What Does Hair Color Retouch Mean? [Answered]

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Unlike a complete dye job, a hair color retouch focuses on the roots. When you only re-dye your roots, you spare the rest of your hair from damage. Fortunately, the process usually takes less than two hours to apply. Let’s further discuss what hair color retouch means.

What Does Hair Color Retouch Mean

A color retouch means to cover the areas of the hair where the roots are growing back. This can be done at a salon or at home using a touch-up kit, a spray, or a powder.

Signs You May Need a Retouch

You may need a retouch if you notice any of the following:

It’s Been Six-to-Eight-Week Since Your Last Visit

As a general rule, you should have a stylist retouch your hair every six to eight weeks, though you may opt for a retouch after four.

Moreover, if you’re retouching to cover your grays, you usually want to go with retouching more frequently than six to eight weeks, usually four to six weeks.

If you wait longer than eight weeks, your hair has time to grow out. Your roots take in color differently than the rest of your hair.

Therefore, if you wait too long, you’re more likely to experience inconsistencies in color.

On the other hand, if you dye your hair too frequently, you could risk damaging your hair.

Darker colors won’t damage your hair as much as lighter ones and bleach, but it’s still a possibility.

Can See Roots

You can visibly see when your hair needs a retouch since you’ll see your natural color coming through. You may notice hair that’s darker, lighter, or has gray streaks.

On average, hair grows about a half-inch each month.

Therefore, you may see roots forming before the four to eight weeks, but you don’t want to retouch your hair too frequently, or you could develop damaged hair.

Want a More Vibrant Color

With highlights, a retouch is a bit different. Standard highlights tend to go to the root, and you’ll notice the color growing out after six to eight weeks and will want to retouch the roots.

However, with balayage highlights, the color doesn’t get close to the roots of your hair anyway.

Therefore, you may opt to retouch balayage highlights when you want to brighten the color of your hair.

Balayage highlights are hand-painted and don’t require foil or a cap. Instead, the hair naturally gets lighter as it reaches the tips, which gives a more multidimensional look.

Also Read: Why Won’t My Gray Hair Dye? (How To Fix)

Retouch Vs. Highlights Vs. All-Over Color

What Does Hair Color Retouch Mean

You may choose between an all-over color, highlights, or retouch. What’s the difference?


A retouch solely recolors the roots after you already had highlights or all-over color recently.

Since your scalp’s heat can change the color a bit, your stylist tends to take this into account when choosing a color for a retouch.


Highlights are a method to change a person’s hair color to give their natural color depth.

With this technique, a stylist may use lighteners or bleach to add pops of another color to the person’s hair.

A stylist can use either the cap method or foil to perform this hair coloring technique.

In most cases, a stylist will recommend foil since it’s easier to customize. Plus, the foil traps heat and optimizes your results.

On the other hand, a stylist can perform lowlights, which is a technique that adds strands of a darker color to a person’s hair.

All-Over Color

All-over color is a single process. The stylist applies color over all your hair, so you have one static color, though hair dyes may give you the appearance of depth.

Ways to Correct Hair Color at Home

Ways to Correct Hair Color at Home

You don’t always have the time, or budget, to visit the salon every time your roots start making an appearance.

Fortunately, you may use store-bought solutions to correct the issue. Keep in mind that these may not get the same results as a salon touch-up.

Root Touch-Up Kits

You can purchase at-home root touch-up kits. You may choose between a semi-permanent or permanent hair color.

They consist of a hair dye that you apply to the roots of your hair using a special applicator.

In many cases, you may save the remaining hair dye and use it again in the future once you need another touch-up.

Generally, you have two different tubes, a developer and a dye.

You mix the two, either in a bottle or a plastic mixing bowl. You then use the applicator to apply the color directly to your roots.

Root Touch-Up Powder

You could also opt for a root touch-up powder to use in between dyes. It usually consists of talc along with the color.

You use the designated brush to apply it to your roots. Generally, you’ll need to apply the powder several times in one spot to cover it completely.

It’ll cover up both the color of your hair and any grays. Plus, the powder won’t rub off, but it’ll wash out of your hair.

Root Touch-Up Spray

Root touch-up spray is a temporary way to color roots.

You spray the color right on your roots. It then helps blend your roots and the rest of your hair together, and it’ll cover gray hairs. The color won’t run or fade. It will, however, wash out.

Airbrush Root Touch Up

This root touch-up method requires you to use a small machine.

You place the chosen color in the device and then aim it toward your roots. You should keep the machine two inches away from your hair.

You choose the setting and then press the button as you focus it on your roots. You’ll need to continuously move the airbrush back and forth over your roots until you get an even color.

Hair Mascara

Hair mascara is a temporary way to cover your roots. You dip the brush in the tube and then apply it to your hair roots.

It continuously covers the natural color of your hair and any grays until you wash it out. You can find varieties that last for several washes as well.

In a pinch, you could also use a standard mascara that matches your hair color.

Hair Color Stick

A hair color stick is an applicator you use to apply hair color directly to the roots. It’s an excellent way to cover gray in between dye jobs without having to go to the salon or use a hair dye.

The hair color stick doesn’t consist of hair dye. Moreover, the color rinses out of your hair when you wash your hair.

Also Read: How To Dilute Hair Dye Without Conditioner (Easy Guide)

How Much Does a Hair Retouch Cost at a Salon?

For the longest-lasting results, opt for an in-salon retouch. A stylist may also match your hair more accurately.

And this haircare specialist understands how the heat from your scalp affects the dye’s color.

Generally, you can expect to pay at least $65 for a retouch. The price varies based on the location, the salon, and the length of your roots.

Price also depends on whether you’re lightening or darkening your hair. Typically, a bleach touch-up will cost you more than a touch to darken your hair.

Bleaching your hair tends to take more time for a stylist to match the exact color. It also tends to use more product and takes more time.

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