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9 best root touch-ups to see you through to your next hair appointment

We all need something to freshen our hair up right now, so look to one of these saviours

Sarah Finley
Friday 26 March 2021 11:35
<p>From sprays to powders and even mousses, find the one that suits you most</p>

From sprays to powders and even mousses, find the one that suits you most

With hair appointments a distant memory, and ahed of salons reopening, they’re being booked up thick and fast, it still may be a while before we can visit a salon to have our hair coloured. Many of us are looking in the mirror and trying to work out how to cover our roots and greys up.

We’ve either been turning to semi-permanent dyes, with mixed results, or relying on root touch ups that coat the hair and give it a temporary colour, but thankfully, we can wash out relatively quickly.

Even though they’ve been around for a while root touch ups have been a complete saviour during lockdown, giving hair a new lease of life and even our grey hairs and chance to be hidden.

Root cover ups come in all different forms – from sprays to powders and even mousses. But how should we apply them for the best results? Katie Hale, head of colour at Charles Worthington London advises us to: “Apply your root concealers using a spooley or tint brush rather than directly spraying onto the scalp.

While she also advises: “Apply them from bottom to the top of the parting, in sections. Leave a few millimetres below the parting so you can massage the product up into the parting - this avoids your scalp being coated and also gives a better blend.”

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As we tested the root cover ups we looked at how well they went on to our hair, how they covered our roots and greys if they were easy to wash out and their value for money.

You can trust our independent round-ups. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections. This revenue helps us to fund journalism acrossThe Independent.

Charles Worthington instant root concealer powder

This fuss free root concealer does its job effortlessly. The powder touch up, which is available in two shades of blonde, comes in a clear container, with the powder at the bottom and the brush at the top. We simply had to tip it upside down and brush the powder on to our roots. It layers the hair quickly and coats the roots with one brush – while it also has no wet residue so we could get on with styling our hair straight away. It stays in all day and washes out after a quick shampoo. The only downside is the powder sometimes escapes the bottle and spills. One of the cheapest root touch ups we tried and well worth the money.

Garnier Express retouch grey hair concealer

The size of this tiny root touch up is a real plus – a little larger than a lipstick, we popped it in our bag for touch ups throughout the day. The application is easy too – the top screws off to reveal a cushioned applicator, with the cream like touch up already on the brush. Blotting it on to our hair it applied a slightly wet coat to our locks, however, it covered our roots quickly and efficiently. After 10 minutes it had dried, but made our hair go slightly stiff, so we gave it a comb through and the colour still stayed in place. A good price and a good result.

Superdrug colour fix root cover up spray

For such a cheap root cover up we didn’t have a lot of expectations – but it really surprised us. Delivered in a small spray bottle it is available in four shades. We found the precision nozzle really useful when we sprayed the cover up on our hair, while it covered our outgrown hair colour in just one spray.  It took a while to dry but once it did it stayed put. We also found that when we sprayed the product onto a soft brush and gently brushed it over our roots it also covered them well. The colour also washed out quickly and for under a fiver we loved the result.

L’Oréal Professional hair touch up

With a thin nozzle for easy application and great colour matching we were impressed with this cover up. The root concealer comes in a small black can, with an easy press down spray function. While its thin nozzle makes it easy to spray on to the hair and direct it to the exact section of the hair you want to cover. The spray, which contains make up pigments, dried within minutes and covered our roots well – giving them a natural and authentic colour. While the colour range is quite expansive too – with six shades including warm blonde and mahogany brown.

John Frieda defy grey blow dry foam

This root touch up was the only one that came in a dry foam and had a fragrance to it. The push down applicator easily pumped out the dry foam liquid which gave our hair a thin coat of colour. The foam dried quickly but it took at least three coats before we covered any stubborn grey strands. While after a few minutes, the cover up, which is formulated with coffee extract and what the brand calls “grey blend” technology, felt stiff in our hair and we had to brush it through until it worked its way into the hair. We also found that we had to scrub our hair the next day to work the colour out of our locks.

Batiste dry shampoo and a hint of colour

A dry shampoo wouldn’t have been our first thought when looking at ways to touch up our roots, however, Batiste’s new range, with a hint of colour, actually does a good job. The spray, which has three colours, comes in the normal cans, and as well as giving our hair some volume with its dry shampoo, when we sprayed it on to the root it also coated them with a light colour. We didn’t need to wait for it to dry, although we did find that to fully coat our roots, we had to spray it on the hair a couple of times. For doing two jobs in one we think it’s great value for money.

Color Wow root cover up

Housed in a small sleek black case this root touch up clips open to reveal a mirror, a small two ended brush and the coloured powder. The cruelty free product has the consistency of a blusher, while we loved the sparkle that the colour left. We found the larger brush worked better at covering our hair with the powder, however, we had to go over the roots a few times before it even made a dent in them. Although we did find that the cover up worked better on freshly washed hair, rather than two-day old roots. Available in eight colours from black to platinum blonde the cover up didn’t wow us – and the price really reflects the name associated with it, rather than the result.

John Frieda root blur colour blending concealer

A clever root touch up for those with highlights or balayage, the two-colour palette, is for those who want to get creative when covering up their roots. The concealer comes in a black case, reminiscent of an eye shadow case, along with a slightly angled fibre brush applicator. We found that the touch up worked better on thinner, wispier pieces of hair – such as those surrounding our face, rather than our parting roots. It coated them well, providing a good colour and the next day they washed out with a fuss. A good match for those with thinner hair and have highlights which are growing out.

Bumble and Bumble a bit blondish hair powder

We loved the colour of the spray and also how well it took to our hair. Housed in a medium sized can the bottle is more attractive than some of the other root touch ups on the market. A simple spray along our roots was all it took to cover up our three-month-old roots and even got rid of any stray greys too. It went on wet but took just minutes to dry, washing out after a shampoo. It also comes in a brunette colour. One of the more expensive cover ups on the market but well worth the investment.

The verdict: Root cover ups

The powder application of the Charles Worthington Instant root concealer powder settled on our hair quickly with no fuss and we didn’t have to wait for it to dry. We loved the result and the price is very affordable. The Bumble and Bumble A bit blondish hair powder, is great for those on a bigger budget and want to simply spray and go.

For more hair holy grails products, read our review of the 10 best anti-frizz hair products for every hair type

IndyBest product reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products, but we never allow this to bias our coverage. The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing.

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