Best Products for a Root Touch-Up At Home, According to Hairstylists

Can't make it to the salon, but need to boot those roots? Try one of these products for a root touch-up at home to hold you over.

Have you ever had a few busy weeks that turned into a busy month — and the next thing you know, you're looking in the mirror at visible roots an inch or two past your part? If you religiously color your hair, you're likely on a strict timeline of camouflaging tell-tale roots that grow back in every four to twelve weeks.

But when life gets in the way, at-home hair color for a quick root touch-up at home is a necessary option. These products are a great option to have on hand for a quick fix whenever you need it (plus an easy way to help stretch out those salon visits!).

The big caveat here? Taking hair color matters into your own hands can be iffy — if not just plain risky — which is why a majority of professional colorists advise against it. "Getting an exact color match is simply not going to happen," says colorist Kristen Fleming, color director of 3rd Coast Salon in Chicago. "In the salon, we often mix multiple colors to create a custom hair color, and adjust the formula based on the density of the hair, as well as any grays," she adds.

But here's the thing about root touch-ups: There are a plethora of great options out there that won't last forever. "They're temporary but deliver a great end result without permanently changing your hair color," notes Fleming. While these formulas are generally transfer-proof (translation: they won't rub off on your clothes or pillowcase), water-resistant, and do have some staying power, they will eventually wash out with shampoo — meaning, they're not a long-term solution.

If you really want a more permanent fix, just keep in mind that you may end up paying for a professional color correction later, cautions Fleming. You should also try to find out what type of color your colorist has been using — permanent or demi-permanent — and use the same type, advises Nicole Tabloff, a color specialist at Tabloff Salon in Chicago. Permanent is the best coverage for grays, and also has the ability to lighten and change the natural pigment of your hair; demi-permanent, on the other hand, blends grays with your natural color, won't lighten your base, and gradually washes out.

Regardless of which route you choose, be sure to apply the root touch-up color only to your new growth, around the front hairline and part, says Tabloff. "This way, if the color isn't quite right, there will be less for your colorist to fix when you are back in the salon," she adds. (Although she agrees with Fleming that wash-out products are a much safer option.)

Products to Use for a Root Touch-Up at Home

Ready to tackle grays and grown-out highlights head-on? Ahead, the best products for a root touch-up at home. These are definitely worth picking up until you can get back in your favorite colorist chair.

Color Wow Root Coverup Powder

best root touch up color wow

This seems like a no-brainer, considering Jennifer Lopez's stylist uses this at-home root touch-up product on her. "This is a super easy-to-use mineral powder that you apply with the included brush," explains Tabloff. "It comes in eight different shades and is water-resistant, so it will stay put even if you sweat," she adds. Fleming is also a fan, pointing out that because the minerals used are reflective, it nicely mimics the sheen of your hair and appears more natural.

Buy It: Color Wow Root Coverup Powder, $35,

L'Oréal Paris Magic Root Cover Up Gray Concealer Spray

best root touch up loreal

For an affordable option for a root touch-up at home that's just as effective as its pricier counterparts, this drugstore staple can't be beaten. It comes in seven hues, and, despite the great coverage it delivers, feels super lightweight without any sticky residue. Also nice: It works well on a wide range of hair types and textures — even synthetic hair such as hair extensions.

Buy It: L'Oréal Paris Magic Root Cover Up Gray Concealer Spray, $10,

dpHUE Color Touch-Up Spray

best root touch up dphue

While grown-in grays may not be as noticeable on blondes as they are on brunettes, dark, grown-in roots definitely are. Fleming recommends the dpHUE Blonding Brush (Buy It, $28, for those with either natural or chemically lightened blonde hair and whose roots are coming in. Click the bottom of the brush to dispense a violet-toned gel that you can brush on wherever it's needed. The formula contains lemon juice and hydrogen peroxide, which gradually lighten your shade once it's exposed to heat, whether that's from the sun or a blow dryer.

Since this option is often sold out, try the brand's Color Touch-Up Spray (made with healthy biotin and herbal extracts) to hide roots in a flash.

Buy It: dpHUE Color Touch Up Spray, $28,

Madison Reed Root Touch-Up Powder

best root touch up madison reed

Another powder option, this root touch-up is available in seven shades, many of which come with two different tones that you can blend together or use separately to get that perfect match. It stays put until you wash it out, and one compact contains enough product for about 60 applications, giving you a good bang for your buck. Pro tip: Hit your hair with a light mist of hairspray before dusting this on to up the staying power even further. Oh, and this at-home root touch-up moonlights as an eyebrow filler, so your brows can perfectly match your hair color.

Buy It: Madison Reed Root Touch Up Powder, $32,

Oribe Airbrush Root Touch-Up Spray

best root touch up oribe

Both colorists also like this choice for a root touch-up at home, which effectively covers grays and has the added benefit of absorbing dirt and oil, points out Tabloff. (Credit the addition of rice starch, which helps it pull double duty as a dry shampoo.) When it comes to application, "hold the bottle eight inches away from the hair and spray in long, sweeping motions," advises Fleming. Less is more because over-coating the hair can end up giving it a matte finish that looks unnatural, she says.

Buy It: Oribe Airbrush Root Touch-Up Spray, $34,

Garnier Express Retouch Gray Hair Concealer

best root touch up garnier

This root touch-up is specially made for concealing grays and claims to provide instant coverage of up to 100 percent of white strands. Bonus points for the sponge-tip applicator that makes precise dabbing easier (think: no unwanted smears or smudges). It's also water-resistant and transfer-proof, so you need not worry about it coming off on your pillowcase if you want to keep it in for a few days.

Buy It: Garnier Express Retouch Gray Hair Concealer, $9,

Clairol Root Touch-Up Color Blending Gel

best root touch up clairol

According to the pros, it's best to opt for temporary color. That said, if you're adamant about getting a more long-term solution, a demi-permanent color will be gentler on the hair, says Tabloff. This formula is a demi-permanent option that will blend away grays and roots and claims to last up to 10 washes. It's free of potentially damaging ammonia and is also fairly easy to use. Brush on the no-drip gel where you need it, rinse it out, and you're good to go.

Buy It: Clairol Root Touch-Up Color Blending Gel, $7,

L'Oreal Paris Excellence Creme Permanent Hair Color

loreal creme excellence

This is Eva Longoria's go-to for covering grays at home, so it must be good. The crème formula is designed with pro-keratine, collagen, ceramides, and a triple protection system to moisturize, strengthen, and shield your hair from damage before, during, and after the coloring process. With over 20 different shades, you're bound to find a match — and the permanent color will last four to six weeks, which will hold you over until your next root touch-up at the salon.

Buy It: L'Oreal Paris Excellence Creme Permanent Hair Color, $10,

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