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eSalon Hair Coloring Review + 50% Off Coupon – February 2016

Haley Faye
ByHaley FayeFeb 18, 2016 | 16 comments


eSalon Hair Color
4.5 overall rating
4 Ratings | 2 Reviews

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, up to 12 weeks apart. Good to know: it’s really easy to skip a shipment and/or adjust your shipment time!


The Subscription 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

Check out all our eSalon reviews and the Beauty Subscription Box Directory!


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 or two of you with a comment to help your stylist see what your current hair situation and what you want done.


Last month, I was coloring my hair to cover highlights and bring a more uniform color to my hair. Well, one bump I found then was in the Color & Chemical Treatments section. I was starting with highlights in my hair only – I had never done an all-over color before then. 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.

Like I said, I ran into last time, when I initially set up my profile, and wanted to inform you because I felt like it was a little tricky to get what I wanted. This time, I wanted to go just a shade darker than last month and this was done by simply giving feedback on my first experience and then confirming the shade change before they mixed my formula.

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 thorough explanation as to why. Which I liked, because I actually had been wondering that.

This month was the second time I’ve ever dyed my own hair, and my very first time with a permanent color. Because of the highlight covering process last time, I had to use a 2-step process including a colorfill and I had to use a demi-permanent all-over color as the second step. Naturally, that faded faster than a permanent color would, so that’s why I ordered another color kit so soon this month – to sort of “officially” color my hair a color that will stay until it grows out.


This is my kit! It included two bottles of color, two bottles of permanent developer, and a “perfect match” kit of tools and things to help with application.

They gave me two bottles of the same dye since I’m doing all the same color, and they were the same because it wasn’t a situation where my roots had grown out a different color than my ends. Having two bottles was nice to make sure I had enough dye for all of my hair, but I was able to use just one for all of my hair easily. Which, bonus for me, means I have a spare bottle to use next time I need it.


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! Also, there was definitely enough shampoo and conditioner in the packets to wash thoroughly.


My kit also had a foldable card of instructions. The paper has some basic info like my name, the date it was prepared, and the formula codes. My card says “adjusted custom color” because I had changed the formula/color since last time. It even says “new!” down by my formula ID.


Here’s the fold-out card. I thought the instructions were clear and helpful. Because this kit and the instructions were designed as if I had grown-out roots to color, the process is designed for me to color my roots first, and then do my ends just to re-vamp the shade there. However, that wasn’t the case for me so I just did the color all-over, section by section, the way I did last time.


Maybe it’s just me and my love of infographics, but I like how they have this little graph to show you the proportions of your formulas.


My name is even printed on the labels for me!


For reference, here is my last month’s before and after. For that time, I covered my highlights and make my hair a more uniform color. But like I said, the all-over shade was a demi-permanent color for the sake of the colorfill process involved, so it faded a bit over the next month.

For this month, I asked for my first permanent color to be just a shade darker than what I used last month.

(FYI – you don’t have to order color every month, and you probably won’t need to. Because my first dye was demi-permanent, it faded sooner than a permanent shade would, so I ordered a new kit a little sooner.)


Here’s my hair before dyeing it this time. As you can see, the demi-permanent color faded some, but my hair still stayed a nice, even color, which I was really happy about.


The fun part! I had just taken my hair out of the clipped sections and was about to hop in the shower to wash it out. The dye changes to look much darker than the color I was actually dying it (it did last time, too), so just a heads up. Don’t freak out!


The finished product! I asked for a shade darker than what I dyed it last time, and that’s what I got! And I love that it’s still really warm. In person, it almost looks a little red! This shade isn’t too different from my natural color, so I’m excited to see how it grows out (and, to be honest, see if I can get away with minimal upkeep!).


Here’s a side-by-side comparison of my before and after for this time!

Verdict: Personally, I love the eSalon service! Being new to coloring my own hair, I felt confident that I could manage the process (especially because last time with the colorfill was more complicated!). 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.

Their customer service is great. They’re thorough and so helpful. I’ve called them at least two or three times to chat it up with a colorist and get help understanding the instructions, what my color will look like/what to expect, and the reasoning behind every detail.

My biggest tip for trying this (and, really, for 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.

FYI – they also have a hair/color care and hair product subscription called the Match-Up! With it, I’m able to order color-safe hair care products and tools. You can see our reviews of it here.

