We got iced into our house big time during #clusterflake2014 aka #snowpocolypse. Thankfully we didn’t lose power, but we were low on things to do. (Unfortunately, I neglected to stock up on Pinterest craft materials while stocking up on
wine bottled water and tortilla chips sandwich bread). With three days of being unable to set foot outside the front door, we had a chance to do a ton of indoor, time-consuming things that need doing, but somehow get pushed to the bottom of the list. Like, coloring your hair.
Now you guys know (or maybe you don’t) that I’ve been coloring my hair since I was 13. Although I occasionally splurge on a salon job, I am a dye-hard (see what I did there?) at-home colorist. I’ve tried lots of different formulations (foam? put it down slowly and RUN. AWAY.) by lots of different brands. Most of them are quite decent actually, but I’ve always had trouble finding my dream shade–and almost all of them lack the staying power of a salon ‘do. Red shades, of course, are known to fade extra-fast. That’s why I was intrigued when I came across e-salon.
Don’t ask me to remember how and where I heard of these folks, but I can 100% double guarantee you they did not pay me to write this post, or give me any kind of anything for free. (Although if you’re out there e-salon big wigs, I won’t say no if you send me my next box gratis WINK WINK) So when I say this is my opinion, it totally is–no holds barred, two fingers neat straight up my opinion.
In a nutshell, e-salon is salon-quality, personally curated color that you apply by yourself. At the website, you answer a series of questions, like your hair’s natural color, texture, and length, whether you use any other processes on it (relaxing, etc), if/how often you color, etc. You also input your skin and eye color, and upload a picture of yourself (or email it to them later). All this info helps the colorists design a custom color that suits you, definitely something that’s lacking in the one-size-fits-all boxes.
After the questions, a series of swatches that would work for you are presented. You can see them on a model with your same specifications (i.e. ghostly pale with stick straight hair, if you’re me). Then–this is the best part in my opinion–there’s a text box where you can type in your “color goals.” Such as, stay close to my natural color, dark with red undertones, want to color roots and refresh the rest, etc. As a bonus, you are assigned your own personal stylist that you can email or call for a free consult. I didn’t actually do that, since I generally avoid making phone calls to strangers if at all possible, but I guess if you had a really complicated color request? I don’t know.
This is what comes in the mail:
Because my hair was already colored, I got two sets of dye. One for my roots, and one for the ends. The initial kit also came with extra tools, including one of those cool brushes you use to paint on the color.
Sure Janie, but how hard was it to do? It was just as easy (or hard, I guess?) as a regular box of at-home hair color. Basically, you add the color to the developer, shake it around a bunch, and apply it. You get extra speshul custom directions though, so if you aren’t used to doing it on your own those help a lot.
Results? The light suuuucks in my bathroom and I don’t have a super awesome blog-worthy DSLR camera so it’s hard to tell, but the color came exactly how I wanted (distinctly red but not bright, lighter rather than darker but not strawberry blonde).
You can choose to “subscribe” to your color, and a box automatically ships to you in whatever interval you set. I have mine set at the max, 12 weeks, because the box usually sits around in the bathroom for four weeks before I actually use it (see first paragraph). You can also order it on an as-needed basis, although the subscription is slightly cheaper. Every time you order, you can either get the exact same color or tweak it however you like.
One caveat: make sure that you pay attention to whatever schedule you set up, because they will send that b*tch, and not tell you until it’s already gone. My last set ended up shipped to my old office, where I am no longer employed. #oops. Fortunately, my ex-employers are way way nicer than my ex-apartment complex aka #effingJASMINE and held it until I had a chance to come get it (as opposed to saying yes, your amazingly cute, last-in-your-size, on-sale boots are here, but no, you can’t come get them; we’re sending them back tomorrow because you don’t live here anymore WHAT?).
Anyway. As for staying power, I think it came pretty close, if not actually all the way up to, a professional color job. My “trick bag” for maintaining my hair color is pretty much limited to one: don’t wash it that much. I also try to limit the heat styling (not that hard, when you have a toddler) and use sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner.
Mmkay, but what about the price? The price is kind of like the product: in between drug store and salon ($20 per application). But get this–the first application is 50% off. You don’t even need a lame-ass CushionCutCouponCode or anything, they just give it to you (and that includes the little brush, remember. Important stuff). After that, you get 20% all you future applications. And you can cancel anytime, as long as the box hasn’t actually shipped yet.
So (duh), I really like E Salon, even though it seems gimmicky at first glance. But I am still trying to figure out how to make my hair look less dull, and make the color last longer. I’m really not into spending a lot of money on things that get rinsed off, but I’m thinking of taking the plunge into expensive shampoo brands. I just read recently that most drug store brands like Pantene are full of wax–the last thing my limp noodle hair needs. So that’s my next hair plan. And I don’t even need a snow day to do it! It’ll be like an experiment! And I’ll share the results with you guys.