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Walking out of the salon with a fresh hair color is one of the best feelings ever. A shiny new coat for your mane is like an instant confidence boost and can put you in a seriously happy mood. But sadly, all good things come to an end—and why does it always feel like, before you know it, your gray roots are showing again? Whether you have a colorist who you visit on the regular or you’re an at-home dyer, consistently having to touch up your hair color when your roots grow in takes serious dedication (and money). Luckily, there are a few easy tips and tricks you can follow to help camouflage your roots in between coloring. Here, brush up on your hair dye basics and learn all about how to hide your roots.
Not all hair dye is the same. Before you determine how, exactly, you’re going to help cover your roots, learn the differences between types of dye so you can make an educated decision:
1. Temporary hair color. This type of dye isn’t permanent. It coats the outside of the hair shaft without penetrating inside the cortex. Temporary hair dye will fade out within a few shampoos, leaving you with your original shade. Temporary hair color is a good option if you’re someone who likes experimenting with lots of different tints without having to make a full commitment.
2. Semi-permanent hair dye. This is the next step up from temporary hair color, but it’s still not permanent. Semi-permanent hair dye doesn’t have ammonia or peroxide in its formula, so you can apply it directly to your hair without having to do any mixing or developing beforehand. Semi-permanent hair color has lots of cool benefits: It pumps up the shine on dull strands, it’s a gentle alternative to permanent formulas since it doesn’t contain ammonia or peroxide, you can use it when you’re growing out a permanent color, and it can be used for temporary root touch-ups. Semi-permanent hair color lasts up to eight shampoos.
3. Permanent hair dye. This is the stuff that really, really lasts. Permanent hair color can be used to help lighten, darken, or tone your hair, help cover gray hair, and help provide full coverage. Although permanent hair dye is long-lasting, it will still need to be reapplied due to fading and new hair growth. Also, you should keep in mind that if you’re trying to go from a really dark original hue to something super-light like platinum, you’ll need to do so gradually in order to achieve the look you want.
Now that you’ve got the 411 on the different types of dye, here are some great options for hiding your roots:
1. Use a temporary root cover-up spray. This is the quickest way to help cover grays. Try L’Oreal Paris Root Cover Up, available in six shades. The lightweight, quick-dry spray helps conceal roots in just three seconds without any smudging or sticky residue once it dries. One application can last until you shampoo your strands. The formula is free of ammonia, peroxide, and synthetic dyes. To use, first shake the can well. Hold it four to six inches from your hair, and spray onto new growth and partly through the length of your hair so you can blend in the color.
2. Try a semi-permanent root concealer. If you want something that can last slightly longer than a temporary root cover up spray, this could be a good option for you. Note, semi-permanent hair colors can help to blend the greys into your base color, but may not cover them up entirely. Plus, since semi-permanent hair color fades away instead of growing out like permanent dye, you shouldn’t have to worry about that line of demarcation that can occur as your hair grows out.
3. Rock a fun new hairstyle. Think outside the dye box. Why not take your gray roots as a signal to try a new hairstyle? One option: Opt for a pretty jeweled headband or a scarf. Pick a headpiece that complements your outfit—it’s the perfect accessory!