The pandemic has done quite the number on our strands. We can attempt to pluck our overgrown eyebrows and paint our unpolished nails. And, yes, we can make the effort to switch from loungewear to denim. But our root growth is a harder nut to crack. A no-mess solution for color coverage is desperately needed, especially when you’re not ready to reveal your grays. We asked celeb stylists Kien Hoang, Oribe Director of Training & Content and; Howard McLaren, Co-Founder and Creative Director of R+Co; and Cassondra Kaeding, Redken Brand Ambassador, for expert advice on how to cover gray hair and manage roots without pro help.
Messing with chemicals (which is what hair dye is) should not be taken lightly. It’s probably not worth dyeing your own hair even under these extreme circumstances, especially if you’ve never done it before. As Howard puts it, “if you don’t color your hair, don’t start now as multiple problems could cause disaster.”
Read on for even more expert advice!
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Try a Touch-Up Spray
The experts noted that your best bet is to resist temptation and wait it out until you can see a professional. “The best way to temporarily touch up grays is to instantly cover them up with a root touch-up spray,” says Kien, who suggests Oribe Airbrush Root Touch-Up Spray ($32). “It has a variety of natural shades from platinum to black so anyone can find their shade. It is excellent for instant touch-ups for the time being and leaves a natural, airbrushed finish. If you spray roots up-close, you will get more of an opaque coverage and if you spray further away, it will give more of a shadow effect at the roots,” he continues.
Howard agrees that touch-up sprays are the easiest route to cover gray hair. “Touch-up sprays like R+Co Bright Shadows ($26) are temporary but can get you through a few days,” he emphasizes.
Experiment With Color Solutions
When touch-up sprays aren’t an option, take advantage of the extra time you have and experiment. Kien suggests combining pomade (he recommends Oribe Rough Luxury Soft Molding Paste ($39) around the hairline with an eyeshadow on top that matches your natural hair color. “The pomade allows the eyeshadow pigment to easily adhere to the hair and help it stay all day,” he says.
Try a Headband
If you’re abstaining from products but still want an easy option for gray coverage, Kien recommends getting creative and making a headband to literally hide your grays. “Find a piece of clothing in your closet you never wear anymore, shred it up, tie it in a knot around your head, and go with it. Finish off your new look with a pop of lip color to brighten things up and add an extra bit of distraction. Also, remember to be confident. This is a time where you can let things be a little more natural and take a break from coloring,” he continues.
Follow the Rules
Ask your colorist if they can create an at-home color kit for you, like celeb colorist Cassondra Kaeding did for her clients. Once you get the kit, it’s important you follow the rules, which Cass outlines in THIS IG tutorial on how to cover gray hair. To start off, make sure you are protected—you want to wear a cape and plastic gloves because color can get messy. Brush hair back with a regular or rat-tail comb and apply color right to the hairline, where the regrowth is coming in. “Don’t be afraid to saturate it really well,” Cassondra notes. Apply color to thin sections in the front, brushing it on all the way through, and repeating on either side.
Love the Silver
Why cover your gray hair when you can learn to love it? Truly, if there’s ever been a time to self-love and embrace your silver strands, it’s now. Play with other aspects of your look to take the attention off your grays. Honestly, you’re probably the only one who is really fixated on them anyway. “Sometimes when you have a pop of lip color and a great accessory, it takes away from the hair and creates a different focal point on your face,” Kien assures us. Ultimately, keep calm. Grays are a thing, but they don’t need to stress you out—that might just cause more grays. As Howard says, “Be patient and don’t panic.”