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If you’ve ever tried to color your hair at home, you know how challenging it can be. The color gets all over the bathroom, ruins your towels, and your arms cramp up. Do you comb the color all the way through your hair before you put on the shower cap? Do you even use a shower cap? Everyone has their own tips and tricks, so wouldn’t it be great if you had an expert in the bathroom with you? New luxury at-home hair color brand Madison Reed has taken the hair color process one step further, with a smart iOS app that guides users through the process.

The app is voice activated, which means that you can advance the instruction process without worrying about getting color on your device. Additionally, you can document the before & after process, plus the app will set a timer for you and provides a playlist to keep you company while the color works its magic. Madison Reed is also offering home visits from  color experts for first time users in the San Francisco area (this feature could roll out to more cities across the country soon).

The Madison Reed color kit is $30 per application, with auto delivery available in a variety of time periods. Plus, with each purchase you can get a free gift by scanning the QR code provided on the box. Recent gifts have included a Julep nail polish or a Birchbox. I haven’t had the opportunity yet to try the color out for myself, but I’m looking forward to selecting from the extensive color range.

Does the support of smart technology like the Madison Reed app provides give you more comfort to try at home color? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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DIY Color Depositing Conditioner

The first thing that people will mention to you is how difficult red hair is to maintain. Without getting too scientific, the red dye molecules are the largest, which means that they’re also the first to slip out of your hair. I’ve tried everything from frequent color refreshes to pushing the boundaries of cleanliness between washes, but that can be damaging and gross. Color depositing conditioners have always been an option, but I didn’t really feel like any of them were formulated with the shade of red that I prefer. I’ve also watched many YouTube gurus mention the concept of making your own color depositing conditioner, but none of them shared specifics and I also couldn’t find a blog post that I felt educated me enough to try it myself.

This week I felt adventurous and decided one evening to pick up a tub of Manic Panic on my way to a party to give it a try and you know what? It wasn’t that tough. Here’s what you’ll need:

DIY color depositing conditioner supplies:

  • a vegetable-based hair dye (most recommend Manic Panic or Special effects)
  • the deep conditioning treatment of your choice
  • plastic spoon
  • disposable gloves
  • shower mirror (optional, but very helpful)
  • wide tooth comb
  • large clip

WARNING: Manic Panic (and I assume Special Effects) is incredibly messy and will ruin anything it touches. Don’t say that I didn’t warn you.

On a paper towel covered workstation, I placed one plastic spoonful of Manic Panic Vampire Red into 1/4 jar of Neutrogena’s Triple Moisture Deep Recovery Hair Mask and mixed well. Here’s how I applied the mixture:

  1. Put on the disposable gloves (dish gloves also work well
  2. Apply the deep conditioner evenly throughout your hair (much like dyeing your hair at home)
  3. Comb through your hair with a wide tooth comb to make sure the mixture is evenly distributed
  4. Clip your hair up out of the way
  5. Leave on for at least five minutes, longer if possible
  6. Rinse thoroughly

The result was a red haze that looked exactly like Vampire Red looked in the tub. Essentially what happens is the vegetable dye coats the strands of your hair, but doesn’t penetrate the shaft. It’s essentially a temporary hair color, but it is very handy for those of use with difficult to maintain shades, since it amps up the color similar to what the color looked like right after it was dyed. Don’t expect this to cover up roots or last after your next washing since this isn’t designed to open the hair cuticle any more than a typical cleansing.

Helpful tips:

  • Make sure that you cover all points of your hair, including your hairline (this is where the shower mirror comes in handy
  • If you get any of the mixture on your skin, you should be able to easily rinse it away, but that also depends on the strength of your mixture
  • Since this is a DIY, you can adjust the radio of dye to conditioner in your mixture. The more dye, the more easily everything that it touches will be stained, but also the more vibrant your color will be. Increase at your own risk.
  • If you’re feeling especially crafty, try mixing colors to achieve a more custom look
  • HAVE FUN

Hair color is supposed to be fun, so don’t forget to play around with a smile on your face. This is my experience with creating my own color depositing conditioner. If you have a recipe or tips of your own, please share them in the comments below!

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Since what will now be referred to as The Great L’Oreal Hair Color Event of 2013, aka the time I realized that the relationship I have with my hair is toxic at best, I’ve resolved to find the perfect at home red hair color (for me and for that moment). Back in the high school and college days, I dyed my hair nearly every shade of trashy and nearly trashy red you can imagine. Once I got older and developed a more refined palette, I swore to never attempt red at home again. My how times have changed, since maintaining red is likely more expensive than blonde and I’m not quite on Beyonce’s budget level (yet), I need to figure out how to do this myself. It can’t be that hard, right?

After discussing exactly how to get my hair into color-ready condition, L’Oreal’s expert colorist, Christophe Robin, confirmed that when it comes to red, I should be prepared to color my hair every three weeks. It’s been since September 2012 since I last colored my hair (Feria’s French Roast, a deep bronzed brown) and I’ve been taking Viviscal to speed up the growth, so my hair is multi-tonal to say the least.

To kick off the journey, I’ve selected a rather sensible starter color, Superior Preference in 5RM Rich Merlot Red. The color is part of four new colors that are launching in the Paris Couture collection, with shades are based on runway trends. 5RM is what I’d consider to be an Emma Stone shade of red, similar to the color she had during filming of Gangster Squad.

Tomorrow morning I’ll be giving this color a try and kicking off my year of discovery. Follow me on Twitter, Viddy, and Instagram for up-to-the minute update and results. To my fellow at-home color devotees, how do you select your shade and do you have any tips for achieving the best results? I hope you’ll share in the comments below!

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Nice ‘N Easy is going to change the way you think of at home hair color. The newest launch, Color Blend Foam is designed to make at home hair color an easier, more enjoyable process.

The new foam formulation is easier to apply on yourself, allowing you to be more relaxed and confident about the hair color process.

In addition to making it easier to apply, the new foam actually works with your hair’s natural oils and liquifies on contact.

Color Blend Foam will be available in 18 shades beginning February for $9.99. However beginning January 24th through the 27th, you can score 1 of 100,00 free boxes on the Clairol Facebook page (http://www.Facebook.com/Clairol) just by simply “liking” the page & claiming your free box.

How do you feel about at-home hair color? Are you a Nice ‘N Easy user?

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