Beauty at Home, Ep. One: Hair Color

Mar 24, 2020

Ladies, my hairstylist canceled my color appointment yesterday, and of all the things that I have missed during my three-week isolation, that one was the hardest.  Because as much as I admire women who embrace their natural color or greying, late-30s roots, that ain’t me.

Whether it’s keeping your color fresh, maintaining the secrecy of your natural hair color, or covering your roots, many of us are probably looking for an at-home solution for our color woes.  So where to begin?

For a quick touch up.  If your concern is brassiness, dullness, or fade, you can freshen your color with a simple gloss. Glosses give you a subtle change and a lot of shine, so they’re perfect for women whose bottle-color is close to their natural color and those who aren’t concerned about greys.  Glosses are like hitting refresh on your hair because they brighten blondes an add depth to darker hues.

This Krisin Ess Signature Gloss is one I’ve used before. You choose your formula based on your color.  I buy Chocolate Cosmo.  But once word of caution, like all of Kristin Ess’s products, the smell will make you want to gag.

For another option, dpHUE makes a glossing treatment and deep conditioner in one.  I tried a sample of this when they released it, and it works really well if you’re looking for a subtle boost.

For a mild cover-up.  If you’re talking about your roots, you have a decision to make: do you want to cover or do you want to color?

This Root Concealer from Rita Hazan is selling out everywhere as women prepare for the hair color apocalypse.  But I think Dermstore is still has stock for most of the colors.

As for how it works, remember the RonCo hair in a can infomercials from the 90s (you have grey hair, don’t pretend I’m the only one who remembers!)?  This spray works on the same principle, it is a temporary cover-up for your roots.  Need a drugstore version?  L’Oreal has you covered.

Prefer to actually color your hair?  You don’t have to use a bowl and brush or color your entire head, there are several products that just color the roots.  My favorite is L’Oreal’s Root Rescue.  It’s $6, has an easy-to-use applicator and comes in enough shades that you can find a match.

Don’t need grey coverage?  If all you need is to blend your natural roots into your existing hair color, Clairol also makes a similar product that is applied with a paintbrush like applicator.  But this one will not cover greys, it’s just meant to blend roots.

For the works. I have a feeling the Madison-Reed people are going to make a lot of money over the next month or so.  How do I know?  Because 15-minutes after my stylist canceled my appointment, I remembered that I had a box of hair color in my beauty closet and almost cried.

Madison Reed makes a good quality at home hair color. My only tip is to watch many, many YouTube videos before you start.

Another option is eSalon, which mixes a custom hair color option after an initial consultation.  Your consultant is also available for additional guidance after your color is delivered.

Need something you can grab on a Target run?  If you’re intimidated by the idea of at-home hair coloring, try John Freida’s Precision Foam.  It’s super easy to apply and as long as your choosing a similar color, you really can’t screw it up.  If you don’t need training wheels, Garner Nutrisse is the best box color in the store.

Also, pro tip:  Buy a bowl and brush from Amazon or at Sally Beauty if you intend to home color.

The bowl and brush is just so much easier than using a bottle or your fingers.  It gives you better control and less chance of messing up.  Don’t believe me?  Watch a video on coloring at home.   Even the Madison Reed videos feature women using bowl and brush, despite the fact the kit  doesn’t come with one.


This was the first installment of Beauty at Home, in my wildest dreams it will be the last.  Since this will likely continue, I will see you back here for more episodes about hair removal, painting your own nails, and trimming your own split ends.  Because I simply refuse to emerge from quarantine looking like I just spent several weeks living at the International Space Station.

{this post contains affiliate links that may generate commission for the author}


share this post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. Kate says:


  2. dakota says:

    thank you!!!!! so topical!

  3. Elizabeth says:

    Great series idea!

  4. Anonymous says:

    I am calling this a browdemic.

  5. Monica T says:

    I was supposed to have my haircut and highlights done today too, and I knew last week it was going to be cancelled! I can live without the color since the highlights grow out pretty natural looking, but I took some nail scissors to my long bangs and…it didn’t go well. Looking forward to your post about doing trims at home! PS – please include a section on bangs…asking for a friend….

