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Root Touch Up Sprays: How To Use Them Plus Our Favorite One

photo of woman getting roots done at salon
In the hair community, visible roots are a hot-button issue. Past years saw women running for the salon the second their icy blonde began to show dark edges, but that’s no longer the case. We’re increasingly seeing women opting for shadowed colors that will grow in more naturally while providing extra dimension—and that’s not to mention techniques like reverse ombre and peekaboo highlights, which are specifically designed to play up the natural root.

There’s also another whole class of women dealing with roots: Those who hope to cover up their gray hairs in between salon appointments. To work for all types of women, the best root touch up product must boast excellent coverage while simultaneously lasting through one shampoo.

That brings us to L’Oréal Professionnel’s Hair Touch Up Root Concealer spray, our favorite root touch up product of 2018 from the brand’s portfolio of products. We spoke with DJ McGinley, L’Oréal Professionnel stylist and brand ambassador, about the ways she makes the product work for her clients in the salon.

What is a root touch up product?

As the name suggests, root touch up spray is an aerosol formula that disguises the look of visible roots. According to McGinley, she’s happy to use Hair Touch Up regularly because it’s uncomplicated. There’s little mess, a factor every woman who loves both her hair and her clean bathroom can appreciate.

You just spray in the hair dry and it’s really simple...It’s got this little spray nozzle and easy application. Clients love it because it goes on dry. [They] just pre-section the hair where they want to see the color and they just spray it in.
The product fades after a single shampoo, meaning it’s best for women seeking temporary coverage.


Where do visible roots come from?

If you’ve never colored your hair, you may be wondering why we’re even having this conversation at all. In fact, visible roots only happen if you’ve gotten a salon color service that’s transformed your hair into a color that’s far from the natural one you were born with. When your real hair starts to grow in a week or so later, you’ll be able to see a line where the new growth ends and the color begins.

How do you use root touch up spray?

McGinley says there are several different ways to put root touch up spray to work in your life. In the salon, she uses it as a tool to show women what a shadowed hair color might look like. Since Hair Touch Up comes in four different colors, she has the flexibility to create an approximation of the client’s prospective hair color.

“Before I highlight [my blonde clients], I’ll take a light brown and I just spray it in sections on the hair,” McGinley says. “I give them 2 to 3-inch section of color and then they get to see a darker shadowed regrowth. The ends we just leave blonde.”

It’s not just in the salon that a root touch up spray can help you visualize a new color, either. McGinley says plenty of clients end up picking up a bottle of Hair Touch Up for home use. On days when they’d like to make fresh platinum more punk rock, they have the freedom to create a temporary visible root.

“I’ve been using [Hair Touch Up] as my staple in the salon so that [my clients] have options and they’re not committed to the shadowed regrowth,” the stylist adds. “They can have a shadowed or rooted look one day and then the next day they just wash it out and they can have their balayage back.”

It isn’t just women experimenting with new hair colors who should try Hair Touch Up, either. McGinley also recommends the product to women with colored hair who like to wear clip-in hair extensions. If you purchased a set of pricey honey blonde tracks shortly after getting your hair colored and are experiencing buyer’s regret now that you’re working with an ombre, turn to a short-term fix.

“I just recommend taking the spray and spraying about 3 inches of the extensions, putting in the clip-in extensions, and then [my clients] get the shadowed regrowth,” McGinley says. “They can just wash it out of the extensions—it comes right out, so they don’t have to buy all of these extensions.”

Finally, Hair Touch Up is the ideal fix for women seeing gray hairs between salon appointments. With just a few spritzes, you can ensure your color remains salon perfect until your next session with a colorist.


What’s the right way to apply root touch up spray?

If you’re used to complicated temporary color, you’re in for a pleasant surprise. Applying Hair Touch Up shouldn’t require much time at all. Start by creating fine, thin sections of hair near your headline with the aim of coating them in such a way that the product can cover your roots in every direction. Watch out for highlights and other light pieces that can give your secret away.

When it comes to choosing a color, McGinley recommends opting for one shade lighter than you think you need—particularly for fine or thin hair. Medium or coarse hair types should choose exactly their shade.

“I just find that finer hair really absorbs it a little bit darker or, under certain lights, you can see on fine hair how that color settled on the scalp and [clients] don’t like that,” McGinley says.

Give your visible roots or gray hairs a light coat of the spray, holding the can 4 to 6 inches from hair. It’s that easy! If you’ve ever made light work of a can of hairspray, you already have the skills necessary to make this formula work for you.

Armed with this root touch up knowledge, you have the freedom to hide your visible roots or even create an entirely new color look. With this product, it’s all about versatility. That’s particularly true because the formula comes in a range of colors from Dark Brown to Auburn and Light Warm Blonde. The seven shades have you covered, no matter your shade.

Who should use root touch up spray?

Unlike dyes or in-salon services, root touch up spray is a reasonably low-stakes product. It washes out right away, which means there’s little risk of messing up the application and regretting the whole thing. If you’re seeing unsightly regrowth or are worried your grays are showing, a root touch up spray is probably a good fit for your lifestyle.

We’d advise purchasing a root touch up spray if you tend to push back your color appointments or skip them entirely. Rather than letting visible roots make you feel less confident, you’ll be able to quickly mask them without leaving home.


Is there any way to avoid visible roots at all costs?

Good question! The only real way to avoid having visible roots alongside regrowth is to not color your hair at all. However, that’s out of the question for many people—particularly those who want to minimize the look of gray hair or unremarkable natural color.

Thankfully, several color techniques can help make your regrowth appear less noticeable. Ask your stylist for balayage, ombre, or dip dye, which all start further down the hair shaft, so growth doesn’t matter as much.

If you’re anxious about roots overtaking your mane, talk to your stylist at your very first color appointment. By establishing a regular schedule of touchup appointments all at once, you won’t feel the burden to keep calling the salon and setting things up.

Interested in learning more about root touchup or changing your color entirely? Use our salon locator to book an appointment with a stylist near you.

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