• Value: 17/20
• Functionality: 19/20
• Quality: 20/20
• Aesthetics: 16/20
• Color Range: 15/20
TOTAL: 87/100

It’s been an annus horribilis, hair-styling wise. We’ve all been at the mercy of salons closing and opening due to local health measures; add to that, the zeal to really style and curl and straighten our own mops at home is just not there, since fancy (or sometimes, let’s be real, brushed) hair looks silly with that same pair of sweats we put on seven weeks ago.

And yet when I noticed patches of gray mottling my highlighted hair, I had to do something. I asked my friend Erika, a hair obsessive who is basically blondorexic (she can’t ever bleach her locks light enough), what she was doing about her gray hair. “I go crazy when my Pauly Walnuts hairs grow out,” she said. Her stylist prepped an at-home toner for her to use, but she wasn’t sure about the coverage. And she was going to experiment with some dye just for her roots.

“Why don’t you just use a spray roots coverup,” I asked her.

“Spray on?!?” she texted back indignantly. “I can’t. It’s off-brand.”

Well, Miss Fancy Erika obviously doesn’t know about Rita Hazan, the colorist whose Fifth Avenue salon was the launch pad for a line of home hair care including the Root Concealer Touch Up Spray. Since I tried it early in the pandemic, I’ve kept a bottle on hand for when my grays have grown out faster than I could get a salon appointment. And the experience, and effect, hasn’t been at all down-market.

rita hazan root touch up before
Dana Dickey

Exhibit A, clean hair and…growing out gray. My hair grows in gray in patches right along the sides of my face and my part becomes sprinkled with random gray hairs. It’s not a thicket of snow on the roof, but the gray bits look uneven with my highlights. Add to that, my gray hair (and most people’s) is hard to cover with dye because gray hair follicles produce less oil, which makes the hair drier, which makes it harder for color to penetrate. That’s why you’ll notice colorists using special dye protocols to cover gray and leaving the solution on for an extra-long time.

I open my little box from Rita Hazan and pull out the 6-inch-tall spray bottle, then fit the needle-like nozzle onto the spray nozzle. This allows me to direct a stream of dye—my shade is Dark Blonde—right to the slender areas where I need it. After using this for a few months, I’ve noticed that the most natural-looking applications are the lightest. It’s best to sweep a few strokes over a gray area, then look at my progress right next to the window for the most telling light. I lift up the front few layers of hair to shower a bit of dye throughout, taking care not to point the nozzle straight down, where it would dye my scalp—not cool. I get a paper towel and hold it in front of my temple, so that I can get right up to my “Pauly Walnuts” baby hairs without leaving dark blonde dye on my cheeks.

Dana Dickey

Et voila! A few swipes later, and I almost feel like I’ve just come from my colorist. Though this color application isn’t permanent, it’s pretty durable; I’ve never had it rub off on clothes or a pillowcase. The dark blonde stays put even in workouts—this summer I forgot I was wearing it until I found myself in the middle of a sweaty training session in the park. While the dye didn’t streak down my face, Rudy Guiliani-style, I did notice a bit of it coming off on my towel when I wiped my brow. So…dark towels for sweaty park workouts going forward.

It stays in my hair until the next time I wash it, which isn’t that often right now. I give my Rita Hazan spray high marks for functionality and quality, since it covers well and is long-wearing, and the super-thin applicator makes it go on so much better than the handful of similar products I’ve tried. A slight quibble: Why does such a chic product come in such dull packaging? As for colors, the Dark Blonde is a great match for my non-gray roots, but there are only five hues total: Blonde, Dark Blonde, Light Brown, Dark Brown and Red. It seems like black- and strawberry blonde-tressed people might need their own shade, correct? But don’t get me wrong, I’m thrilled at this between-salon workaround and…I’ll be showing off my hair on my next Zoom call with Erika.

Buy It ($25)

RELATED: Kelly Ripa Swears By *This* $10 Drugstore Product to Touch Up Her Greys

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