What I Use to Touch Up My Gray Roots

I’ve had dark hair for as long as I can remember, and going gray has never really been a consideration for me. I love my dark hair, and I’d like to keep it for as long as possible, but the older I get, the more of a challenge that becomes. As it is, I have my hair professionally colored every 5-6 weeks, but even with that rigid schedule, I find myself needing help in between.

shirt (M) // jeans (29) // bag // earrings

Of course, this is such a personal decision, and every woman has to decide for herself how she wants to approach the graying process. I often admire women with attractive gray or “salt-and-pepper” hair, but it just isn’t for me… at least, not yet! In the meantime, I keep these three products in my arsenal at all times.

Best Root Touch-Up Products for Dark Hair

These are the root touch-up products I’ve found that work really well for me, in case you’re in need of a little “help” with concealing those pesky gray roots, as well!

Joan Rivers Beauty Great Hair Day Fill-In Powder w/ Brush (Brunette)

at Amazon // at Walmart // at QVC

I discovered this root touch-up product years ago, and I can’t be without it. It’s a transfer-proof fill-in powder that was created for ladies who have thinning in the scalp area. I have a lot of thinning around my temples that show when I pull my hair back or tuck it behind my ear, and now that it’s going gray, it looks even thinner, and this product works really well for that.

It fills in nicely so my hair looks looks fuller and thicker, and it doesn’t come off on your hands or your bedsheets, but it easily washes out with shampoo. I sometimes use it in my part, when those roots are just starting to show, but these days I prefer a spray for that.

tarte Big Ego™ Dab & Go Hair Concealer (Dark Brown) //

at tarte cosmetics // at QVC

This is a more recent discovery, and I use it mostly on my temples, but also sometimes in the part and underneath the front parts of my hair, as well. It’s a full-coverage, cream-to-powder hair concealer that you can use to touch up roots, contour your hairline, and fill in thin spots or gaps. I feel like the powder looks a little more natural, but this is easier because it doesn’t require a separate brush.

The waterproof formula comes with a built-in sponge applicator that is precise and blends in easily, and it isn’t messy at all. You can even toss it in your bag for easy, on-the-go touch-ups, although I’ve never needed to do that because it lasts all day.

L’Oreal Paris Magic Root Cover Up (Dark Brown)

at Amazon // at Target // at Ulta

This is the newest root touch-up product I’ve added to my arsenal and it’s perfect for tackling larger areas, namely my part. You just hold it about 6 inches from hair and spray onto new growth. Then you comb it through and let it dry for about a minute before styling or moving on with your routine.

I usually cover my shoulders with a towel to protect my clothes or pajamas, but it usually works pretty well and stays where I want it to go. I usually only need this about a week before my salon visits, since I go to often, but it comes in really handy if I have to put it off for any reason.

I’m sure there are other good root touch-up products out there. Feel free to share in the comments, if you have one we should know about!

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33 Responses

  1. I have the L’Oreal spray. I also use the WOW root powder. Will have to give Tarte a try. I go every 4 wks. We were also recently talking that I might need to go every 3. At that point, I might just embrace the gray. It is getting to be VERY expensive.

    1. I hear you, Libby! Keeping up with gray roots is so expensive. Going to the salon every 3 weeks would be ideal for me, but I just can’t bring myself to do that. Too pricey and too much sitting! I go every 4-6 weeks. I’ve used the L’Oreal spray before, and I also use the Wow root powder, which works well. Will also give Tarte a try. I’m not quite ready to fully embrace my gray. As always, thank you, Jo-Lynne, for all you do.

  2. I also use the Loreal Magic Root Cover up. Like you, I have darker hair and color once every 4-5 weeks. I abandoned the expensive salon and now use Garnier Olia Hair Color. It’s about $10 per box. I was intimidated at first, but it’s super easy to apply and takes about an hour from start to finish (including rinsing). Just thought I’d share – saves me about $1000 per year.

  3. I’m on the same page, not willing to let it go gray. I’m only 25% gray anyway, according to my hairdresser, so it’s not too big a hassle. My biggest issue is white hairs like a halo around my face. I use the Tarte powder and have used the spray but don’t like it very much. I’ll have to look into the Wow powder. I don’t like to hang out at the salon more than I have to so I make appointments every 6-8 weeks. After 4 weeks since dying, I sometimes use Clairol root touch up at home. I get it at my local grocery store. It’s very easy to use and takes about 15 minutes and doesn’t cost very much.

  4. Great post! I also use WOW root powder. It works well for me. I have alot of gray and have had it professionally colored for years. I go every 4 weeks for color retouch. My roots are screaming with gray by then. I also am not ready to go gray but i think it looks great on other women.

  5. I love the Tarte, it’s so good!! I will say for people who don’t like the spray, try it on wet hair. Just apply and style as usual. It doesn’t feel as sticky that way and it still provides great coverage!

    1. I’ll have to try this. I have the spray and although the coverage is good, I can’t stand how it makes my hair feel!

      Part of me thinks I should stop coloring my hair because the upkeep is getting to be a bit much, but it’s hard to imagine myself without color. I already have a soft complexion; my fear is that gray would wash me out completely.

  6. I too do my own home coloring. I use Madison Reed brand color 6NAC. A bit more expensive but I think less harsh than other home brands & the chemicals don’t make my eyes water🤣 Thanks for the other recommendations I will try those for the in between times. I like my brunette hair too!

