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eSalon Hair Coloring Review + 50% Off Coupon – Dec 2015

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eSalon Hair Coloring Review + Coupon December 2015 - BOX

eSalon is the only custom, at-home hair coloring system! Their service was inspired by the idea that beautiful, quality hair color can be accessible without the uncertainties of retail products and the expense of salons.

My Subscription Addiction paid for this box. (Check out the review process post to learn more about how we review boxes.)

eSalon Hair Coloring Review + Coupon December 2015 - packaging

eSalon works by having you take an extensive survey about your hair and what you’re looking to get from your hair color. Then, their professional hair colorists formulate and mix your own custom color and send it to you in a kit with everything you need to dye your hair at home!

You can choose a one-time color or the frequency of your shipments to be whatever number of weeks you feel you need for your hair color to be best maintained.

eSalon Hair Coloring Review + Coupon December 2015 - items 1

The Box: eSalon Custom Hair Color

The Cost: One hair color application is $24.95. You can save 20% (pay $19.95) on each order when you enroll in the Auto-Delivery service, which means they send your custom order at the frequency you specify.

COUPON: Use this link to get your first box for only $10 plus $4.95 shipping! (Discount applies after you take hair quiz)

The Products: A custom-formulated hair color and at-home coloring kit

Ships to: US, Canada, UK, and some EU countries

eSalon Hair Coloring Review + Coupon December 2015 - info 1

I want to be sure to share some of the online process with you. Before ordering, eSalon has you fill out a very detailed survey about your hair. It includes details like your hair length, type, style, current colorings and chemical treatments, etc. You can even add a photo of you with a comment to help your stylist see what your current hair situation is and what you want to be done.

eSalon Hair Coloring Review + Coupon December 2015 - info 2

One bump I found was in the Color & Chemical Treatments section. I was starting with highlights in my hair only – I’ve never done an all-over color before! When the survey asked what color treatments were currently in my hair, I selected “highlights.” However, their system then popped up with a dialogue box saying that they don’t offer a highlights or lowlights treatment at this time and made me pick something else. I thought that was a little annoying because they weren’t asking what treatments I wanted, they asked what I already had at that time.

I fixed this issue by selecting “highlights” but also “permanent hair color” and then it showed me the dialogue box above, which says the same thing as before about not offering a high- or low-lights option, but also asked if I would like to touch-up my outgrown roots or color my roots and ends (covering my highlights). Covering my highlights was what I was looking to do, so I selected this.

eSalon Hair Coloring Review + Coupon December 2015 - info 3 

I’ve never dyed my own hair before, and the only coloring I’ve ever received has been highlights. As a hair-coloring newbie, I found the process to be easily understood and I felt like I could find answers to any questions I had along the way.

eSalon Hair Coloring Review + Coupon December 2015 - info 4

I felt like there was lots of information available to me. When selecting my new color, there was a little question mark that said “why are some color swatches not available?” and when I clicked it this box popped up with a thorough explanation as to why. Which I liked, because I actually had been wondering that.

Because I was coloring over highlights, I apparently needed a process called a color-fill, which basically adds pigment needed to my highlighted hair to prep it for the all-over color so it turns out correct and even. After ordering, a stylist emailed me reiterating that I’d need a color fill and made sure I was still up for it. I said yes but I had a couple questions about how the color-fill works and what the process was like. She encouraged me to call them and when I did they were very nice and answered all my questions well.

eSalon Hair Coloring Review + Coupon December 2015 - items 1

This is my kit! The left two bottles are my color-fill and developer, and the right two bottles are my all-over color and developer (they even have my name printed on the labels of the smaller bottles!). It also came with a brush and a small kit of tools and extras to help the process be easy (photo below).

(The kit came with a brush but, to be honest, I just used the squeeze bottle for application. It was easy enough just like that.)

eSalon Hair Coloring Review + Coupon December 2015 - items 2

This “Perfect Match” kit included a stain guard for my hairline, a stain remover, two pairs of latex-free gloves, and large packets of color-safe shampoo and conditioner. I love that they included 2 sets of gloves! However, since my hair coloring process took two coloring and washing phases, I wish they had thrown in extra shampoo and conditioner, although I ended up being able to make do with what they gave me.

eSalon Hair Coloring Review + Coupon December 2015 - info 5

My kit also had a foldable card of instructions. One side has some basic info like my name, the date it was prepared, and the formula codes.

eSalon Hair Coloring Review + Coupon December 2015 - info 6

Here’s the fold-out card. I thought the instructions were clear and helpful and made the color-fill process less intimidating! I also like that you can see the proportions of colors they used to formulate your shade (on the bottom left). For me, the first bottle was all golden pigment for the color-fill and the all-over color was mostly made of light brown with some gold and copper.

eSalon Hair Coloring Review + Coupon December 2015 - items 3

Here’s how my hair was to start. I’ve had highlights for at least ten years! However, my natural shade has grown a lot darker as I’ve grown older and my highlights stopped being an “enhancement” of my natural blonde shade and definitely less natural-looking. I like the blonde a lot, and I liked the multi-dimensional color I had but it was time for a change.

