Sunday, February 3, 2013

eSalon - Used and Reviewed!

I received my first eSalon package the week before last and applied it last weekend.
In case you didn't know, eSalon is an online hair coloring service.  You sign up, full out a questionnaire about your hair type, what color you would like your hair to be or what you want to maintain,  upload a photo, and make a payment.  A few days later you receive a box with all the supplies you will need to apply color specially tailored to you and your hair needs.  If you decide you like the service, you can opt to subscribe to their service and have your color kit delivered when you choose, such as every 6 weeks.  They will then bill your account accordingly.  Since I was a first time customer, I only had to pay for the shipping which was $4.95.  If I decide to stick with the subscription, I would chose to have a color kit sent to me every 8 weeks.  The cost is $19.95 + 4.95 shipping.

This is what you get:

The color kit is very nicely packaged and sure does make you feel all sorts of special.  Your name is printed on the application instructions as well as the bottles of color.  The kit comes with a flat brush color applicator, 2 bottles of color and developer - one to be used on the upper 1/4 of your hair to the roots and one for the remaining 3/4 of you hair to the ends (I'm not sure how this works if you have short hair). The center box contains additional instructions and the items in the photo above:  a stain remover wipe, stain guard (this stuff is fabulous!), conditioner, and 2 sets of plastic gloves (1 for each color application).

The instructions are very specific and a quick read through is a good idea before getting started.  You can even watch their tutorial videos online to get an idea of what you are in for here: eSalon How-to-vids.  They recommend splitting your hair into 4 sections or quadrants to be secured with hair clamps to keep things neat and organized.  I have Sally's brand hair clamps that I bought the other month - a pack of 12 for $2.49.  You will definitely need something equivalent to this.  I also suggest that before you do any kind of hair coloring, whether it be at home or professional, you go out an buy color safe shampoo and conditioner.  This is important if you want you hair color to last AT ALL.  Some shampoos can be really harsh and will strip the color right off your hair before you have even had a chance to enjoy it.  I use Ulta brand Ultimate Brunette Shampoo and the matching conditioner.  They run about $4.99 each.  I also have super duper ION hair repair conditioner from Sally's on hand to help combat the abuse I do to my hair from coloring, blow drying and flat ironing.  

Application:  To prepare for the process,  I removed my pants (yup, I color my hair in my undies), socks, bath mats, towels and anything else that in the vicinity of my sink and vanity that I didn't want getting stained.  I laid out a few paper towels, wet and dry in the event of a spill or if color got on my arm.  I also laid out an old bath towel across the entire vanity to protect it from splatters and to be able to lay out the coloring kit contents.  I like to wear an old big shirt that I sliced up the front, which i secure with a hair clamp, to protect my top and for easy removal when I'm done.  I followed the mixing directions, applied the stain protecting gel around my hairline, on my ears and at the nape of my neck and then went at it.  The application went pretty easily.  It's a messy job, but your regular drugstore hair color kits are just as messy.  The instructions say to mix one bottle at a time, but I thought that was silly so I mixed both and put the 2nd one aside for later use.  You can apply the color using the squeeze bottles (which is what I did) or you can squeeze the color into a glass bowl and apply using the brush.  eSalon has you apply the 1st color to the roots, after which you wait 20 minutes and then apply the second color starting where you left off with the 1st down the roots and then wait another 20 minutes.  eSalon provides plenty of product for someone with my hair length and thickness.  I didn't have one of those "Oh, crap!  I'm running out of hair color!" moments with this kit.  After the proper amount of time goes by, you then are asked to add water to the remaining contents of the 2nd bottle and shake it up.  Then you squirt this mix back onto your entire head of hair, working it into a kind of lather.  Wait 5 minutes, rinse, then shampoo (with your own shampoo and do it WELL, like really go to town on that scalp!), rinse, then condition, then rinse and voilà! You're done!  I would estimate the amount of time it took to use eSalon's coloring kit from application start to finish was close to an hour - of course prep time before and clean up after, was probably about another 10-15 minutes.  
Here are the results (sorry if these photos seem repetitive): 

The color mix that was provided based on my answering of the eSalon questionnaire was "Dark Brown - Mahogany", which is very close the color I had from a drugstore box of color I had applied 6 weeks before.  

 The pros:
- Excellent grey coverage - I have never had such good coverage of my abundant white hair from a color kit.    This really impresses me.  My stylist gives me great coverage, but she also charges me $40-50 + tip when I opt to have her do color on me.
- Easy.  I love shopping online, paying bills online, doing everything online.  
- The stain protector is fabulous.  It's way better than rubbing Vaseline around your hairline.  It's thick enough to provide a good layer of coverage from rouge color but thin enough that it is super easy to apply and re-apply if needed.  It also comes off easily with soap/water, unlike Vaseline, which can be stubborn
- Price. $25 isn't bad for someone like me who really only looks to color her hair completely every other month.  The application time isn't too bad either.  It's a lot of instruction, but the pay off is good.  
- My hair looks nice and not DYED.  I think all in all it turned out well.  It doesn't look like 1 solid color and is what I wanted.  
- Edit:  I forgot to mention, my hair did not smell atrocious afterwards and it also didn't get all static charged after styling it for the first time after dying it, which happens when I use the usual drugstore stuff. Also, it did not look burned, fried or damaged afterwards.  It actually looks quite nice and healthy, for once.

The wish list:
- I wish they had a root touch up service - Like those root touch up kits that they sell at the drugstore.  My favorite root touch up kit is Root Erase by Revlon. Best Root Saver EVER!  It has the perfect amount of color and the best applicator, which is a sponge top.  If eSalon could create an "in the meantime" root rescue kit that goes with your special color for a fraction of what the full application kit runs, I would so be in love.  I would put myself on the every 2-3 weeks rotation for sure.  
- Less waste.  I think that receiving this beautifully packaged box is a treat for the first time you get it, but I really don't think that it's necessary for subsequent kits.  A smaller box without all of the fancy bells and whistles would suffice for me.  I know it could start to look like a box of regular old L'oreal, but maybe the money saved on packaging could result in a lowering of the price of the kit and cost of shipping.  At the very least, it would keep things more environmentally friendly and less wasteful.  I threw away a total of 4 boxes with the one 1 kit.  

So all in all, using eSalon turned out to be a very positive experience for me.  I am on their every 8 weeks subscription right now.  I'm going to try it again to make sure the honeymoon is still on.  I'll let you know if I have a change of heart.  

What do you think?  Do you color your hair?  Professionally or yourself?  Do you want to give eSalon a try?  If you do, let me know how it worked out for you!

Until next time!  ☺


  1. Great review! My friend, Emily W, passed your blog along to me because I've been considering doing esalon. I think I'll try it

  2. I think it's worth a shot. I've been using it ever since! I changed my subscription to every 6 weeks and it's worked out well. Also, after my first welcome package, the subsequent boxes I have received are much smaller, just as I had hoped. Let me know how it goes if you try it. ☺