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Product Review of Aveda's Madder Root Shampoo and Conditioner


Valentine is a favorite. Jeff and I are honored to present her third article. This time Valentine reports on her experiences with Aveda's Madde Root Shampoo and Conditioners. Valentine explained that she got the urge to try the Madder Root Shampoo and Conditioner during the summertime when she got the bug to brighten up her hair a bit and add some nice highlights.


Hi Everyone,

This is Valentine. Summertime keeps us all busy having fun, being with friends and family, as well as taking good care of our hair. With summertime sometimes come the urge for something a little different to do with our hair, to brighten it up a bit or give it some nice highlights to shine in the summertime sun.

I must admit, I am not immune to these urges at all! I love doing different things to my hair, although I find myself more limited as to what I try now that I am seriously growing my hair out. Colorants and highlights, glitzes and semi-permanents/rinses all dry the hair. And trying out a new cut just isn't an option for me -- I'm trying to grow out the disastrous layers of last summer! So that left me wondering what could I do to add a little pizzazz to my hair.

After reading about the color shampoo and conditioner line Aveda has, on's Original Hair Talk bulletin board, I decided to give it a try myself. Having dark brown hair with mildly red highlights naturally, I decided to try out the red Madder Root shampoo and conditioner. It seemed to be deeper and more red than the Annatto or Bixa, which I felt might not show in my darker hair.

After reading the ingredients on the bottles, I noticed that the conditioner has henna as a top ingredient, along with red clover and red madder root. I was curious as to how this would affect my hair. If the henna would make a difference to the color would affect the texture, shine or condition of my hair.

I am pleased to report that I truly liked these products. After the first few uses, I noticed definite red highlights right away, even while I'm not in the sun. The color looked very pretty and not fake. In the sun, the red color really stands outs and shines!

I've even had a few people come up to me to let me know how pretty they thought my hair was in the sunlight. It is very rare indeed for anyone to approach me with any sort of reaction to my hair, so that really said a lot to me.

The color coats pretty evenly, although lighter areas of your hair do receive more color than the darker, younger hair. However, not so much that anyone would remark upon it or think of it as anything but highlights.

With some of the red henna I have used in the past, the difference between the color that took on the old and newer hair was very noticeable. The ends would take the color so well and the top wouldn't.

No such worries with this product. I believe that the henna does impart more lasting color in the conditioner, but the other red coloring ingredients still cover the rest of your hair, making for a more even appearance.

I have alternated a few times with different shampoos, and to my happy surprise, all of the red hue did not immediately leave my hair (although it did diminish). Again, I feel that this is due to the henna.

I try to leave the conditioner in my hair for as long as I can before rinsing it out to help allow the henna to coat the hair shaft. I think this is also good news to those who decide they do not like a color. It will go away.

I have now been using the Red Madder products for a few months, and I still like them. My hair is just as soft and shiny as ever, with no detectable build up, drying or ill effects. I still advise extra caution to those who have had less than a desirable outcome with henna products. The ingredients in general haven't caused any sort of dryness or harshness, and I've been very pleased over all. I did not expect such strong color from a shampoo and conditioner.

I feel that I can recommend the Aveda color line to anyone, but would caution people to choose their colors wisely. Particularly those with lighter colored hair. You will notice a difference. Particularly with such strong colors as the red Madder Root and Black Malva. I feel that only those with dark hair should consider those particular color choices. But there are so many colors to choose from. If you are ready to try something a little different, there will probably be a nice color that would work well with your hair.

If you are more than a bit cautious about adding any type of color to your hair, try using the shampoo only for a while. Or go even further and alternate the color shampoo with your normal shampoo. If you feel more confident, start using the shampoo all the time. Then if you still feel confident, give the conditioner a try as well.

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I had so much fun trying out the Madder Root in my hair. The other colors offered are:

  • Chamomile (nice for blondes and light hair and highlights)
  • Blue Malva (for silver hair or to brighten up gray)
  • Black Malva (for dark hair, supposedly discourages red tones)
  • Clove (for brown and honey tones)
  • Bixa (for more coppery, lighter highlights)
  • Annatto (for warm auburn tones)
  • Madder Root (for serious red warm tones)

It was fun to try out the Madder Root products and very successfully brightened up and colored my hair without ill effects.

It also prevented me from trying anything damaging to my hair or anything that may have had a more lasting effect. Now I know that whenever summertime comes, and I'm looking for something fun to do with my hair, or I just have the hair blahs, that I can pick out a nice shampoo and conditioner from the Aveda line and enjoy. Or not. Hey, a person can change their mind!

And with these nice products, you actually can change your mind and your hair the safe way!

Happy Hair Days to You All!

Valentine :o)

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Original Publication: 12/1/1997 - Revised Publication Date: 05/22/10

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