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If you’re someone who dyes your hair frequently, you know the pesky reality of the time between visits to the salon. There’s regrowth, the reappearance of greys, mismatched color, the latter. No matter what color you choose to dye your hair, roots are the telltale sign that it’s time to head to the salon ASAP. However, this leaves one question: What do you do in-between appointments?
First things first, certainly don’t attempt to dye your hair at home—it can bring about a whole slew of other problems. But what you can do is use one of these handy root touch-up products to conceal your color problems. Aside from being super simple to apply—just a spray or dab of color is all it takes—they’re an easy, affordable way to conceal your roots until your next hair appointment. Best of all, the color will stay put during the day but wash out regularly with shampoo at night. All in all, it’s a safe reprieve to your color woos.
Below, the best root touch-up products to conceal your roots for as long as possible.
Best Overall: R+Co Bright Shadows Root Touch-Up Spray
A quick spritz of this spray instantly conceals re-growth, camos grays, and keeps your hair looking fresh. And its seven different shades don’t disappoint. Meaning: They actually look like real hair color and blend seamlessly. Infused with biotin, pearl extract, and mica, it’ll keep your color shiny while strengthening your hair—a double win. Arriving with a targeted applicator, it keeps color precisely where you want it instead of everywhere. Plus, its bergamot, fig, and cedarwood scent is reason alone to love it.
Best Budget: Clairol Temporary Root Touch-Up Concealing Powder
This pick is not only extremely affordable but also incredibly blendable. Offering three different shades in portable compacts, touching up your hair on the go has never been more effortless. By blending naturally with your existing color, covering up single strands, hairlines, or root lines is seamless—and washes out with shampoo at the end of the day.
Best Drugstore: L'Oreal Paris Magic Root Cover Up
Ideal for all hair types and textures, this lightweight root coverup magically vanishes it all without any sticky residue or smudged color. Its nine shades—including various blonde, red, black, and brunette options—work for practically every hair color. And, did we mention that it’s under $15? Because it’s worth adding to the cart asap.
Best Splurge: dpHue Color Touch-Up Spray
This pricey spray is well worth the splurge for two reasons: One, it has two spray settings—one for precise application and one for more diffused color. Two, it comes in an extensive range of 10 different shades (which is more than any other brand). But we’d be remiss not to mention its incredible scent.
Best for Lighter Hair: Rita Hazan Root Concealer Touch Up Spray In Blonde
Although grays are practically invisible on lighter shades, tell-tale dark roots can be seen from outer space. Covering up golden blonde and sandy shades, this transfer-proof touch-up spray, covers everything you need—without any residue, smudging, or movement throughout the day. And since the formula is so lightweight, it works well for thinning hair, too.
Best Spray: Oribe Airbrush Root Touch-Up Spray
Let’s be honest: just one spritz of this Oribe spray airbrushes all grays and root growth. Touting rice starch and a UV absorber on its ingredient list, it’ll help keep color from fading while pulling double duty as a dry shampoo. Plus, its quick-drying powder formula applies simply and absorbs dirt and oil to instantly refresh hair.
Best Stick: Everpro Gray Away Root Touch-Up Quick Stick
Looking to conceal smaller or more targeted sports? Try a stick root touch-up. This specific formula speedily dries down to a powdery finish while dispersing the product exactly where you want it. Its angled tip provides a super-precise application, while its other end holds a sponge tip to help blend the product undetectably.
Best for Highlights: Bumble and bumble Blondish Hair Powder
While you can’t really conceal highlights, this Bumble and bumble spray is the closest thing you’ll get to covering the stubborn roots that emerge. By absorbing excess oil, this spray is intended for usage after a blow-dry with color that won’t smudge or move whatsoever—until your next shampoo. Another thing it does? Adds volume and leaves hair looking matte, not oily.
