On Beauty: Keep grey from your roots for longer

Thankfully, root touch-ups are improving

In theory, root cover-up products sound like a great idea. Grey roots have a disconcerting habit of sneaking up on you, and a product that can provide a cheap and easy way of covering the grey until you have the time or cash to book a salon appointment sounds like an ideal stopgap solution.

However, in reality these quick cover-ups can be hassle. If you have tried them in the past, you might have been put off by sticky and greasy results, or perhaps a hard, crunchy mess that in no way resembles your normal hair colour. Hair mascaras and mousses are particularly bad offenders.

Thankfully root touch-ups are improving. Josh Wood Blending Wands (€17.50 at Marks & Spencer) is a brush-on product that covers grey, leaves hair soft and lasts through a couple of washes. Available in five shades, from light blond through to black, there's one for everyone in the audience. Make sure you choose the right one for your hair, though; maybe go a shade darker than you think you need, as some brunettes report an orange tint if they choose a shade too light.

If you have time for something a bit longer-lasting, Clairol Nice and Easy Root Touch-Up is really quick and simple to use. I say this as someone who normally destroys every towel in the bathroom and stains the grout on the tiles whenever I attempt a full-on home hair colour. Not so with this dye, which comes in lots of shades and will keep you going for another couple of weeks.

Bumble and Bumble hair powders are on the pricey side (€41), and are essentially coloured dry shampoo, so they work best on hair that's slightly overdue a wash.

Colour Wow is my pick of the root cover-ups. It acts like makeup for your hair and you can really target the application: brush it onto your parting, temples and any other areas that need to be covered up. It won't budge, looks natural and is water-resistant.

Colour Wow also has the tremendous advantage of covering up dark regrowth. Blondes who want to get a couple more weeks out of their highlights will find that the fair shades of Colour Wow (about €38; buy online or at Space NK) will mask and appear to lighten dark roots without any bleach, fuss or chemicals.

If you’re really desperate and don’t have any of these products to hand, then turn to your trusty palette of neutral eyeshadows.

Eyeshadow can quickly change in a phone box into a cape and red underpants and fly in to multitask and rescue the roots situation. Warning: your pillowcase will be ruined come the morning, so cover it with a clean tea towel. It will save your Egyptian cotton.

Twitter @aismcdermott

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beauty@irishtimes.com

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