eSalon Custom Formulated Hair Color Review


eSalon custom formulated hair color is claiming to be the new at-home hair dye that we all must try.  They are claiming that their service is good enough to replace drug store brands, cheaper than going to a professional and somehow better than what a stylist can do in a salon.  After months of seeing these advertisements I decided to take the plunge and give them a try.  This is my experience and what happened when I ordered eSalon Custom Hair Dye.

The first step was signing up at their website.  I plugged in my email address and was confronted with a screen asking me what color is my natural hair color.  You have 3 pictures to choose from; a blonde woman, a dark brunette woman and a curly red headed woman.  As a redhead I chose the curly red headed woman.  (*Note – I noticed that when it came to the red, the women almost all of the time had curly hair. I worried that the dye for red hair was meant for a different texture of hair but that ended up not being the case.)

As I moved through the screens I was asked pretty much the same variety of questions that a stylist would ask.  What kind of color is currently on my hair.  When was the last time I dyed it. How much gray do I have etc. eSalon’s system asks a lot of questions to really drill down what you look like and at the very end I uploaded several pictures of myself from both front and back angles so they could really see my hair color.

When I completed filling out what felt like a contract for my soul I placed my order and hoped to god I had not just wasted my money.  There was nothing I could do but wait.  I had decided I wanted to go considerably darker than my normal golden red; I was going for a chocolatey auburn so at the very last part of the ordering process I made sure I included a note for the person that would be mixing my hair.

A couple of days later I received an email telling me something had gone awry and I needed to contact the company before they sent out my product because if they sent me the wrong product I would have to reorder.  I dialed the phone number on their website and was immediately met with a message saying they were closed.  I started to panic.  How could they be closed?  The lab has to be open for the custom color mixer person to blend my custom formulated chocolately auuburn hair dye!  I dialed again and again received the message they were closed.

With lightning speed I jumped onto email and shot a letter to their customer service box letting them know they asked me to call them but they were closed.  I expressed that I was worried about my transaction.  a couple of emails and a few calls later I receive a phone call from someone who claimed to be my own personal color mixer person.  He wanted to discuss my color choice.  He made a comment “since you have ALL THAT hair” and I laughed but I was secretely scared inside that there wouldn’t be enough dye in the bottle to color all of my hair.  He assured me they would be sending me two bottles of dye.  It’s complientary the first time.  After that I would have to pay for 2 bottles.  I have to say I don’t like this about them.  1 bottle is roughly $20 so after my first order I would have to pay full price and full price for 2 bottles if I wanted all of my hair dyed.  Not cool.  the first order was only $10 because of the promotion.  I couldn’t see myself paying $40 for hair dye when I can 2 boxes at Target for less than $10 each.  My debit card agrees.


When my order I arrived I received a box that had 2 bottles of color, 2 bottles of developer, 2 pairs of pink gloves, a brush, a packet of what they call stain guard but is really just vaseline, a package of stain rand a packet of shampoo and conditioner.  Included in the box was a set of instructions that claimed to have been specially prepared just for me by my custom hair color mixer person back at the eSalon lab.  The labels all had my name on them and said they were mixed just for me.  It was cute but I am not so naive as to fail to understand that is the justification behind the price point.  I have to say having my name on the product would not sway me to buy it.  I have deeper criteria than the packaging.  It honestly doesn’t matter to me that it came in a waste-of-space pretty box with plastic gloves made to hold these specific bottles.  They  could have shoved the ingredients in a bubble-wrap lined manilla shipping envelope and I would have been okay with that because the packaging is not what matters.  What matters is what condition my hair would be in when I was done.

Nice touch putting my name on the bottle but honestly I can do this with my printer.


Before I got started I brushed my hair out and took a picture.  Bear in mind my hair was dirty.  I had not washed it for 2 days in preperation for this day.  Here’s my hair from the back before dying it with eSalon hair dye.  There are white spots on the photo because I was in the middle of working on my bathroom and construction grime was on the mirror and I didn’t notice.


Now, I would be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous.  This was a product I had never tried, had no point of reference for and knew nothing about.  As you can see I have long hair.  I cut it to just below my shoulders and went light brown in January 2013.  I missed my hair and I have no intention of frying it off now that it is long again.  You better believe I did a strand test.  I tested a good sized swatch of hair and it went well so I took the plunge.

sectionedMy custom prepared instructions told me to seperate my hair into 4 sections.  so I did as told.  I mixed up the bottle for my roots and got started applying it.  I was instructed to leave the dye on my roots for 10 minutes and then apply the other bottle to the ends and let that sit for another 15 minutes.  When the 15 minutes was up I was to add water to the roots and massage it and rinse it out completely with warm water until the dye stops coloring the watering.  This is all normal stuff but it bothered me that the dye time was short but I guess it wasn’t really considering it was just broken up into 2 sessions of application.

Once my hair was dryed and brushed the texture was nice.  It was still soft and silky but I noticed it had a touch of courseness to it that wasn’t there before.  I am okay with that bit of courseness even though I know it means damage because it will help it not lay so flat.  The smell of the product was stinky but it wasn’t any worse than any boxed brand I’ve ever bought from the store.  One thing I do want to point out is that this dye is extremely messy.  I’m a veteran self dyer and this was the worst in the mess factor.  It dripped everywhere. I was very irritated with the mess.

The overall color of my hair was okay but it was certainly nothing to write home about.  the roots were darker than the ends.  There wasn’t much dimension to the color.  Within days it felt flat and dull.  Now 3 weeks later the color is gone. It was gone by week 2 actually. My hair has a small amount of barely brown showing through but otherwise it is as if I never dyed it.  Except the grays.  I can’t deny that it is covering my grays but keep in mind I only have a few silver strands.  I don’t see them in there right now.  I ended up cancelling my account and removing any auto replenish settings.  I won’t be buying this product anymore.  Not at that price for the color to wash out that quick.  I would say to someone else though, give it a try.  it might work for you.  Just because it isn’t for me doesn’t mean it isn’t for you.

Below are a couple of pictures of my new hair.  I haven’t taken a pic at week 3 but I will get one soon and get it posted so you can see the color is gone.


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Haphazard administration and unpredictably crazy blogging topics are the staple of Kelly's (SWL's slightly weird founder) writing career. One thing you can always be sure of is that you never know what Kelly is going to post at Suburban Wife Life next.

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