

Shade Range 5
Size 1.8 oz.
Key Ingredients Colorfill Technology: Color Pigments and Micro-Volumizers

11

Best Natural-Looking Root Touch-Up

R+Co BRIGHT SHADOWS Root Touch-Up Spray

BRIGHT SHADOWS Root Touch-Up Spray

11

Best Natural-Looking Root Touch-Up

R+Co BRIGHT SHADOWS Root Touch-Up Spray

Cons
  • Some reviewers had trouble using the nozzle

Similar to the brand’s other styling products, the R+Co Bright Shadows Root Touch-Up spray has a lovely uplifting scent called Rosy Eyed, which is comprised of bergamot, wild fig, and tonka beans. It comes in seven shades and feels more like a styling product than a root touch-up. Plus, it’s pretty enough to display on your vanity. It’s also formulated with good-for-hair ingredients like biotin and pearl extract, which enhance shine.

Dermstore rating: 4/5 stars

A Dermstore reviewer says: “Looking at my roots is frustrating because my hair grows rapidly. I have long hair, so root touch-ups and refresh coloring is a time-consuming process for me. I prolong as much as possible to ensure my hair’s strength and health. Finding Bright Shadows Root Touch-Up Spray from R+Co was the best treasure. I’m so thankful I found this spray. It covers everything and holds the color until I wash my hair. I haven’t experienced anything horrible with this spray, it truly doesn’t transfer to clothes, people etc. It stays on the hair. The easy spray is quick and manageable. So happy!”

Shade Range 7
Size 1.5 oz.
Key Ingredients Pearl Extract, Biotin, Treated Pigment

12

Best Root Touch-Up for Redheads

Style Edit Root Touch Up Powder

Root Touch Up Powder

12

Best Root Touch-Up for Redheads

Style Edit Root Touch Up Powder

Cons
  • Some reviewers prefer a bit more coverage

This portable root touch-up powder comes in ten flexible shades but is especially great for redheads, as there’s a few shades of red to choose from. And if you’re a bottle redhead, you know that your color fades fast, so it can be helpful to add a little extra boost in between salon visits. Its small size makes it easy to travel with and the sponge applicator is perfect for dipping into the powder and applying to roots.

Amazon rating: 4.4/5 stars

An Amazon reviewer say: “This product is awesome! I have some thinning at the top of my head near my forehead, and it covers my scalp perfectly. You would never know. Plus, it also covers the gray, and gives you a little more time before it’s time to have it colored. I highly recommend this product. I will never be without it, and it lasts a very long time.”

Shade Range 10
Size .13 oz.
Key Ingredients Dimethicone, Malic Acid, Mica

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13

Best Root Touch-Up for Covering Grays

Everpro Gray Away Root Touch-Up Quick Stick

Gray Away Root Touch-Up Quick Stick

13

Best Root Touch-Up for Covering Grays

Everpro Gray Away Root Touch-Up Quick Stick

Credit: Ulta
Cons
  • Only comes in three shades

Specifically formulated for gray coverage, this full-pigment stick features a crayon side and a sponge side. The cream-to-powder crayon is wax-free, so it won’t feel waxy or clog the hair follicle and is easy rinse out when you’re ready. The real beauty of this product is its sponge, however, which allows for easy blending and the most realistic-looking gray coverage.

Ulta rating: 4.2/5 stars

An Ulta reviewer says: “I was on the fence about buying a product to cover my gray patchiness. I was looking for something easy and hassle-free. I am 50-something and get little white/gray patches near my temples that are very noticeable. This product covered them with ease with a very light touch and was so easy to color on. The price was right, too. This product surpassed my expectations. I will re-order when the time comes to replenish. Don’t think about it, just give this one a shot. It won’t disappoint!”

Shade Range 3
Size .10 oz.
Key Ingredients Tapioca Starch, Silica, Dimethicone

What are root touch-up products?

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“Root touch-up products are specially formulated to help cover up or blend in new hair growth at the roots between salon visits,” says Haliti. “These products are designed to temporarily conceal gray hairs or visible roots, providing a quick and convenient solution for maintaining a polished look.” They come in spray, stick, and powder form, along with some permanent formulations.

How can I choose the best root touch up color?

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According to Denis, “the best way to choose your color is to ask your colorist if they recommend a root touch-up product for you. If you are browsing and come across one, the best way to match on your own would be to do a strand test and see if it blends into the rest of your strands after smudging and blending it in a bit with your fingers or a brush,” she adds.

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What is the best way to apply a root touch-up?

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The answer is that it really depends on what type of root touch-up product you’re using. Naturally, the best way to apply each formula is by following the usage directions. If you’re using a stick, Haliti advises “drawing it onto your root area, then using your fingers to smudge and blend it in.” If you’re using a spray, generally, you should hold the can about six inches from your head, then spray. You can distribute the product and allow it to settle into strands by brushing it through with a bristle brush. Meanwhile, powders tend to come with an application tool like a brush, sponge, or spoolie to apply the product directly to your roots.

No matter which type of product you’re using, though, “start with clean, dry hair and section your hair before applying the product according to the instructions,” says Denis. “Then, blend it in and style as desired.”

How long does a root touch-up last?

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In most cases, root touch-ups are just a temporary solution, so they’ll “last until you wash your hair,” says Denis, who adds that “a good formula will wash out easily with shampoo.” But, if you’re using a permanent touch-up like the L’Oréal Magic Root Rescue, then you’ll buy yourself a bit more time.

Can all hair shades use a root touch-up?

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“All shades can probably get away with using some form of root touch-up, but it might be harder to match blonde and red shades since they vary so much,” says Denis. Blondes and reds can be cool, warm, or somewhere in between, so “darker shades will be the easiest to blend and match,” Denis adds. Some brands might not even offer red shades at all, so red-haired folks may also need to do a little more legwork to find a good match.

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Do some hair colors require root touch-ups more frequently than others?

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“The frequency of root touch-ups varies based on factors like hair growth rate, desired coverage, and personal preference,” explains Haliti. “Darker hair colors may require more frequent touch-ups due to noticeable regrowth, while lighter hair colors may have longer intervals between touch-ups.”

Meet the Experts

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Samantha Denis is the founder of allyoos and former hair stylist, colorist, and product developer.

Abby Haliti is a celebrity colorist and a master of the French Balayage technique. She is also the founder of Abby Haliti Color Studio in New York City.

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