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Can Madison Reed Change Home Hair Coloring as We Know It?

In the hair coloring marketplace, there are essentially two choices: the drugstore or the salon. Amy Errett, the CEO and co-founder of just-launched home hair color brand Madison Reed, hopes that her service will be a viable alternative to the two current modalities.

A coloring kit costs $29.95, and it includes the color, developer, gloves, shampoo and conditioner, barrier cream and a cap. There's also an auto-renew option if you want the color delivered at a predetermined interval so you don't have to think about it when you need a touch-up.

Once you get the color, there are how-to videos on the website, or you can download a voice-activated app that makes the process essentially idiot-proof. The app includes instructions and a timer, and even plays you music while your color is developing. The company is also testing out a house call service in its native San Francisco, which they hope to roll out to other markets. If you sign up for an auto-renew service, you are entitled to a one-time home visit by a colorist who will help you out.

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Time will tell whether or not this concept will be successful. According to Errett, in just a week and a half Madison Reed has amassed "thousands" of customers. While there's nothing comparable in the hair color space, beloved '80s and '90s makeup brand Prescriptives has been successfully providing custom foundations online for the past year or so. I'd argue that matching color for foundation online is much more difficult than recommending a hair color. The price point may cause some consumers, who are used to paying about half the amount at the drugstore, to balk. But I suspect the upside -- better quality of color, colorist recommendations, price compared to a salon and an "assisted" application process -- will be attractive to a lot of women.