For those of you who read my posts regularly, you may recall that last January, I lost my stylist. No it wasn’t a game of hide and seek gone horribly wrong. The salon I frequented rented space in a building. When their lease was up, their landlord decided to raise the rent. When they did, the salon owner decided to retire and my stylist decided to move far, far away.
Oregon to be precise.
And so I was left alone with scissors and box dye. Well technically, she left me looking nice and I put off looking for another stylist until I actually needed one, but by then we were already in lock down. Now all of the lovely layers she put in my hair are gone and even the box dye I added after she left faded.
I still haven’t found a new stylist, however my roots grew out at it was well past time for a re dye. This time I decided to take a drastic step up and go with eSalon. I had heard fantastic things about them from several friends who are now likewise sans stylist, and was intrigued by the custom color over the internet. I’ll admit, I was skeptical.
I know, so tricky.
There is a big button on the front page that says Create my Custom Hair Color. I clicked on it. Admittedly it is a big red button and I have a hard time resisting clicking on big red buttons.
I’ll admit, I expected one or two basic questions, mainly what color is your hair now and what color do you want followed by a ‘custom dye’ that wasn’t really custom.
That’s not what I got. The process for creating a custom dye on eSalon had four steps before you even got to the actual color.
Step 1 was the Consultation and they ask you about your current color, any treatments you’ve had done on your hair, the last time you colored your hair as well as where your last hair color came from. In addition, they also offer explanations for why the answers you give matter when determining the type of hair color they will put together at the end. I really like the attention they pay to the health of your hair.
Once you make it through Step 1 you arrive at Step 2: Hair Type. There are six questions and it is easy to see how they relate to creating a dye; hair length, amount of gray, straight or curly (with an array of options to choose from), thickness, ethnicity and eye color.
The third step is your color history. They start with your natural color and have you pick out the closest shade match. Then they ask what color your hair is currently dyed (with pictures) They have you upload pictures of your current hairstyle so they can actually see what it is you are working with, without actually being there.
To be honest, these are all things that my stylist asked me when I went in for a color. The only difference was that I was in front of her, so she could see and touch my hair. eSalon seemed to be doing the electronic version of this in the first three steps of their consultation.
This of course leads us to Step 4: Desired color. They ask if you want to maintain your current color or try something new. They ask what type of dye (permanent or demi) as well as when you want to color your hair and how often you intend to color your hair. In addition, while there are the standard clickable options and pictures, there are places for comment, so if you can’t find something you want, you can add in a comment or two, or even a question.
Once I made it through I placed my order and added in tools and the cape as well as a few after care items that I wanted to try out. There were actually two after care items: The Rinse (which can be used to revitalize your hair once the color starts to fade) and the Camo mist so that if you have a few gray hairs but are not ready to dye your hair again, you can cover them up. Both of those items are also formulated to match the dye that same in the eSalon kit.
Those two items I set to the side and will be using once this color starts to fade. I am especially interested in the Camo Mist. I like to go as long as possible between dyes so that my hair doesn’t get damaged and having products to extend that time is something I really want to look into. And the fact that they match my dye is really quite amazing to me.
But those are for later.
First, there is the dye.
Well, actually there is one step before the dye. You see eSalon sent an e-mail to me after my order to double check that they had everything correct before they put the dye kit together. In my set up, I asked a simple question about shipping and they answered it. So the comments you put on the sign up are actually read.
Once everything was squared away they prepared the package and sent me a shipping notice. Even with all of the craziness the postal system is going through right now, it took about two weeks to reach me, for reference sake when ordering.
Since I didn’t want to rush through the process and because the ling instructions looked slightly intimidating at first, I wanted to take my time so I waited until the weekend to dye my hair instead of doing it one evening during the week.
The kit looks much more intimidating than it actually is. The process is somewhat more involved than a box dye but the steps are laid out simply and in a really easy to follow way. When you first unfold the instructions a sticker will fall out. Do not lose this.
I have to say this sticker may have been one of the most thoughtful elements of this pack. I know it sounds strange, but the sticker lets you tack up the instructions. And the instructions are very helpfully printed out length wise on one side of the sheet so you can just go down the list and follow step by step with no flipping pages or looking for a part B. (In fact everything in this kit is really well thought through and well structured for the at home user) Just read through the instructions, use the sticker to put it someplace where you can consult it as you work through the process and you will be fine.
Now I also ordered the tool kit and cape. The cape is fantastic. It is a light nylon on top, but the underside is a thick almost rubberized material that prevents dye from seeping through. It has high quality snaps all the way down the back with multiple sizing’s for the neck so that you can tailor it to you. To be honest it was much better quality than I was expecting. I expected something I would be able to use once and then have to throw away. This came can be used multiple times. And as I dye my hair on a regular basis, it is a really nice tool to have around.
The tool kit itself is really nice as well. It comes with a plastic pitcher. The pitcher has a handle and a pour spout as well as a place to rest your brush (the brush was sent with the dye and helpful on its own). It is essentially perfectly shaped for it’s task and sturdy enough to be reused loads of times. The clips are exactly what you need to use on your hair, no more, no less and are super helpful to have around. Again, they can be used multiple times.