  6. Elizabeth says:

    Thank you so much for this series! Great idea. Any at home sunless tanning tips? I’m really fair and would love some guidance on how to get a healthy glow.

    • Belle says:

      St. Tropez, with the mitt. Exfoliate and shave in the morning, apply in the afternoon. Then shower before bed to keep it off your sheets.

    • Lauren says:

      The Tan Luxe products are also really great. The gradual gives a good natural color and the smell is mild. I put it on 2-3 evenings per week so i can wash off in the morning. It’s never transferred to my clothes or sheets.

  7. irmc says:

    Beauty at Home is a GREAT idea. I would very much like to know how to do my own nails.

  8. SG says:

    Great series! I have been using esalon for about a year (with my stylist’s blessing!) to cover my grays, and I like the product a lot. Their bowl/brush/timer/clip set is a great deal if you buy with your first order. They also have a “tint rinse” product that helps with toning (for me, making sure my highlights don’t turn reddish). Not spon, all purchased with my own moneys, and am very happy with it.

  9. Melissa says:

    BC is taking this pretty seriously, and all personal service providers were shut down last week. I have short hair, and am seriously envious of the longies who can go a few months without any noticeable difference. The only people seeing my hair are colleagues on WebEx meetings, but I’m trying to not look like Dog the Bounty Hunter. I’m fine with the greys, but not the shagginess, so I cracked and took the ol’ pube trimmers to my side shave. What can I say, these are dark and desperate times.

  10. kelly says:

    I have an undercut. I don’t know what I’m going to do in about 3-4 weeks.

    • SC says:

      I’m in the same boat — my hair is very short and shaved in the back, so I have to get it cut every 5 weeks. My boyfriend can handle shaving the back for me, but who knows about the front part. We’ll all be shaggy-haired together, I guess.

  11. Emma says:

    I have used Lush Henna for a few years now to save money. I add a little ACV to help the henna stick to gray. My gray hair processes as a slightly lighter color than my naturally light brown hair. It looks like natural highlights from the sun. It’s Demi-permanent so there’s no color line as the hair grows. I do have to use it every 6 weeks to keep my color fresh. It’s messy and takes forever to process, but I think of it as a fun art project. I love that it’s a natural product and the packaging is zero waste.

  12. Emily G says:

    I’m wanting to go a little wilder since I’m stuck at home forever and my company is asking us not to use video to save bandwidth. Any tips for at home temporary rose gold or violet colors? If not now, when?

    • Taryn says:

      The overtone advertisements have been all over my Insta for weeks – has anyone else used this product?? I’d also like to do something more dramatic like a purple or red on my blonde hair. Belle – maybe a saw it on social post?

      • Farrow says:

        I’ve used Overtone on and off for years (just went back to purple again this past weekend).

        Currently I’m using the Extreme Purple (from the regular line, not the brown hair line) on natural light brown hair and it looks great. I applied it wet, which makes it easier to get full coverage. When it goes on dry hair it’s harder to apply but the color turns out more concentrated. I would say right now my color is noticeable, but somewhat subtle in most lighting. When I’ve used the same color on bleached hair before it’s *vivid*. I imagine it would be somewhere in between on natural blonde hair. The customer reviews on the website do a good job of showing the variation on different underlying hair colors.

        The product is really hydrating for my hair and it washes out completely for me in about 10 washings (but is easy to maintain by just using the conditioner that comes in the complete system).

        I’ve also used some of Overtone’s natural hair colors and liked them too. The products smell much better than traditional home color treatments. I do use gloves and a rag towel but haven’t had any trouble with it staining my fixtures, etc.

      • Caitie says:

        I tried Overtone extreme red and espresso for my virgin dark brown hair (the mask, which gives you the most colour and hydration.) Since I don’t regularly colour my hair, I found it messy to apply and you have to use a LOT of it — I have a ton of hair, though. Something that I do like about Overtone is that it’s really easy to create custom colour blends — I did a 1:2 red: espresso. And it definitely does make your hair feel soft and healthy after!

