Root Covers for Bright Pink and Red hair

How oddly specific, right? But I've had bright hair for most of my adult life, and let me tell you, now that I'm starting to go a little grey underneath, root covers are the one thing I wish I could find more of.

Yes, I really have had either bright red or bright pink hair for that long. Some time in the mid-90's, I bleached my hair. Somewhere, there exists a photo of me as a platinum blonde in the moments before I topped it with Manic Panic (in Rubine). The bleaching was a mistake - the color was so flat, I looked like Ronald McDonald. But after that, I started learning how to mix color myself so that I could get something a little more permanent. The hair colors I wanted just didn't exist. Clairol had a line called the Torrids that came close, but what I really wanted was true red. Lipstick red. Stop sign red. Cinnamon red hots red. A red that was clearly not a color nature intended for hair. Instead, I got copper or burgundy most of the time.

Eventually I started getting my color done professionally, and between Pravana and Schwarzkopf and the professionals I've known along the way, getting the perfect color is no longer an issue.

I hope I'll start to recognize when I'm old enough that the bright hair no longer works. But for now I just have a little bit of grey coming through at the crown - everywhere else is still that familiar muddy brown that I've been trying to escape since my youth.

When that grey peeps through, it really ages me. Until recently, though, my only choice for covering it up (until I could get to my colorist) was standard drugstore root concealer. L'Oreal makes a spray, and there are a few other hair color brands that make them in pencil or cream stick form, but they're all made for auburn or copper shades. I used the Rita Hazan touch-up spray for a few years, because dark roots were at least better than grey ones.

You know that Jerome Russell B'Wild colored hairspray that comes around every Halloween? I tried that too, but it's really sticky and uncomfortable to wear. Same with the hair chalks I see marketed to festival girls - they're too sticky, and the colors I've found are too pastel, never bright enough.

These days, I'm pretty happy with my root cover situation. Brightly colored hair is becoming more common, so there are a lot of options popping up.

One of the most convenient is L'Oreal's new Colorista Hairspray in Hot Pink. It does also come in a wide range of colors, from pastels to vivids. It's easy to use, and I've found it at Target, so it's also easy to restock. It is a hairspray, though, so using it means you might have to deal with a little unwanted stiffness in your hair.

Next up is the Bumble and Bumble Bb.Color Stick. It doesn't come in as many shades - just a few variations on blue and pink (I use Flamingo), but it is more precise and less messy than a hairspray. It's like a crayon that you can use to color in your grays (I think it's intended to draw on colorful highlights, but creative reuse is everything). It doesn't smudge or smear, but it's pretty easy to wash out at the end of the day. I keep one of these sticks in my purse for touchups.

My absolute favorite product for covering roots, though, is an inexpensive product I found at Sally Beauty a few months ago: Ion Color Brilliance Root Cover (I use Magenta, but it also comes in vivid blue and purple shades). This is a powder that you brush on - the product is in a plastic jar and dispenses through the attached bristles. But it doesn't just apply color - it's also a dry shampoo with a subtle, pleasant scent (and if you have brightly colored hair, you know that shampooing more than a few times a week is out anyway, so a good dry shampoo really comes in handy). Although it's easy to apply, it can take a little effort to scrub it off

The down side? This product has been discontinued according to the manufacturer. It looks like they intend to replace it, but their links to the replacement product are dead for now. Luckily, it can still be found on eBay (I confess to doing a little stockpiling - why do brands always seem to discontinue the products I love the most?).

Other ways I keep the rest of my hair (not just the roots) bright: I mix temporary color in with my (sulfate-free) shampoo and conditioner. I've got a couple of glass bottles, one for each product (I like them because they're non-porous, but if you're concerned about having glass bottles in the shower, there's no reason not to use plastic). For each one, I mix in a few squirts of Special Effects (I use Atomic Pink).

There are also some great color-depositing shampoo and conditioner products that I've used in the past, if you don't feel like mixing your own:

  • Davines Alchemic Shampoo and Conditioner
  • Overtone haircare products in pink and red
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