The Best Root Touch-Up Kits That Are Still in Stock
These stylist-approved products will camouflage the problems with your hair until your beloved salon reopens.
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A quick fix you won’t regret
We’ve arrived at that time in quarantine where we’re really missing our stylists. Not only do we desperately need haircuts, but for those of us who dye our hair, it’s getting dire. If you can’t stand your newly two-toned locks—especially if one of those tones is gray—but you’re worried about coloring your own hair, we have the solution for you: a root touch-up kit that will tide you over until your next salon visit (whenever that might be). Hair dye has been among the recent items flying off shelves, but these touch-up kits are still in stock…for now. So, what are you waiting for? Most of them wash out easily, so there’s no risk. There is, however, a whole lot of reward, since you’ll look and feel like yourself again almost instantly.
Note: Prices listed were accurate as of press time; pricing fluctuations may occur.
Best for instant results: 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 six shades, it’s generated more than 5,000 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.
Best online seller: L’Oreal Paris Magic Root Cover Up
This spray is a game-changer—and it has a price that can’t be beaten. With more than 6,000 positive customer 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.
Best for precision: 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 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; the smaller brush is for more precise spots, and the larger side targets the bigger areas that need to be filled in. It’s also water- and sweat-resistant, so your hair will maintain its color even after an intense workout.
Best for making hair look thicker: 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.” It’s currently available in four different shades, and when applied, it can also make your hair look thicker, since roots of a different shade are now filled-in. One Amazon reviewer who used it on her very thin hair said: “I have been able to dust a little on a few places on my scalp to conceal some of the thinness.” Just note that many reviewers say the product works best if your hair is not squeaky clean. So, after washing your hair, wait a day before applying so the color lasts longer.
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Best for brunettes: Sevich Hair Shadow Powder
This root touch-up powder is particularly great for brunettes because it comes in eight different dark shades (though it does also come in dark blonde and gray). With its soft puff sponge, it’s also super easy to use, and it takes less than a minute to achieve perfection. 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 accurately match to get the results that you want.
Best bang for your buck: Garnier Express Retouch Gray Hair Concealer
Don’t let this product’s lower price point fool you. Happy customers say this temporary root touch-up from Garnier will last you a while, since just a little goes a long way. Plus, it lasts for a long time in your hair, too, 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’s 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 customer, who purchased the black shade, raves: “I combed after a few minutes and my hair isn’t stiff at all. Feels as soft and natural as the rest of my hair. It’s a perfect color match, and I look and feel years younger with basically no effort.”
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Best for covering grays: DpHUE Root Touch-Up Kit
Technically, every product in this roundup is great for covering grays. But what sets this color collection apart, according to reviewers, is that it’s as close as you’ll get to salon-quality root touch-ups without actually stepping into a salon. 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.
It’s so precise, one online client raves: “Keep this a secret; it’s the best for touch up of stubborn grays. AMAZING. My hairdresser will be so sad.” Another fan called the end result “salon-quality.” Just be aware that it won’t work as fast as most other root touch-up products, especially sprays; from start to finish, it’ll take about an hour. But, as they say, patience is a virtue!
Best for blondes: Madison Reed Root Touch Up
Do blondes have more fun? Only if they can find a product that blends with their lighter tresses! This root touch-up kit from Madison Reed does the trick. 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 a few shades available, 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 blond 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 sleeping, and it lasts for about 60 uses. This hue is best for medium-blond hair; the lighter blond is currently sold out, but you can check in periodically at Ulta to see if it’s been restocked.
Best color stick: Everpro Gray Away Quick Stick
Everpro’s easy-to-carry 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 free of wax, parabens, and other 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 blends the color. Just note that your hair must be dry in order for this stick to be effective. Says one fan: “It’s perfect for fast touch-ups; very easy to use, and does not leave your hair sticky or ‘hard’ like other touch-up products.”
Best box product: 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 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 more than 1,700 positive reviews on Amazon, and it comes in a ton of shades, so you’re more likely to find a good match. Plus, you can’t beat the fact that it conceals your grays in less than ten minutes—and lasts up to three weeks.
Says one recent reviewer: “It’s not messy, much to my relief. It is tiring, especially trying to get the roots at the back, but it is totally worth it. My hair is soft and shiny and looks like it’s been professionally colored.” Don’t miss these hair-care products that stylists can’t live without.
Best wand-style cover-up: Kiss Quick Cover Gray Hair Touch Up
Once upon a time, these mascara-like wands were super popular, but it’s since fallen out of favor. If you still like it, though, that shouldn’t stop you from using it. Beery says it’s best to go with what you’re comfortable with and what you know. This particular product is a smart choice because it works for all hair types, doesn’t clump the way mascara does, 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 spray would be best in those cases.
For more smart strategies, as well as how to stay safe and sane, see our comprehensive Coronavirus Guide.
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