At-home hair color from eSalon put to the test

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Some of us have been there: Walking down the hair color aisle at your local drugstore, with over 300 boxes of dye with women’s faces staring back at you, with unbelievably gorgeous and shiny hair. You want them all, but something catches your eye – the mahogany red shade that you know will bring out your eyes. You get home, put on the gloves and douse your hair, waiting with fingers crossed. While in the shower, you reach a state of panic when you see a glimpse of what your hair turned out to be and can’t wait to get out. You wrap your hair in a towel and stand in front of the mirror for the unveiling. Little by little, you unwrap the towel and realize that your hair has taken on the craziest shade of Barney plum purple ever. You cancel lunch with your best friend and to the salon for a color correction. Your hair is flat, lifeless and you swear you’ll never dye your hair again. You just spent $11 on one box of drugstore dye, $100 for the salon visit, plus whatever products they suggested you use to get your hair back into shape.

I’ll be the first to admit that the above nightmare has happened to me more than once. While you try to save money by going the DIY route with hair dye, one box does not fit all. With so many different hair types and textures, how can we settle on one solution that does not involve an expensive trip to the salon? Our most recent experience may change your hair color ritual forever. Your stylist may wonder where you’ve run off to. I chose two friends to try the custom hair color service,, and the results are in!

What is eSalon? is an affordable solution for those of us that need individualized hair color that can be achieved at home. This product is causing a big stir among hair stylists because eSalon offers a similar service by analyzing your hair and custom blending the perfect mixture to fit your needs. The cost of the eSalon product and service is only $24.95, a quarter of the cost that most salons will charge for a color service. First time clients can try the service for only $10 (a 50% savings), with a satisfaction guarantee or your money back.

Each customer will receive a custom-blended shade based on their personal needs, just like what you’d get at the salon. Your name is printed on the bottle because this was made for you and nobody else! What surprised us is that we received personal guidance from a professional colorist, which saved us from a potential hair dye disaster.

If you want to take a look at eSalon’s credentials, some of their highest rankings have been awarded by Instyle, as “Best of Web”, named “Best Hair Color” by Total Beauty and glowing praises by Lucky Magazine and Good Housekeeping.

But what do actual clients have to say about this? Well, we’re about to get to our testimonials below, but the standings are incredible: 9.4 out of 10 on Total Beauty and a 5 out of 5 Amazon rating.

Ready to see our testimonials? Let’s roll!

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Andrea: Hair concern – Covering greys and bringing dull hair back to life

My natural hair is about as boring as it gets: dark and straight.  Because of this, my at-home hair coloring experience started the summer I turned 13 and discovered a bottle of a hair lightening product called Sun-In at a girlfriend’s house.  Not a good look for me, by the way.  In my 20’s I experimented with various shades of black, brown and red, with a platinum blonde streak or two thrown in to keep things interesting.  Now that I’m in my late 30’s the primary goal of coloring my hair is, well… to cover up the fact that I’m in my late 30’s!  No one told me that I’d have to battle not only the greys, but also the dull, lifeless hair that comes along with age. 

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Andrea: After

Andrea: After

I went through the eSalon’s website Q&A section and decided on Soft Black to cover up my grey and give my hair a richer, healthier look. The eSalon package arrived quickly with everything I expected and more.  They send you two bottles of color, developer and gloves; one for roots and another for ends.  It’s twice as much product as you get with the drugstore brands, which is a big plus for anyone with long hair!  In addition to the color, they send everything you need to take care of those little “oopsie” moments – Stain Guard and Stain Remover.  If you like to apply your color with a brush (I don’t) they include that as well. 

The directions are easy to follow and if you’ve colored your hair at home before the process will be a breeze.  I liked that the color was a nice creamy consistency as it cut down on the messy factor and the smell wasn’t terribly chemical or strong.  I was especially impressed with how easily the color rinsed out of my hair after processing. Usually, my shower looks like the inside of a coal mine after coloring but this time it was relatively mess-free. Not only was my hair soft and shiny immediately after coloring but it also felt noticeably fuller!  Plus, it didn’t have that gross residue I typically feel after coloring with drugstore brands.  I wash my hair daily and the color has held up nicely so far. What happened to those pesky greys?  Almost 100% covered!

For the first week or two after coloring I try to stick to natural, sulfate-free shampoos and conditioners like Naturopathica Black Spruce Shampoo ($26) & Horsetail Hair Conditioner ($28).  To keep the shine amped up week after week, I opt for the Kerastase Reflective collection - Bain Chroma Captive Shampoo ($45) & Chroma Riche Masque ($57.99) are my faves!  I keep it pretty simple with my styling products: Kerastase Nutritive Nectar Thermique ($45) to protect against heat damage while blow drying and a finishing spray with L’oreal Elnett Satin Hairspray for Color-Treated Hair ($16.78).

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Christina: Hair concern – Rocking red shades on fine hair

My hair has always been fine and thin. I've been coloring my hair since I was 18 and it has always been a variance of different red shades. I've used just about every drugstore bottle brand you can think of and have had my locks professionally colored 3 times. Having said that, I’ll have to say that I am impressed with eSalon’s product.

The initial eSalon questionnaire reminded me of applying for a new job. It asks you very detailed questions about your hair, as well as what you want your new color to be. Once you input your hair desires and needs into their system, they give you a select amount of colors to choose from based on the calculations. They recommend going only two shades darker or lighter from your current shade. Once you choose, you send this information as well as a current photograph for their color experts to review.

I was pleasantly surprised that the box arrived within a few days of ordering. When I opened the box, I felt like it was Christmas! Not only did the order include detailed instructions, but also the developer - one was for roots and ends, the other was for the rest of your hair (the bottles even have your name on it for that personal touch), but also 2 pairs of great gloves, hair color brush, Vaseline to protect your head from the dye, stain remover (worked great on the skin), and samples of color-safe shampoo and conditioner.

I noticed right away that there was no unpleasant smell. The instructions were easy to follow and although the last part of using the remaining all-over color with water for a shinier result was quite messy, the overall procedure was just like what I would normally do at home. The results were professional-looking and my hair looked shiny.

I am using Garnier Fructis Color Shield Fortifying Shampoo ($10.50) and conditioner for color-treated hair along with the sample shampoo and conditioner eSalon provided to keep the color looking fresh. I would have to say that I would definitely pay a few extra dollars to use this rather than drugstore color because I feel like I have more control over the color it comes out to be, the evenness of the color and that my hair did not feel fried when I dried it. The only thing that I would prefer is to receive bigger sample of the shampoo and conditioner. Other than that, this product was perfect for me!

With all of our experiences combined using eSalon, it looks like we found a winner. With the ease of use, affordable cost and pro results, we’re all impressed with the items we received and tested. Don't forget that first-time customers can try esalon for only $10. Click here to get started.

Readers: Would you try the eSalon service and products? Drop us some comments down below!


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