I've been getting my hair colored since I was in fifth grade. I'd tag along to my mom's color appointments, and as she'd get her signature shade of dark brown, I'd sit in the station next to her anxiously anticipating my own fresh paint job: Mary-Kate and Ashley–inspired zebra streaks. (Or whatever pop star I was currently obsessed with at the time—I also, undoubtedly, sported glittering temporary tattoos and foam platform flip-flops.)
Since then, I've dabbled in lowlights, highlights, and full-speed-ahead bleach and tones to maintain my false identity as a blonde. I've thought about ditching the inevitable damage, salon costs, and upkeep as the years have worn on, but every six weeks as my dark roots regain the monopoly over my hairline, I instantly neglect any fleeting thoughts of going au naturel. I'm infatuated with my colorist here in Los Angeles (Cass Kaeding, I miss you!), and she'd 100% confirm the creeping panic I begin to feel around week eight when my roots start to feel unbearable. (Please, allow me to be dramatic.) By the time I finally make it into the salon—around week 10—I'm practically delirious with excitement.
To me, nothing feels better than fresh color, so you can imagine the state of my strands right now as I'm about 13 weeks out from my last bleach session. Of course, an at-home dye job is always on the table, but I don't trust myself with something as potentially hazardous as bleach, so reaching for effective root cover-up products instead has been my saving grace.
I do want to point out that the exposure of my natural hair color is nothing to truly stress out over. Given the current state of affairs, we all have bigger fish to fry than what color our hair is or isn't. However, I'd be remiss to act like it isn't human and totally okay to grieve the "superficial" services and treatments that used to put an extra pep in our step. Pardon any mushiness, but getting my hair colored, catching up with Cass for a couple of hours, and spending time at the 454 North (a gem of a salon tucked into West Hollywood) rejuvenated my hair, yes, but also my soul. So while a roundup of the best root touch-up products might not fill the void of your colorist's magical, in-person touch, they just might help you feel a little more yourself during these uncertain times.
Luckily, pretty much all of the best and most sought-after haircare brands in the industry have their own at-home hair color solutions, and if you'd rather leave a legitimate, commitment-requiring job to the experts, a user-friendly root touch-up will be your best friend until you and your colorist meet again. To help you sift through all of your options, I've found the 11 top-rated root touch-up products money can buy. From sprays to powders to gels, there's a vehicle of color camouflage for literally everyone regardless of your hair color, texture, or formula preference. Keep scrolling!
Shades: black, red, dark brown, medium brown, light brown, dark blonde, light blonde
In addition to being vegan and free of hair-compromising parabens and sulfates, this new root touch-up from R+Co exceeds expectations in a few other ways as well. Assuming you color your hair, you likely have some damage, yes? This formula covers up your grays or natural hair color while simultaneously enhancing the health of your strands and scalp with a hearty dose of mineral- and amino acid–rich pearl extract and growth-enhancing biotin.
Shades: black, dark brown, medium brown, light brown, red, dark blonde, platinum blonde
I've talked to so many celebrity colorists who constantly carry Color Wow's best-selling Root Cover Up in their kits. Not only will the easy-to-apply formula diffuse the look of your roots so your color appears to stay fresher longer, but you can even apply it around your scalp, part, or a pesky cowlick to fake the look of a fuller hairline.
Shades: black, dark brown, light brown, red, blonde, platinum
This popular root touch-up is so beloved it's often sold out or on back-order. (We recommend snapping up your desired color at retailers like Amazon or Dermstore for best availability.) In addition to effortlessly concealing peekaboo gray or roots, Oribe's natural mineral formula will also strengthen your hair, provide color-stretching UV protection, and absorb excess oil and dirt.
Shades: dark chestnut, light chestnut, dark blonde, golden blonde
Although the shade range is a tad more limited, this is one of the only temporary root solutions that's Violet Code–approved. (Oribe also made the cut-throat list on Violet Grey.) Unlike some of the popular sprays and powders on the market, this is a natural gel formula that easily blends your natural and dyed color to help conceal the look of overgrown roots. It lends commitment-free color that will gradually fade after five to seven shampoos.
Shades: brown/black, auburn, dark brown, medium brown, chestnut brown, ash brown, light brown, sandy brown, golden blonde, ash blonde, platinum
Okay, so there are some positives and negatives with this particular root touch-up. While the product itself is $35, you will have to splurge for the Temptu Air (which is a bit of an investment) if you don't already own one. That said, this option offers one of the widest arrays of colors we've seen in the field of root concealers, and it's also extremely easy to use, effective, and healthy for your hair. The formula won't budge until your next wash, and it's strategically engineered to be lightweight and grease-free while utilizing key ingredients like amino acids and panthenol to keep your strands moisturized, shiny, and strong between your color appointments.
Shades: dark brown/black, red, light brown, dark blonde, blonde
Hazan might have the most OG root touch-up in the business, and if the formula's reviews and ratings are any indication, it's still one of the best. It has a solid five-star rating on Dermstore's website and maintains a commendable four-star status despite a whopping 1K reviews on Sephora. The color choices are cozier, but each shade is designed to be flexible enough to easily blend into the hue of your roots and color. Transfer- and waterproof, it helpfully features a unique pinpoint actuator to provide ultimate precision with your coverage.
Shades: black, auburn, dark brown, medium brown, light brown, copper, strawberry, dark blonde, medium blonde, light blonde
As the brand is known and loved for its cult-favorite Apple Cider Vinegar Hair Rinse ($35), applause could be heard everywhere when DPHue launched a few other clutch at-home color necessities. Yes, it has an actual color kit that requires some time and commitment, but it also has one of the best root touch-up sprays money can buy. The brand boasts additional colors like strawberry and copper, which the spectrum of redheads will love, and the formula is also carefully blended to feature crème de la crème feed for damaged strands. (It even has a unique dual-action nozzle and two different spray settings.)
Shades: black, dark brown, light brown, dark blonde
If you're looking for a more affordable option, Tresemmé's temporary root antidote is one of the best on the drugstore scene. So many formulas can have a less-than-appetizing residue or stick factor, but this one dries extremely quickly and even helps keep oil and dirt at bay.
Shades: black, red, dark brown, medium brown, light brown, light golden brown, dark blonde, light to medium blonde
This is another fan favorite drugstore option for root coverage. Tresemmé's quick-drying formula (above) is wonderful, but the brand's color range is significantly more limited. Therefore, if you have gray hair and are looking to conceal with shades of blonde, red, brown, or black, we suggest opting for this popular spray from L'Oréal. The brand also makes a pen-like version with a super-precise brush if that's more your application speed and another formula that's specifically geared toward blondes with dark roots.
10. Garnier Hair Color Express Retouch Gray Hair Concealer
Shades: black, dark brown, light brown, dark blonde
This is another root touch-up that's especially great for those with gray hair. We love the easy and unique applicator. With the cap still on, just give the product a good shake, dab the applicator onto the roots where you want coverage, dab temples and hairline, and then give your newly freshened roots about three minutes to dry before brushing out to help blend.
Shades: dark brown, black, red, blonde, dark blonde
The only reason this easy, draw-on root touch-up from Bumble and Bumble doesn't sit higher on our list is that it's hard to cover a lot of ground. That said, if you're after just a few stray gray hairs or minimal regrowth, this is an excellent pick. The ingenious mess-free crayon-like application is definitely to be admired, and we also appreciate how budge-proof the results are. As of right now, Sephora only offers a few shades, but Bumble and Bumble's website has additional hues like blonde and red in addition to a separate stick for non-natural colors like lilac or hot pink.