Trailblazers: How Madison Reed is Reimagining At-Home Hair Color


(Source: Madison Reed)When it comes to hair color, if you’re sick of choosing between a cryptic do-it-yourself box and an intimidating salon, Madison Reed offers a refreshing middle ground. “The truth is, there are a ton of women who cross over between salons and the DIY approach,” admits CEO and founder Amy Errett. Her online service, which launched last year, lends a luxurious touch to the concept of at-home color, ranging from a nutrient-rich product (no parabens here!) to a reliable batch of professional stylists.

Here, we show you four ways Madison Reed is revamping at-home hair color—and they’re anything but lackluster.

1. It’s fool-proof.
“You don’t want to formulate a home-based product that’s hard to get right,” confesses Errett. Each of Madison Reed’s colors comes with a nine-piece coloring kit ($29.05)—we love the easy-to-follow visuals—including two pairs of fitted, professional-grade gloves and a thicker cream base that makes for a drip-free application process.

2. It's salon quality–literally.
Handcrafted in Italy (it’s why they have names such as Perugia Black and Vesuvius Red), each of Madison Reed’s 27 colors are multi-tonal. “One of the reasons people prefer a salon experience is because a stylist will mix colors together,” says Errett, who promises her product doesn’t sacrifice depth or shine. “We love salons and want to partner with them–ours is an 'and' not an 'or' strategy.”

3. Technology is embedded into the business model.

From a mobile how-to video that responds to voice commands (“You never have to touch the phone,” explains Errett) to a set of seven, snappy online questions that help clients determine their ideal base color, Madison Reed relies on manipulating technology to benefit customers—without replacing the human touch. To wit, a selection of 15 certified colorists will walk you through a web-based consultation and a house-call service (currently offered only in San Francisco), aimed at first-timers and skeptics.

4. It’s good for you.
Swapping ammonia and resorcinol with keratin, ginseng root, and argan oil is no easy feat. But it’s a nourishing formula that’ll boost and protect hair, Errett assures. “You have stylists who’ve been standing behind the chair for 15 to 20 years, inhaling all these chemicals,” she says. “And I’m already getting feedback from a range of them who are saying they’ve switched to our product.”
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