Until last week, I thought shelling out upwards of $250 for highlights and a root-covering tint was totally legit. At least in my neck of the NYC metropolitan area. Then I discovered Madison Reed, a new home hair color company, and even this DIY hair color skeptic just might be a new convert.

I dabbled in hair color from the box when I was a teenager living in the Midwest, but as soon as I moved to New York and worked in the beauty business, I admit getting¬†hooked on the prestige of going to a celebrity colorist. But like so many of us, once¬†my kids came along, the time and money spent hauling myself to¬†a fancy salon seemed ridiculous. Still I never considered going back to the box¬†until¬†I heard how great¬†Madison Reed sounded.¬†They’re actually used in salons, and even count legendary hairstylist¬†Sally Hershberger¬†as an advisor, which definitely upped ¬†their street cred with me.


Madison Reed at home hair color as good as the salons


Turns out Madison Reed’s combination of ease, tech and amazing formulations works for me.¬†If the thought of choosing from among their 27 ¬†hair colors is daunting, you can call, e-mail, or chat online with their “Color Crew” of professional colorists who will help you pick the perfect shade. You can even send them a selfie so they can make personalized recommendations which is pretty genius.

I like to think that I can choose the color that suits me best, so I decided to forgo the assistance and brave it alone–with just a little help from their hair color advisor recommendation engine on site.


Madison Reed home hair color online color advisor


I chose the Como hair color shade which is light brown with hints of mahogany. The instructions in the box were super easy to follow, and thanks to the ammonia-free formula, there was no unbearable smell. After 30 minutes,you just use the color-enhancing shampoo and conditioner included, then dry. I will admit mine came out a bit redder than I had expected (maybe I should have consulted with the Color Crew, after all), but the high-gloss was gorgeous and all of my grays were gone.

I mean¬†uh…what grays? I don’t even know what you’re talking about.

I like that Madison Reed formulations are all free of questionable ingredients like parabens, resorcinol and ammonia. They have added healthy ingredients like argan oil, ginseng root and keratin, which I find actually make your hair look and feel healthier after you color it.

After a couple of days, my new shade really grew on me. I admit I’ll probably¬†go back to the pros for highlights every so often, but for now I’ve traded Madison Avenue for Madison-Reed–and I’m not looking back.

 The new Madison Reed home hair color is $29.99 per kit. Order from the Madison Reed website and get support from one of their color experts. Or sign up for auto-delivery for regular shipments.