5 Great Products For Covering Your Gray In Between Salon Visits
Camouflaging those stubborn gray roots, for under $30.
Sometimes it seems that no sooner do I leave the hair salon I discover new silver strands sprouting at my temples and wreaking havoc in my middle part. I love my brunette hair. It has taken years to find just the perfect chocolate shade, but it makes hiding those pesky grays a challenge. By week two, the skunk stripe spreading down the top of my head reminds me that this is a race I’m not going to win.
Going to the salon every two weeks is not an option for me. It’s expensive, time-consuming and, thankfully, not necessary since there are many products — or magic fairy dust, as I call them — that can help stretch out the time between those pricey hair salon appointments.
You might have to try a variety of products before you discover the right one for your hair. When choosing which product to buy, you need to consider your hair’s color, texture and thickness. For instance, gray root-concealer mascara wands work well on thick, coarse curls (like mine), but can look gloppy on fine, straight hair. And sprays, if not used properly, can leave your hair looking dull and dirty. Using the product correctly is just as important as choosing the best solution for you.
“All of the cover-up products (sprays, color sticks, powders and wands) should be applied on dry hair. Clean hair is preferable, but will work on unwashed hair, too,” shares Debi Dumas, former makeover-glam squad team member on Bravo’s Millionaire Matchmaker, trusted colorist to Chelsea Handler, Russell Crowe and Candace Cameron Bure, and color specialist at 454 North in Los Angeles.
“Most of the touch-up products only come in a few shades. The key is picking the closest shade to your hair color. I always suggest going a shade lighter if you are unsure,” advises Dumas about achieving a flawless, natural look.
Over the years I have tried several products before finding the correct choice for my thick, coarse mane. I thought sprays were too messy, and powders didn’t do the trick. I found nirvana when I tried Bumble and Bumble’s color stick that let me pinpoint the exact area that needed desperate help and filled in where hairs were sparse. Now I no longer panic when I see the annoying grays peeking through my crown.
To keep your hair color looking fresh and vibrant in between appointments, Dumas suggests these tips: “Washing your hair less and always using cool water. Attaching a filter to your shower head to keep unwanted minerals from adhering to the hair to avoid fade, brittleness and brassy tones. And protecting your hair in the sun, either with a hat or products that contain sunscreen.”
Here are the celebrity colorist’s five picks for camouflaging stubborn gray roots, all under $30.
Roux ’Tween Time Instant Root Concealer, a temporary touch-up color stick, applies easily like a lipstick in five natural-looking shades and lasts until shampooed. It is somewhat sticky but small enough that you can keep it in your purse for quick touch-ups, and offers the biggest bang for the buck on the list.
Clairol Nice ’N Easy Root Touch-Up is a permanent color-blending kit offered in 30 different shades that requires mixing and applying to the roots. It is more involved than the color sticks and sprays (process takes about 10 minutes), but is fairly easy to use and won’t wash out. Results last two to three weeks.
L’Oréal Professionnel Hair Touch Up spray instantly covers the gray, isn’t sticky, and has great coverage with seven shades. Pro-tip: Best if sprayed in short spurts, 4 to 6 inches from your roots, and allowed to dry fully before styling. The touch-up will last until your next shampoo.
Madison Reed Root Touch Up delivers speedy gray coverage with a brush of oil-absorbing powders in six colors. It is free of parabens, sulfates and phthalates. The powder dries quickly and promises to be rainproof and sweatproof.
Bumble and Bumble Bb. Color Stick is an easy-to-use velvety crayon that lets you target specific areas, quickly masking the gray. It lasts until it is washed out. The stick works well on all types of hair and is one of the few that also offers pink and blue hues. Bumble and Bumble is a cruelty-free brand (not tested on animals), and products are free from parabens, phthalates, mineral oils and formaldehyde.