Grey Hair Root Colour Touch-Up products

Tuesday, 7 April 2009 | Tags: , , , , ,

By the time most of us reach 50, over half our head is covered in grey hair. Colouring products and services are big business, but do they all work as promised? We test out three temporary root touch-up products that tout convenience and coverage to see if they really work as a quick fix between colourings.

The Basics

Temporary colouring products are meant to be applied to grey roots to match the coloured hair. There are a range of application methods, including wands, sticks, brushes, sponges, and pens. They typically wash out with one shampoo.

The temporary colour closely adheres to the hair shaft rather than being absorbed (like regular colour).

Shopping Tips

  • Choose a slightly darker tone of the same colour as the rest of your hair. Since roots are naturally darker, the application will look more natural.

  • Before you buy a product, make sure it is returnable. This is important for doing strand tests, which determine whether you’ve got the right colour, and also whether you may develop any allergies to the product.

Other Considerations

  • Use a shampoo for colour-treated hair to get added moisture, which helps hair hold product longer.

Be Aware

  • Hairdressers say that some of these touch-up products can leave a greasy residue on your hair, which can make applying real colour difficult.

  • Mascara-type products tend to coat the hair, weigh it down, and then flake off. Not a pretty sight!


We invited Beauty Call viewers Kim (brunette), Sally (blonde), and Marci (redhead) to help us test some root touch-up products.

Our test products:
  • Cover Your Gray by Irene Gari (14g): $6.99
    • Stick applicator, six colours
  • Pronto Colore Root Touch-up & Highlighting by Oscar Blandi: $25
    • Brush applicator, six colours
  • TouchBack by Color Metrics: $32
    • Sponge/marker applicator, 8 colors

(Note: prices listed above are approximate and in Canadian dollars)

Usage Test

  • The Cover Your Gray was like a lipstick/blemish cover-up stick. It was waxy and didn’t go on very well. It felt like you got more on your scalp than on your hair because you had to press down to apply it. The colour was a good match for our testers, however.

  • The Pronto Colore by Oscar Blandi went on better than the first product. The brush applicator was easier to use, but didn’t give you enough control over the amount of product that was coming out. It still felt like more went onto the skin than onto the hair. It also had a greasy feel.

  • The TouchBack went on easily and covered well. It was much easier to use than the others. It was more like a liquid and covered the hair only.

Smudge Test

  • Cover Your Gray smudged very easily.

  • Pronto Colore smudged a bit but stayed on much better.

  • TouchBack smudged the least because it went on the thinnest. The product consistency and the applicator provided much control, without any excess product.


There was no question during this test that you get what you pay for. The A&K Stamp of Approval went to the most expensive product, TouchBack, which went on easily and evenly.



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