  7. I have tried all 3 of these products. The only one I like and use is the Joan Rivers fill in powder. The Tarte Dab & Go doesn’t go on very well and the L’oreal Magic Touch Up made my hair too gummy. I get my hair colored every 6 weeks. I’m 62 and I am not ready to go gray.

  8. I always thought I’d be coloring my hair until I died, but two years ago, I became more and more allergic to the hair dye and I began to dread my apt. because afterwards my head would itch and hurt and I’d deal with headaches/migraines for a few days. So, without really having a plan, when I went into my apt. on the spot my hairdresser asked me if I thought of just letting it go grey and she’d help me through the process. That day I said yes and never looked back. My hair is short and was light brown with blonde highlights and the transition was soooo fast and I never had the skunk root stripe. My grey came in like highlights and so it doesn’t really feel like a huge change and it really has been so freeing. Now I only have to go for haircuts and in the sun my highlights don’t fade and turn yellowy like they did when I had blonde put in. My hair has more body with the courser grey. I’m 62 yrs. old. I purged clothes and glasses that no longer looked right with my new hair color and find I gravitate more to color in buy clothing now too. I think having short hair, that is cut where it doesn’t lay flat, really made the process easy. If I had long, dark hair like you and your age, I would think different. I really got forced to do it due to the allergic reaction I kept getting the longer I dyed my hair. I had gone CLEAN with all my make up, skin care, hair products, house products etc. years before that, so to keep going in to put chemicals on my head and let sit for a long time, really didn’t make sense to me anymore either. Sometimes I have to laugh when I see teenagers who are dying their hair grey. The silver or bluish grey. Oh, I do have to use a purple shampoo about once a week, to help keep the grey brighter. I found a CLEAN one. Great post on what to use if still covering those greys.

    1. Kathy, Would you share the name of the purple shampoo that’s CLEAN? Thanks, I have a fragrance allergy.

  9. Got my first gray hair at 16 Didn’t start coloring till in my 30s, but when it got to be needed every three weeks, I decided time to let it go
    I’ve used the Joan Rivers product often in my part line as sometimes my scalp seems to look a little pink and it is fabulous works great

  10. Great post!
    The L’Oréal spray & Madison Reed are cleaner products & I use them at home because I have dark hair also but have to color every 2 weeks!
    I may go chestnut brown for a while before committing to going gray…. I think I am 75% gray now. Sadly I do love my dark hair. 😢

  11. I wish I were brave enough not to color my hair anymore. I keep holding on to every last ounce of youth 😂 but as my body shifts with age, I realize I don’t have as much control as I used to. In the meantime, I use R & Co Bright Shadows touch-up spray, which is similar to the Loreal spray. I like that it’s like dry shampoo; it adds texture and volume to my hair. It doesn’t come off my pillowcase or clothes and washes out easily.

  12. I’m not ready for gray hair yet either. I tried to go gray when I was 64. It didn’t work. I cut my hair real short and got highlights to transition. I felt old and I didn’t want to run into people I knew from the past. One day I had enough and colored my hair again. My stylist colors it every 4 weeks now. My hair grows so fast and some is resistant to the dye especially around my ears. I figured if I go gray again I will keep my hair mid length like it is now and keep a modern style instead of a pixie. I don’t look good in a pixie anyway. I have used the Joan Rivers powder before. It’s the best. Right now I am using a Clairol powder. I also use the L’Oreal spray if I’ve gone more than 5 weeks. I want to try the Tarte and Wow. I think if you’re in your 50s it’s too young to go gray but whatever makes you feel like yourself. Great post.

    1. I think if I’d let it go gray gradually I’d be fine, but now that I’ve done permanent hair color, it would be hard to do without looking really skanky for a time. Lol! Not ideal for my job.

      1. It’s such a hard decision to make,, I was a redhead, and people would stop me to comment on my hair.
        I thought I would miss that, but you know what I get just as many compliments with the white hair…I’ve even been asked if it is “natural” that one cracked me up.
        So who knew..

      2. I sort of regret going the permanent color route because now a skunk line is inevitable if I ever decide to stop coloring. I have an office job that requires a professional appearance, and the skunk stripe would, um, counteract everything else I’m doing, lol.

        1. I have a friend and fellow influencer with dark hair who went gray and she had her hairdresser color it in a way that it really blended in when the gray came in and then she eventually just cut it and went totally gray, but I watched the process and it did seem a lot more professional the way to do it than just letting it go

  13. Goldwell root retouch powder was recommended by my colorist during covid and it works the best for me

  14. This is interesting, I had no idea all these products were available. Good to know for future needs!
    I ordered from Evereve for the first time last week per one of your suggestions, and it arrived in no time! It’s the Riviera Bracelet Pack and I am quite impressed! The colors and quality are lovely! So, thank you for featuring jewelry once in awhile. I despise shopping so thank you for the work you do because you help me get dressed every day!

  15. I decided to let my hair grow out about a year and a half ago and haven’t looked back. The best part is going to the salon for a trim. She washes it, trims it and blows it dry. I love the shorter salon visits!!

  16. I started using Madison Teed during the pandemic. They offer full color and root touch up kits. The colors work well together and kits contain everything necessary to do my own color. My hair looks healthy and nourished. I highly recommend their products.

  17. I started using Madison Rdur the pandemic. They offer full color and root touch up kits. The colors work well together and kits contain everything necessary to do my own color. My hair looks healthy and nourished. I highly recommend their products.

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