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The Best Root Touch-Up Kits to Make Hair Color Last Longer

These stylist-approved products will camouflage the dreaded grow-out so you can sneak a few more weeks between appointments.

Every editorial product is independently selected, though we may be compensated or receive an affiliate commission if you buy something through our links. Ratings and prices are accurate and items are in stock as of time of publication.

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woman examining her grey hair roots Manuel-F-O/Getty Images

A quick fix you won’t regret

Root touch-up kits may have been our hair’s saving grace during the pandemic, but the truth is, they always come in handy. They can stretch the time between dye jobs, saving you time and money while also saving your look. After all, even the best hair color (yes, including a trendy fall hair color) will look less than amazing once those grays or other unwanted hues start poking through. That said, most of these quick fixes will wash out easily and come with foolproof instructions and everything you need for success, so there’s really no risk. There is, however, a whole lot of reward, since you’ll look and feel refreshed without dropping tons of dough.

To really hit a home run with your touch-up, be sure to give your locks some extra TLC by always sudsing up with the best shampoo and conditioner for your hair type. Your ideal products will depend on whether you have curly hair, oily hair, or thinning hair, and choosing wisely really makes all the difference. And blondes, listen up! You’ll definitely want to invest in these color-saving purple shampoos, and while you’re at it, it couldn’t hurt to take a look at these fresh blonde color ideas, too.

With all of that knowledge in your beauty arsenal, as well as these stylist-approved sprays, powders, and solutions, no one will ever know that you’re overdue for a salon appointment. You’re welcome!

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style edit root touch upvia amazon.com

Style Edit Root Concealer

Truly great root touch-up kits don’t just get the job done—they also make your hair feel great. That’s why colorist Buffy Beery of the Calvin Mitchell Salon in Louisville, Kentucky, loves this spray from Style Edit. It doesn’t make hair feel stiff, like after you use hairspray, and the results look natural. “Style Edit is one of my favorite sprays, especially for those with thicker or curly hair because it will camouflage the grays through the thickness and curls,” Beery explains. “Plus, it’s super easy and fast to apply, lasts long, and doesn’t fade as much as other sprays.” Currently available on Amazon in eight shades, it’s generated more than 7,400 near-perfect reviews. When you are able to get back to the salon, here’s how to make your hair color last longer, according to stylists.

Highlights:

  • Great for curly hair
  • Flexible texture
  • Long-lasting

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Best online seller: L'Oreal Paris Magic Root Cover Upvia amazon.com

L’Oréal Paris Magic Root Cover Up

This L’Oréal root touch-up spray is a game-changer—and at under $10, it has a price that can’t be beat. With more than 27,000 five-star ratings, this Amazon’s Choice best seller comes in eight different shades, including black and dark blonde. “This is one of my favorites for camouflaging gray,” says Felicia Dosso, a hair colorist at New York City’s Nunzio Saviano Salon. “Just make sure to spray from a couple of inches away so that you don’t get too severe of a look. It’s also helpful to flip your head upside down and massage your hair at the roots to even out the spray more.” Another pro tip: Put a towel around your shoulders before spraying, and once you apply it, let it dry for one minute. Toying with the idea of ditching your dye altogether? Find out why one woman stopped coloring her hair after 20 years—and wishes she’d done it sooner.

Highlights:

  • Lightweight
  • Doesn’t contain peroxide or ammonia
  • Fresh scent

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Best for precision: Yuri Root Touch Upvia amazon.com

Yuri Root Touch Up

Reviewers admitted they were initially skeptical of this product since it looked powdery, almost like an eye shadow—but they ended up pleasantly surprised. With options for brunettes, blondes, and redheads, this Yuri kit boasts minerals as its main ingredients (talc, mica, and zinc). Just apply the non-greasy, non-waxy pigment to the applicator brush and gently rub or dab it into your roots. The applicator is two-sided, making it perfect for the ultimate precision during application; the smaller brush is for trickier spots, and the larger side targets the bigger areas that need to be filled in. And trust us, you’ll be as shocked as we were at how mess-free the entire process is. It’s also water- and sweat-resistant, so your hair will maintain its color even after an intense workout or a dip in the pool. Speaking of which, you might also want to check out these sweatproof makeup products for hard workouts and hot days.

Highlights:

  • Water-resistant
  • Mineral-based
  • No weird residue, so your hair feels like hair!

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Best for making hair look thicker: Color Wow Root Cover Upvia amazon.com

Color Wow Root Cover Up

“I love Color Wow because it’s super easy to use,” says Dosso. “It’s packaged like eye shadow—brush applicator and all! You can literally apply the powder to the brush and use it around your hairline and part to camouflage the gray hairs that you see most.” Winner of a Best of Beauty Award from Allure in 2020, this waterproof formulation is currently available in eight shades, and when applied, it can also make your hair look thicker, since roots of a different shade are now filled in. Plus, with a magic blend of reflective crystals, pigments, and emollients, it will make your hair shine so bright, you’ll forget you were using it to conceal your roots.

Pro tip: The product tends to work best if your hair is not squeaky clean. So, after washing your hair, wait a day before applying so the color lasts longer. FYI, make sure to avoid these hair color mistakes that could completely ruin your hair.

Highlights:

  • Makes hair shiny
  • Waterproof
  • Doesn’t transfer

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Sevich Hair Powdervia amazon.com

Sevich Hair Shadow Powder

This root touch-up powder is the best around for brunettes because it comes in six different shades of brown (though it does also come in dark blonde, black, auburn, and gray). With its soft puff sponge, it’s also super easy to use, and it takes less than a minute to achieve perfection. This lightweight powder, made from beeswax and vegetable oil, covers large areas of your scalp and those hard-to-reach bits with the same amount of ease. Just gently tap the hair powder on the spots that need coverage, then pat the powder into your hair using your fingers. The powder itself is sweat-proof, as well as free of parabens, sulfates, and peroxide. One important note, according to reviewers: Buy a shade darker than the color you’re aiming to match to get the results you want. When it comes to both color and cut, these hair mistakes will age your face.

Highlights:

  • Good for large areas
  • Extensive shade variety for brunettes
  • Made from beeswax and vegetable oil

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Best bang for your buck: Garnier Express Retouch Gray Hair Concealervia amazon.com

Garnier Express Retouch Gray Hair Concealer

This product is super affordable at under $7, but you’ll get an even bigger bang for your buck with it: Happy customers say this little tube will last you a while, since a little goes a long way. Plus, it lasts for a long time in your hair, even between showers. Made with mineral clay and pearls, it goes on smooth but not greasy, and the sponge is gentle on a sensitive scalp. “It’s easy to use—you can just paint right on the gray areas,” explains Nikki Lee, a Los Angeles–based salon owner, stylist, and Garnier celebrity hair colorist. “Beyond just covering grays, I also love it for filling in the hairline. The sponge applicator makes it easy to control, allowing for more targeted concealment where it goes on and, therefore, no drips.”

One verified Amazon reviewer, who purchased the black shade, raves: “This product is a gift from the gods for the prematurely gray. Seriously, I love everything about this product, right down to the packaging! It blended and covered my grays perfectly.” While you’re shopping drugstore brands, check out these cheap shampoos stylists admit to using at home.

Highlights:

  • Good for sensitive scalps
  • Easy-to-control application
  • Mineral-based

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Best for covering grays: DpHUE Root Touch-Up Kitvia sephora.com

dpHUE Root Touch-Up Kit

Technically, every product in this roundup is great for covering grays, but this touch-up kit is our favorite to make them truly invisible. Since gray hair is notoriously coarse, dpHUE tackles them just like a professional colorist would: by using color activators and permanent color creams. It’s available in seven shades, and each box contains two touch-up applications. The entire process is a little time-intensive—you’ll be mixing creamy formulations in a bowl and applying them with a fancy brush—but don’t let the multistep approach intimidate you; it’s actually pretty easy, and the instructions are very clear. Plus, the results speak for themselves. You’ll be left with salon-grade, full-coverage color and a boost of glossy shine, all from a vegan formulation rife with nourishing ingredients you’d find in the best hair masks, like shea butter and argania kernel oil.

Highlights:

  • Amazing scent
  • Long-lasting
  • Nourishing and hydrating

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Best for blondes: Madison Reed Root Touch Upvia ulta.com

Madison Reed Root Touch Up

Do blondes have more fun? Only if they can find a product that blends with their lighter tresses! This blonde root touch-up kit from Madison Reed does the trick for blondies of every shade. The powder’s good-for-you ingredients include micro-milled pigments that help make hair look natural and not two-toned, as well as extracts such as argan oil and keratin; all of them meet the strict safety standards put forth by the European Union (EU).

There are five shades available on Ulta, and if you’re not sure which is best for you, take the online beauty quiz on the company’s website and check out these tips to find the right blonde hair color for your skin tone. Once you’re ready to go, just brush the powder onto dry hair using the small applicator brush—and that’s it. The powder holds up through rain, sweat, and sleep, and this little compact will last for about 60 uses. FYI, this formulation is transfer-free, but to really keep the color in place, spritz a light mist of hairspray onto the roots before applying the powder.

Highlights:

  • Great for blondes
  • Hydrating
  • Transfer-proof

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Best color stick: Everpro Gray Away Quick Stickvia amazon.com

Everpro Beauty Gray Away Quick Stick

Talk about an overachiever: Everpro’s double-sided root touch-up stick can be used on your hair and your eyebrows. Its angled tip allows for very detailed application along your hairline, where hair can be thin, or on your eyebrows, which really requires a steady hand. The formula is free of wax, parabens, and other potentially toxic chemicals. It also blends well and feels velvety to the touch, so it’s smooth and natural when applied to hair. A sponge tip at the other end of the stick helps blend the color into place to give roots a uniform hue. Just note that your hair must be dry in order for this stick to be effective.

Need more convincing? Verified Amazon reviewer Donna F. says, “This stuff is the bomb! It has literally saved me for weeks between coloring. It is so easy to use and looks great—tops all the other root products I’ve purchased. My daughter thought I colored my hair myself when I first used it.”

