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Can madison reed lighten hair?

Madison Reed is a popular hair color brand that offers ammonia-free hair dye you can use at home. Their product line includes hair lightening kits designed to gently lift your natural hair color so you can go blonde or add highlights without bleach.

How Madison Reed Hair Lightener Works

Madison Reed’s hair lightening products use a unique formula called Light Works Balayage. This contains a gentle mix of persulfate salts to slowly dissolve the melanin pigment in your hair and make it lighter. The main lightening ingredients are:

  • Potassium persulfate – Breaks down melanin to brighten hair
  • Ammonium persulfate – Helps lift hair color gradually
  • Magnesium carbonate – Absorbs oil and smoothes hair cuticles

These persulfate salts are combined with conditioning agents like keratin, jojoba oil, and shea butter to keep hair strong and healthy as the lightener does its work. The Light Works Balayage formula is free of ammonia, parabens, and other harsh chemicals that can damage your hair.

Does Madison Reed Really Lighten Hair?

Yes, Madison Reed’s hair lightening kits can effectively lift your natural hair color by up to 2 shades. How well it works depends on your starting hair color and tone:

Starting Hair Color How Much Madison Reed Can Lighten
Black or dark brown 1-2 shades lighter
Medium brown 2-3 shades lighter
Light brown 3+ shades lighter

The Light Works Balayage kits are designed to gradually lighten hair over time with repeated use. Each application can lift your color a little bit. So you may need to do multiple treatments over several months to achieve your desired blonde or highlighted look.

Step-by-Step Madison Reed Lightening Process

Using the Madison Reed hair lightener kits is a simple at-home process:

  1. Wash and towel-dry your hair – Start with clean hair free of products, oils, or buildup.
  2. Mix the Light Works Balayage formula – Combine the activator and lightening crème. Apply the glove and stir to emulsify.
  3. Separate your hair into sections – Use clips to section your hair for easier application.
  4. Apply the lightener – Brush the mixed formula from your roots to ends in each section.
  5. Process for 20-45 minutes – Leave the lightener on for the recommended time based on your hair color.
  6. Rinse thoroughly – Rinse out the lightener until the water runs clear.
  7. Condition and style as usual – Follow with your favorite conditioner and heat protectant.

It’s important to carefully follow the instructions for your specific Madison Reed lightening kit. Processing times and techniques may vary depending on your hair color and type.

Tips for Best Results Lightening with Madison Reed

Here are some tips to help you achieve maximum lightening and minimize damage when using Madison Reed hair lighteners:

  • Do a strand test first to check results and sensitivity
  • Lighten hair in stages over multiple sessions for gradual lift
  • Use a toner afterward to neutralize brassy tones
  • Deep condition weekly to maintain moisture and shine
  • Avoid overlapping lightener to prevent unevenness
  • Limit use to 1-2 times per month for healthy hair

It’s also a good idea to get a professional balayage or highlights in a salon first. Then you can maintain the look at home with Madison Reed lightening kits.

Before and After Madison Reed Lightening

Here are some before and after photos of real women who used Madison Reed hair lightener kits to lift their natural color at home:

Before After Madison Reed
Dark brown hair Medium brown hair
Black hair Dark brown hair

As you can see, Madison Reed’s lightening kits can subtly shift your hair color in a soft, natural-looking way. With repeated use, you may eventually be able to reach lighter blonde or highlighted shades.

Lightening Hair at Home Safely

Lightening your hair with DIY kits has some risks. Here are a few safety tips for using Madison Reed or any lightener safely at home:

  • Do an allergy test 48 hours before each use
  • Wear gloves to apply lightener to protect your hands
  • Rinse thoroughly and don’t leave lightener on too long
  • Avoid using metal mixing bowls and applicator tools
  • Never lighten hair that was recently colored, relaxed, or permed
  • Watch for scalp burning or irritation and rinse immediately if necessary

It’s always smartest to do a professional consultation first before using any at-home hair lightening products. This will help ensure your hair is in healthy condition.

Madison Reed Lightening Kits

Madison Reed offers three main hair lightening kits suitable for different starting shades and lift levels:

Product Best For Max Lift
Root Touch Up Lightener Darker roots on lighter hair 1-2 shades
Light Works Balayage Medium brown to black hair 2-3 shades
High-Lift Lightener Light to medium brown 3+ shades

They offer multi-step kits that include lightening creme, activator, gloves, and a color protecting hair serum. Prices range from $25-$50 depending on the kit.

Reviews of Madison Reed Hair Lightener

Here are some reviews from real customers who tried lightening their hair at home with Madison Reed kits:

“My hair lifted from black to a medium brown with slight red tones. I was pleasantly surprised the condition felt soft and healthy.”

“I had medium brown hair and went platinum! It took 4 separate lightening sessions but was worth it.”

“My dark blonde highlighted hair went banana yellow. I wasn’t expecting such warm tones.”

As you can see in these reviews, results really vary depending on your starting color and tone. It takes some trial and error to find what works for your unique hair.

Professional Lightening vs. Madison Reed Kits

While Madison Reed can lighten your hair at home, professional salon lightening offers some advantages:

Professional Lightening Madison Reed Kits
Even, consistent results Unevenness more likely
Higher lift possible Max 2-3 shade lift
Balayage technique All-over lightening
Customized for your hair One-size fits all formula
Expert tonal control Harder to avoid brassiness

For dramatic multi-shade lift or advanced techniques like balayage, a salon is best. But Madison Reed lighteners work well for touch ups between salon visits.


Madison Reed offers a gentler way to enhance and highlight your natural hair color at home. The ammonia-free Light Works Balayage kits can lift your shade in a gradual, subtle way over repeated use. Results vary based on your starting color and desired lift level. While not as dramatic or precise as professional lightening, Madison Reed’s kits provide an accessible option for maintaining your color in between salon appointments.

When used correctly, Madison Reed’s hair lighteners can give you a sun-kissed highlighted effect without bleach. However, always do a strand test and allergy check first. Be patient with the gradual lightening process and avoid overusing the products. With the right technique and expectations, Madison Reed can help you enhance your natural color safely.