Monday, April 15, 2013

eSalon: What You Should Know

I'm no stranger to dying my own hair to save a few bucks and some time, nor am I a newbie on how great color can turn out in a salon. But I wanted both. When I came across eSalon, I was so excited. I hate spending hours and a lot of money in a salon to get my hair colored. However, as most who have colored their hair themselves know, so many questions can arise if you DIY: How much like the box will my color look? Should I leave it on longer than it says because my hair is thick/course/long or less because it's thin/short/takes color easily? Is this the right shade for me?

eSalon's packaging is adorable. Too bad the process isn't.
eSalon promises to simplify the process. Ordering your color is easy; just answer questions about your hair type, your color history, and your goal color. They then customize a package just for you based on all of these factors. They even have you name your color bottles and personalize your instructions. A colorist will look at each order and verify that it's right for you.

Either a consultant will call you if they have questions or your color will ship out in 3 to 4 days. After 8 days, I'd heard nothing. A quick call and a friendly voice let me know that my color would be on its way in another 2 days.

I was so excited to get my parcel in the mail. It was very cute and seemed well-thought out. It included two bottles, two developers, shampoo, conditioner, color blocker for places you wish to avoid like your forehead and ears, a cotton ball, gloves, instructions, and a brush. The brush is if you'd prefer to brush the color on instead of use the bottle but it didn't come with a bowl. The geek in me was thrilled that it almost looked like a chemistry set for your hair. Sans disposable bowl, I opted for the bottle. Including a bowl would have been a nice touch.

I read over the directions which were slightly confusing but after another call to eSalon, I felt confident enough to begin. I sectioned my hair as instructed. I wish I had been warned that they wanted me to section my hair in a particular way as I don't have plastic clips that they state to use. Had I known, I would have picked some up; alternatively, I think this was a more important item to include than most of the other "extras" in the kit because instead, I used hair bands and in the process of putting them in and taking them out several times wet with hair dye, my hair got very tangled.

I was surprised by the size of the packet of color blocker- it was rather large.

It may be because it was intended to cover, say, your entire bathroom.

I've had minor messes from hair dye over the years. None even slightly compared to the mess that this kit made. It went everywhere. I was covered. My sink and floor were covered. Somehow, even my toilet seat was covered. Later in the shower, when I did what they referred to as a gloss rinse in which I mixed half of a leftover bottle with water and put it on my hair, my shower tiles were bathed in the stuff. As I surveyed what surely looked like the shower in Psycho, I glanced up and noticed that it had even gotten on the ceiling. Whatever I had saved by not going to the salon was going to cost me many times over in replacing things in my bathroom.

The smell was awful. I had a fan going in the bathroom to try to help but I began spastically choking on the fumes. Hair dye doesn't tend to smell good as a general rule but I've never experienced anything this potent. It became a battle between my ability to breathe and the ability to quickly wipe up puddles of the dye: which mattered more? Furthermore, the process took so much longer than a usual kit as there were not one but two bottles- one for roots and one for ends. They also have you divide each section, slather on the stuff, work it in, and then smooth it down "like smoothing a ponytail" so it took forever.

I didn't care what it looked like anymore. I just needed it to be over. 

It was one of those experiences in which you wonder if you'll ever get to do something else or if this was going to be the rest of your life. The worst part? I really, really wanted to love eSalon. It seemed a really fun approach to hair color. The reps to whom I spoke seemed really nice. I excitedly Facebooked a picture of the kit because it was adorable. But without some very serious changes, I don't see how I could ever use them again.

So how did my color turn out?

I couldn't care less.