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eSalon Review: Custom Hair Dye At Home

June 28th, 2013 by Sarah Auerswald

I have gray hair. It’s probably not a secret to anyone, but I don’t advertise it. In fact, I go out of my way to cover it up. But going to a salon gets expensive, even though I love doing it. So I end up doing it myself. At home. From a box. From the Drugstore.

eSalon Review - Before (short gray hair)

This is me with short gray hair

Which is not a foolproof situation. I once got bright red clown hair by mistake, and I’ve consistently dried my hair out mercilessly by over-coloring it. Because I won’t let anything stand in the way of covering the gray.

eSalon Review - At Home hair care!

Enter eSalon. The beauty of eSalon is you do it at home, but your color has been mixed for you by an expert colorist. Yes, it costs a bit more than the drug store box, but it’s cheaper than the salon, and at least you won’t get bright red clown hair. Unless that’s actually what you wanted. (I’m not judging.)

I recently met with Estelle Baumhauer, eSalon’s Color Director, who showed me around the headquarters in Culver City and then did an assessment of my hair. That’s how I found out how badly I’ve been drying it out.

eSalon headquarters & on-call staff

eSalon's warehouse

eSalon has a staff of colorists who each help online customers determine their perfect color match based on submitting a photo and answering a series of questions. Then that color is delivered to the customer’s door with all the necessary tools to apply and maintain it. The kits include detailed instructions, gloves, color stain prevention lotion, stain remover lotion, color-treated shampoo, and conditioner. They even send a mixing bowl, clips and the key item: the applicator brush.

eSalon kit #1

eSalon review:  kit with brush

eSalon also has tutorial videos to show you just how to get the color on all by yourself, and if you’ve tried, you know what I mean – its not easy.

I love how my hair looks after Estelle colored it and I can’t wait to order my first root covering kit to try it myself at home. Now that I’ve seen how to do it like a pro, I’m sure I’ll feel more confident and I bet I won’t be drying out my hair as much. I can tell you this: the color has already lasted longer than when I use a box from the drugstore – and it feels great, too.

eSalon Review - before the color

Before the color

esalon review - after the color eSalon

After the color

Stay tuned for eSalon to come out with a line of styling products soon as well.

eSalon review - color-safe shampoo & conditioner

eSalon color-safe shampoo & conditioner

{Full Disclosure: my color was complimentary for the purposes of this review.}

Sarah Auerswald (373 Posts)

Sarah Auerswald is the CEO and Co-Founder of MomsLA. She writes about life in LA while raising her 2 sons and is the founder of MarVistaMom.com. She was an English Major at Brown University, and yet nowadays feels free to ignore grammar rules anytime she wants. Like Now. She's married, uses a Mac, and grew up in Hawaii.


8 comments

  1. Mary Kay Holmes

    How much is a kit? Looks cool!

  2. I meant $14.90 total with shipping in there already. So it’s not that bad.

    • Here is the catch though.

      “With this offer, you’re joining eSalon’s Love Your Hair service – which saves you 20% on all future hair color orders.
      You can stop, start, or modify your service at any time by logging into your account or giving us a call. Based on what you’ve told us, we’ll send your hair color for $19.95 plus $4.95 shipping every 6 weeks. Click here to change frequency.”

  3. Hi,
    I’m writing this “behalf of my 52 year old sister.” She has been using drug store products for years to cover the gray. I cannot even tell what her actual “naturally medium bown” color looks like anymore! Believe me, I’ve been there. I am 57 and 7 years ago, decided I could not keep up the battle of fighting the gray. My dark brunette hair grows very fast and at 50, I was about 50% gray. I had to touch up my roots every 2-3 weeks to get rid of that skunk line. I did it at home and realized I need assitance from a professional. My sylist and I tried everything….best result was to lighten overall color every 3-4 weeks and apply a lighter highlight streak every 5-6 weeks to help with the camoflage. It worked great for a few years, but it was expensive and when I reached the 60% gray level, said this is enough. I am fortunate that my gray is a “silver fox” color with no yellowing at all and people actually ask me if I color my hair! (No, I’ve never seen this color sold on the shelves.)
    Back to my sister. Before my stylist and I embarked on the first step of ridding my hair of all of the layers of store product, she said we need to get down to your actual base color first. Just have to strip your hair of all of that stuff and start out knowing what we are dealing with.
    Do you recommend this step for women who have 5 years (depending on length) of home coloring before using your customized color? Or is it just another color appplied to layers of existing color? I’d like to recommend to my sister, but am intersted in knowing how you approach this dilemma. Thanks.

    • I’ve just used their color over my old layers of color. But you could strip the old stuff out if you wanted to. Either way, they match the formula to the photos you send and what you tell them you are looking for. Good luck!

  4. Thanks for the review. I just discovered e-salon and am awaiting my first kit. I genrally don’t color my hair myself because it’s always so messy. I’m hoping the detailed instructions will help to eliminate that. Also, since you got a personal consult, did they recommend your color or did you choose it?

    • I told them what color I wanted and she mixed it up for me. I have to tell you, color at home is potentially messy, no matter what. Not going to lie. I put rags down all around where I’m applying the color just to make sure it doesn’t stain any surface in my bathroom. But it’s way more affordable than going to the salon…

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