The Madison Reed Color Reviving Gloss Transformed My Highlights (2023)

We put Madison Reed's Color Reviving Gloss to the test after receiving a complimentary sample from the brand. Keep reading for our full product review.

The last time I really worried about hair color upkeep, I was rocking a particularly high-maintenance shade of fire-engine red. If you’ve experienced the emotional rollercoaster that comes with keeping bright red hair red, you probably also know why I eventually called it a day and went back to subtle brunette highlights.

Although my new color was so low-maintenance it barely needed any work, my color started getting brassy as the months between my salon appointments stretched into more than a year. At first, I resigned myself to a life of increasingly fried-looking hair, and then I realized there was an easy solution. In the last few years, brands have begun launching salon-quality color-depositing glosses that give you an easy way to stretch out your visits. Having heard rave reviews about the Madison Reed Color Reviving Gloss, I decided to treat my highlights to a tube. The results were way better than I expected, and now I’m never going back (to ignoring my hair’s cries for help, that is). Below, my honest review of the Madison Reed Color Reviving Gloss in Miele, and the full breakdown of what makes it so good.

Madison Reed Color Reviving Gloss

Best for: Extending hair color, adding tint, or removing brassiness.

Uses: Color-depositing and shine-boosting.

Active ingredients: Keratin, argan oil, ginger root extract.

Price: $30 for 4 ounces, $25 for a subscription.

About the brand: Founded by entrepreneur Amy Errett, Madison Reed is revolutionizing at-home hair color with salon-quality essentials and access to professional colorists.

About My Hair: Healthy with subtle highlights and long waves

While my hair isn’t in the best shape it’s ever been, it’s doing pretty well considering it’s been a year and a half since my last salon appointment. My hair texture is thick with natural waves and grown-out, subtle brunette highlights. Overall, I’d say it’s healthy, but it does tend to look slightly drier toward the ends, where most of the bleaching is concentrated. That said, my colorist (Diaz at New York’s Bumble and bumble salon) did a fantastic job blending my highlights into my natural color, so as it’s grown out, the effect is subtle enough that no one has ever commented on my need to book a color appointment. I occasionally tone down brassiness with purple shampoos and conditioners, but I discovered during this experiment that a warm honey brown tint works far better.

Ingredients: Salon-quality and nourishing—but not Byrdie Clean

All shades of Madison Reed Color Reviving Gloss are boosted with keratin, argan oil, and ginger root extract meant to add shine, softness, and extra nourishment. Keratin proteins have been shown to enhance strength and smoothness of the hair shaft. Argan oil is a popular protective and hydrating ingredient, and ginger extract is often used in dandruff shampoos as an anti-fungal.

The formula is free of ammonia, PPD, resorcinol, parabens, phthalates, gluten, SLS, and titanium dioxide. However, it doesn’t meet every item on Byrdie’s Clean Beauty Pledge due to its inclusion of Peg-12 Dimethicone. PEGs (an acronym for polyethylene glycol) and PEG compounds produce 1,4-dioxane as a byproduct, which has been associated with carcinogens. PEGs are considered safe for use in cosmetics overall, particularly as companies that include this ingredient tend to strip out high levels of the controversial contaminants.

The Feel: Goopy!

The Madison Reed Color Reviving Gloss Transformed My Highlights (1)

Like most other color-depositing glosses I’ve tried, the formula is a goopy liquid that feels like a hair mask once it’s on. I appreciate that the goop factor is thin enough for it to spread easily throughout my hair, yet not so runny that it drips all over my neck. The squeeze tube makes it easy to apply, and each bottle contains 1-2 applications, depending on your hair length. For reference, I used about 70% of the tube for one application on my long hair.

To apply, I put on the included disposable gloves, smeared the gloss throughout my sectioned hair, then put it up in a bun while I watched an episode of a glassblowing Netflix show my friend told me would soothe my burned-out brain cells. (I’ve had a stressful month.) After 30 minutes, I rinsed it out with lukewarm water, then did a full shampoo.

The Scent: Smells like hair color, but not overpowering

If you’ve used semi-permanent hair color before, you already know what this is going to smell like. The best I can do if you haven’t is “a hint of chemicals,” which isn’t something you necessarily want to smell like, but isn’t too noticeable either. Once you rinse your hair, the scent completely dissipates.

The Results: Melted warm highlights

The Madison Reed Color Reviving Gloss Transformed My Highlights (2)

The curse of having subtle brunette highlights on black hair is that it can be fairly difficult to capture the results, so enjoy this extreme close-up of my air-dried hair. When I attempted to correct brassiness with purple shampoos, I found the results often made my hair look a little faded and lifeless. Madison Reed's Color Reviving Gloss comes in seven shades and one clear, shine-boosting option. After some debating, I went for the shade Miele, which promised to deliver “honey gold tones.” My chosen tint turned my slightly straw-esque highlights into a warm, melted chocolate hue that blended seamlessly with my natural color and gave my waves some gorgeous, fresh-from-the-salon shine. One thing I will say is that the color was slightly darker than I had anticipated. When Diaz first painted my highlights, she gave me a shade that was more of a golden chestnut than the chocolate tone I got with Miele. If you’re unsure about your shade, I recommend taking advantage of Madison Reed’s online/on-call experts and asking them to help find your perfect gloss.

While I was in love with the blended results, I thought they were fairly subtle until I hopped in an evening beauty editor Zoom a few days after I’d glossed my hair. “Sarah, you dyed your hair!” the Zoom host immediately announced. Granted, people who live and breathe beauty on a daily basis have a sharper eye for these things than most, but I took it as a sign that the gloss truly delivered.

The Value: Great if you can’t make it to the salon

At $30 for 1-2 applications, this is a great way to stretch out your salon visits, or breathe new life into your hair color if you can’t make it to your regular appointment. Each application is meant to last for 6-8 shampoos, and I’d obviously recommend that you prolong those results with a color-safe shampoo formula—I’m a fan of this one.

Similar Products: You've got options

Rita Hazan True Color Ultimate Shine Gloss: Step two in the brand's three-step True ColorRevolution, Rita Hazan's True Color Ultimate Shine Gloss ($26) is perfect for those who don't even have 30 minutes to spare—the product is designed to be used in-shower, 2-4 times a week.

dpHUE Gloss+ Semi-permanent Hair Color and Deep Conditioner: Available in 11 shades, dpHUE Gloss+ Semi-permanent Hair Color and Deep Conditioner ($35) can be left on from three to 20 minutes, and claims to last up to 10 washes.

Final Verdict

Madison Reed Color Reviving Gloss surpassed my expectations for an at-home hair gloss. Not only was the color beautifully blended, it was also a total breeze to use. I’m thinking I might try to lighten up my highlights this summer with Prosecco, or maybe continue my love affair with Miele. Whichever shade I choose, this has definitely secured its status as a new hair routine staple.

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