How I Cover My Grey Hair at Home: Root Touch Up

Salons have closed once more due to “Lockdown Three”. So, I have updated an earlier post on how I manage my hair.

Hairdressers usually advise us to ‘do nothing and wait until your next appointment’. But lockdown hair (or lockdown anything, come to that) isn’t great. And, of course, even when salons open their doors again, we all know that, for most of us, it’s going to be awhile before we manage to snag an appointment. Think back to the end of the last lockdown and appointments at 4.00 am!

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 touch up my roots a few years ago to save on expense and time.  My re-growth comes through somewhere between four to six weeks.  Following this, 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 darker 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 from watching YouTube videos.

Light Brown L’Oréal Paris Magic Retouch 

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 – then blend with fingers.  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: 6A, but I found it to be a little dark so, just lately, I’ve changed to  Shade: 6, Light Brown. I much prefer this shade. Choosing a darker, denser colour is apparently a common mistake people make when using home hair colour products – this is because it’s hard to relate to how the shade on the pack will look.

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:

  • measure out small equal amounts of the two solutions;

  • mix;

  • dab it on the inside of your elbow; and

  • 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 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 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:

  • apply a layer of colour along the parting;

  • use the tail end of my comb to separate a 1/4″ inch section – then apply the colour along the section with my brush;

  • flip the section up and over keeping it in place with a clip; and

  • 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 a few years 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!


Did you know that up to 2/3 of post-menopausal women suffer from hair loss?  I noticed my hair starting to thin out, especially at my temples about a year ago. Since then, I have been looking for ways to try re-growing my hair.  Following some research, and checking reviews, I have just started to use  “Kirkland Minoxidil”.  I will let you know how I get on in the coming months.

Shop the Post

Related Posts:

“Lockdown” Diaries – Fashion & Manageable Hair Care

“When Your Hairdresser Isn’t Going To Be Around For A while!”

“My thoughts, lately – Plus, a Review of Lumity Day and Night Anti-Ageing Supplements.”

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. /

    I’ve been tinting my own hair for years! I normally buy my tint at the wholesalers and was lucky to find it on Amazon Phew!

    • It saves so much doing my roots at home. Quite nervous when it comes to highlights though. xx

  2. /

    Oh you should see my hair! It’s just awful. My hairdresser offered to bring me a at home kit but I thought no, I will wait. Pfff. I am not good with those things. But that spray looks easy!

    • It’s taken me a while to master doing my roots. I can manage one or two highlights, but will wait for my hairdresser to do the full job.

  3. Alison, this was a great post! I have been coloring my own hair for 30 years but it is growing more tedious for me to do myself with the length of my hair. I usually go to my stylist once or twice a year for a good cut and overall color. My problem with dying at home now is that I like to do all over color to brighten up my black hair and it really is getting difficult to pull the dye all the way through with the length of my hair…I can’t reach it! So I have resorted to purple shampoo which is giving my gray roots kind of a cool contrasting effect as it grows out. I am not sure what I am doing next. I did buy some more at home color in case I am compelled to dye it again! Thanks for sharing your process!


    • You really suit grey streaks, your hair looks great. I think the transition to grey looks so much better on dark hair . Going from blonde seems more complicated, and I don’t think I’m quite ready yet, but may do it as it does get tedious dying my hair when the grey appears. Oh the joys!

    • Pleased I can share my knowledge. It does save a fortune when you can do your own roots at home. I’ve been doing it for a few years now – I’m on the lookout for another brand, so I’ll do an update if I find a better one. The clairol dye does the job, but I’ve noticed my hair is a tad dryer than usual. This could be my age of course.

  4. /

    Great post Alison. I’ve bought a pair of hairdressers scissors so I can tackle my fringe. I used to use root touch up products when my hair was dark but now that it’s so highlighted I can’t really do it. Wish I could as I like to be self sufficient!

    • I need to buy a good pair of scissors too. I am currently looking for another product to use for my root touch up, just in case there’s something better on the market. I quite like doing the easy stuff at home – it saves a fortune on hairdressing bills.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Close Me
Looking for Something?
Post Categories: