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If you have no time
Sometimes, all it takes is a quick hairstyle change. “Grab a wide headband and push it just past your hairline to cover gray roots,” says Rita Hazan, owner and colorist at the Rita Hazan Salon in NYC. She also recommends changing the side your part is on or doing a zigzag part to camouflage the grays.
Of course, these tricks don’t actually cover them, but they can buy you a few days until you carve out time for a color session. In a pinch, “your mascara or eye shadow can double as a root cover-up,” says Miguel Angarita, a colorist at Oscar Blandi Salon in NYC. Daub it on after you get dressed, so the color doesn’t transfer as you pull on your clothes.
Photo by Peter Ardito
If you have 5 minutes
If you just notice pesky roots on your way out the door, don’t worry. “The best time to use a root-concealing spray is when your hair is dry and styled,” says Revlon global master colorist Miquel Garcia. These sprays come in a variety of shades and are formulated to blend in with your hair color, not match it. To ensure a natural, not spotty-looking, finish, Garcia says to hold the can at least six inches away from hair and aim only at visible roots, especially around your hairline. We like Tresemmé Root Touch Up Spray ($8) and L'Oréal Paris Magic Root Cover Up ($11). Both will wash out during your next shampoo.
Erase Grays: Stash a root touch-up crayon in your bag to camouflage white strands that pop up—in brows too.
If you have 10 minutes
Whether you want to conceal roots for a few weeks or just cheat the color a few days before going for full-head color, try a permanent root-concealing kit, like Revlon Root Erase Permanent Root Touch-Up ($12), or a semi-permanent kit that lasts up to 10 shampoos, like Clairol Root Touch-Up Color Blending Gel ($10). These products will fully cover roots and blend in seamlessly with the rest of your hair. “Ask your colorist to
recommend a brand and shade that would work best for your hair,” Angarita says. Be sure to really massage the formula into your roots when you apply it “to prevent a line or streak from forming,” Garcia says.