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This clean hair dye company will get you looking salon-fresh from home, with none of the harsh chemicals

Madison Reed will match you to the perfect color formula and ship it to your door, with no harsh ingredients.

This clean hair dye company will get you looking salon-fresh from home, with none of the harsh chemicals
[Photo: Teymi Townsend/Unsplash; Ömürden Cengiz/Unsplash]

There are quite a few things going on in the world that are more important than gray hairs or roots that are growing in. But sometimes, it’s the little things that can help us feel a big difference in the day to day. And if you’re used to getting your hair colored, highlighted, or touched up with a gloss every four to eight weeks, chances are you’re starting to need a touch-up. Or maybe you’re yearning for a drastic change to mix things up. You’re not alone.

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With salons and barbershops closed, we all finally have the freedom (and the free time) to experiment with different DIY looks. But drugstore box dye is full of harmful chemicals that can cause allergic reactions, skin sensitivity, split ends, and (from personal experience) devastating hair damage. That’s why hair color company Madison Reed creates hair colors that are specifically formulated for at-home DIY use, with none of the scary, harsh chemicals. Call it the Beautycounter of at-home hair dye.

[Photo: courtesy of Madison Reed]
Madison Reed uses ingredients that are actually good for your hair, such as argan oil, keratin (the fortifying natural protein that hair is made of), ginseng root extract (to prevent split ends), and natural oils that are both restoring and protective of your strands. But the list of ingredients is more impressive for what’s not in it. They’re free of ammonia (which weakens hair, causes split ends and frizz, and puts off harmful—and stinky—fumes), parabens (which can produce severe allergic reactions), resorcinol (a hazardous chemical and can be toxic to the immune system), phthalates (solvents and plasticizers that are banned in the EU), gluten, sodium lauryl sulfate (which causes split ends and dryness), and titanium dioxide (a possible carcinogen). Darker hues—like Pescara Black (their blackest black) and Verona Brown (a deep, chocolate brown)—are free of PPE, a pigment traditionally used to create darker shades that’s an allergen and skin sensitizer.

If you’re going to color your hair at home and you’re not a professional who knows how to protect your clothes, skin, and lungs from chemicals, it’s important to know what is and isn’t in your hair dye.

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[Photo: courtesy of Madison Reed]
Before you get started, you can take the Color Advisor quiz, which helps you find the correct product and shade based on your hair goals, hair type, skin tone, and experience coloring hair. Madison Reed offers 56 different permanent shades in the Radiant Color Collection—from a super natural beige blonde to a rich, purplish auburn. And whether you’re doing an all-over color for the first time, going lighter, or just refreshing your color, Madison Reed offers tutorials to walk you through each process and make sure you don’t end up like Kate Hudson in that one scene of Bride Wars at your own hands (because there’s no stylist to blame anymore).

[Photo: courtesy of Madison Reed]
For those who are looking to lighten up a bit and start feeling the freedom of summer (even if it’s only by way of a few blond streaks), you can give yourself highlights with one of the Light Works highlighting or bayalage kits, which are available in five shades including Cool Vanilla and  Warm Caramel. It’s not a scary as it sounds, and there are foolproof video tutorials that walk you through the highlighting process, step by step. And if needed, Madison Reed also keeps a team of professional stylists and colorists on hand that you can chat with before you break out the bottle of color.

[Photo: courtesy of Madison Reed]
Madison Reed’s shades and kits are formulated for those brave enough to color their hair at home, but if that’s not you, there are still options. The company also offers less committal options that can refresh your hair—like a collection of semi-permanent glosses that give you an oomph of color, shine, and a “I just went to the salon” look. And for those who want to forgo coloring their hair but still need a quick fix for their roots before a Zoom meeting, there’s the rain-proof, sweat-proof root touch-up powder (which is basically makeup for your hair). You simply brush it on to cover roots or gray areas and it sticks around until your next shampoo.

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