Root Touch Ups At Home.

In February 2019, I wrote a blog post, entitled, “When your hairdresser isn’t going to be around for a while!”, never thinking that, one year on, all hairdressers would be closed due to the Coronavirus.

I know some of you are struggling with the concept of doing your own hair, so, in the interim, I thought I would do a quick update to my original blog post, adding some finer detail.

I have received a lot of enquiries regarding my root touch up routine which has spurred me on to write this article.  I hope you find it helpful.

I am a “laywoman” and no expert in hairdressing.  My hairdresser, Anna, has all the skills, knowledge and training to demonstrate all the qualities needed for me to be in her capable, safe and reliable hands.

I started to do my own colour around a year and a half ago to save on expense and time.  My re-growth comes through somewhere between four to six weeks.  Following the root touch up, I, occasionally, put two or three (very fine) highlights on the top of my head simply to brighten it up. This is usually in the summer months because, in the winter months, I quite like the dark look the root touch up presents.

My normal routine is to see Anna twice a year for a good cut.  This involves trimming my long layers; having the ends of my hair chopped and a half head of highlights.  The underneath layer of my hair is (mostly) still brown, with the tiniest bit of grey. So, there is no need to touch this, especially at the back of my head.

The grey shows mostly around my hairline, on the top of my head and only slightly around my temples.  I’ve noticed the grey has increased in the last year – oh, the joys of getting older!  The regrowth is generally around half an inch every four to six weeks.

Anna has kindly passed on a few tips to me.  I also picked up a lot of knowledge watching YouTube videos.

I’ve used this spray for a few years and usually need to use it from around week three to four, following my root touch up. This is mainly to hide my “greys”.  The application can be tricky – I’ve found a light spray is enough.  Also, be careful not to aim too close to the scalp.

Then, I use a cotton pad with a little splash of Micellar Water to pat onto my skin around the hairline. This gets rid of any colour which has accidentally hit my skin.  I know this isn’t perfect for everyone as it can leave some residue on clothing, hats and sunglasses etc, but I’ve found a light spray is enough, and it lasts, too.  This usually buys me another two weeks until I do my root touch up.

Preparation for my Root Touch Up.

I use ‘Clairol permanent Root Touch-Up hair dye.  I haven’t tried any other products on the market as I’ve found that this product “does the job”, so I’ve stayed with it.

I started with the Shade: 6, Light Brown, but I found it lifted my natural colour a little, so I changed to Shade: 6A, Light Ash Brown, which is darker. I much prefer this shade.  It’s sensible to do a strand test, first.  This will ensure you have the correct shade, and you will be able to see if the colour reacts well with your natural colour.  When you find the right shade, it’s also a good idea to buy two boxes, if possible  just in case you have a spillage or run out when only part of the way through!

Next, check for allergies (this is so important).  You really don’t want an allergic reaction to the solution.  To do this:

  1. measure out small equal amounts of the two solutions;
  2. mix;
  3. dab it on the inside of your elbow.
  4. leave for 48 hours (keeping it dry) – if there is no itchiness or redness, then you are okay to use it.

I usually do my colour at the sink, in the bathroom, in front of the mirror, (easier to clean up!).  I always do my colour in daylight or in as much natural light as possible as it’s much easier to spot the greys!!

I wear an old tee shirt in case of splashes – usually, one of my hubby’s, when he’s not looking.

I detangle my hair giving it a thorough brush.

I have a side parting in my hair.  I prefer to work with two sections at the front of my head.  I do the left-hand side, first – clipping the right-hand side out of the way.  I know some people like to have more sections, but I find two is okay for me, as my hair is still quite dark at the back of my head – therefore, I focus mainly on these two areas, which is adequate, at the moment.

I mix the two solutions together in a bowl.  I use a child’s paintbrush to apply the solution as I find it easier to use, and more accurate – you may prefer a tint brush.  I also use a tail comb as the sharp end is ideal to separate the sections.

Before I begin, I apply a thin layer of petroleum jelly around my hairline and ears – this way, my skin is protected from the colour, and I can just wipe any splashes off, immediately, once I’m done.  I also keep a paper tissue or piece of kitchen roll by my side so that, if I splash any colour, I can easily wipe it up.

I wear disposable gloves to protect the skin on my hands from reactions to harsh substances and bacteria.

I run the tail comb through the left-hand side of my hair and make sure the parting is super straight.

Start the Process

To begin, I start at the top of my head (some people prefer the bottom) – I find this way easier. I then undertake the following steps:

  1. apply a layer of colour along the parting;
  2. use the tail end of my comb to separate a 1/4″ inch section – then apply the colour along the section with my brush;
  3. flip the section up and over keeping it in place with a clip; and
  4. repeat applying the colour to both sides of the section. Then I add each section to the clip as I go.

I work my way down, making sure I add colour to both sides of the sections.

When I get to my ear, I make sure to pay attention to my temples, as this is a grey, grey area!

I then clip it all together to keep it away from the remaining section.

I then repeat the above process on the remaining section.

When all complete, I leave for ten minutes to develop – then wash thoroughly.

I would recommend using a good conditioner – e.g. I love the conditioners containing Keratin.  My hair always feels in a much improved and softer condition when I use it.


This may sound complicated and a lot to do – but, honestly, I’ve been colouring my roots for just over a year now and that old-fashioned saying “practice makes perfect” is so true, in this case.  It is easy to do once you get the hang of it.  If I can do it, you can too!