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

Starting at $19.99
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Custom hair color delivered straight to your door! Take our hair color survey and our colorists will match the perfect color for your hair. We offer permanent and semi-permanent hair color. You have the ability to try as once or mailed to your doorstep ever couple weeks or months depending on your d... read more.
Haley Faye
Haley Faye
Haley Faye first discovered the wonderful world of subscription boxes in 2012 and began writing for MSA in 2014. Over the years, she has found many subscriptions to love. Now a mom of three, her favorite boxes are ones that dress her kids, help her get organized, feed her family, send her snacks, and offer educational fun for her children.

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I got to the point where I just couldn’t justify spending $80 every 6 weeks to color my hair. I had been going to the same stylist for almost 25 years and that was the hardest part, telling her and taking away some of her relied upon money. She was more worried that they were going to destroy my hair, or I was, because it is so baby fine and easy to damage. Lucky thing I have so much of it.
My hair, other than being darker, almost black, than I wanted initially, has never looked better! Before it was always limp and I could never get any definition in my curls and if I did it wouldn’t hold up. I had zero volume and it looked like my hair was thin. I now have super volume, huge curls, and shiny beautiful hair. I get constant compliments, and everyone likes it better darker, it still has its natural red tints so I am happy too.

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Based on your review, I’m going for it! I am covering grey hair in my dark brown hair. We’ll see how it goes.

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Gorgeous, Haley! I just used eSalon to color my hair for the first time and I’m very pleased with the results. I may see if they can tweak it to make it a little redder for spring/summer, but if not it’s no big whoop – I still really like the color.

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Your color is so flattering! Your detailed review is great. I’ve been using this service for close to a year and I love the results. They nailed it with my description of what I wanted and I haven’t looked back. I still hate doing my own hair( I really like having someone else do it since it can be awkward getting the back side, and hey it’s really nice feeling pampered just sitting in the chair) but the color is pretty and long lasting. Doesn’t need any fade in-perfect and even the day I do it. The only difference in application from most box color I’ve tried is that you lather it in the shower once you apply to the ends instead of waiting 5 minutes then lathering and rinsing.It saves me a whole weekend afternoon and a ton of cash. For anyone considering it they don’t do any extremes. They go with the 2 lighter or darker rule.

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Yay! Another real time Haley demo-review….Always so fun and informative, The last pic before the reveal is funny but the final pic shows you did a great job—brava! It looks so rich and shiny, very professional. Will be interested to see how long it will be before the next go-round?

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I’ve been going back and forth on trying this to color my own hair, so thank you for reviewing it. I feel a little better about it after seeing your reviews and knowing that you’re new to it as well and yet felt comfortable with the system.

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I love the new color! It’s so pretty on you!

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Haley Faye

Thank you, Ann!

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You look absolutely stunning! Such a great, detailed review, but I expect none the less from you Haley! I love all your reviews!

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Haley Faye

Thank you so much, Amanda! =D

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That shade is gorgeous on you! even better than the last, and that was beautiful too! I’m going to give this sub a try! 🙂

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Haley Faye

Thanks so much, Ann! Let me know how it goes!

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I tried this after your last review – Loved it! The instructions were easy to follow (although I tried to be fancy and use the brush and bowl – I ended up making a mess). I did panic a bit because I wanted a dark reddish brown and during the application the dye was red. Like Red Red. But it turned out great. I’ll definitely be using this from now on – I was paying 100+ every time I had my hair done in a salon.

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Haley Faye


Yes!! I’m so glad to hear that! I’m with you – I’m only ever using this dye/their service to color my hair now! =]

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I’ve colored my hair twice now (once in November and once in January) with eSalon and have been very satisfied. They did tweak my color slightly at my request on the second shipment, but I wasn’t unhappy with the color I’d received the first time. The second shipment was color for my roots and gloss to refresh the color on the rest. I bought the color kit with the bowl, brush, timer, and clips but haven’t used the bowl or brush. The clips are great, though. I also remove the battery from the timer so as not to waste it in the 8 weeks or so between colorings.

If you’re worried about getting color too soon, you can push your next color date back (or forward, if you need). I was going to cancel auto-delivery but figured it’s worth saving 20% to mess with my shipment date. They also remind you via e-mail when it’s coming up, so you shouldn’t be surprised.

I saw my stylist about a week after I did my last color, and she complimented it 🙂

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Haley Faye

Glad to hear you also had a good experience with them, Rebecca! Yes, having the delivery date so easily adjusted is awesome. I bumped my order this time up sooner than I’ll need to order again this time because the first time was a demi-permanent dye. This time, it’s a permanent dye, and it should last much longer. =]

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