When you order from eSalon, be sure to upload a current, well-lit photo of your hair and don't hesitate to ask their color experts for advice. The eSalon team are experts. Let them help you find the right shade and apply color correctly. It's a learning process if you're used to box color products.
Last August, I tried eSalon. At the time, I found the color was fine in that it was even and matched what I had seen online for that shade, but it wasn't really what I was going for. eSalon's customer service was helpful, with a colorist calling to explain how their product differs from what I buy in-store and the risks of going darker or lighter with a highly pigmented product. At the time, I decided not to try eSalon again, though I definitely thought about it every time someone commented on my review post.
In April, Courtney from eSalon called with a once-in-a-lifetime proposition. eSalon would fly me to Los Angeles to tour their facility, meet with the CEO, and have my hair colored by their color director.
I was floored.
I'm not one to say no to a chance to see the inner workings of a start-up company, so I agreed and plans were set for me to visit in early May. In the meantime, I used a clarifying shampoo once a week to try and clear out lingering color from the last time I dyed my hair, which meant when I flew out, my hair looked like it would usually look when it's time to color. I grabbed a picture from my Photostream that is close to what my hair color looked like when I left for my visit.
I straightened my hair before I left so I wouldn't look too frizzy, but I left it unwashed for about two days with no product, like I used to before a salon color appointment.
Courtney sent me a few product samples before the trip, so I could see what eSalon has been working on since my coloring experience last summer. They continue to develop new products, from color-safe shampoo and conditioner to leave-in treatments and a temporary root touch-up called Color Kiss.
Last Monday was a whirlwind. I left for the airport early in the morning. Living in a rural area, that means I was at the gate munching on breakfast a little more than 30 minutes after leaving the house. I hopped a small plane to Chicago, grabbed a snack and a magazine, and boarded a long flight to LAX. American's wifi service is convenient, so I was able to Skype with the guys at work and chat with my husband to pass the time. I even churned out a project proposal while watching (aka listening to) a movie.
From LAX, I hopped a cab to eSalon's office in Culver City. Courtney greeted me at the door, made a few introductions, and led me on a behind-the-scenes tour. Imagine a super hip brewery, but instead of beer, it's hair color. I had no idea how color is made or the range of tones that go into making the right, customized shade for each customer. It's awe inspiring.
I don't want to get into too much detail to protect their proprietary processes, but I will say they have built and evolved a process to ensure each customer gets the product that is right for their hair and that the product ordered is the product delivered. While behind the scenes, I had a chance to meet their R&D guy, a super talented Michigan grad who helps make sure products arrive as they should, without leaks or damage. Back in August, I experienced a really rare product leak. This is actually quite unusual and eSalon continues to experiment with their product packaging to make leaks even more rare than they are now. I'm very confident I won't experience another product leak.
Francisco Gimenez, the CEO of eSalon, along with Courtney, took me to lunch in a cute, trendy part of Culver City. I'm impressed with the revitalization going on there. My last trip to Culver City was about two years ago and I could see a major difference since then.
Chatting with Francisco and Courtney allowed me to share in more detail what my past experience had been with eSalon and what I have found with box color. They took the time to explain how eSalon is different, a salon-quality formula, and the benefits of using eSalon vs what I've been using. This part of my trip was incredibly educational. I'm fairly knowledgable about home color, but a lot less experienced with salon formulated products. I'm now feeling confident that not only can I have amazing color at home, but I want all my friends and family to try it, actually follow the directions (yep, I'm guilty), and enjoy a quality product that comes with outstanding service.
After lunch, Estelle, eSalon's superstar color director, talked to me about my color and custom formulated a beautiful shade of brown that is somewhere between light and medium. It's warm without the brassiness and matches my skin tone better than I've ever achieved with box color. Rather than my usual problem of darker ends and lighter roots, the color is even with a touch of lightness at the ends, how it should be.
Before leaving, I observed how customer service works and the attention to detail that eSalon's customer service team lives by. This is a team that consists of real colorists, so if you have a question about your order, or you aren't sure what color is right, you are calling or emailing experts who can look at your photos and help you find the right shade.
Truly impressive is that customer satisfaction is a priority. If eSalon isn't right for you, someone will let you know and explain why. Maybe your hair is too damaged or you need color correction, or your goal is something that is outside the realm of traditional (bright blue, for example). It's okay to talk to eSalon about this because they'll let you know if you can't achieve a great result at home. They'd rather have you happy than sell you something that won't work for your situation.
A few days later, I was back home and eager to try my new products. Before I even had a chance to use the shampoo and conditioner on myself, my daughter needed a good washing after a trip to the kids' salon for some "rainbow hair."
We tried the shampoo and conditioner first. A little shampoo went a long way and left Miss P's hair gently cleansed and easy to comb. I added a bit of leave-in conditioner and let it air dry. The leave-in conditioner smells amazing!
Now that I've got a color I love, I have a formula in the eSalon system I can reorder whenever needed. I have a better understanding of how to apply the color and can't wait to try it at home in about two months. In the meantime, my sister is going to try eSalon so she can have a fresh look for college graduation and both my parents are willing to be my guinea pigs.
If you read my previous review, or you are on the fence, I'd now say give eSalon a shot. If you have any questions, just call them or leave a comment in your order asking for help selecting the right shade. But most of all, please, please, please read the directions. eSalon isn't like box color and the directions may be slightly different for each customer. Pay attention to where you want to apply color first (roots), the length of time to process, doing a color rinse, and shampoo when you rinse out the color.
Curious to try eSalon?
Let me refer you and get $10 off your first order! If you subscribe to their recurring order process, that would make your first order just $9.95 plus shipping, not much more than buying box color. So definitely consider trying eSalon!
Here is a link to the original review post from August 2013.