Which is the best root cover up to keep you looking fresh in between colourings?

Every now and then in our lives, let’s say…every six weeks (sometimes less) we find ourselves staring at an inch of unsightly root growth in the mirror that doesn’t match the rest of our beautifully coloured hair. 

Life is busy and there isn’t always the time to sit in a salon for three hours while our hair, and our confidence, is restored back to its best. 

please don't look at my roots funny picture

Let’s get to the root of the problem.

If only there was an easy way to touch-up your roots and give yourself more time in between salon trips. Readers, there sure is!

Behold the root cover up! Aka root touch-ups.

What is a root cover up?

Root cover ups are handy sprays, mascaras, pens, powders and dyes that deposit a touch-up of colour on your roots to match the rest of your hair dye. Root cover up will fool the world into thinking you’ve just had your colour done. Perfect!

We love them because they mean you can go longer in between hair dyeing sessions, they’re inexpensive and unseemly grey hairs can be banished with a quick dab or spray.

Of course, they’re more like make-up than dye so will rinse away with water. Or rain! So they’re only a temporary solution. But most are small enough to take with you anywhere to touch up on the go.

funny tweet

Which is the best root touch-up to hide my roots?

Here are the top of the horrid-hair-hiding bunch.

We’ll be honest, in general we found all of these work better on darker dyed hair colours than blondes and highlighted hair (there are a couple that do the job well, however) but as always, you’ll have to try some out to see what works best for you. 

Good luck!

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The Best Root Touch Ups at a glance.

ProductLooks likeBest forRatingBuy now
L'Oreal Magic Retouchbest root touch upsGood coverage for darker hair colours.
Clairol Root Touch up Permanent Colour best root touch upsPERMANENT dye - it’s a quick fix if you’re desperate.
Color WOW Root Cover Upbest root touch upsThe brush allows for precision and a little goes a long way so you don’t need a lot.
Root Perfect Hair Concealer Spraybest root touch upsSaving the pennies as well as your looks.
Touchback Pro Root Touch Upbest root touch upsEasy application.
Garnier Express Retouchbest root touch upsSmaller areas.
Sevich Hair Line Powderbest root touch upsLighter hair colours.
Boyd's Brush it Away Hair Mascarabest root touch upsUsing on your eyebrows too!


COLOR WOW Root Cover Up.

color wow root touch-up

Best root cover up for: Easy use and value for money.

No mess, no gunk, no trying to aim the spray exactly where you need it like some of the other best root touch-ups on the list – these guys have cornered the market in easy-to-apply essentials.

It’s kind of like applying an eye shadow to the roots of your hair but the effects are brilliant and it stays on until you wash it off.  This is without question the winner for us.

Read more about what makes this so special in Color WOW Root Cover Up | Spotlight Review.

1.L’Oreal Paris Magic Retouch.

loreal magic retouch

Available in colours: Black, Brown, Dark Iced Brown, Dark Brown, Medium Brown, Light Brown, Light Golden Brown, Red, Dark Blonde, Medium Blonder, Light Blonde.

They say:

  • Magic retouch conceals greys and roots in just a quick, easy to use spray.
  • Hits the spot when, where and how you need it.
  • The science? Pinpoint micro-diffusers targets greys and rich pigments give long-lasting, blended coverage.
  • Three seconds to flawless roots.

Reviewers say:

“Having never tried a root touch-up product like this, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I have grey roots that seem to go from nothing to an inch long overnight! I was worried that the colour wouldn’t match so I tested it before leaving the house and it was great – It lasted until I washed my hair.”

“It’s quick, simple, and easy to use but probably best for darker hairs like black or brown. I have red hair and unfortunately the red one of these made my roots look orange! However the coverage was good so I’m not giving up – I may experiment with a light brown? I’ll report back!”

“I think this product covers well. It does come off a bit on your fingers and made me worry about if it rains. As it’s a spray, it’s quite powerful when it comes out so took me a while to get the knack of applying on just my roots and not my forehead too! You really only need it along your parting. Worked well for me.”

We say:

We love this range for the variety of colours, it’s won awards for being one of the best root touch-ups and regularly tops the charts. It’s powdery almost like a dry shampoo and does take a few goes to get the spray technique right! 

If your roots are not too bad, you could try L’Oreal Magic Retouch Black Precision Instant Grey Concealer Brush which is easier to apply as you can be more precise. But Magic Touch spray is best for more coverage. We agree with the review above that it’s best for darker colours. Once you get the hang of applying it, it sticks until your next shampoo so a great root touch-up solution.

Best for: Good coverage for darker hair colours.

2.Clairol Root Touch-Up Permanent Hair Color Creme.

Available in colours: Loads! From Ultra Light Ash Blonde to Intense Red, Black and three shades of everything in between.

They say:

  • Fights grey hair and restores roots.
  • Best root touch-ups to blend with leading salon colours.
  • Long-lasting effects that hold fast.
  • Works even on stubborn greys.
  • Precision brush for neat and easy application.

