Budget Friendly Ways to Cover the Grays

Many women are content with the first signs of graying hair. And it’s fair to say that by the time we’ve reached a certain age, we’ve all earned our fair share of grays. However, these early signs of aging aren’t something we all embrace and this can be especially true in the case of premature graying.

Premature graying is a common problem, especially among the roots and the fringe. And while there isn’t anything wrong with a few gray hairs, if you’re self-conscious them, then you’re likely to appreciate a simple way to cover them up.

There are plenty of options to cover up these gray hairs. Hair dye is one of the most popular, but if coloring your hair completely is something your wary of and you want to hide the grays without dye or the need for regular color treatment there is a simple answer: Root concealers.

Root concealers are an easy way of disguising gray hair. They can be used between salon visits, or whenever you are looking for a quick cover up to hide graying roots.

Root concealers come in four main forms:

  • Mascara
  • Powder
  • Spray
  • Or Brush in products

Before you decide on the best solution to disguise your grays, it’s a good idea to test each product against the following criteria:

  • Ease of application
  • Whether they appear natural
  • How long the product lasts and how often you’ll need to apply it.
  • Overall value.

You should also look at budget. This is purely because it can take some experimenting to get the right product to camouflage your grays naturally, and you don’t want to waste time or money before settling on the best options for your needs.

Here’s a closer look at some of the products available, along with their main advantages and disadvantages from a personal perspective.

Hair Mascara

Hair mascaras are available from a variety of manufacturers and in a range of price lines. Designer brands like Salon Selectives also have a range of mascaras for creating highlights. However, the Cover Your Gray Mascara by Irene Gari is a great deal at just $5.99.


  • These products are lightweight and easy to carry in your purse
  • A hair mascara is perfect if you have small areas of gray or white hair that you wish to cover up.
  • They are also affordable


  • Like all hair mascaras, it can be a little sticky and it can cause strands of your hair stick together. To help ease this, allow the mascara to dry and then run your fingers through it to remove any tangles that might have formed.
  • Hair mascaras can dry up quickly.
  • The products don’t always last very long, especially with regular use. However, they are inexpensive to replace.


Another option is a root concealer powder. The W7 Hair Root Camouflage Kit has good reviews, and it’s reasonably priced on Amazon.


  • Easy to apply.
  • Especially useful for small areas of coverage such as your fringe and small areas of roots.


  • The powder tends to get on your fingers when applying it.
  • You might find the product comes out as soon as you shampoo your hair so it needs reapplying regularly.


As with the powder, there are several sprays available, but one of the most recent is L’Oreal’s Magic Retouch. I opted for the dark brown shade for brunettes.


  • It’s cost-effective and comes in a small can so it will easily fit into a purse or pocket.
  • The product is affordable.
  • It gives a great deal of coverage that stays in for a couple of washes.
  • Once you master the technique of applying it, the product gets easier to use.
  • It gives a good level of coverage without the need for hair dye.


  • In terms of application, it can take a bit of getting used to.
  • The spray is easy to get on your hands and it can be easy to misdirect.
  • Although it was good at disguising grays, it can make hair appear sticky.
  • Like other options, it can stain so make sure you apply it away from any delicate furnishings etc.


Brush in products are easy to handle and simple to apply. The W7 Take Cover Root Camouflage gives even coverage to both longer and strands of hair so it is ideal for overall use.


  • It’s got a chunky handle; if you have problems with your dexterity you’ll find the applicator easier to hold.
  • It usually stays in for several washes.
  • It lasts a long time. From my own experience, I’ve only had to buy a new one every 2 to 3 months with regular use.
  • The light brown color dries quickly and brushes in easily giving a natural appearance when applied on dark hair.


  • The first application takes a long time to come out; you could be fooled into thinking that it isn’t working properly or come out unexpectedly.
  • It can also leave a mark on the pillow if it’s not quite dried, but it’s easy to wash out with regular detergent.

Tips for Applying Roots Cover Up Products

To get the best out of your chosen way of covering up the grays, use the following tips as a guide:

  • Experiment with shades; you’ll often find choosing a lighter hair color will make it look more natural. For instance, for medium browns, light brown shades can be a much better match.
  • Don’t apply when your hair is wet. You’ll lose some of the color and it just wastes the product. When your hair is dry, more of the grays will show, so it’s a better time to apply it.
  • All the products can cause staining, so take care when applying. Don’t use the products near upholstery, bedding or anything else that can stain easily, and place an old towel in front of you or some napkins to pick up any stray powder or liquid. If it gets on your skin or scalp, wash it out before it dries.
  • Only apply as often as needed to avoid clogging your hair with excess product. As mentioned previously, the products listed above have a varied lifespan. From experience, powders and mascaras washed out after the first shampoo, while sprays and brush in products lasted 2-3 days, sometimes longer.
  • Be careful to keep the products away from your scalp, especially sprays and brush in products. Otherwise you can get left with a tell-tale stain that is hard to shift due to the quick drying nature of these coloring products.

We shouldn’t be embarrassed about a few grays — we’ve earned them from experience. However, if you do feel the need to cover up, the products detailed above are both affordable and effective. And by following the tips detailed in this article, you’ll be able to get even better value out of them.

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