Especially with the changes in my hair post-baby and from the winter weather, my hair was dry and thin and lacking any kind of shine or volume, and I felt like the light blonde highlights accentuated those things. I also didn’t have the time, budget, or desire for the upkeep anymore.

So, my goal for coloring my hair was to get an all-over shade of my natural, dark blonde hair color. Basically, “undo-ing” my highlights.

eSalon Hair Coloring Review + Coupon December 2015 - items 4

Here’s the fun part! The color-fill process was actually pretty easy! I separated my hair into four parts and applied the color-fill to my hair, keeping it 1 inch away from my roots (since the goal for this step was to add pigment to my highlights). Once that set (for only 5 minutes!), I added water to the color I had left and I added it to my roots all over. Then, I hopped in the shower and massaged the color like I was shampooing until it got creamy and washed it out with the provided color-safe shampoo and conditioner.

Next, I basically repeated that same process but with the all-over color, and this time, I made sure to get all the way to my roots and the instructions called to let it set for 15 minutes. (I let it set longer just to be sure, though.)

eSalon Hair Coloring Review + Coupon December 2015 - items 5

Here’s my new color! I’m really happy with it, especially with it being the first time ever dyeing my hair! It’s definitely my natural shade, and my hair is definitely shinier and feels healthier. (I’m sure the included shampoo + conditioner helped with this too – I love those products!) I think the color looks really natural! 

The Verdict: Personally, I love the eSalon service! I’m impressed that, as a hair-coloring newbie, I felt confident and capable about accomplishing a semi-complicated process involving the color-fill for my highlights. I felt like I received great customer service, that the ordering process was well-done (and definitely got me exactly what I was looking for from my color), and that the kit and instructions were great quality and easy to follow.

My biggest tip for trying this (and, really, coloring your hair at home in general) is to section your hair like crazy to make sure you’re getting the color all over and thorough. I had the four sections clipped up like they said to, but when I took one section down to add the dye, I split it up into even more segments to make it easy to cover completely. I feel like the value is definitely worth it to me (I was paying, at least, $80 for a full highlight at the salon!) and I love the outcome. I look forward to maintaining it, and maybe even trying out other colors in the future!

FYI – they also have a hair/color care and hair product subscription called the Match-Up! With it, I was able to order a full sized bottle of color-safe shampoo and conditioner, and a professional coloring kit that included a brush, bowl, timer, and 4 hair clips.

What do you think about eSalon? Would you try their service?

Written by Haley Faye

Haley Faye

Haley Faye first discovered Beauty Army and Birchbox in 2012 and instantly fell hard and fast for the world of subscription boxes. Over the years of writing for MSA she has found many subscriptions to fuel her addiction, but her favorites include fashion, geeky, beauty, and mom/baby boxes to share with her son.
All views in this review are the opinion of the author. My Subscription Addiction will never accept payment in exchange for a review, but will accept a box at no cost to provide honest opinions on the box. This post may contain affiliate/referral links. Read the complete My Subscription Addiction disclosure.

27 Comments

  1. Just wanted to add my two cents for anyone considering this service. I’ve been dying my hair for the last 20 years (since I was 14!) and have sported everything from medium brown to dipped neon tips to bombshell blonde highlights. My natural color is dark blonde, and, for the last several years, I’ve been dying it a medium reddish brown (over the counter boxed L’Oreal Preference). I’ve been considering going darker, so I decided to give Esalon a try!

    I found their website very easy to use, and I was able to choose a color similar to what I was looking for. I left a note for the stylist, along with a photo of my current hair and a pic of my celebrity #hairgoals.

    The dye arrived promptly, and I was impressed with the packaging. Interesting to note: the box did not contain a personalized note, and I got the impression that my “custom color” wasn’t really customized for me. (It seemed to just be the color I picked out online.)