Reviewers say:

“I’ve only been dying my hair for the last two years, and this is the second time I’ve used this product to touch-up roots in between colouring. I was using root touch-up sprays but wanted something more permanent so I tried this in blonde.

I was a bit nervous! It was just before I was going away so I didn’t want to get it wrong but I didn’t have the time to go to the salon. It went on easily and the results were fab. Will definitely use again.”

“Great product! Easy to use. The little brush comes in very handy to apply it like a professional. Only drawback is the smell but that’s to be expected as it works like a dye.”

We say:

This is a permanent touch-up so BE CAREFUL. You may end up making stripes in your hair around your parting if the colour doesn’t match up with your normal dye.

It’s not a daily touch-up that will cover up new growth, it’s a quick fix if you’re desperate and don’t have time to hit the salon. That said, once it’s on, it stays there until you dye your hair again. Use with caution.

Best for: Permanent solution

3.COLOR WOW Root Cover Up.

color wow cover up

Available in colours: Black, Dark Brown, Medium Brown, Light Brown, Dark Blonder, Light Blonde, Platinum, Red.

They say:

  • It’s not sticky or waxy like mascaras and crayons.
  • Looks completely natural.
  • Water resistant!
  • Makes hair look thicker and colour more vibrant.
  • Covers even dark roots without chemicals like peroxide.

Reviewers say:

“I”ve been using the medium brown root cover-up product which is so easy to apply, it’s brilliant. It stays on perfectly until hair is washed. When I first bought it, I bought it as a treat for myself as I thought it was rather expensive for what it was. But it lasts for AGES and works so well that I’ll always buy it now.”

“I find it’s good for my eye brows too! Seems to last well. This is my second one – the other one lasted a year!”

“This matches my hair colour to a tee! Perfect for in between color appts and leaves no yucky residue like other sprays and mascaras I have tried in the past. So glad I found Colour Wow.”

We say:

No mess, no gunk, no trying to aim the spray exactly where you need it like some of the other touch-ups on the list – these guys have cornered the market in easy-to-apply essentials.

It’s kind of like applying an eye shadow to the roots of your hair but the effects are brilliant. It’s transfer resistant and it stays on until you wash it off. 

The brush allows for a precise application and a little goes a long way so you don’t need a lot. It comes in a range of great colours (the red is to die for) and in a case that’s handy for your handbag if you need to retouch throughout the day. Definitely worth the money for hiding hair sins and one of the best root touch-ups there is.

Best for: Easy use and value for money

4.ROOT Perfect Hair Concealer Spray.

Available in colours: Dark Brown, Medium Brown, Light Brown, Light Blonde, Dark Blonde, Black.

They say:

  • A quick-drying mist that blends to give a natural look.
  • Covers root regrowth and any greys in seconds.
  • Extends the time needed between colouring your hair.
  • Gives an all-day flawless finish. 
  • Quick to use and easy to wash out.

Reviewers say:

“I discovered this a few weeks ago and I love it. It covers my brittle, dry roots without making my hair sticky or looking ‘powdered’. Will purchase again.”

“I bought this when looking for a cheap root concealer to hide my roots and buy me time in between going to the hairdresser or dying my hair myself. I was really impressed with the price & quality. Great value for money!”

We say:

At the budget end of the scale, this is the best root touch up of the bunch. There aren’t an extensive array of colours but it’s quick to use and lasts. It’s a spray that goes on lightly compared to others that can go everywhere. Smells good too. This is the best one if you want to save the pennies as well as your looks.

Best for: Saving money as well as looks

5.TouchBack PRO Root Touch Up.

pro root touch up

Available in colours: Ash Blonde, Light Auburn, Dark Auburn, Dark Brown, Golden Blonde, Medium Brown, Rich Black.

They say:

  • This bonds to your hair and blends seamlessly with permanent hair colour. 
  • Grey roots vanish in an instant.
  • Won’t flake or rub off, even when brushed (unlike powders, mascaras, crayons and sprays).

Reviewers say:

“This temporary marker pen to colour in your roots is a brilliant idea. Does it work? Kinda. It looks like a felt tip marker but I found it a little watery to apply. I tried black and it blended really well with my natural dark colour. Best of all, it’s easy to use. However, I wish the colour didn’t come off so easily, I have to carry it with me for touch-ups throughout the day.”

“Awesome idea! I find root spray touch-ups so hard to control. I always end up spraying my clothes and the wall behind me! This product is like a big marker which you apply exactly where it’s needed. Whenever I spot my greys peeking out, I whip it out, draw on some new roots and I’m ready to go!”

“Perfect to carry with me so I can use it whenever I feel the need. Black works great for me, easy to put on and stays on too. Will buy it again for sure.”

We say:

What an ingenious idea! A big, fat Sharpie to colour our stubbornist roots. We found it does come away easier than others but for the innovative design, we love it and don’t mind reapplying every morning.