The piece I may have been the most thrilled about in the kit was the element I thought was a little too much when I ordered it. And that is the timer. I thought, ‘I have multiple ways of timing things why would I need that’.
Oh, I was so wrong. It has an easy to use setting set up and you can set the timer and then just turn it on when you are ready. So as a timer it is set up well. Plus with they dye you color your hair in two parts. With the dedicated timer, I didn’t worry about getting dye on the buttons. In fact I did get dye on these buttons. And because of the material they dye wiped right off. With this timer (and the cape) I managed to dye my hair and only dye my hair. Not my shirt, not my bra, not my cell phone timer. Just my hair. I was quite pleased with how easy and neat the simple tool kit made things. But I guess that’s the trick, things are always easier with the right tools.
So we have our tools, we have out instructions taped to the mirror and the cape is ready to swing on at a moment’s notice. (I split and tied up my hair before putting it on).
It is time to begin the dyeing process. As per the instructions I divided my hair into four segments and secured them with the clips. I have to say I really like the multi-step directions in this kit from eSalon. The long list looks intimidation, but it is super easy to follow step by step. After mixing the first bottle of dye, the first step is to color the roots. I really like that they are colored first, the dye staying on them the longest. I always worry about frying the ends, but with this process, I didn’t worry.
After tying my hair up, I applied the stain guard to my hairline and I even put it on my ears. It may be a spoiler, but it worked fantastically well. I had no random splotches on my ears or forehead because of the stain guard. It looks and feels a bit like Vaseline, but it is a little thinner and easier to spread on the skin.
They first batch of dye sits on the roots for fifteen minutes. Then you go back in, mix up the second batch and apply it to the rest of your hair, including your ends and let it sit for another ten minutes. Because your ends have less time to sit with the dye, there is less chance that they will end up fried.
I love that.
Now, with two bottles of dye you may think that you’d end up with extra dye. You do. Or at least I did. But fear not, it does not go to waste. Because even if you used the bottles to apply the dye as I did, here is where the little plastic pitcher comes into play.
You put the extra dye in the pitcher and add water (I’d suggest going with warm water as it blends to a slurry more easily and doesn’t feel as cold if you splash on your back in the shower.
That’s right, you take the pitcher and the second set of gloves in your kit (there are two pairs in the small box) and once gloved and in the shower, you take out the clips pour the watered down dye over your head and massage it into your hair. It does get kind of foamy. The reason this is important is that it blends the roods and ends together so they match and it doesn’t look like you dyed your hair in two parts.
Seriously, how smart is that?
Now with the kit is a box with a shampoo packet, conditioner packet, stain guard and stain remover. I used the stain guard at the beginning and honestly because I used the stain guard at the beginning, I didn’t need to use the stain remover. The shampoo and conditioner were in single use foil packets so I brought my little sewing scissors to the shower with me, just in case. However, they weren’t needed as even with wet hands the packets tore open easily.
I really like that there was a shampoo as well as a conditioner. While my scalp was still slightly tinted from the dye, it wasn’t that bad and with all the excess dye wahed out, there was no post dye itching. With the box dye my scalp itched and I had to do a scalp scrub the next day to get the exess dye out. This provided the shampoo to do so and then the conditioner to condition my newly dyed hair.
The conditioner did make my hair soft but it wasn’t a detangling product, I’d recommend using a detangler if that is a problem for you. Over all my hair felt soft and nourished. And the color is quite lovely. I really like the way it turned out.
While the instructions looked intimidating, they were easy to follow and the results are ones I want repeated. As I let eSalon know in the beginning how often I wanted to color my hair, I’m sure they will let me know when the time approaches. While I will be using the e-salon dye again, I might see about postponing it just a little longer as I try out the Tint Rinse and Camo mist, to see how those products work and if they will let me extend the length of my dye past where I usually dye it.
So was eSalon worth it? and did I get the color I wanted? To both questions I answer a resounding yes.
For now I am super thrilled with the way it came out. I am pleased I have the tools to reuse the next time I dye my hair and I am thrilled by how reasonably priced it was. It may be a little more than a box dye, but it was light years better on the hair and eSalon is a lot less expensive than a salon.
To be honest, my hair feels like it has been to a salon. I have a really hard time telling the difference between what I have now and what I received at my hair salon. I did miss the extra pampering of an in person salon, but at the moment at home is a much better option, and quite frankly probably will be for a while. I’m certain that I’ll have to sit down and let an actual stylist cut my hair sometime in the near future, but it will be a rather truncated visit. It will be an in and out trip. I won’t be staying for a process as lengthy as a dye. I am very pleased to have this eSalon option available to me. Once I set it up, it was an easy process with fantastic results. And quite frankly the two part dying with the rinse at the end to blend was absolutely genius. I will certainly be returning to eSalon for my next dye.