Madison Reed

disclaimer: I am a Madison Reed affiliate, and I received the products used in this post for review purposes. However, I don't make enough money on affiliate posts to sell my soul, so the opinions in this post are mine and mine alone.

I haven't colored my hair for many years. I messed around with home color in the 90's, doing a few different versions of "overly purple eggplant red" that was in vogue at the time. Earlier this year, I was getting a bit bored with my hair and looked into color at the salon, and it was just way too expensive for me. So when I had the opportunity to try out Madison Reed haircolor, which is a bit higher end than the box color you can buy at the drugstore, I was intrigued. They purport to be healthier than regular hair dye, although I am not a scientist nor am I a hair color expert, so I will just link to their page on that and let you check it out. But don't forget to come back and check out my new hair!

Madison Reed has a Color Advisor service on the website, and you can also call on the phone and talk to people for color advice. I am more of an internet person than a phone person, and I already had an idea of what I wanted, so I used the Color Advisor on the site. It asks a series of questions both about what your hair is like and what you want, and came up with some recommendations. Basically, I didn't want to go lighter or darker, just wanted to jazz up my brown hair with some color, and the color I chose, Trieste Red, promised to be a "Deep reddish mahogany brown."

I ordered one of my recommendations in a permanent color kit ( and it came like this:

Products in a plastic tray in a box. You can see color, activator, and minis of shampoo and conditioner.
Color Kit
There were things hidden in there under some of the items, too, so overall this is what was in it:
Photo shows contents of color kit, which will be described in the text. The Barrier Cream and Wipe are in a foil pack, shampoo andconditioner minis, small boxes with gloves and a cap, the hair color and the activator in full size bottles.
Contents of kit

The kit includes a full size color and activator, minis of shampoo and conditioner, two sets of gloves, a cap, some "Barrier Cream" and a cleansing wipe. A couple of notable things that the kit did not include were hair clips and a bowl/brush set, but both can be found on the accessories page. You can even buy a smock, but god only knows if that would fit me at plus size. At first I thought it was kind of nuts to buy a branded smock, but if you are a person who does their hair color all the time and end up signing up for monthly shipments, maybe it would be a good buy for you? I just did mine with no shirt and and old cotton bra on. 

I opted not to order any accessories, and I think the bowl/brush would have been superflous for me since I was doing my own color, but I would have liked just a couple of clips in the kit. If you have long or thick hair, I think the pro clips are probably an essential because they look like they hold a lot of hair. For me, I have shorter, finer hair, so I was able to make do with some stuff I had already.

OK. Let's get started!

Side and front view of my hair. Cool brown tone.
Hair color before
My hair is just kind of a cool brown tone with very few grays. I do have one or two silvery grays here and there, but I am not sure if they really show in the photo. Occasionally in sunshine, my hair can have a tiny bit of a red highlight, but since I live in Seattle and we don't often have blazing sunshine, this is basically what my hair looks like all the time.

Before I colored my hair, I read the instructions in the box, and I also went on Madison Reed's how-to web page, which was listed on the instructions, and watched several videos. Since I haven't colored my hair for over a decade, I wanted to make sure I remembered what I was doing. Make sure to watch the bowl video even if you are not using the bowl, and watch the part where the stylist applies the barrier cream and explains why it's being applied. That helped me a lot. I thought the barrier cream was a nice touch in the package. 

The hardest part for me to do alone was sectioning off my hair. I was determined to do this without help for the purposes of blog reviews, but since my hair is so straight and fine, it flopped all over the place, and since I am nearsighted, I had to do with without glasses. So if I do this again, I am getting my husband to help. But I got that done with the help of a couple of mirrors and then mixed the color and sort of applied it per instructions for a while and then just sort of glopped it all over my head until my hair was all coated in it. Then I ran a pick through it to get it all incorporated and just sort of sculpted it up on top of my head. I forgot to use the included cap, so I just sat there with my head like that for 35 minutes.

Here's how much dye I used. Also, if you are a hair dye newbie like me, I wanted to show the change in the color from when it was first mixed to after it was in the activator for a little while. I was kind of surprised at first like - Why is this stuff white? But since I had watched the videos, I knew it would change.

Showing how much was used. I left about a quarter of the bottle in there.
How much I used
I guess this is where the bowl mixing would come in handy. If you're a person who deals with a lot of gray you want to cover, there was plenty of product for a root touch up later, if I had kept them separated. Ce la vie.

The processing was easy and almost enjoyable. This hair color smells great. It smells like kind of a natural botanical scent. There's a scent in this that reminds me in a good way of some hippie shampoo I used to use back in the day. 

OK, are you ready for the after? 

Shows the before and after photos
Before and After

I love it! It's exactly what I wanted from an at-home color experience. I didn't want to get too wild with the color for fear of things going wrong, but this jazzed up my natural color just enough to have some variety. My hair feels great, too. Shiny, soft and not "processed" at all.

Here are a few more "after" photos in different lighting - in some light the reddish-purplish tone comes out more. None of the pictures in this post have been filtered and were taken on a cloudy Seattle day near windows with natural light.

Different angles with different lighting.
A few more views

1 comment:

  1. Very nice! Always such an EXPERIMENT to try new color...and who wants to experiment on their HAIR?!? Well, I guess *some* people do, but not this girl :-)