Best Powder: Color Wow Root Cover Up
Not all powders are created equal, and this Color Wow one proves it. It’s buildable, adheres seamlessly to your hair—meaning no dusty fall out—and won’t feel greasy or sticky at all. And the powder’s dual-sided brush (one end has rounded, short bristles whereas the other has a longer, square shape) allows for error-free application. Andrew Fitzsimmons, a celebrity hairstylist, recommends using a small brush (like the one that comes with it) to lightly apply a dose of the powder onto the targeted areas on your roots by brushing downwards until you achieve your intended look.
Best for Darker Hair: Madison Reed Root Touch-Up
Having trouble disguising stubborn gray hairs on darker hair? Try this Madison Reed powder. The brush-on-powder uses finely-milled micro-pigments to deliver coverage that’s both full yet natural-looking. Arriving in five different dark shades—ranging from light brown to black—you’ll surely find just the right shade to camouflage your pesky grays. Not to mention it’s also sweat and waterproof.
Best for Grays: Garnier Express Retouch Gray Hair Concealer
Hide all sneaky gray strands with this. It’ll deliver impeccable gray coverage while using an anti-transfer technology to provide zero movement or transfers onto your skin or clothing. Arguably the best part is its cushion-tipped applicator which conceals grays on hard-to-reach areas—like your temple or hair part—where the pesky strands usually appear first.
Best for On-The-Go: John Frieda Root Blur Color Blending Concealer
Let’s be real: Any of these picks can be used on the go, but this John Freida one takes the cake. While hiding all last-minute hair emergencies, this gal fits into the smallest of purses and can easily be stashed into your carry-on (hello, it’s TSA approved). Its built-in brush will come in handy, too.
Ready to finally hide away those pesky roots and silvery strands between salon visits? Then it’s time to invest in one of these root-touch-up products. Aside from their ease of use—minimal blending is required—and all-day coverage, they’ll wash out effortlessly with just a bit of shampoo at the end of the day. Coming in on first is our overall favorite pick, R+Co BRIGHT SHADOWS Root Touch-Up Spray (view at Dermstore). It seamlessly covers regrowth, camos grays, and keeps hair looking fresh with its real-looking seven different shades. For a drugstore option, we love the L'Oreal Paris Magic Root Cover Up (view at Amazon) as it’s affordable but doesn’t sacrifice quality. Lastly, if you’re looking for a worthwhile splurge, dpHue Color Touch-Up Spray (view at Ulta) is your best bet with its extensive range of shades and two spray settings.
What to Look for in a Root Touch-Up
For root touch-ups, in particular, explains Fitzsimmons, it's not just about trying to match the exact shade of your hair. “It's also important that you assess how different your dyed hair color may be from your natural one, which can determine the best type of product to use on your hair altogether.”
Ease of Use
The goal of a root touch-up is to make it as easy as possible to conceal between visits, so there's no need to complicate things. If you’re someone who doesn’t do well with sprays, opt to go with a color stick, and vice versa.
How do you touch up roots at home?
For at-home root touch-ups, first, assess what kind of look you're aiming to achieve and figure out the right color for your locks, explains Fitzsimmons. “ I recommend using these kinds of concentrated products in your bathroom with a window open.” He further explains that it’s necessary to work gradually, using small amounts (of product) and apply more if and as it's needed.
How often should you touch up your roots?
Fitzsimmons recommends doing temporary root touch-ups as often as you’d like. However, for in-salon touch-ups, he recommends doing them every six to eight weeks to best protect the integrity and color of the hair (which can sometimes fade or dull out over time).
How do you touch up roots on highlighted hair?
Instead of aiming to conceal the roots, explains Fitzsimmons, it’s best to focus on toning the color to achieve the best and most natural-looking results possible. While a root touch-up spray can’t hurt, he recommends using purple conditioners, which work to counteract brassiness, frizziness, and an over dullness that can occur in dyed hair.
Why Trust Byrdie?
During her career, Byrdie contributor Rachel Dube has written for some of the biggest magazines and websites out there and has tested hundreds (if not thousands) of beauty products. Most recently, she has transformed her hair with blonde highlights. To prolong her highlights, she’s become an advocate of blonde toning products and root touch-ups to keep the color looking fresh between visits.