I am a woman who dyes her hair.
Yes, I admit it.
And I have no shame! I love my various shades of red hair, and would rather be bald than revert back to my genetic mousy brown.
As most women who dye their hair but don’t want or can’t pay the big bucks for a salon, I have be constantly on a hunt for the perfect combination of chemicals to coat my strands with.
I have used everything under the sun. Many different drug store box brands, from the cheapest to the “high end”, and I have used so many different options at Sally’s that I couldn’t even tell you what they all were.
I found that Sally’s Ion brand of hair color was the best for me. It didn’t fade as fast, it didn’t make my hair feel terrible, it was affordable, and they had a ton of color options.
Lately, though, I have been seeing ads all over the internet for a company called eSalon. They boast that they custom mix the color to fit your hair type, your current color, and your desired color. This caught my eye, because their claim was that they would be just as good as salon color for a fraction of the price! And of course, they had a good deal for first time users.
When you go on their site and start the process it asks you a few questions about the current state of your hair, asks you your current color and then prompts you to choose you desired color. At the end, they ask you to upload a current photo of your hair so your “personal colorist” can reference it when mixing your color, and make future color suggestions! All pretty nifty.
So I went ahead and ordered it. It took about a week to process and ship and arrive.
It came in this cute bright pink box, which I didn’t hesitate to open, as you can see.
The inside was just as cute as the outside, with everything touting “made for you” and the color bottle even had my name on it!
I thought it was a nice touch. The directions, also had my name on it, and claimed to be personalized for my hair type. I opened them up, it congratulated me on my first order, and proceeded to show me an outline of a bottle that broke down the different ratios of color in my personalized color. Not going to lie- it was awesome, and eSalon definitely knows how to make a customer feel special!
I was about to not even bother reading the directions, because I have dyed my hair sooooo many times, I know the protocol. But I did go ahead and take a peak, and they were actually different. Of course, they specified the usual “apply to roots first, then apply to the length”, but at the end, they suggested taking the leftover dye and watering it down and then applying it in the shower while rinsing your hair. Supposedly, it helps get the excess dye of your scalp and makes your hair shiny.
Finally, there was this little box in the package. It had the packets of color safe shampoo and conditioner to use post dyeing- more on those later. It had gloves, a stain remover towelette and a stain guard, which basically felt like vaseline.
As a side note, I am pretty sure that in most orders, you only get the dye and the developer. They spoil you on the first, but I am pretty positive you’d have to purchase those extras separately any time after.
Now, before I get into the process, I want to go over my initial concerns about eSalon.
- Silly me, I didn’t even bother to research reviews before buying it. When I finally did read some after the package arrived, I got a little worried. People were claiming the color didn’t go on evenly at all. It fried their hair. Their hair fell out in clumps. The color was all wrong. Basically everything that could have possibly gone wrong, seemed like it did. However, there were also glowing reviews, which made me hold out.
- I was worried I wouldn’t have enough dye. My hair is only just past my shoulders, but I do have very, very thick hair. When I use Sally’s Ion dye, I used two 2 oz bottles of dye with 4 oz of developed, leaving me with 8 oz of liquid. The eSalon package gave me 2 oz of dye and 2 oz of developer. So, half the amount. I did find one lady’s review that said the dye was very thick though and if you start running low, you can water it down to make it last longer.
With both of my fears subdued slightly, I decided to say “screw it” and took the plunge.
First, let me show y’all a before picture of my horrendous roots.
With reckless abandon, I sectioned off my hair, and began squeezing the mixture of color and developer onto my roots.
I just followed the instructions, and everything went fine. I suggest using two mirrors to help get the back parts of your hair if you don’t have someone else to do it for you.
I had no problem making the color last, at all, which shocked me. I did water it down a little bit, but even then, I had sooo much dye left, compared to what I usually have!
Of course, being Cara, I made a mess of my neck and my face and my arms with the dye. I tried out the stain remover, and it worked really well.
Then it was time to rinse. I got my shampoo and conditioner samples as well as my left over, watered down dye, and got int he shower. I squirted the dye mixture on my head and lathered it up, the directions said until it felt “creamy”. I did that, then applied the shampoo. And wow, I loved that shampoo! It was the best post dye shampoo I had ever used. It really did feel creamy, and it felt like it cleaned my hair really well, while still being gentle. The only way I can think to describe it is the shampoo felt very soft. I loved it.
The conditioner was also good. Moisturizing yet not too heavy.
I did use the leftovers of the packets the next time I showered, and they didn’t feel as luxurious on hair that didn’t have dye in it, but they still felt gentle, but very cleaning. 8/10, would recommend. They also smelled awesome!
So, I got out of the shower, towel dried my hair, and couldn’t wait to see the results so I blow dried it and straightened it.
The lighting in the photo is a little weird, and makes the bottom look more mahogany-ey, but I assure you, the color came out super even. And as you can see, my roots are no longer!
My hair afterwards was incredibly soft a smooth, which even lasted after the second washing.
I was really impressed with the results. I was hoping it would have come out more red, and not so brown, but that is my own personal error with choosing the color. The good news is next time I order from them, i can tell them that and they will alter my color.
Overall, I was pleasantly surprised with how the whole experience turned out. I loved the cute, personalize packaging. I love the fact that I have a personal colorist, who I can just tell that I want “more red” or “a warmer tone” and she figures it out for me until I have achieved my perfect color. I love taking the guess work out of it all. However, it is more expensive than Sally’s, considering at Sally’s I buy the developer in bulk, and the 2 boxes of dye are about $10. It is nice, though, not having to leave the house, and having the ability to set up a subscription service if I so choose so I can get my color every 4 weeks or every 6 weeks, or whatever.
As far as the bad reviews go, I think it just boils down to knowing your hair. If you have very damaged hair, or if you’re not very experienced with dying your own hair, or your hair is very stubborn when it comes to taking color, maybe it is best to stick with a salon. However, if it’s a toss up between box dye and eSalon, I really did like eSalon, and would probably go with that. I didn’t experience any of the bad things referenced in reviews, but my hair is of pretty decent health and I have a lot of experience with dying hair.
If you know your hair is in pretty decent shape, and you’re not trying to drastically change your color (like way darker or lighter) then I say give eSalon a shot!