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Sharing my review and personal experience with the at-home hair color kit and products from Madison Reed. All opinions are my own!

You might not know this about me, but I really love trying out new things. This can be evidenced by our product reviews page. Whether it’s a subscription box of beauty products, the newest tech gadget, or a new experience — I’m all about checking things out and sharing my findings with my friends and family. Just call me the go-to guinea pig. 😁

madison reed catania brown hair color

My first experience with Madison Reed Hair Color

My latest product review came from Madison Reed – an awesome online hair color company that has some truly incredible products. Their claim to fame is that their color is better for you than the other boxed stuff, and the quality is totally salon-worthy. Madison Reed graciously offered to send me one of their packages to review here on the blog, so I jumped at the chance.


I don’t dye my hair on a regular basis. My natural hair color is a basic brown, but I sometimes like to go a few shades darker during the winter months. It just helps me feel refreshed and a little more vibrant. So I was excited to give Madison Reed a shot.

I logged onto the Madison Reed website and took their color profile quiz. After I answered the questions about my current hair color, skin tone, hair texture, etc, the quiz provided a list of colors that would work for me!

The hair color I chose was a nice deep brunette shade called Catania Brown – described as “Deep golden brown with hints of mahogany.” Pretty right? I ordered my kit and waited for it to arrive.

One lazy Sunday I decided to take the plunge. I grabbed a wide-ish tooth comb and some hair clips (I bought these forever ago and use them whenever I’m trying to do anything fun to my hair which is like once in a blue moon…) and set up shop in my tiny NYC bathroom.

(with special appearance by my Bath & Body Works Pumpkin Pecan Waffle Soap — smells so yummy!)

I opened up my kit and was so impressed with the thorough and organized display and directions. I mean, they seriously answered everything I could think to ask about this process.

Here’s a closer look at the contents of the Madison Reed Color Kit.

The Madison Reed Color Kit contents:

  • 2 pairs of gloves
  • hair cap
  • color barrier cream
  • wipes
  • color activator
  • hair color
  • shampoo
  • conditioner

I took a moment to download the Madison Reed App – which leads you step by step through the process. It even follows voice commands that allows you to move forward to the next step hands free- so you don’t have to worry about getting color on your phone. Pretty genius!

The app encouraged me to take a before photo:

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madison reed review (5 of 8)

As you can see I had some highlights put in this year — overall I was just feeling pretty blah about my current brassy color so I was excited to get a little change!

Because I had my hands pretty full doing the color myself, I wasn’t able to take photos of the process — sorry, y’all! To get a feel for the process of dying your hair with their kit, you can watch this video from the Madison Reed YouTube Channel. Utlimately, I followed the instructions as best I could and applied the brown hair color all over my head. Then I waited the appropriate amount of time before washing out!

So now are you ready to see the results?
Voila! New Hair!

What do you think?

I am really happy with the color and how it turned out.  I love how multi-dimensional the color is – it makes for a much more natural look.

The thing that surprised me most was the pleasant smell of the dye. I have used other (cheap) hair dyes before and I am totally impressed with how nice the Madison Reed Hair color smells.

Another thing that really impressed me was how soft my hair felt. The radiant cream color and the shampoo/conditioner are really nourishing and hydrating, so I was thrilled with how well they treated my hair.

madison reed

I was super excited to check out the color so I rushed through my blowdry a bit. I didn’t apply any additional products or use any heat/styling tools other than a blowdryer, so the back of my hair actually looks a little frizzy in the after pic.

My hair is generally a bit frizzy when I don’t use smoothers of some sort, so that wasn’t a shock. (The quick & dirty blow dry was probably to blame as well!) But my hair felt soft and amazing to the touch. And the color of my hair definitely looks richer but not fake, which is what I was going for. A subtle polish!

I was even impressed with how soft it felt and the pleasant scent. My partner actually said, “I expected you to smell bad after doing this, but it actually smells nice!” So it gets the dude seal of approval.

before and after:

Overall I was really happy with the color and process. The kit was easy to use and super convenient, and the coverage and color were super impressive. I’m definitely not a pro at this — this was probably the 4th time I’ve ever attempted DIY hair color, and even I could do it! I’d say, Madison Reed is worth a splurge over a basic box dye, especially because their ingredients are so nourishing to your hair.

Fortunately, I don’t have grays (yet) so I’m not a regular hair-colorer, but I’d venture to say if I was I would definitely opt to DIY with Madison Reed over forking over the cash to go to a salon. The results were great, and the price is right.

If you’re a bride with color-treated hair and you’re trying to plan a wedding on a budget — try skipping the salon during your engagement period and instead opt for Madison Reed hair color — you could save $100s over the course of a year — money that could be put towards your big day!

Update as of April 2019: After going to a professional and getting salon hair color at salon prices, I can confidently say I would opt for Madison Reed again next time. I didn’t see much of a difference in having a pro do a flat, all-over color so I might save my money.

I’ve also had the chance to try their color reviving gloss which helps keep your hair looking fresh and healthy between colorings. I highly recommend their hair products and shampoos– it really helps me feel extra pampered!

My 2nd Time Using Madison Reed

Madison Reed Hair Color Review, Before and After

In November 2016 I decided it was time to give my color a refresh, yet again! This time, I decided on a bit of a darker shade. My hair color had gotten kind of dull and mousy, and although I don’t have any greys, I was just wanting something a little more polished. The color survey this time gave me similar results, but I chose one of the darker matched shades it gave me: Napoli Brown. Yet again, I’m loving the results! Madison Reed’s color kit has just gotten more space savvy so there’s less waste. I can definitely get on board with that!

Things to love about Madison Reed:

  • Products are Ammonia, Resorcinol, and PPD-Free, with No Parabens Added
  • Proudly offers 100% gray coverage
  • No stink, burn, or itch because they have none of the harsh chemicals found in other colors
  • The formula has nurturing ingredients including Argan Oil, Keratin, and Ginseng Root
  • Longer-lasting color than other brands
  • Super convenient kit contains all the tools you’ll need
  • Need regular touch-ups? Subscribe and save! (#budgetsavvy)

I hope you enjoyed this thorough and honest Madison Reed Review. If you are trying to decide whether to buy Madison Reed hair color, I hope this helped give you a little boost of confidence to give it a shot. Do you have any questions about this product I didn’t answer? Shoot me a DM on Instagram + let me know!

Try the awesome permanent hair color at-home color kit from Madison Reed today!


If you’re on the lookout for great quality hair color that’s good for your hair and wallet, check out Madison Reed!

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Madison Reed Hair Color Review -- get salon-quality color at home for half the price!
My review of Madison Reed's permanent hair color. Spoiler alert: I love it!

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