Does Root Touch Up Damage Hair?

Written by Tina Moretti

Updated on

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does root touch ups damage hair

We’ve all been in that annoying phase where roots start to show up uninvited on our recently colored hair.

It’s too early to revisit the hair salon, but the color difference between the roots and the hair is apparent.

Then comes the natural question:

To touch-up the roots or not to touch them up?

It might seem like it’s easier to wait, but it’s actually very tempting to color.

Since there are two sides of the same coin, we’re here to discuss both and see which works for whom and whether root touch-up can damage your hair!

What Are Root Touch-ups?

First things first, let’s define what root touch-ups are.

Essentially, they’re an end to the recurring issue of your hair growing back with natural-color hair roots, ruining the new hair transformation you just underwent.

How so?

By seamlessly blending in your roots with the rest of your hair color.

A root touch-up product can take different forms, including a root concealer, spray, paste, or powder. They’re applied directly to your roots and serve as hair color extenders.

What’s very convenient about them is that they can be done anywhere, not necessarily at the salon, and they’re so compact to the extent of even fitting in your purse.

The length of which such products last on your hair varies from one brand to another, but they’re not designed to be permanent.

They’re actually produced with the intent of lasting until your next salon visit for a full coloring. With a couple of washings, they’ll be gone.

Can I Use Root Touch-up on My Whole Head?

Because of the immediate effects of root touch-up products and how effortless the entire process is, whether they can be used on our whole head is a frequent question.

Put simply: yes, you can, but it’s not the ideal scenario.

The simple reason is that your hair is already colored, and the hair dye effect is still there, so applying another hair color over an existing one is horrible for your hair.

For one, you’re doubling the harsh effects of hair dye, such as drying it out and hair loss, and you can easily end up with orange, brassy hair (that shade that we all hate!)

Also, don’t forget that your roots now have a different shade than your hair color.

Accordingly, you think you’ll end up with one blended shade, but since they aren’t the same color as the rest of your hair, they won’t match at all.

Root Touch-ups: The Good and the Bad

The Good

We all know how much professional hair coloring can be pricey.

At times, it even takes some savings before we can really get that hair color we’ve been dreaming of.

Therefore, we want the gaps between salon visits to be as long as possible. Accordingly, a root concealer or cover-up is definitely a cost-saver.

Moreover, we are busier than ever!

We keep postponing our salon visit until next week, and that week suddenly turns into a month, and the cycle is never-ending.

Meanwhile, roots are never-ending as well – they continue to grow and grow while you can’t find the time to move.

Hence, a root cover or touch-up is also a time-saver since you can shop it and do it yourself!

The Bad

Taking your hair color into your own hands is a task that’s easier said than done. It’s quite risky, since getting an exact color match is not exactly guaranteed.

At the salon, the professionals often have to mix up several colors to create the right shade. It’s not always a “dye number x” that you can go get yourself.

When it comes to your hair’s health, most hair root concealers are actually safe to use on your hair. However, as is the case with anything else, some brands are better than others.

It all goes back to the ingredients; you will find some containing drying alcohols like a dye. Therefore, always make sure to read tons of reviews about your product of choice.

Be careful with touch-up sprays, in particular. Reviews have stated that if they’re used for more than 20 seconds too closely to the scalp, they may cause cold burns.

Ideally, you should apply the spray in 2-3 second bursts, keeping the nozzle at a distance of at least 3 inches away from your skin.

Important Tip:

Always make sure to read the directions on the packaging of the product. They differ from one to another, so read them carefully and follow the instructions.

What Is the Best at Home Root Touch-up?

Several products do the job perfectly, to be honest.

You can take a look at the L’Oreal Paris Magic Root Rescue, known for its popular low ammonia color gel and fast 10 minutes results.

Another good one is Style Edit Root Touch Up, mainly because it doesn’t contain drying alcohol, ammonia, or peroxide.

Both super easy to apply and don’t leave any stains behind.

Check them out:

Style Edit Root Touch-Up

best non damaging root touch up

No mineral oil, No Petrolatum, and No Peroxide.


L'Oreal Paris Magic Root Rescue 10 Minutes

10 minutes roots touch up

Low ammonia color gel that is safe for your scalp.


Expert Tips

Whether you’re a first-timer in the world of touch-ups or you’ve done it a few times but haven’t mastered it yet, a few expert tips wouldn’t harm to give you a hassle-free process!

  • Use a shade finder to pinpoint the hair color that’s closest to your current shade.
  • If your hair is the type that picks up color quickly, opt for lighter colors when choosing the hair color shade.
  • Test, test, test! If this is your first time or you’re unsure about the color, go through the entire process on a strand of hair that isn’t visible. Maybe experiment with hair at the back of your head. This will give you the confidence to proceed!
  • Make sure to have a button-down shirt on while you’re applying the color. This works for dyes, too. Simply, when it’s time to rinse, you won’t like having to remove a regular shirt from over your head.
  • If picking up on the same point, it would also be best to keep your shoulders covered, maybe with a towel, to eliminate the chances of staining your clothes. (P.S: If it happens, you can use bleach or detergents to get rid of them.)
  • Prep your hairline. Two excellent products for this purpose would be Vaseline or ChapStick. The aim of this step is to prevent any skin staining from happening during the process.
  • Apply the product only on clean, shampooed hair. The smallest of oil particles can interfere with the results.
  • Avoid putting the touch-up product on an already colored part of your hair. Stick to the roots only to avoid ending up with hair that looks opaque and unnatural.

Final Words

Whichever product you choose, just make sure you deep condition your hair after using it or maintain a treatment to loosen away any dryness or breakage.

It’s worth noting that works for another may not work for you.

Therefore, the process will take some trial and error before finding the perfect coloring and touch-up product for you.

About the Author

Tina MorettiTina Moretti

Tina Moretti, a passionate hair care enthusiast with over a decade of expertise, dedicates herself to empowering women with proven hair care advice. Recognized for her hands-on experience and trusted guidance, Tina turns every strand into a statement of beauty and confidence.