esalon hair color review


brilliant brunette bang for your buck


esalon special delivery - 'um, this is NOT a barkabox...'

esalon special delivery – ‘um, this is NOT a barkabox…’ – march 19th, 2014, an online custom hair color formulation service, founded in 2008 and based out of Culver City California brings salon quality results to the at home hair color application industry that other brands have promised over and over again but just haven’t been able to deliver. Oh, and they literally deliver.


Born brunette but of the lackluster mousey variety bestowed by genetics rather than the shiny chocolate variety of my grandiose imaginations, having my fair share of gray guests showing up unannounced and without invitations, and armed with the professional know how from my previous career; I feel quite certain I have tried just about all the market has to offer and simply become complacent.


Experiences over the years with drugstore one-size-fits-all kits, beauty supply do-it-yourself merchandise, and even the occasional splurge for a salon treatment (which would better be described as me paying way too much to have my treasured tresses become black despite descriptions expressing explicitly brown…) have needless to say left me resigned to begrudgingly grabbing whatever grocery store variety boxed brown is on sale…


The primary issues encountered with chemically altering hair, regardless of application conditions (such as virgin, pre-processed, or highlighted hair and their various undertones) and color (blondes, redheads, and brunettes alike), is that it ALWAYS becomes brassy and dull because of the changes to the hair shaft inherent in the process. A professional colorist with premium quality supplies at their disposal takes all of these factors into consideration when mixing and applying a client’s formula to minimize the undesired but inevitable signs of damage. This is precisely where home hair color offerings miss the mark, and don’t actually deliver the “salon quality” results as advertised.

I am well aware of the old adage ‘that you get what you pay for’; and having practiced the occupation, and now being a client I understand firsthand both sides of the predicament. Getting your hair colored by a trained professional at a salon usually has more predictable and desirable results. However, it is a luxury that average budgets can’t afford occasionally much less regularly. Considering that a trip to the dentist or car repair are likely a higher priority in the scheme of things, and the fact that most cosmetologists themselves couldn’t afford it if it wasn’t discounted to them; I think it is fair to say salon coloring services are overpriced for many consumers whose regular beauty regimens includes a variety of expenses. Also I think it is worth mentioning that many people (including myself) have had negative experiences where the end product wasn’t much different than what they have achieved at home for a fraction of the fee; so they just can’t justify the expenditure on the regular basis required.

All of that aside, considering the technological advances in other beauty products where companies are constantly vying to stay relevant in a very lucrative industry the demand for a quality home hair coloring system has really remained unmet. The major suppliers aren’t producing products that are remarkably distinct from each other much less remarkably improved from their predecessors. Much like the frustrating process of finding the perfect fit for a foundation formula, hair color consumers not only need more options they need more information and/or assistance in order to make informed selections with satisfactory outcomes which produces brand loyalty. Despite a working knowledge of color theory and chemistry, the vague ‘warm’ and ‘cool’ undertone brunette options available inevitably lead to a temporary medium to dark brown that fades and frizzes after a few washes even with color safe sulfate free shampoo… Note to manufactures: I certainly can’t be the only person willing to spend several more dollars for a product that doesn’t make the house reek, eyes water, and most certainly does more damage to the hair cuticle than necessary for a deposit only single process. End tirade.

So on that fateful day when I happened to glimpse an ad in my internet browser’s sidebar for a custom hair color company (the ones that are usually blocked by add ons so it must have been fate), it not only caught and held my attention; but I actually did the unthinkable, clicked on it, and subscribed. I’m that person now… You’ll probably find me watching infomercials at 4 a.m., and ordering a emergency alert necklace in the near future.

In an effort to discover a discernible difference for myself and because I have become more involved in researching and reviewing products and projects on the internet, I decided to photograph my hair before and after using eSalon for comparison purposes. The first photo shows my hair without any conditioning or styling products approximately six weeks after using a popular store brand brunette with medium cool ash undertones in an effort to cover grays and minimize brassiness… I took the second photo six weeks after using eSalon’s hair color under nearly the same exact conditions (place, lighting, camera, and without any hair products). During that six week period a conscientious effort was made to continue using the same hair care products and routine. Despite my hair being naturally thick, course, dry, wavy, and living in a humid climate which probably keeps the frizz and shine serum industry in business; the results are really quite remarkable.

In retrospect I’m not sure how I hadn’t stumbled upon eSalon earlier, why isn’t already a household name, and why I feel such a pervasive sense of deep shame for trying something new because it happened to be aninternet pop up ad that should have been blocked… It happened. eSalon had me at hello. It is simply in a word: better. All of the complaints above have been addressed and then some. Seriously, try it. – You’ll like it.

before and after esalon hair color  - dare to compare

before and after esalon hair color – dare to compare


  • user friendly selection process that includes choosing not only current hair color and desired hair color but also addresses hair length and condition for personalized formulation (also features images where you can change eye color, skin tone, and hair texture for a more complete comparison)

  • option to include a current picture with purchase for review by a professional colorist consultant and help just a phone call away make the process nearly mistake proof

  • order arrives with all the essentials included and easy to follow instructions

  • thoughtful extras with attention to detail such as protective hair line cream and gloves (not of the flimsy saran wrap clown hand variety)

  • line includes standard permanent and demi-permanent formulations, as well as a color refreshing shampoo-in treatment for maintenance in your exact preferred shade so you can minimize damage while maintaining your desired hue

  • first time orders currently half priced and subscription dates are flexible


favorite feature : No sign of brassy red tones after multiple washings; and over a month later the soft, smooth, and shiny freshly colored feel and look remain intact surpassing my expectations.


chief complaint : Would love to see more lightening options in the future *hint hint*.