Every four weeks, my grays become unbearably apparent against my almost-black hair. As they creep onto my scalp, I scramble to cover them up in every way possible until I make it into the salon for a dye job. Whether you dye your grays or deal with unwanted roots that come in and mess with your lewk, you know all about the frustrating cycle. While you obviously can’t prevent your roots from growing, there are various ways to hide them until you get an appointment with your colorist.
One line of defense is to use one of the many root cover-up products that exist. “There are great products to help you go a week or two extra in between salon visits,” says professional hairstylist Nicholas Taylor. You can find these in spray, powder, or gel form, and these products basically serve as your temporary pigment until you get the real deal. “The spray or powder is made up of microfibers that instantly and effortlessly covers your grown-out roots,” says April Story, a hairstylist at FEKKAI Soho Salon.
But if you’re in a pinch or don’t want to spend money on new products, all it takes is a little creativity with your styling to fool everyone into thinking your hair color isn’t overly grown out. The easiest tactic? Changing your part. “First try changing your part from wherever you have the most gray hairs,” says Jay Small, a celebrity hairstylist and co-founder of Arey, a hair care brand centered on delaying the growth of grays. “When your hair isn’t perfectly parted or sleeked down, it’s easier to keep the attention on the overall style versus the regrowth,” adds Sunnie Brook, a celebrity hairstylist who works with Ashley Park and Elisabeth Moss.
Volume and texture are also your friends. “Adding volume to your locks is the foundation to any hairstyle that will hide your grown-out roots,” says Story. Small echoes this, noting that texture can be a great way to distract someone’s eyes from the roots and pull them toward the mid-shaft and ends of your hair. “Using some hairspray or root powder at the root can also help,” says Nicholas. It’s all about creating an optical illusion.
With your bases covered, read on for the best hairstyles for hiding your roots, straight from the pros.
1. Voluminous Blowout
Channel a ’90s supermodel with a voluminous blowout, heavy on the volume — a chic look recommended by Sebastian Professional top artist Angel Cardona. “Make sure to blow dry your hair with a root lifter, such as Sebastian Professional Volupt Spray, and a small round brush to add volume,” he says. Once your hair is dry, apply some dry shampoo to soak up any excess oils — this will work double-duty by adding volume to keep your roots hidden, he notes. Apply some oil for extra body and volume, then seal it all in with hairspray. “This will hold the blowout in shape and combat any humidity that you may encounter throughout your day,” says Cardona.
2. Rope Braid Top Knot
Cardona is also a fan of this creative take on the top knot. To nail this look, prep your hair by spraying a leave-in product around your hairline and throughout the mid-lengths and ends. “Then pull hair into a high ponytail and secure with an elastic band,” he says. “Once secured, divide the ponytail into four sections and twist two strands into a rope braid.” Repeat with the remaining two strands, then secure each braid with an elastic. Wrap them all together into a high bun and secure in place with bobby pins and hairspray. “You’re left with a very detailed-looking bun that’ll also help hide your roots,” says Cardona.
Consider turning to your collection of hair accessories to cover up your roots. “Headbands can seriously come in handy if you have roots,” says Taylor. Brook suggests decorative or thick cotton ones, or for an edgier vibe, leather headbands “like Marc Jacobs did on the runway a couple of years ago,” she says.
If you don’t have any headbands, Taylor says a scarf, handkerchief, or even a hat will do the trick.
4. High Ponytail
“Pulling your hair back into a high pony is a great way to style and camouflage your roots,” says Kacey Welch, a celebrity hairstylist. The classic ‘do can be more versatile than you think: Rock one with a deep side part, flipped-out ends (à la the Barbie ponytail), a braid, or a “bubble” braid.
5. High Bun
Another updo that’ll do the trick is a high bun, says Brook. “Try leaving the ends out and shape them into a faux bang,” she tells Bustle. You could also go balletcore with it by keeping it super sleek — just be sure to comb it back at the top rather than show your part.
6. Neon Roots
If you’re feeling bold, play around with some temporary dye. “Add a neon pop of color to your roots,” says Brooks, pointing to Billie Eilish’s former look. This will allow you to experiment without the commitment and hide those grown-out strands.
7. Zigzag Part
This is a scenario in which the hair part you rocked in middle school can save your style. “Instead of a straight part, play around with zigzag parting to complement your blowout,” says Story. You could also pull your hair into a pony or go full Y2K by throwing it up with a claw clip.
8. Voluminous Curls
The bigger the hair, the closer… to people not being able to see your grown-out roots. “Add tight curls with loads of volume,” suggests Brook. “Think Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman.” Turn to whatever hair-curling method you prefer, whether it’s velcro rollers or your curling iron, and go big.