When Should You Retouch Your Hair Color and Roots?

Published on: 07/28/2022 12:34 pm
Retouch Hair

There are few things in life that are as confidence-boosting as a dazzling new hair color. When you walk out of the salon, the parking lot becomes your runway, the passersby paparazzi, and your vehicle a limousine.

Alas, it doesn’t take long for your natural hair color to start peeking through your luscious locks. The contrast of your natural roots to your dyed ends creates an entirely new flavor of cool, but if you want to keep that color going strong, it’s important to touch up your roots within the right time frame. 

Here’s when science and Gina’s Platform Pros says to touch up your roots for optimally enchanting hair color.

When should I touch up my roots?

Most people do retouch roots every 4 to 6 weeks, and it’s a good rule of thumb to make sure you don’t go more than 8 weeks between sessions. This is because you want to make sure that your roots don’t get any longer than an inch, and according to All Things Hair, hair grows about half an inch every month. Staying within those guidelines will ensure that your color touchup is even.

Why should I see my stylist every 4 to 6 weeks?

Did you know it is actually more expensive to wait longer between root touch ups? Hair color develops faster near the scalp because the heat trapped there speeds up the chemical process.

Developer lightens your hair to prepare it for color. Your hair develops more quickly near the scalp because the heat trapped there quickens the chemical process. That means that if your roots are longer than an inch, the color application will be inconsistent, since it will be lighter at the scalp than it is anywhere else on your head.

Depending on the severity of the inconsistency, your stylist may need to do color balancing to make the shading look similar from root to tip. This means they’ll apply color to all of your hair rather than just applying it to your roots, and the cost of that extra product can quickly add up.

The kind of dye your stylist uses may make a difference in how often to touch up roots. Semi-permanent dye fades more quickly than permanent dye, so while vibrant color may make your roots less noticeable, your bad hair roots may be more visible against color that’s been washed out.

No matter how long you go between touch ups, it’s important to try and see the same stylist that did your original color. Their product, mix, and technique will stay more or less the same each session, making your touch ups even more seamless. 

Gina’s 5 Secrets to Vibrant Color That Lasts

While seeing your stylist is the most important thing to do to keep your color looking fresh, here are five things you can do to keep your color bright between appointments:

  1. Wait a few days after dying to wash it. After a color treatment, the cuticle layer of your hair takes 72 hours to close. After that, it’s harder to wash dye out, making your color last longer.
  2. Cool it on showering for a bit. The more often you wash your hair, the faster your color will fade. Keep your hair covered in the shower, and when you do wash it, make sure to rinse it with cool water.
  3. Use color-protecting shampoo and conditioner. Color-protecting shampoos conditioners typically don’t contain sulfates, which can make hair color dull. Ask your stylist what products they recommend, and check out this list of products recommended by Gina.
  4. Cover up for fun in the sun. Too much exposure to sunlight can lighten hair, as can submersion in water. On your next park date or beach getaway, wear a hat and try to keep your head above water.
  5. Use temporary root touchup products. When you’re in a pinch and need to cover your roots quickly, there are products that can temporarily mask your roots. Before your next photoshoot or boardroom presentation, look into InStyle’s pro/con list of root touchup products.

Root Touchup FAQs:

When should you get a root retouch?

Within 4 to 6 weeks of your last color treatment is best. Definitely don’t wait longer than 8 weeks.

How long should roots be before retouching?

Roots should be no longer than an inch when you touch them up, since the heat of your scalp causes color to develop faster in that area.

Do I need a root touch up or all-over color?

It depends on how long your roots are when you see your stylist. Roots under an inch long can be touched up, but roots longer than that may require color balancing with the rest of your hair.

How often should you dye your gray roots?

For gray roots, we recommend the same timeframe of 4 to 6 weeks between hair treatments.

Do root touch ups damage hair?

The hair-lightening process can damage hair, which is why it’s extremely important to get your hair done by a trained professional. Their years of schooling have taught them how to make your hair pop without it popping off of your head!

How often to dye your roots is ultimately a personal choice. If you’d like for your hair color to match, staying within the 4 to 6 week window is probably best. But whether you sport a monochromatic ‘do or have a Billie Eilish-esque, deep-rooted thing going on, staying tight with your stylist is the best way to keep your hair healthy and hot. 

Need a consult to help you decide? Make an appointment with a pro.