There are many reason why you’ve probably ditched boxed hair dye or sworn off coloring your hair altogether. In fact, we can probably all relate to having made at least one emergency run to the salon in an attempt to re-dye our locks that turned out looking nothing like what was on the box. Sometimes though, even when you go to the salon wanting a subtle balayge, you come out with frosted tips circa 1998, and you’re left wondering why you can’t just do it yourself. (You’re also probably wondering why frosted tips were ever a thing.)

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Madison Reed has a solution for all of your quandaries. They offer at-home color that thinks totally outside the box in more ways than one. Founder Amy Errett started the company as a healthy alternative to your usual hair dye… and it won’t leave your bathroom reeking of chemicals. You won’t find any ammonia, resorcinol or parabens in these dyes, which means the multi-dimensional color won’t damage your hair.

Since dying your hair at home or in a salon can be a scary process, Madison Reed has a Color Crew on call to answer your questions and even help you pick the right color for you and your hair type. We talked to their team of professional coloristas for insider tips so you can color with confidence.

How to Pick a Color


“Color choice always starts with the natural color of your hair and your skin tone. The most beautiful results are usually close to your natural shade because that is what’s most flattering on you. Factor in if you have color-treated hair already, because that will influence the final result.” With the right color, your hair can look thicker and healthier. The Color Crew even says that the right color can flatter your skin tone and make your complexion look clearer!

How to Keep It Trendy


The Color Crew told us, “Lighter ends are still super popular, but we are seeing a fresher, more natural-looking version than the old ombre. Natural hair color is always lighter and warmer on the ends, so this is what we should be striving for with colored hair.” Reds and coppers are sneaking in there too, trumping the less-natural burgundy hues. Look out for more solid-looking ‘dos in darker shades.

How to Prep Your Hair for Color


Healthy hair will make your color look better and last longer. To make sure your mane is prepped, the Color Crew suggest following these steps:

1. Color with second-day hair, so that your scalp has had a day to recuperate from shampooing.

2. Brush your hair thoroughly to rid it of tangles and excess product.

3. Use a gentler product like their Color Reviving Gloss on you ends. The ends of your hair have been there the longest, and they’ll absorb color fastest. Using a gloss will help fade the hair color out from the roots to the beginning of your ends so you don’t end up with over-processed tips.

How to Highlight Like the Pros


Keep your highlights simple and natural. To avoid the chunky zebra stripe effect, they say to keep the lightener at the ends, making sure you don’t go above the curve of the head.

How to Make Your Hair Color Last Longer


Again, healthier hair is always better for retaining color, so follow the Color Crew’s tips on amping the condition of your overall hair health:

1. Use a shampoo without sulfates and one with nourishing oils (keratin and argan are best). Madison Reed’s Nourishing Color Enhancing Shampoo even has a secret ingredient: Blue Lupin Peptides, proven to preserve color.

2. Don’t skip the conditioner. This will help keep moisture in the cuticles of your locks. Madison Reed’s Nourishing Color Enhancing Conditioner has an added UV filter to protect your color from being washed out by the sun. So, it’s kind of like sunglasses for your hair.

3. Do not overheat. We repeat, do not overheat. Keep that heat styling to a minimum.

4. Before jumping into the salty sea this summer, put some conditioner in your hair. Better yet, top it with a hat. This will protect your hair and your color from the elements.

Maintaining Your Look Between Coloring

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The Color Crew told us that “the best time to color you hair is when you have a 1/2” of regrowth. The amount of time differs from person to person. For many, this will take four to six weeks.” In your down time though, here’s how you can keep those roots in check.

1. Only apply permanent color to new hair and make sure you start at the roots. Untreated hair takes longer to process, so for even results, this is key. With the Madison Reed app, you can use their voice-controlled tutorial complete with timers so you can make sure you’re timing everything just right.

2. If you seriously can’t wait a month between coloring, apply a tiny amount of color along your hairline with a brush. The Color Crew says this coloring-the-bits-that-show approach is one that celebs use all the time.

3. Madison Reed offers a Root Touch Up, which is a dry powder hair color that brushes on to instantly cover regrowth and grays. It’ll stay on your locks until the next shampoo.

What is Hair Gloss and How do You Use It?


Even if you’re not looking to totally change up your look with a full-on color swap, you can amp up your mane with gloss. It’s a semi-permanent color in a super shiny, deep conditioning base. In the Color Crew’s words: “Think of it as lip gloss for your hair color.” Awesome.

Your shiny ‘do will last you around eight washes and has great staying power on color-treated hair. Colored hair is already more porous as a result of being dyed, so the gloss can penetrate the hair even more deeply. It’s super easy to use, and Madison Reed’s comes already mixed in a tube. You just put it in your hair for 30 minutes, then rinse. It’s a great way to add some oomph to the color on the ends of your hair while you’re doing a full dye, amp up your highlights, add shine and dimension to gray hair or even just to add some more depth to your natural shade with the clear gloss.

Now do you feel like you can tackle at-home color? Let us know what kind of updates you want to make to your locks.