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).
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.
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.)
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.
"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!
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