        30 minutes on dry hair resulted in very subtle, almost unnoticeable results that lasted for about 3 weeks. I tried it because I am starting to get noticeable clusters of grey along my part and my temples but am not ready to commit to permanent dye yet. It did not cover my greys at all, so that was disappointing. I might try 100% extreme red since I’m at home for the foreseeable future!

    • CM says:

      Kristin Ess has a temporary Rose Gold spray that I’ve used before and it’s really nice. She was teasing a purple spray release awhile back, but I’m not sure it’s hit the market yet.

  13. Leslie says:

    I’ve used Madison Reed for years and love the results (Milano Brown). My hair grows so fast I have to color every three weeks religiously. I did buy a bowl and brush – MR offers for separate purchase. My preference though is to save bottle from first order – thoroughly clean out – and use only half of next order to mix in empty bottle so one kit lasts me six weeks. So long as you don’t mix the leftover halves together and be sure to reseal tightly, it stores well. I also like the Prime for Perfection – every two to three months – and Light Works balayage (it really works!!!).

  14. Cindi says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank your for this post and series concept! Your comment about not wanting to emerge from quarantine looking like you’ve just stepped off from the space station is priceless. Other ideas for topics: facial hair removal, gel polish removal, acrylic nail removal, cutting your bangs at home (I’m starting to look like Cousin It). Love the blog!

  15. Mrs. Jones says:

    My hair stylist is selling coverage kits for current color clients to touch up their hairline/roots, to be picked up and used the same day. So nice!

  16. CM says:

    I love the Kristin Ess glosses, and LOLed at your comment about the smell. I’m not in love with the smell of many of her products either, and her Instagram is FLOODED with people who profess their love for the fragrance in her products. I grabbed a Tortoise Shell Gloss the other day and am hoping it will keep my hair looking fresh-ish until I can get back in for a color appointment. The greys and whites will just have to be what they are.

  17. Rachael says:

    My salon is making at-home emergency root touch up color kits for clients to pick up. The kits are formulated based on each clients color profile and come with everything needed to a quick at home fix. It’s such a brilliant idea I had to share!

  18. Becky with the good hair says:

    I am a dip nail loyalist and didn’t want to go into the salon to get them removed at the very start of voluntary quarantine. I used a new file on the electronic ped-egg to remove the top shiny layer, and then soaked my nails in a bowl of nail polish remover. Then I used a classic emery board to buff off the rest. It took about an hour start to finish (I had a glitter color on, which probably took longer), but I just had a rom-com on in the background to distract me during the process.

  19. Katel says:

    How to remove dip and gel manicures. What Becky said with a little more detail 🙂

  20. Seri says:

    Thank you several times over for this post!

Join The List

Stay up to date on the latest from Capitol Hill Style!


Ask the Editor: Vol. IV, No. Twenty-One

This week, the reader mail bag was full of little things. Pajama advice. Jewelry cleaning tips. Small things, but ones you might also be curious about, so let’s get started.



Recent Posts

Bag Week: The Statement Bag

Sometimes your outfit just needs something. Some color. Some sparkle. Something bold, something impactful, a statement. These bags bring that extra.



Add to Cart: Recent Amazon Finds

Bette Midler once famously said, “I want it all, and I want it delivered.” She is my soul sister.




Ask the Edit, Style, Top Posts | May 23, 2024

Ask the Editor: Vol. IV, No. Twenty-One

This week, the reader mail bag was full of little things. Pajama advice. Jewelry cleaning tips. Small things, but ones you might also be curious about, so let’s get started.



Fantastic Finds, Posts, Style | May 23, 2024

Bag Week: The Statement Bag

Sometimes your outfit just needs something. Some color. Some sparkle. Something bold, something impactful, a statement. These bags bring that extra.



Add to Cart, Features, Posts | May 22, 2024

Add to Cart: Recent Amazon Finds

Bette Midler once famously said, “I want it all, and I want it delivered.” She is my soul sister.



Fantastic Finds, Posts, Style | May 22, 2024

Bag Week: Stadium Bags

If you’re headed to a baseball game, a concert, or other stadium event this summer, you need a clear handbag, as most venues have instituted clear bag policies. Here are a few that won’t make your retinas bleed.