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.