Highlights:

  • Super precise application
  • Paraben-free formula
  • Easily blendable

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Best box product: Clairol Root Touch-Up Permanent Cremevia amazon.com

Clairol Root Touch-Up Permanent Creme

Ah, the great color controversy. Proponents of the touch-up creme in a box like the inexpensive price point and the fact that you can do it at home. Those against it think it’s messy to apply and will need professional fixing afterward. With something like this Clairol product, though, you have a much better chance of success. It has almost 3,500 five-star reviews on Amazon, and it comes in a ton of shades, so you’re more likely to find a good match. Plus, it conceals your grays in less than 10 minutes—and lasts up to three weeks.

According to Amazon reviewer Paulette Stini-Lark, it’s a total home run: “Hands down the very best and easiest product I have ever used for home hair color. What I love: ease of application, minimal messiness, wonderful color match, and it lasted well even in bright sunshine, heat, and exposure to salt water.”

Highlights:

  • Nice floral smell
  • Easy color matching
  • Stands firm against the elements

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Best wand-style cover-up: Kiss Quick Cover Gray Hair Touch Upvia amazon.com

Kiss Quick Cover Gray Hair Touch Up

Once upon a time, these mascara-like wands were super popular, but they’ve since fallen out of favor. If you still like them, though, go for it—Beery says you’ll do better with a style you’ll like. This particular magic wand is a smart choice because it works for all hair types, doesn’t clump, and is also water-resistant but washes out with ease. “I find today, most people don’t really use color wands as much as they did years ago, but I know others with coarse gray hair on their temples that like to use wands for coverage,” Beery says. “This wand is great for that!”

Just note that it’s best to use a color wand like this for smaller patches of hair, or on thinner hair. “Using a wand or pencil on thicker or curly hair could take a long time,” Beery says, adding that a root touch-up spray would be best in those cases.

Highlights:

  • Precise application
  • Great for thin or patchy hair
  • Formula doesn’t clump

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R+Co Bright Shadows Root Touch-Up Sprayvia dermstore.com

R+Co Bright Shadows Root Touch-Up Spray

Perfect for all hair types, especially curlies and natural textures, this sulfate-free hair color spray—designed by professional hairstylists for professional hairstylists—takes hair health and care to the next level. It conceals any trace of a color grow-out without zapping an ounce of moisture to offer consistent color and incredible shine. Formulated with nourishing pearl extracts, which are rich in minerals and amino acids, plus a healthy dose of hydrating herbal oils, it will keep textured hair moisturized and glossy, never stiff or dried out. What’s more, a heavy dose of biotin works to improve overall hair health and stimulate thicker hair growth, just like these hair-thickening shampoos.

Highlights:

  • Great for textured hair
  • Hydrating formula
  • Stimulates hair growth

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Oribe Airbrush Root Touch-Up Sprayvia dermstore.com

Oribe Airbrush Root Touch-Up Spray

It can be tricky for the lightest-hued blondes to find a root-concealing touch-up, but Oribe delivers with this Airbrush Root Touch-Up Spray, and according to its cult-favorite status with platinum blondes, it’s worth every penny. The quick-drying formulation sprays on cool and moist, but it instantly transforms into a blendable powder, sneakily doubling as a dry shampoo and absorbing any excess oil during the wet-to-powder transition. Rice starch soaks up dirt and oil to purify the scalp and strands, while a UV absorber protects hair and prevents the existing color from future fading.

One reviewer rates this formulation as a “10/10,” saying that it “far outweighs all others in quality. The pigment in the dark brown color is perfect, and I appreciate that it washes out easily. The application leaves an even wash of color.”

Highlights:

  • Wide variety of colors
  • Rich hues
  • Quick-drying

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Bumble and bumble Bb. Color Stickvia Sephora.com

Bumble and bumble Bb. Color Stick

Similar to a chubby crayon, Bumble and bumble’s Color Stick is extremely user-friendly—all you have to do is sharpen the tip and twist at the bottom. Available in five shades (but especially great for those with brown and black hair), the inclusive and velvety-soft formula works beautifully for all kinds of textures, from straight to curly to tightly coiled, for buildable and totally customizable coverage. Bonus? It’s water-resistant, so you can splash to your heart’s content this summer, though it does easily rinse out with a little shampoo, warm water, and massage. Heads-up for the next time you pay a visit to your stylist: You won’t see these things in the hair salon anymore, post-pandemic.

Highlights:

  • Works for all textures
  • Incredibly long-lasting
  • Color-safe

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Sources:

  • Buffy Beery, a colorist with the Calvin Mitchell Salon in Louisville, Kentucky
  • Felicia Dosso, a hair colorist at New York City’s Nunzio Saviano Salon
  • Nikki Lee, a Los Angeles–based salon owner, stylist, and Garnier’s celebrity hair colorist

Rachel Sokol
Rachel Sokol is a longtime contributor to Reader's Digest, tackling mostly cleaning and health round-ups. A journalism graduate of Emerson College, she's a former education writer, beauty editor, and entertainment columnist.

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