    I followed the instructions they sent, and I’m very pleased with the color! It’s pretty much exactly what I was looking for; HOWEVER, I believe my “personalized instructions” led to slight over processing. My ends are a touch oversaturated, and my hair feels slightly damaged (dry & a little brittle). My hair was in great shape beforehand, despite regular dying. I’m happy with the color, so I’ll reorder, but I’ll adjust the processing time. (Note: total recommended processing time for Esalon was 25 minutes, 15 minutes for roots followed by 10 minutes allover, whereas I’m used to a total processing time of about 15 minutes for over the counter dyes. They asked me in the questionnaire how quickly my hair takes color (very!), but I’m not sure my answer was reflected in the application instructions.

    Anyway, I’m very happy with the quality of the color, but I’d recommend keeping in mind that this is not a replacement for the personalized attention one gets at a salon.

  2. Your hair looks very pretty. I tried this last year and I have a lot of stubborn gray. I liked the color but as another poster stated my hair wants to be red and I wanted a chocolate brown. This color was nice at first but started fading quickly and turning red again. It just was not worth it for me.

  3. I am so envious of how your hair turned out! You look so great!

    That being said I do not look so great. I gave this a shot when they had a half off coupon and I am so unhappy. My hair is two different colors and feels like straw. I hadn’t dyed my hair in about a year and had highlights that had grown out 3 or 4 inches. I worked with their staff who was very nice I will give them that. They sent two different colors one for the roots and one for the ends. I was skeptical but they are the experts so I followed the directions to a T. I wanted all over light to medium brown with warmer undertones. The top of my head is auburn and my ends are ash brown. Epic fail. Waiting for them to send me a bottle of the color they had me put on my roots so I can match. Who knows what the texture will be like after I am done but I sure as heck hope I end up 1 color!!

    In thinking about the formulas I found the following pro’s: good color deposit, excellent tools provided (and some purchased), responsive customer service.
    The con’s: same price or higher than box dye, very strong odor, very drying, tiny amount of post dye conditioner (granted I do have a ton of hair), strange choice of the stylist to send one warm and one cool color instead of both warm or both cool to match.

    Not sure if I will go for a second round but maybe I will feel different once I get it all to match.

  4. Haley, you look gorgeous! Thank you so much for the detailed review. I’m also a hair-dye newbie, but your input makes me think I might also be able to give it a whirl.

  5. The color compliments you. Your hair looks amazing.

  6. First of all your review was spot on in terms of carefully explaining each step and honestly outlining problems and your individual experience. Seeing the before and after was so helpful; a picture being worth “a thousand words” and all. Impressed with your willingness to share the process as a coloring newbie without knowing the outcome but you did an outstanding job of following the steps carefully and being clear with the company about your desired result. Your hair looks terrific; so pretty, shiny and healthy after this treatment–BRAVA!

  7. I love the new color- who knew Haley could get even prettier? The detail of this review is awesome… I’ve always wondered about home color (really- do I need to keep shelling out $125?) and I’m going to try it soon!

  8. Your hair looks awesome!

    I just got my second shipment. I have dark brown hair and got a medium brown with copper tones back in mid-November. Unfortunately my roots are showing… I told them I’d like my color to be a little warmer, so they sent me a gloss thing to bring out the warmer tones in the rest of my hair and then color for my roots. They gave me an e-mailed heads-up about it and asked me to reply if I had any questions. Their customer service is super responsive. Anyway, I’m excited to see how my color comes out!

    Also, the color kit that they sell with the bowl, brush, clips, and timer is worth it. I didn’t use the bowl and brush, but the clips and the timer are more than worth the price. (Those clips are extra good, and a timer like that at Target costs upwards of $10 for some reason.)

    The conditioner they give you with each kit is great, too! I got several uses out of it, and my hair is about three inches past my shoulders.

  9. I tried this service when they first came out and was very disappointed. My hair “pulls red,” meaning that even ash shades make me look like redhead. Seriously. I need extra drabber just to get a soft tone. So-called color experts should be familiar with this and able to work with me. Instead of doing an actual custom mix, esalon told me i couldn’t even get a workable ash shade and wanted me to buy their blue shampoo. The questionnaire for problems asks only about light/dark, not tone, so each time was an ordeal and the problem was never resolved. I tried for several months and then gave up.

    Oh, and why ask how much haitr you have if they’re just going to send the same amount to everyone? A lot of the customization is just illusion.

    Your hair looks amazing, though.

    • They send me enough for my hair? I have long, thick hair and get two bottles of dye, two bottles of developer and then a bottle of developer and “gloss”, so basically three bottles of developer and three bottles of dye.

