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Conceal annoying grays and overgrown roots with a quick trip to the local drugstore instead of the salon.
1. Choose a box of color that closely matches your current shade. The most goof-proof kits: "Those that specify a non-drip formula on the box and come with applicator combs or brushes," says Jason Backe, Clairol color director.
2. When you need to hide roots, apply color to new growth only. (Leave on for the specified time.) "This prevents overprocessing hair that's been dyed in the past," Backe says. If you require allover color, follow the box directions.
3. Once a week, wash with a tinted shampoo to prevent color from fading. Limit total washes to every other day, and always condition, which maintains color. Depending on your hue, try Riveting Reds, $6.99, or Shimmer Lights for brunettes, $8.79, both at sallybeauty.com, or Pantene Blonde Expressions, $6.49, drugstores.
See a pro if...
You want a head of highlights (they're difficult to do on your own) or plan on going three or more shades lighter or darker.