Ladies, in a million years (pre-quarantine), I never would have thought I would dye my own roots at home. I am definitely high maintenance about my hair. It was always worth it to me to spend the time and expense to go to a professional. After all, your hair is the only accessory you wear every day! So, before lockdown, every 4-5 weeks I’d go uptown to the Rita Hazan salon to have my roots touched up, with highlights as well every other visit.
Like many of you, after 6-7 weeks in quarantine, I was going crazy. No more salon visits! The wiry, unruly grey hairs coming in heavy on the daily! I started spending a lot of time on the internet researching home color treatments. I tried a few things before I eventually dyed my own roots. I learned a lot, and am happy with my results (the photo above is a BEFORE photo – I did not take an after one yet!).
Anyway, I’ve summarized my experience below – but please remember I am NOT a colorist and we all have different hair, so if you have specific questions, you should ask your own hairstylist.
Level 1: temporary root concealer sprays, powders and pencils
These are the most temporary and risk-free options for coloring in your roots (grey or otherwise), and I did these for the first 2-3 weeks of my root regrowth. I like this spray by R&Co and this spray by Rita Hazan. In my opinion the easiest to use is this pencil by Rita Hazan – you literally just pencil in color on your grey hair, so easy and effective. Another option is a powder root concealer – this one by Clairol looks good. If you are lucky enough not to have grey hair, but instead just need to cover up your darker roots, your could try this L’Oreal root spray for blondes with dark roots.
The pros are that they do not damage your hair, they wash out, and are very easy to apply. But they are just a stop-gap until your next salon visit. Although they supposedly last until your next shampoo, I needed to reapply every morning. And it is a time-consuming pain to spray or pencil over your roots every day. Plus, the sticky powdery residue from the spray transfers a bit on your face and hands. I do not find these sustainable to use in the long term. And goodness knows how long we will be in quarantine!
Level 2: semi-permanent color kits
The next level up, still pretty risk-free, are semi-permanent color kits. Virtually all colorists in their online blogs will tell you not to color your own hair at home. The consequences can be BAD (and they don’t want to lose business to home color kits). If you do color your roots, many say the best option is semi-permanent, not permanent, color. My old hairstylist in London, Michael Van Clarke, did a blog post, and he said that you CAN try semi-permanent color with little risk as it washes out eventually. Unlike permanent color, it has no lasting effect on the hair’s color, texture, or cuticle. But beware of claims that home color actually is semi-permanent – according to him, many companies use this term loosely. You can only tell if the color is semi-permanent (rather than permanent) if you don’t have to mix two solutions together from the packet before you apply it. If you can just squeeze it out straight onto your hair, without mixing the two solvents together, then you know is semi-permanent.
After reading up on this, I decided to try Clairol Root Touch-Up Color Semi-Permanent Blending Gel. I ended up getting light brown, though, as they were sold out of blonde. I thought the light brown might work, but I tested a small patch and it looked too dark. I could not find the blonde color online at the time. I had a bee in my bonnet to get rid of my greys, so I just moved directly on to the next level – permanent color!
I should say, if I had not rushed into things, and I had the correct semi-permanent color for my hair at the time, I most definitely would have tried it first. It washes out after 10 washes – you don’t mix anything together, it just goes directly on your roots. They say for more lasting results, leave it on longer than 10 minutes, and just rinse it out (don’t use shampoo).
Level 3: permanent color
But moving on – I couldn’t wait any longer, so decided to take the plunge with permanent color. Reading reviews, lots of women loved both the Clairol Root Touch-Up Permanent Color Kit and the L’Oreal Magic Root Rescue 10 Minute Permanent Color Kit. I was able to get my hands on the Clairol one in light blonde, and one morning I just went for it. And I was so glad I did! It is so easy! This is what you do:
-Apply right before you are getting in the shower to wash your hair.
-Take off all your clothes and put on an old bathrobe with an old towel draped on your shoulders.
-Open the box, read the instructions, put on the gloves and mix the two solutions together in the little plastic bowl provided.
-Part your hair with the blue comb and start painting the solution on the part with the brush. Then move to your hairline and temples. Really saturate the solution on your roots and wherever you can see greys or want coverage. Then keep changing your part, and apply all up and down each parting until you cover the whole top of your head. Don’t forget to do the top of your head too. But best to focus on your part and hairline.
-Set the timer for 10 minutes. I actually would leave it on more like 15 minutes.
-When the timer goes off, get in the shower and rinse the color out. Then just gently shampoo, and then condition. Shower as normal.
-Blowdry and voila! I actually loved the result. The greys were pretty much gone and my hair looked natural and the color blended well into the rest of my hair.
-What I would do differently is to leave it on longer (I only left on for 10 minutes) and really saturate the greys. Use all the solution in the bowl, make sure you really cover your roots!
To me the hardest part was choosing the color, so you might want to test it on a section of your hair before you do your whole head. Or, test two colors before you decide. They make so many shades, so it can be overwhelming. Use your best judgment.
Overall, I like this product because it is subtle and does the job. Even if the color was not exactly what my hairdresser would choose, I was so glad to have my greys gone and I felt lighter, brighter and shinier after. If the salons are still not open when my greys start coming back, believe me I will be repeating this process until they are open! Actually, even when salons are open, I might keep using these kits anyway, just for grey coverage. We are talking $8, as opposed to the $250-300 I spend just getting my single process every 4 weeks!
I must say, it felt great to be able to do something myself for a change, instead of feeling like a victim of the lockdown (and aging). It was great to take back some control. Next up: learning to paint my own nails!
I hope this was helpful for you! Are any of you planning to do your own color at home? I would love to know what others are doing. Let me know in the comments! And thanks for reading!
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