      I dye my hair red (opposite the effect you’re going for) and I gave them my recipes from salon brands and they nailed it. For the second go around, I asked them to go a half shade darker for the roots and keep the same blend for the rest. They nailed it again, it was perfect.

  10. I have been using this service for about 6 months and I absolutely love it. The service is great, thorough and my hair color is perfect. I have been dyeing my hair for years and the salon that I was going to suddenly nearly doubled their prices. I have saved so much money and time with eSalon, I can’t recommend it enough.

  11. OMG, your hair color came out gorgeous! I’m going to give this service a try. I adore that you include pics in your reviews!

    • I actually said “oh, wow” out loud. LOL. Your hair looks amazing! I think the in progress pic is adorable, too.

  12. Yes natural looking but never mind that. It came out gorgeous!!! Your hair looks perfect for you . you did a great job in selection and application. I’m astonished that you are (were) a novice. It really looks beautiful. Enjoy and Happy New Year.

  13. I’ve had my eye on this service for a year or so, but haven’t tried it yet. Thanks for the write-up, I think I may pull the trigger if I every stumble on a good intro deal with them!

  14. I was too afraid to try this sub. Black dye makes a huge mess. As I learned at age 16 when I ruined the decor in my mother’s bathroom. Oops. Although I’m sticking with the Ulta salon (my bathroom is CARPETED), I think you did a really good job of explaining the process.

    • Ragan,

      Check with your Ulta Salon to see if they have a midweek cut and color deal. I get mine dyed, cut and styled for less than a color alone.

      Haley,
      Your did an amazing job. I’d definitely consider this if my Ulta deal ever goes away.

  15. Your hair is awesome! The color is very natural looking and classic on you. I have been using eSalon for several years. They are great about moving our your auto ship dates or in if necessary and I absolutely love their shampoo that they send in the mall packets every month. I have added the full size bottles to my order often because it leaves my hair so soft and smooth.

  16. Wow, your hair looks great! Thanks for the detailed review. 🙂

  17. Wow that new color looks amazing on you! This seems like a great service! I will have to keep them in mind if I decide to dye my hair again in the future.

  18. Wow, you’re hair looks beautiful and I love the color. I’ve been using eSalon for a couple months and love the results and always get compliments on the color. They don’t charge extra for the 2 step process, I had to do that with my first order too.

  19. I love your color. It looks great

  20. Great review Haley! I started this about 2 months ago when they had the really great half price first box deal and I absolutely love it! I color my hair regularly at home, but my go-to color is no longer being made so I was looking for an alternative and not loving what I found at the store. My hair is dark brown with red tones, it’s a very deep, dark burgundy. I found the survey to sign up to be very in-depth, like they really were looking to find the perfect color for me. When I got the box, the instructions were very in-depth as well. I found this to be the best at-home coloring system I have ever used. And I love the color! They perfectly pin-pointed the color I was looking for. They also invited me to comment on my color and make any notes on any changes I would like, so if I ever want to tweak my color a little, they will happily do it. I also love that I can specify how frequently I want the color to come. I originally chose every 6 weeks, but could tell my hair was growing in much faster than anticipated so I switched to every 4 weeks. I am really loving this service.

  21. Wow Hailey! Your new hair looks brilliant!!! My hair is all over bleached about the same color as your “old” hair. My natural color is almost exactly like your natural color. I paid $125 yesterday to get my roots bleached and a haircut. If I could accomplish what you accomplished with this service, I’d try it in a heartbeat! One question; did you have to pay extra because you needed a double process (two steps)? You are truly a gorgeous girl and I love your reviews! Happy New Year!

    • Thank you so much, Anne! And no, I didn’t have to pay extra for the 2-step process! =]

      Thanks for reading!

      • Haley,

        As everyone has said, your hair color came out great. And considering you started with two colors and after coloring your hair you had one color, I am impressed.

        Now that it is March 16th, how did your color last since December?
        Did the color fade out during the first month or second month?
        Did the coloring process dry out your hair?
        How did the root touch-up work for you?

        I ask because I have not tried Esalon, yet. For a number of years, I have been coloring my hair with over the counter brands and/or with Ion with the 10% developer from Sally’s Beauty. Thanks to my inherited premature grey hair, that I will deny as long as I can.

        I was wondering what your “after” has been like.

        • Haley, my mistake. You had a color fill-in due to your prior highlights and not a root touch-up.

          Sandy

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