Photo: Courtesy of Madison Reed.
Raise your hand if you've never had a traumatic experience coloring your hair at home. Congratulations! You are a special flower that has somehow managed the wizardry of making color from a box look spectacular. For the rest of us — those who have gone through everything from blonde that came out orange to our hair literally falling out — at-home hair color tends to be something we approach very cautiously. Or not at all.
However, one look at this swank new color kit, and we were ready to change our no-box stance. Madison Reed is an ammonia-, paraben-, and resorcinol-free hair color that promises multi-tonal, salon-quality color with true depth and dimension. CEO Amy Errett's mission was to make at-home hair color something that was not only foolproof, but that also looked really freaking good.
Her system does away with all the confusion around hair color and makes it truly simple for anyone — even total novices — to do. The kit comes with beyond simple instructions (with diagrams), the cream color, an applicator fluid housed in a bottle with a convenient "less-mess" tip, two pairs of gloves (one for applying and one for rinsing), a hair cap, color-enhancing shampoo and conditioner, Barrier Cream to keep the skin around your hairline clean, and a cleansing wipe to remove any stray color. Whew.
Still not convinced? Then check out the brand's handy app and website. They not only walk you through finding the correct shade for you — be it matching your existing color or helping you make a subtle change — but also provide a video tutorial on how exactly to best apply the color. If you get stuck, the app has easily identifiable buttons (no more hunting through a website for a "Contact Us" link) that lets you email, call, or web chat one of their color specialists.
But, wait, there's more. In select locations, the brand has colorists who will make house calls. That's right, when you purchase from Madison Reed, you get access to a colorist in your area who will come to your house and help you pick the right shade and show you how to apply it in person. We feel downright A-List with that kind of red-carpet treatment.
The brand already has one celebrity fan in Sally Hershberger. The super stylist was so taken with the brand, she introduced her color team to it and now functions as an advisor. "Hair color and cut is a marriage," she says. "This product really compliments what we as stylists do. The tones are unbelievable: You get highlights and dimension, which you just can't get with a [regular] box hair color. This is better than some professional colorists I've seen."
Another thing Hershberger couldn't stop gushing over? The shine. Errett says that an infusion of argan oil, ginseng root, and keratin is responsible for imparting that mirror-like gleam. There are 27 shades available and the brand provides "look books" on its website that shows each color. Not just how it looks on straight hair, mind you, but on a wide variety of hair textures and lengths, as well as when pulled into an updo. So, no more wondering if that pretty copper is going to look just as good on your curls as it does on the model's pin-straight strands.
Ready to give at-home hair color another go?
Madison Reed Hair Color, $29.95, available at Madison Reed.