Retouching to keep hair color looking fresh

It’s hard being a woman. There’s always some excuse to spend more money. Just take our hair for example. Besides keeping it healthy looking, you have to maintain your hairstyle as well. And if you’ve got some gray hair like me, then there’s another set of issue. This is one of the reasons I color my hair. The other reason is to add some dimension to my flat and straight hair.

Saves time and money
I used to color my hair on average about twice a year. That usually cost me around S$150 – S$200 each time to have both highlights and lowlights done at the salon. However, as I grow older, I realized the frequency needs to be increased due to the amount of gray hair showing. Then sometime last year, one of the colorists I met mentioned that she only colors the roots to cover her gray hair and I thought that sounds like something I should attempt. But it was only this week that I finally did it and it turned out well. They call it retouching the roots and it cost me S$38 at a neighborhood salon. I had my hair highlighted at the same shop sometime in January and it’s been three months, meaning that I have over two inches of new growth since. The recommendation is that I should retouch every four to eight weeks so I was initially worried that it would turned out uneven but my worries were really unfounded.

Hair color becomes more uniform
I learnt that unlike highlights and lowlights, retouching the roots of our hair really mean coloring all the roots. So the color is more uniform. It’s a good way to hide the grays definitely and also a good way to save time and money. It took me less than two hours and if I were to do this every quarter, it’ll only cost me about S$150 for the year vs S$300 – S$400 for two times of highlights. But the hair would look less interesting in the long run unless you don’t mind the uniform hair color. Personally, I would like my hair to look more interesting and so I would still prefer to have a highlight done and going by this, I can probably still do it once a year and retouch maybe two to three times in a year? That’ll definitely save me some bucks although I think I’ll be subjecting my hair to more chemical onslaughts.

DIY approach
Anyway, I’m happy to have found a solution to keep my hair color looking fresh for a longer period. If I have more guts, I can actually dye the roots myself and save even more. All I need is to make sure that I use the same color each time. But given my self-doubt, I’ll stick to going to the hair salon for now.


  1. Veraera says:

    Hi Sesame,
    I was wondering if you could advise me on natural/organic hair color. I have very dark hair and a lot of white hair. I cannot really use the semi-permanent color, it will wash off after 2-3 washes. I use permanent color (regular, chemical-full), but I would like to switch to natural products. Do you know any permanent natural color brands, that might work for me?

  2. sesame says:

    Hi Veraera: I haven’t come across natural ones. The closest is low ammonia level of 6% like this I tried:

    You can also search online by clicking here and see if there is any product that suits your requirement. There are a couple that looks more natural but I haven’t tried them though.

  3. Mint says:

    Hi Sesame,

    Just some concerns regarding your entry..

    My hairstylist told me once that if we are to do our own hair-coloring at home, we have to be more careful as not to let the chemical touches our scalp. The chemical can actually agitate our scalp and cause inflammation if not handled well. That is why on the packaging of DIY dyes it is often stated that we are to leave about 2-3 cm of our roots untouched. And when this is done in saloon, the hairstylist will not only put a layer of protective serum before dyeing our hair, but also being able to see clearly they can dye up to 0.5cm away from our roots. In this way the gap is not so obvious and yet it still protects our scalp.

    Sounds reasonable to me. Hence, every since then I’ve stuck to dyeing my hair in saloon instead.

    And oh yes, I’m going to touch up on my hair color this sunday too. =)

  4. stella says:

    other than having fried my hair, this is why i’ve not been dying mine for the last 2 years even tho’ i’ve been coloring my hair for like years… also, since i’ve hit the big 3-0, i reckon that there are only that many more years i can show off my natural very black hair; it’s weird coz once i stopped coloring my hair, i actually had a no. of ‘did you color your hair black?’ ‘why did you color your hair so black?’ queries

  5. flym says:

    I’m in a bit of a spot because I prefer highlights. Now that my greys are getting more, the highlights are no longer enough to camouflage them. Colouring all the hair is very damaging, isn’t it? Worse if it’s all colour + highlights. My hair is very porous so it dries out very quickly. Despite that, I have to seriously consider colouring everything and re-touching the roots because of the increasingly noticeable greys. Sigh.

