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Perfect Color: Cover Grays at Home

Get vibrant, healthy-looking hair at home (and save money!) with our hue-can-do-it guide. We've got tricks and reader-tested product picks to help you cover grays like a pro.

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Lynda Churilla
Irma Villasana
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Your Goal: No More Grays

DIY Trick: Revive your roots. To mask any silver streaks, focus the pigment on the new growth at your scalp. The bottom half of your hair, which is older and drier, will absorb color much quicker than the roots. Brush a demipermanent dye, like Clairol Natural Instincts demipermanent hair color ($8.99, drugstores), on the top of your head, and in the last five minutes, do the bottom half.

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Your Hair Color Tool Kit

Fake a touch-up. Want to hide your regrowth between salon appointments? Look for temporary coverers, like TouchBack hair color marker ($29.95,, which are essentially dye-free markers for your roots. They're perfect when you're in a pinch, because the color washes out after just one rinse.

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Semipermanent vs. Permanent Color

Choose your commitment. To mask silver streaks throughout your hair, you'll need a semipermanent or permanent color kit. A semipermanent color will cover the majority of, but not all, grays, and it will fade and grow out gradually in about six weeks. With permanent color, such as Revlon ColorSilk ($3.69, drugstores), you get blanket coverage for about a month, but any wiry strands will be more noticeable.

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The Perfect Brush

Take control. If you are freshening up the silver hairs around your roots only, use a soft, clean makeup brush -- try the E.L.F. Professional Blending Eye Brush ($1, drugstores) -- to lightly paint on the pigment. "You will have much more control than with the applicator from the box, and the brush bristles will coat the cuticle," says Edmondo Blando, owner of Salon Vanity in Philadelphia.

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Reader Review

Tester: Irma Villasana, Provo, Utah

Tested: Clairol Natural Instincts in Midnight Black Demi-Permanent Hair Color ($8.99, drugstores)

Real-life lesson: "This kit completely covered any visible grays. Enlist a friend to help if you can. Otherwise you'll give yourself a neck ache checking to make sure you covered all the strands on the back of your head."

Originally published in FITNESS magazine, March 2010.

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FITNESS Magazine March 2010
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