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Root touch-up tips

Elizabeth Mitchell is a freelance fashion and beauty writer living in Los Angeles. A graduate of New York University, she regularly contributes to The Fashion Spot, The Luxury Spot and authors the Star Style column for StyleBakery Teen. ...

The root of the problem

Whether you’re on a budget or just strapped for time, sometimes making it to the hair salon can be nearly impossible. So how do you disguise nasty root grow-out in the meantime? We turned to the professionals to find out! These five fabulous root touch-up tips will get you by until your next appointment.

Woman with roots showing

Break out the dry shampoo

One of the quickest ways to cover up roots is to use a volumizing dry shampoo, says Dan Sharp, Lead Stylist for T3 and owner of Danka Panka Salon in Brooklyn. "Whenever I'm on photo shoots or doing celebrity clients for red carpet events, and someone shows up with dark roots, I always reach for my dry shampoo." A little bit strategically placed will not only disguise darkness, but will give hair an instant volume boost (which can help hide grow-out as well).

Cover with makeup

If you can't make it to the salon before a big night out, use eyeshadow to camouflage roots, recommends Avi Elkayam, owner of Avanti Salon South in Boston. "This works best for blondes, as gold shadows reflect light and fake the look of fresh highlights." Choose a shade that closely matches your hair color and apply along your hairline and near the part for best results. For covering gray roots, use a black or brown mascara that matches your hair color.

Use a color wand

For the hairline around your face, use a color wand and swipe or dab on color. You always want to go one-half to one shade lighter than your regular color, says Mindy Coffey, stylist and owner of salon644 in Columbus, Ohio. "These products come in tubes just like mascara with a wand brush, but also wash off just the same, so be careful not to get caught in a downpour!" If all else fails, touch up roots with a permanent marker, suggests Mindy. (Permanent markers come in very limited colors, however, so it might not be possible to match your hair color.)

Try a root touch-up pen

Apply a few temporary streaks with a touch-up pen, recommends Oscar Blandi colorist Alexis Antonellis. First, pick a pen color that matches your highlights (usually golden or beige). Then, after drying your hair, apply the pen to your roots. "It'll help you out until you can get to your next appointment," says Alexis.

Do it yourself

"Root touch-ups are tricky, but can be done if handled with care," explains Beth Minardi, renowned hair color educator and co-owner of Minardi Salon in New York City. Use a shade similar to your own, she says, and don't try to retouch your entire head. Mix the color according to the manufacturer's instructions and pour it into a non-metallic bowl. Instead of applying the formula with the applicator bottle, wear gloves and immerse cotton balls into the mixture, recommends Beth. Then, gently press color onto the offending roots (at the face frame, along the part line and at root areas adjacent to the part). Saturate the area but don't over-apply. "Process this application for the maximum development time recommended by the manufacturer. Then rinse, shampoo and condition the hair." Afterwards, dry hair and examine your work!

More hair color tips

Make your hair color last
Vibrant hair color: How to pull it off
Moms: How to avoid at-home hair color disaster

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