Thank you for reading my post.  I hope you have enjoyed it and found it helpful.  If you have any questions, please let me know in the comments.  This post may include a few affiliate links.  All products are my own.  Best wishes to you and keep safe.




  1. 8 April 2020 / 7:41 pm

    That was a lot to absorb. I’m going to go back to through and read again then probably take a deep breath and go for it! Thank you for the helpful information.

    • 8 April 2020 / 7:50 pm

      Thank you so much Susana. When I was writing down my process it
      was becoming more and more detailed. I didn’t want to leave
      anything out as I have made a few mistakes over the last eighteen
      months. I hope you and yours are well.
      Take care. xx

  2. 9 April 2020 / 6:39 pm

    Great post, Alison! I just dyed my hair on Sunday…a root touch up, all over color, and attempted to brighten up my blonde streak. What I mess I make! Haha. But at least it is finished. Until I have to do it again in about 8 weeks. I am loving your Beatles tee shirt! So cute. Thanks for linking up.


    • 12 April 2020 / 3:33 pm

      I find it easier to do my own toot touch up now if that makes sense. The Beatles tee was a Christmas present from
      my youngest son. He got it so right as I do love their music. xx

  3. 12 April 2020 / 7:50 pm

    I needed a root touch up 4 weeks ago. But I’m going to wait until my hair dresser can do it again! But it is a pain! Lol.

    • 16 April 2020 / 8:45 pm

      It is indeed a huge pain. I quite like doing my roots – the control and independence it’s given me. Then, going
      to Anna (my hairdresser) for my highlights and cut. I may be attacking my hair with the scissors, for a trim soon as I haven’t had
      it cut since October last year. xx

    • 16 April 2020 / 8:46 pm

      Thank you so much. Give it a go and if you have any questions let me know. xx

  4. 13 April 2020 / 2:36 am

    Your hair is just beautiful! I didn’t know you did your own color most of the time! Thanks for sharing these tips!

    • 16 April 2020 / 8:51 pm

      Thank you so much Laura. I’ve been doing my roots for around a year now. That old saying “Practice makes perfect” definitely applies. As, it hasn’t always worked, that’s what prompted me to share my knowledge. Especially in this situation we’ve found ourselves in. xx

    • 16 April 2020 / 8:53 pm

      Thank you Sherry. I’m so pleased you’ve found it useful. xx

  5. 15 April 2020 / 3:00 pm

    I’ll be doing my own hair soon, as I can’t get to the hairdressers they are obviously closed! Thanks for sharing your views, I’m quite looking forward to trying mine out when the grey starts to come through! Jacqui x

    • 16 April 2020 / 8:58 pm

      Thank you Jacqui. I’ve found it quite liberating doing my own root touch up, though I prefer to visit my hairdresser
      for my cut and highlights. I haven’t had it cut since October, so I think I’ll watch a few you tube tutorials before I
      get the scissors out. I’m a little nervous. xx

  6. 15 April 2020 / 10:04 pm

    I’ve cut and coloured my hair for the last twelve years! I’ve just managed to find my colour online and bought the last one. My wholesale place has been closed. I am completely grey, so I’m thanking my lucky stars I’m able to do it myself xx

    • 16 April 2020 / 9:04 pm

      It’s definitely a bonus doing your own hair. I visit Anna twice a year, for a cut and half head of highlights, which,
      I love to do as she is so good. If I was going every four to six weeks for my root touch up it would be too expensive
      I think. I’ll check your you tube channel as I haven’t had a cut since October and thought I’d give it a quick snip
      at the ends.xx

  7. 16 April 2020 / 8:41 am

    I shall need to do a root touch up very soon, my next hair appointment would have been 25 April . Thanks for the useful tips, it’s a long time since I’ve done it myself. Thanks for linking up at #WowOnWednesday.

    • 1 May 2020 / 7:21 pm

      I’d just booked in with Anna, my hairdresser. I haven’t seen her since October, so will have to give the ends a little snip
      as it’s getting too long.. x

  8. 26 April 2020 / 3:39 am

    Your title got my attention (Nancy’s linkup) as I also do my own touchups sometimes and my hairdresser does the highlights. You did a fabulous job, looks very proffessional.


    • 1 May 2020 / 7:24 pm

      It saves so much expense doing your own roots. I’ve also taken the plunge and given my hair a trim. It was far too long and the ends needed a snip. X

  9. 4 May 2020 / 5:01 pm

    Great job! I could do this, but I think I am holding out as I am not really going anywhere. I call my grays my glitter strands as my true colors are shining through

  10. 4 May 2020 / 8:51 pm

    Hi Allison
    I hope you are doing well. This was very informative! I pinned it so I can go over it again.
    I have never tried a root spray or color as I always just had my stylish color it when it was time to color my whole head.
    Now, my grey is coming in , as it has been 8 weeks and it is mostly hairline and roots. I have to wait another 2 weeks or so for my color to come in and my stylist and friend is mixing my colors and dropping it with an instruction video. So, I may just have to look up one of these. So, you like the spray? I appreciate te pointer.
    thanks for linking!
    jess xx

  11. 11 May 2020 / 4:24 pm

    You have lovely hair Alison. I’ve been colouring my hair at home for a few years now. At the moment I’m only getting grey hairs around the sides – there may be more that I can’t see though! I do mine every 4-5 weeks. It’s a bit of a faff but it’s cheaper than having it done professionally. My hairdresser lives near my mum on the other side of the country so I get her to cut it when I go home for a visit. Hopefully it won’t be too long before I can do that again! Thanks for linking up

    Emma xxx

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