The lighter colours are a little chalky looking but the browns/blacks held good overall coverage. We love the colour pallet with the auburn shades. 

Best for: Easy application

6. Garnier Express Retouch.

Available in colours: Black, Blonde, Brown, Dark Brown, Light Blonde.

They say:

  • Root touch-up that allows you to cover your roots on the go, anytime and anywhere.
  • Big claims of 100% coverage for grey hairs. 
  • A water-resistant formula so it stays on in the rain, but washes out with shampoo.
  • It has a cushion applicator that’s inspired by the world of make-up so that you apply it precisely and easily. 
  • Use it to cover both your grey roots on your parting, grey hairs around your temple area as well as the occasional niggling stray strand that gets on your nerves.

Reviewers say:

“This is my best loved of all root touch-ups and the favourite one I have ever used. It took me a few goes to get the application right and I did find it a bit sticky. However, the finish is fantastic. I went for a colour lighter than my natural shade and it was just right. All I would change is the size of the applicator which was a bit too big.”

“Sound product. Worked really well for me and covered my grey roots. I use this for a week or so before I need to see the hairdresser. Washes out fine.”

We say:

Not a vast range of colours here and we would stick to the darker ones for the best results. It was easy to apply and looked good but you wouldn’t use it to cover a vast area – it was a little tricky to wash off. Make sure all traces of it have gone before you visit the hairdresser otherwise your dye won’t stick.

Best for: Covering smaller areas

7.Sevich Hair Line Powder.

Available in colours: Light Brown, Dark Brown, Black, Grey (!), Light Coffee, Medium Brown, Light Blonde, Brown,

They say:

  • This uses a powder puff to hide those pesky and unsightly roots.
  • The colour is firm but it will leave your hair feeling fluffy.
  • It’s sweat proof and easy to clean off again. 
  • Safe, Paraben, sulfate & peroxide free.

Reviewers say:

“Works well, would use again. Nice size to take with you wherever you go!”

“It takes a bit of skill to master putting on. You’re effectively dusting your hair with powder and the puff is a bit cumbersome. But once I got the hang of it, I liked the way it made my roots look. Would I buy again? I’m not sure, it’s a bit small so I think it’ll run out too quick.”

We say:

We felt a bit odd powdering our hair like we would our noses, but the results were rather pleasing.

This is one where the lighter colours actually worked really well, probably because you end up putting on a lot of product. It stayed put overnight as well so we didn’t have to use much again in the morning. It’s a lot of dabbing but if you’re patient and want a really good coverage, this is a good buy.

Oh, it’s also worth a mention that it has a Grey version. If your hair is dyed silver this would be an awesome top up.

Best for: Lighter hair colours

8. Boyd’s Brush It Away – Hair Mascara and Root Touch Up.

Available in colours: Auburn, Light Brown, Dark Brown, Medium Brown, Black, Blonde. 

They say:

  • Instant coverage for grey hair that lasts until your next shampoo.
  • You apply it with a slim wand applicator which makes it a clump-free and natural. 
  • Brill for last minute emergencies.
  • Easy use for men or women. 

Reviewers say:

“This product is easy to brush in and stays where you put it until it’s washed off. I love it I’ve been using it for years. I just wash it off with water as I don’t like to shampoo my colour too much. It comes off a treat. I’m very happy with it.”

“The Boyd’s Brush It Away may be meant for touch ups between hair colourings, but it works for eyebrows that have disappeared because they have turned grey (ok, white!). It’s a little thick when the product is brand new, but after a few applications, it goes on really well until it’s empty.”

“This product may have been designed to touch up hair colour but Oh Boy Boyd’s now my eyebrows look amazing too! In all my years of wearing make up I have never found anything better. My brows are now blonde like my hair too. 

Thank you, Boyd’s!”

We say:

We couldn’t have a best root touch-ups list without featuring a hair mascara and this is one of our bestest. Loads of reviewers said they used it for their eyebrows too so we tried it and well! A revelation! Now we don’t even need to dye our eyebrows either! 

But even if you don’t use it for that, this is still worth keeping handy. It can be heavy so don’t over-apply it or steer clear completely if you have really fine hair. This is one that worked well for the darker Blonde Shades and there’s also a really nice Auburn for redder tones.  

We also love Boyd’s for keeping the guys included. Big up.

Best for: Using on your eyebrows too!


COLOR WOW Root Cover Up.

color wow root touch up

No mess, no gunk, no trying to aim the spray exactly where you need it like some of the other root touch-ups on the list – these guys have cornered the market in easy-to-apply essentials.

It’s kind of like applying an eye shadow to the roots of your hair but the effects are brilliant and it stays on until you wash it off.  This is without question to the one for us.

Read more about what makes this so special in Color WOW Root Cover Up | Spotlight Review.

You can also read about more about two of the most popular root cover ups in L’Oreal Magic Touch vs Color Wow Root Cover Up | Head to Head.

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