How to Dye Grey Roots

Updated April 17, 2017

If you regularly colour your grey hair, telltale silvery roots can appear all too soon. While hair dominated by grey is best left in the capable hands of a professional colourist, it is relatively easy to blend away grey strands of regrowth using a root touch-up hair dye product at home. Gray hair tends to be drier and more prone to breakage than other hair types. Therefore, it is important to use a conditioning hair colourant formulated for use on grey hair.

Purchase a root touch-up product suitable for use on grey hair, in the desired colour.

Perform a skin allergy test and a strand test, following the instructions provided with your dye product. The strand test will indicate the development time needed to achieve the desired shade.

Part your hair as you normally wear it. Divide the hair into five or six roughly equal sections and secure each in place with sectioning clips.

Mix the dye and activating solution together as instructed by the manufacturer of your dye product.

Release one section of hair from the clip. Create a part at the edge of the loose section using a plastic comb. Paint the roots with dye using the applicator brush provided with your kit.

Continue to part the hair and paint the exposed roots with dye, being careful to cover the hair shaft up to the scalp without painting the skin itself. Pay particular attention to the hairline and your natural part.

Repeat for each section of hair.

Leave the dye on your roots for the length of time specified by the manufacturer or as indicated by your strand test.

Rinse out the excess dye with warm water until the water runs clear.

Style your hair as desired.


Apply a layer of petroleum jelly around the hairline to avoid staining your skin with hair dye. Use towels to protect your clothes from splashes of hair dye, or wear old clothing during the colouring process. Look for permanent or semi-permanent dye products that don't contain ammonium peroxide or alcohol, which can be too harsh for dry, brittle grey hair. For a quick fix, colour in visible grey roots with a temporary hair marker pen or colour wand. Brands include Colormark TouchBack and Irene Gari Cover Your Gray.

Things You'll Need

  • Root touch-up dye product
  • Plastic comb
  • Sectioning clips
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About the Author

Based in London, Lisa Green has been writing entertainment and women’s lifestyle articles since 2004. She has contributed to the MyVillage and Glam networks and is the former editor of Entertainmentwise. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from De Montfort University and a City & Guilds journalism certificate from the City of Bristol College.