How to dye your hair roots yourself

by Sylvia

How to dye grey roots yourself |

If you are still coloring your hair like I do, you will be well aware of the continuous maintenance necessary to keep up with the ever upcoming grey roots. Maintaining colored hair is very expensive indeed.

Getting professional root touch ups every 2 weeks, as J Lo famously does, is a luxury in both time and cash most of us simply cannot afford.

Therefore I have started dying my hair roots myself. I still have the highlights done professionally every half year but I dye my roots myself every 5-6 weeks.

Color choice

Skin tone awareness helps you pick the right color. Warm complexions are perfectly complemented by warm, golden or auburn shades, while skin with rosy undertones works best with cooler shades like ash and champagne tones.

Of course, the safest choice is to choose the color closest to your natural hair shade.

I currently use 7.3 (golden blonde) as my base color.

Choosing the DIY color kit

Mousse or foam formulas are the easiest to apply. The result in an all-over even color that is less likely to leave a patchy finish. 

Application is as simple as shampooing, as the foam texture expands to surround each strand and effortlessly massages the dye into the hair. 

Foams will not drip but if you do get the dye onto your skin it will wash of easily with soap and water, where cream dye is a little more stubborn. 

Try these: Garnier Nutrisse, Clairol Nice & Easy and Schwarzkopf Perfect.


Cream dyes are best for root touch-ups.

Crème or Cream hair dyes need a little extra effort and are perhaps more suited to the experienced.  This is what I personally prefer as  it gives me more control and I can paint the color on my hair roots.

Careful application is important.  It can be tricky but following the simple steps below will see you mastering cream dye application in no time. I can now do it in 10 minutes!


Try these L’Oreal Excellence, Schwarzkopf Palette or Krenove Oleo Color.

Pre-DIY hair care

The condition of your hair prior to coloring will have dramatic results to your finished look.

Dry/damaged hair takes on a more vibrant color while the risk of further hair damage is strong. A damage repair mask used 3 times weekly for 2 weeks leading up to your dye date will help. I like Macadamia Natural Oil Deep Repair Mask and Organic Coconut Oil.

For optimal results, dyes should be applied onto dry hair that has not been washed for 1 to 2 days and has little to no hair styling products.

How to apply the hair dye

Coloring your own hair is a lot easier than you think. And if you just dye the roots yourself and then have highlights professionally done once in a while, noone will be be able to tell that you’re doing it yourself.  It will save you lots of cash!

Here are the steps to take.

  1. Mix your hair color according to the instructions on the package. I like to empty that in a plastic container. (here is a great brush and container set)
  2. Using a tail comb or a special hair dye brush, and make partings from front to back of head, then paint on the dye (crème formula) with the brush or squeeze the mix (mousse) all along your parting as you go. Take care to avoid too much dye sitting on your scalp. Now make partings from side to side and similarly apply the mix as you go along.
  3. I like to use a hair dye brush that makes it really easy to just color my roots. I separate all the hairs with the brush
  4. If you’re doing all over color, apply the dye fully around your entire hairline.
  5. Now leave to develop. Developing time will alter depending on the temperature of you room. A warm environment is ideal. If your room is particularly cool then you can cover your hair with a plastic bag and tie a knot to secure in place.
  6. When it is time to rinse, apply a little water then massage your scalp to loosen the mixture, rinse thoroughly until the water runs clear.

Post dye hair care and maintenance

DIY dye kits contain an after color care conditioner. Apply this after rinsing to lock in your new color and get a glossy, silky finish. Refrain from shampooing for 48 hours to ensure your color settles and does not fade too quickly.

Choosing a shampoo and conditioner specifically for chemically treated hair will help to maintain color and condition. Aveda Colour Conserve is a good choice.

Sun and Chlorine damage is a higher risk to chemically treated hair, so keep hair covered when out in the sun and tied up and out of the water when swimming.

Root touch up

If you’re transitioning to gray or just want to take a bit longer between hair coloring appointments, you can also use quick grey root fixers.

I personally use L’Oreal Paris Root Cover Up Temporary Gray Concealer Spray, Light to Medium Blonde. It helps me cover up my gray roots and I can last much longer between coloring my hair.

Just spray it on and you are ready to go!

Other options are:


Do you dye your hair yourself? What has been your experience? What are your favorite DIY hair coloring products?

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How to dye your hair roots yourself | fashion over 40 | style | fashion |



{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Li

Great tips. Thanks.


2 Aileen Wrennall

Yes I use L Oreal Excellence cream, and have done for years. Its very easy to apply and the colour looks natural. I simply apply, wait 30 minutes then rinse off. The last time I had professional colour applied it cost £97 and looked exactly the same as when I do it myself. I couldn’t keep that cost up.
My roots are now coming in in a similar colour so I’m lucky I can go for 8 weeks before reapplying. I’ve thought about leaving it to go grey but my hairdresser thinks its more youthful to keep the colour.
I would recommend L Oreal Excellence, good results and easy to use. It doesn’t drip either.


3 Sylvia

Yes it’s always a difficult decision. Grey can be fab too and we are going to celebrate silver style very soon!


4 Patti

I do my roots only, between salon visits. Thanks for the recommendations of brands!


5 Kerri

What color system do u use when u just want to do the roots? I am in between very expensive salon visits and I don’t want to do an all over color but I don’t want to ruin my highlights. I will take any info you can give me. Thank u 🙂


6 Sylvia

I’m currently using color 8.34


7 Greetje Kamminga

I have my roots dyed every 6 weeks by the hairdresser and in between (so after 3 weeks) one of my neighbours, who is a hairdresser by profession, does my roots with the same dye my hairdresser uses. I buy it from them.
After seeing my next door neighourgirl with bright orange clowns hair after a DIY, I never dared doing it myself.


8 Sylvia

I used to color my own hair all the time, until I got the taste of highlights and went to the hairdresser. I’m seriously considering doing it myself again and change my color up a bit though. Am getting quite bored with my hair and color!


9 Lorraine

I am putting off colouring my hair for as long as possible. I am managing with highlights every 3 months.


10 Marie

I color my roots –quite often, unfortunately, as I have long brown hair with a straight part, which really shows the grey–but….I used a root cover powder (looks like eyeshadow) and the brush it came with to hide my roots for as long as possible. I started going grey in my mid-20’s so, yeah, I’ve been at this a while 🙁


11 Melanie

I agree with Greetje! I used to have my hair dyed RED when it was popular to do so in the 1990’s. My hairdresser worked in the film industry and would go out of town for 3-4 months at a time so she showed me how to do my roots. I wound up with too much product on my hair making it look dull and burned (like a close friend of mine who insists on doing it herself). I had to have it stripped out (terribly hard on hair), going from orange to yellow to white. Most at home haircolorists hair look dull and unhealthy. All that time I was coloring I had this gorgeous silver/white hair that I now enjoy. Cannot go down the street without getting stopped multiple times. Had no idea what I had or how it looked on me till I let it go. Just can’t tell you how fried, dull and dry at home color can make hair look. Yuk!


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