Hair coloring has come a long way since the ancient Gauls and Saxons dyed their hair with natural pigments derived from plants and minerals. And appropriate hair color has long been a sign of status—the ancient Greeks and Egyptians used natural hair dyes regularly to show rank and to look younger. Since few resort to crushing plants and roots in their kitchen anymore, unless you’re a true naturalist, at home hair kits are the best options.
Ninety million people in the U.S. color their hair, so it’s no surprise that the “at-home color kit” concept has grown in leaps and bounds. Madison Reed, brainchild of start-up expert Amy Errett, boasts colorist Sally Hershberger as an adviser, and is very much the UBER of hair color kits. Not only does the box you purchase come with salon quality hair color (Hershberger has personally tested the formulas and vouched for their depth, shine, and grade), but it comes with several surprising perks and virtual services too.
One of the hardest challenges of coloring your hair at home is finding the right shade, so the brand actually sends out a colorist to your door (in San Francisco and Manhattan, so far) to help you select the right shade. You can also get assistance from an online color advisor, mobile app, live web chat, digital photo consultation, or a consultation with a real person on the phone. As far as we know, no other at-home hair color kit gives you all these options.
Photo Credit: MadisonReed.com
The kit itself contains items that would even make the cast of Mad Men reject their hair salons: simple, illustrated instructions on the flap jackets of the box; a radiant Cream Color; Conditioning Color Activator with “less-mess” application tip; two pairs of fitted gloves, one for applying color and another to rinse; Barrier Cream to keep skin around your hairline clean; a hair cap to wear while waiting for color to set; a cleaning wipe to remove stray color; and a specially formulated Color Enhancing Shampoo and Conditioner (this is what we couldn’t believe!). All of this for $29.99 (many luxury shampoos alone cost this amount).
The online quiz is visual and fun: choose from a variety of hair types and length and they’ll figure out what works for you.
While we’re not turning our noses up on the other hair color kits on the market, this is definitely one that raises the bar in more than one way. Once you go Madison Reed, you’re pretty much hooked–just like Uber.
Photo Credit: Gouldylox.com
During the Fall/Winter runway shows at New York’s Fashion Week, we reported that hairstyles had a lot of texture–from Lela Rose to Nanette Lepore.
But there’s always the tricky issue of getting hair to look that glamorous at home. Sure, models have the advantage of being styled by some of the world’s leading hairstylists, so their hair always look movie perfect when they walk the catwalk. But of late, we’ve seen extraordinary hair launches, notably L’Oreal Advanced Hairstyle Collection, which has 14 styling products divided into five categories (all products are $4.99): Boost It, Sleek It, Lock It, TXT It (for texture), and Curve It (for curly hair).
This styling line is the first to use what the brand calls exclusive Fibralock™ Technology, which boosts the longevity of any style. Frankly, I am tired of battling my frizzy strands and reapplying product every few hours, especially on a hot and humid day. The new Sleek It Iron Straight HeatSpray and Sleek It Strand Smoother Serum Spray are both wonders, and the former is lightweight and withstands heat up to 450 degrees. The product is one of my favorites because it helps preserve sleek hair for three days. And at $4.99 a pop, it’s hard to pass up.
My absolute favorite in the Sleek It line is Frizz Vanishing Cream, which I use (just a dollop will do, less than marble size), to even out strands in damp hair before blow drying.
The Boost It segment contains volumizing products like Advanced Hairstyle Boost It Volume Inject Mousse, which is lightweight and aerated. It’s basically collagen for the hair and the result is major va va voom (think Beyoncé meets Bollywood-style hair). It gives hair a volume injection for 24 hours.
The other categories cater to curly hair, and for those who seek texture. There’s also a TXT It Deconstructing Gum, which you can use to shape and piece hair and enhance shine to get that Joan Jett look.
Mara Roszak, L’Oréal Paris Consulting Celebrity Hairstylist answered a few of our top questions in a Q&A below:
Q: What are the most versatile products in this new collection?
The L’Oréal Paris Advanced Hairstyle Boost It High Lift Creation Spray and the L’Oréal Paris Advanced Hairstyle Sleek It Strand Smoother Serum-Spray I would say are both versatile. Everyone and every style can use a bit of volume as well as some added shine.
Q: What do curly-haired girls need to remember to do to ensure maximum moisture and to battle frizz?
Start with a deep conditioner or mask at least once a week. I love the L’Oréal Paris Advanced Haircare Total Repair Extreme Emergency Recovery Mask. Then, if you’re a person that likes using oil or serum, use the L’Oréal Paris OleoTherapy Perfecting Oil Essence then apply L’Oréal Paris Advanced Haircare Total Repair 5 Extraordinary Oil for All Hair Types, on towel dried locks. One of my favorite curly hair products is the L’Oréal Paris Advanced Hairstyle Curve It Curl Taming Cream. It’s light weight but tames frizz while adding curl definition.
Q: What are your tips to combat frizz in extremely humid conditions?
Use frizz taming products like oils and serums before styling hair. Touching up the style with a flat iron or curling iron with help seal in the style. To finish off any look, spray with a weather control hairspray that has anti humidity protection in it.
Photo Credit: Leonor Greyl
Leonor Greyl is a brand that is all about paraben-free and natural ingredients (the Ecocert symbol means business), and its latest Masque Quintessence ($145) is the ultimate weapon for desperate hair, which means it’s fit for hair that has been colored, dyed, processed, bleached…you name it.
A weekly spa date for your locks, it is made with rare nourishing ingredients (cupuaçu oil from the Amazon and manketti oil from northern Namibia). The first thing you’ll notice is its fragrance. As with all Leonor Greyl hair products, this is not that sickly sweet scdent you get from say, opening a bottle of bubble bath, but the feeling of sniffing fresh honeysuckle from right outside your window.
The fragrance hits you on the nose (mock orange and linden are strong notes)—but in a good way. The idea is to apply this masque to dry hair before you shower, and wait for 10 to 20 minutes before rinsing off (the packaging advises to comb the hair during rinsing to prevent tangles). Manketti oil is derived from a specifically protected tree in Namibia, and the reason that Leonor Greyl uses it is because it is very rich in linoleic fatty acid, which promotes hair regeneration and restores texture. The cupuaçu oil hails from the Amazon, where it has been used traditionally for ages to create thick, luxurious hair (Ojon’s harvests come from Central America, and theirs is a similar story).
A 10 minute treatment yields soft, manageable, and marvelously fragrant hair: it’s a hair trip to the fragrance vaults of the best Parisian perfumer. The packaging is also updated and luxurious, with a gold lid and the masque inside a Plexiglass jar with black text.
At $145 for this masque, you may wonder if it’s worth the cost. When you consider you’re reversing your hair damage in minutes, hydrating every strand with powerful antioxidants and oils, and helping to preserve your hard-won hair color, $145 seems a small price to pay rather than a visit to your hairdresser. A little bit of the masque goes a long way, and a jar could give you weekly treatments for well over four months (conservatively).
Desperate hair has met its (very fragrant) match.