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Skip the Salon With This Hair Color How-To

Follow these steps to keep your hair color on point -- without setting foot in the salon
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Sure, a good blowout or fresh cut and color can be a huge mood-booster. But for those of us busy women who are already juggling a million-and-one things on a daily basis, getting to the salon often feels more like a chore than a treat -- which is kind of a problem when it comes to keeping your hair color looking fresh.

Fortunately, whether you're looking to cover gray hairs or mask grown-out roots, there's a way to keep your color in tip-top shape sans appointment. Clairol's Root Touch-Up, $6.99, is an easy fix that lets you extend your color in the comfort of your own home. Best of all, it only takes 10 minutes for the color to work -- and we're here to walk you through the entire process. Keep reading to find out how this quick, affordable at-home solution can make mane maintenance a breeze. (And to see the Root Touch-Up in action, be sure to check out the video to your right.)

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Get Organized
Once you've found your perfect color match (we used 5, a medium brown, here), take stock of everything that's in your Root Touch-Up box. Read the instructions so you're clear on the products, process and timing. Each package comes with permanent color creme (marked #1), a color-activating lotion (marked #2), a mixing tray, a precision brush for application and a pair of gloves -- which you'll need to wear anytime you're working with the hair color.

In addition, you'll want to have an old t-shirt or towel on hand to protect your clothing (even the neatest among us can get a little messy), plus petroleum jelly, a comb, plastic hair clips and a timer.

Keep in mind that 48 hours before coloring your hair, you'll need to do a patch test to be sure you don't have any allergies to the product. Then, you're ready to make your stubborn grays -- or overgrown roots -- disappear.

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Mix Your Hair Color
Find a flat, stable surface for your mixing tray. Squeeze the contents of the permanent color cream tube and color activating lotion into the tray. Then stir, stir, stir with the included brush to blend them completely.

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Divide Your Hair
Start with dry hair, and give it a good brush-through. Then, use your comb to divide your hair into four sections. Part it down the middle and then split each side in half, front to back. Twist and secure each section with a clip, so your hair is out of the way.

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Apply Petroleum Jelly
To avoid getting color on your skin, delicately apply a thin layer of petroleum jelly to your hairline with your fingertips. Get as close as possible to your hairline, but be careful not to get any in your hair.

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