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How To Re-Touch Roots



The correct way to re-touch your roots

Brand X Pictures for Getty
How To Re-Touch Roots
Getty Images

Even the lovely Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, has gray roots that need regular touch ups. Check out her picture here.

Touching up your roots is something you can do at home in between salon visits. You'll want to purchase a color that is as similar as possible to your own processed color. Follow directions on the box, but here are some extra tips.

Difficulty: Easy

Time Required: 30 minutes

Here's How:

  1. Stock up. You'll want to put on your gloves (forget the ones in the box, buy better fitting ones, if you can). You also need an old t-shirt. And the nozzle that comes with the box isn't as effective at coloring hair as a toothbrush, a paintbrush or even a mascara wand.
  2. Divide hair into 4 sections, down the middle and from ear to ear. Pin each section up with plastic hair clips. Apply petroleum jelly along your hairline. This prevents the dye from staining your skin.
  3. Mix color as directions suggest on box (always, always read the directions and follow them, even if you've colored your hair before). Unclip one of the front sections and using the brush, apply color evenly around the perimeter of the section from the roots up to the point where the processed color begins. You will want some overlap. Don't massage into scalp.
  4. Use the applicator tip to work in 1-inch panels. Flip hair over and apply color to this new part. Repeat halfway partings until all roots in that section are covered. Re-clip saturated hair, then repeat on remaining 3 sections.
  5. Set the timer for five minutes before the processing time is supposed to end (processing usual takes about 25 minutes).
  6. When timer goes off, comb the color down from roots to ends. This ensures even coverage. Use any leftover color from the bottle.
  7. Leave on for five minutes. Rinse hair thoroughly in the shower with lukewarm water until the water runs clear. Condition according to package directions (most kits come with conditioner).
  8. Style and show off your gorgeous color...


  1. If you have highlights, it's much more complicated (though not impossible) to get roots touched up. Watch next time your stylist gives you highlights -- thousands of strands get color while thousands do not. Improperly touching up roots would give you an uneven look.
  2. Clairol's new Nice 'n Easy Root Touch-Up Kit is a great kit for root touch-ups.
  3. Don't have time to color your roots? Try eyeshadow! Simply spritz your part with hairspray, then pat the shadow onto the roots. Brown will mask gray, while golds work best on blondes.
  4. Apply Sea Breeze along hairline and anywhere else the dye may have strayed. The alcohol prevents the dye from staining the skin.
  5. Put on a shower cap while waiting for hair to process. This will help keep drips from running.

What You Need:

  • Your favorite hair color product (should come with gloves but it's even better to buy your own, which will fit better)
  • A paintbrush, toothbrush or clean mascara wand
  • Vaseline or petroleum jelly
  • Wide-toothed comb
  • 4 plastic jaw clips
  • Old button-down shirt
  • Old towels

Liked this? There's much more on hair color:



Related Video
How to Touch Up Dark Roots
How to Pick a Hair Color

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