Once you start experimenting with hair colour, it’s easy to fall head over heels for a shade. But something that’s not so lovely? Regular salon visits to maintain your beloved hue. It can be expensive, and it really starts to add up when you throw in monthly root touch-ups to hide any pesky grey hairs that pop up. If you’re short on hair colour ideas and want to explore some ways to maintain your hair colour root touch-ups at-home—look no further. We asked beauty expert Kirsten Klontz to share some tips on how to cover grey hair at home. No matter what hair dye you use or what your hair texture is, read on for the down-low on at-home grey hair root touch-ups.
Watch the clock when colouring your own hair
When it comes to touching up your roots at home, there’s a hard and fast rule with how much time can pass before reaching for the hair dye again. “Always try to reapply your root colour in intervals of less than six weeks,” says Klontz. “It’s crucial that your natural roots are no more than an inch away from the scalp.” If your roots become too long, no matter whether you’re using a temporary hair dye, semi-permanent hair colour or permanent hair dye, the hair colour can become uneven and patchy on your roots as it may take differently depending on the section of regrowth. If you’re bleaching your roots, Klontz says that the longest your roots should be is half an inch. If you’re nervous about your roots showing between dye sessions, try a L’Oréal hair colour root cover-up spray to hide your regrowth. L’Oréal Paris Magic Root Cover Up comes in seven shades, from light blonde to black, so there’s a shade for every hair colour and the foolproof formula rinses out in the shower. Simply spritz it on any areas of root you want to camouflage and go.
Texture play and hair types
When retouching your roots at home, Klontz says that hair texture doesn’t make a big difference with how the dye will take to your hair, but it does play a role in application. Your technique for dyeing your hair will help your hair colour go on evenly (or subsequently unevenly). “If you have thick hair, you want to take very small sections so that you don't miss any spots,” recommends Klontz. Section off your hair before application so that once the dye is ready to go, you have your plan of action sorted. If you have super-curly locks, she advises straightening your hair before sectioning it off to make your mane more manageable.
Moisturize hair before colouring
The number one thing to consider when retouching your roots at home is the condition of your hair. Dry hair takes colour differently than moisturized hair, and the tone may vary depending on the shape of your mane. “If you have dry or damaged hair, you might want to try a colour that is one to two [shades] lighter than what your desired hair colour is,” says Klontz. Dry hair tends to absorb extra pigment, making the end result look darker than intended. If you have the time pre-hair colouring, opt for a few deep-conditioning hair treatments like a nourishing hair mask like L’Oréal Paris Extraordinary Oil Nourishing Mask which will get your strands in tip-top condition before you touch up your roots.
Grey hair coverage hack
Silver hair can be extra-tricky to colour as its texture can be thicker and a bit wiry, making root touch-ups a challenge. “Grey hair can sometimes be resistant to taking colour, so you can help it absorb by doing a pre-softening hair treatment first,” says Klontz. She has a simple hack that involves your tweaking the application of your grey hair dye. “Each box of dye comes with a tube of colour and another solution called ‘developer,’ she says. “Take a very small amount of the developer (about 5 mL) and apply it alone to your hairline [where your grey hair appears].” She then suggests mixing the remainder of the developer and dye together and applying it to your roots. “That small amount of developer softens the cuticle of the grey strand so that the colour is able to penetrate easier.”
With row after row of hair colour lining beauty aisles, finding the right fit for your roots can seem impossible. Klontz says to narrow in on the shade that is the closest match to your natural hair colour, if possible. Her rule of thumb? Don’t go more than one shade lighter or one shade darker than your natural hair colour. For example, if you naturally have medium
brown hair, pick a shade that has medium brown, light brown or dark brown on the box.