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SoMa Startup Madison Reed Offers Hair Coloring in the Comfort of Your Home

When you're a young lass experimenting with hair color, trying out a red hue or a jet black 'do is fun. It's an adventure. A way to test drive a new identity! But when you're going to the colorist every month to cover gray roots, it's drudgery. Driving across town, searching for parking, then having your head doused in chemicals is not the afternoon a girl dreams of. 

Starting today, San Franciscans have a dream-come-true alternative: Madison Reed, a South Park-based startup, will color your hair in the comfort of your own home for $99—that price includes the color ($30 on its own, or $25 with a subscription) and a blowout (!). 

The company launched earlier this year to deliver at-home, professional-grade, non-toxic, DIY hair color to women who wanted an alternative to the salon. But if, like me, you're not 100% comfortable dying your own hair, use this new service to learn how. In my sneak peek of the "Color to You" service, Stephanie, my colorist, perfectly matched my shade in about 30 seconds flat. She showed me the best technique for sectioning my hair and getting to those difficult-to-reach areas in the back. Start-to-finish was less than 2 hours, even with my probing interview questions. The result was 100 percent gray coverage, and a rich, three-dimensional color.

No interest in going the DIY route? No problem. Schedule a home color appointment anytime you need a touch-up. Just go to the Color to You section on the Madison Reed website and buy your at-home service. Then call 1.888.550.9586 between 8am and 9pm, or shoot them an email at colorcrew@madison-reed.com to book an appointment. You can ask questions and even send a photo to get help choosing the best color out of their 27 options. Note that they don't yet have products that will lighten hair—only color. 

If you're feeling pretty happy with your drugstore brand, guaranteed there's one thing you won't miss if you try Madison Reed: the smell. The formula eliminates nasty-smelling ammonia, as well as resorcinol and parabens, and adds ginseng root extract, keratin and argan oil—so it actually smells good and leaves your hair shiny and healthy, not depleted. 

Also, for those times when you need an extra week or so before you can get to your color, stay tuned for a powder-based, waterproof root concealer from the brand in the fall.