I am a new member of COVID Hair Nation. I’ve joined the ranks of women (and some men) who have ventured into self-hair-care. Cue the Twilight Zone music, please.

In all honesty, I am somewhat beholden to my hair-care professionals. Nearly 8 years with the same stylist and colorist, the thought of stepping into an at-home coloring felt like, well, in all honesty, cheating. However, like any crucial relationship, we went through our ups and downs about highlights, hues, and tones. In the end, I was starting to sound like a broken record when I said, “a little darker, please.” 

I tired pleading my case that I really didn’t want to be a faded redhead. My natural color is much closer to a deep chocolate brown with sun-kissed highlights around my face.  Every picture I’ve had for the past 5 years distinctly pinpointed the exacted phase of my current coloring lifecycle. The end of the line got a nickname: Oompa Loompa. There, I said it. I’m a five-foot tall woman who just acknowledged that her hair fades to the color of Oompa, and I was getting grumpy about it. I’m under tall; wouldn’t you get a bit edgy at the thought? (I’m exaggerating. Wasn’t that bad.)

While I would trade 2020s hibernation fest for just about anything, I decided that I was going to use it as an excuse to break out of my hair care rut and give the box color another go. If I f’d it up, well I could blame the Rona, get a pass, and go back to paying a fortune on my locks.

So I dialed up my BFF and asked her how hard it really is. She’s been doing her own hair forever, and honestly, I’m just a little jelly that I can’t. She laughed and said, “You can do it.  Just go natural the first time and stick to one color.” Translation: no highlights. (Like I was going to attempt that evil hell all by myself!)

Infused with a new sense of self-righteous artistic expression just oozing to get out of my system, I did the next logical thing in the process: I Googled it. Yep, that’s right, I am not THAT adventurous nor that qualified to pick out a “natural color.”  But luckily, I didn’t have to be.

Enter Madison-Reed, the shop-from-home, do-it yourself (but not by yourself) hair-color mavens! I bow to these incredible woman who magically mix up these beautifully concocted elixirs of glamour, package it, and lovingly send it off to my door. It took me about ten minutes on their site to research, select, and check out. I even went a little crazy and bought the gloss…ooh, ahh…I know right?

The product arrived on time as promised. Instructions and support galore! Videos, paper directions, online help. OMG, even I can’t screw this up! I took before, during, and after photos to send to the BFF. Am I doing this right? Does it look like I covered it all? Affirmative all the way around. Score!

One hour later, I had beautiful, chocolate locks with a hint of bronze and amaretto sheen. It was, if I must say so myself, hot damn beautiful. It brought tears to my eyes. No more three-digit color expense for me: cha-ching.

The color lasted more than 6 weeks, and I bought an extra tube for touch-ups (see the website for great tips on natural deep conditioning and adding color to your hair conditioner to keep everything colorific in between colorings), but I will admit that I chickened out on the gloss. Not a problem, Madison-Reed’s Color Bar will save the day!

I scheduled a real in-life coloring session with the local Madison-Reed color bar; root touch-up and all-over gloss session -– about 15% less than high-end colorists. I plan to ask questions, get tips, and have them teach me the techniques I’ll need to replicate the desired look at home. I have high hopes and tremendous faith. If I did a decent job at home, just imagine what the experts can do at their palace of colortopia!

It’s like having the best of both worlds: I can color my hair at my convenience when I want at home but know that I always have friends up the road who are ready and willing to step in and lend a hand or two if I need some help. Not only do I like my new color, but I like Madison-Reed’s concept because it’s a lot like Dutch: on your own but never alone.

Fast forward follow up: The color bar is as great as the home delivery. I’m now a fully baked Madison Reed devotee. Color, gloss, and balayage: all glamorous, each perfect. 

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