eSalon Hair Coloring Review + 50% Off Coupon – Dec 2015
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 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.
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.
The Products: A custom-formulated hair color and at-home coloring kit
Ships to: US, Canada, UK, and some EU countries
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.)
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?