  6. sesame says:

    You raised a good point! Yes, it’s true…my hairstylist cautioned me about using chemical based stuff on the scalp. In fact, I’m worried about hair loss and that’s why I try not to color so much. However, I have an issue with grays and so I have to color…I just try to stretch the time of doing a color as far as possible.

    But I’ll draw the line about DIY because I am not confident about doing it myself. I wrote about this last time and a number of readers mentioned they color their own hair and it turned out well. I guess they’re very adept at it already but for me, it’s the salon.

  7. sesame says:

    I’ll be happy to keep to my natural color. In fact, I did not color my hair till I hit the 30s…and it was more for fun cos my hairstylist recommended it to give my hair some dimension as I’ve had short straight hair for a long time.

  8. sesame says:

    I can understand how you feel cos that’s how I’m feeling too. I don’t like to color too often because I’m worried about hair turning frizzy and losing more hair due to the color reaction. But like you, I’m facing more grays. They’re all over now but hidden inside with a few visible strands.

    What you can do to avoid the damage is to do a treatment after the coloring. That would help prevent it from drying out. I did it and it cost me an additional $20. Hair feels extremely soft and manageable afterwards.

  9. yay says:

    alittle off the topic here but do u know any DIY to get fuller & thicker hair.. most of the shampoo/conditioner work for awhile…i want some natural stuff i can find to use to make fuller…my hair is getting thinner each day… someone pointed out the obivious fact the other day…=(

  10. ann says:

    Went to Buds and they had natural hair dye made from Henna. But was advised that if you want to cover grey hair, the only colour that will do it would be more reddish, as there’s more henna component. I don’t dye my hair now(overabused it already in my 20s) but my friend tried the brownish shade one and found that the colour doesn’t eat very well into her hair.

  11. sesame says:

    That’s the problem with more natural hair dyes based on what I read too…the ingredients don’t work so well to create permanent or semi-permanent color.

  12. sesame says:

    Hmm…I tried some recipes in my younger days using dried morning glory soaked in brandy to run on the scalp. As for fuller, not too sure if beer works cos I’ve not really tried it.

  13. crow says:

    Henna can be used to improve health of hair and is the ONLy natural dye out there…if it has chemicals it is not natural period. TO get a brown shade henna is used along with the plant amla.It must be bought from a reputable dealer and not contain any hidden ingredients. Henn is great for dry scalp and also no problems with swimming …hair does not fade! It is the natural option!

  14. Christy says:

    Hi Sesame!

    I was reading through your post, if gray hair is a concern, there’s an all new natural supplement called Go Away Gray, which within 4-6 weeks replaces your gray hair with your original color! go to for more information!

  15. Veraera says:

    Thank you, I will look into it! What do you think about this:

  16. sesame says:

    The ingredients look fairly natural but no idea about the performance. Have you read any other reviews on the product?

  17. sesame says:

    Thanks for sharing this. I have no idea cos it’s not readily used here for hair. The only application I know about Henna is using it for hand art.

  18. yay says:

    i heard of beer but i thought it’s just for making the hair shiny.. “dried morning glory soaked in brandy???”

  19. sesame says:

    It seems it does both – shine and volume – but I’ve not tried to confirm.

    Yes, dried morning glory…I remember going round to pick them for the concoction.

  20. Bala says:

    i prefer henna more than anything else, because using a natural product is more important than using just a product
    Bala last post is: Best bumble and bumble products for all types of hair

  21. Fakrul hasan says:

    Really a beautiful and useful post. Many thanks for giving such an informative post.
    Hair color

  22. Mukul says:

    Great information,We have started adopting tips.really useful for my business.Thanks

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