The Best Ways to Disguise Roots Until You Can Get to a Salon

The last time I had my hair coloured was mid-December, and I was due a trip to the salon in the coming few weeks for a top-up. We're now in mid-June, and while some hairdressing salons could be looking to open within the coming few weeks, I'm also aware that, judging by the number of waiting list alerts flying into my inbox, getting an actual appointment is going to be similar to trying to get hold of Glasto tickets. So with the fact that, realistically, I'm not going to be back in a salon chair for at least another month or two, I’ve been looking into different ways I can make my current colour situation work for me.

I’ve been inundated by messages from friends and family begging me for any tips on what to do about their own roots too. And the truth is unless you’re brave enough to try a box dye (proceed with caution), there’s really very little you can do other than style the regrowth out as best you can.

From plaits to buns and ponytails to flowing waves, keep scrolling for the very best ways to style hair in order to help disguise your roots.

Topknot

Especially when working from home, there really is no better get-stuff-done hairstyle. The topknot is the chic yet easy style that most of us will turn to in times of need. But it turns out a topknot doesn’t just have to be the thrown-up, scruffy style we know it to be. In fact, it can be incredibly stylish, all while helping to reduce the appearance of root contrast.

John Vial, global influencer for Revlon Professional, explains that by bringing grown-out lengths to the front of the bun, you can create the illusion of more colour. He explains, “For those with long hair, pull your hair up into a pony and wrap, leaving four or five inches on the ends. Use this hair to create a faux fringe at the front, and use clips to hold in place.”

But what about visible roots elsewhere? “Gently tug and pull down bits of hair at the sides. This will cover roots with lighter hair,” says Vial. Finish up with a shine spray to help disguise dry ends and then set in place with hair spray.

The truth is, having bad roots shouldn’t stop you from letting your hair flow. Jonathan Soons, creative ambassador at Headmasters, reveals that it’s actually less about the updo and more about styling tricks. “To really hide roots, the best thing to do is increase movement and add volume. Reach for a tong or straightening iron—anything you can use to make loose waves. Once you’re done, shake it all out and blast in texture spray,” he says.

If you’re still not satisfied, the key is the parting. Soons explains, “Straight partings show off regrowth more. The more uneven and natural the parting, the better those roots look.”

For a more glam take, this particular style benefits from all of the root disguising characteristics of the topknot while still creating the illusion that you’re wearing your hair down. Plus, it’s super easy to do yourself. 

“Take a triangle section at the front of your hair and clip it out of the way. Take both sides at the front and tie them back into a topknot on the crown. Go back to the triangle section and backcomb the front. Then smooth it with your palms into a topknot and pin into place,” explains Vial. With the rest of the hair, be sure to add some texture with tongs and spray to soften any contrast.

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Achieving the ultimate messy-look ponytail or effortless bun isn’t the easiest of things. In fact, I’d say there’s absolutely nothing effortless about it at all. However, according to Vial, my technique has been all wrong. Instead of attempting to achieve an effortless look from the outset, start off perfect.

He advises to first pull your hair into a tight ponytail, and then, using the palm of your hand, brush the hair forward to create a halo effect. “This softens all contrasts between regrowth and coloured hair. Avoid any products that contain oils. A messier finish is best,” says Vial.

While this might be the trickiest style to achieve on yourself at home, it’s definitely the prettiest. “Anything tight will always make colour contrast look greater,” warns Vial. It’s important, therefore, to keep plaits loose and ethereal-looking.

His favourite braided look? “Part the hair in two, like school bunches. Braid them, and then stretch the braids apart so they are softer and distressed. Pin one over the hairline at the front and then one behind it. Finish up by pushing them in the wrong direction with your palm to help soften.”

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