Behind the Scenes at eSalon: Custom Hair Color on a Budget

This fall, we’re experiencing a big beauty wave of switching up hair color. Whether you’re aiming for a bold and fun color or something more natural, going to the salon can run up a pretty hefty tab. Over the next couple months, I want to highlight affordable ways to adopt this trend, starting with the convenient service: eSalon.

Behind the Scenes at eSalon: Custom Hair Color on a Budget

eSalon provides quality color that is custom mixed for you— just like it would be at a salon— for $20. You get to consult with a colorist to determine a shade and formula that is right for your hair. In your package, you receive the color, developer, shampoo, conditioner and coloring tools delivered straight to your door.

A couple of weeks ago, I took a trip to the eSalon offices in Culver City, California to find out more about how they create custom color for their customers.

Behind the Scenes at eSalon: Custom Hair Color on a Budget

When you sign up with eSalon, you take a quiz about your current hair color and texture, along with what color you’re looking to achieve. A colorist will review this information, and send the recipe for your custom formula to The Machine…

Behind the Scenes at eSalon: Custom Hair Color on a Budget

Adjacent to the eSalon office is the warehouse where they actually manufacture the color and ship it out to clients. The Machine takes the custom formulation inputted from the colorist and mixes the color into your personalized bottle (it’s even got your name on it!). With this technology, you’ll get the same formula each time— if that’s what you want.

Behind the Scenes at eSalon: Custom Hair Color on a Budget

After taking a look at the warehouse, we met up with the head colorist, Estelle, to talk about some new hair care products eSalon is releasing— including the one I’m most excited for: colored hair masks! These masks will deep condition and revive color treated hair while also giving it a boost in pigment! Genius!

Behind the Scenes at eSalon: Custom Hair Color on a Budget

Similarly, their Tinted Love product helps maintain color between washes. It’s a highly pigmented liquid that you apply to your hair after shampooing and before conditioning to keep the vibrancy of your color. eSalon also sells their own brand of color safe shampoo, conditioner, leave-in conditioner and argan oil.

Behind the Scenes at eSalon: Custom Hair Color on a Budget

I was able to get my custom color mixed by the wonderful Estelle, who trained in Paris and has worked in esteemed salons around the globe, and behind the scenes at NYFW with Marc Jacobs. I told her I wanted to even out my color (I have a lot of random natural chunky highlights) while incorporating purple undertones. I knew it wouldn’t come out super bold, since my hair was already dark brown. eSalon doesn’t offer bleaching, or any crazy hair colors, but they do have over sixty thousand shades they can incorporate into your color formula.


Estelle mixed my color for me, a pure violet, that left me with a deep burgundy purple hue that really shows up in the sunlight. I love it!

eSalon is such a convenient service, especially since salon visits can run you hundreds of dollars every few months (or more if you are trying to keep up with your roots). You don’t have to worry about waiting while a colorist runs from client to client; you can get the product and apply it on your own time, at a fraction of the price. Your custom formulation will be saved to your account so you can order it again when you need to touch up.

If you want to try eSalon, you can get half off your custom color package (which includes the shampoo, conditioner and color tools for $10) by clicking the offer on their home page.

Orrrr you could win one free order! I’m giving three readers a chance to order a custom color package for free– open to US, Canada and UK (whaddup International readers, I see you!). Enter via the giveaway widget below, it closes on 8/26. Good luck!

How much do you normally pay during a trip to the salon?



    1. I’ve dyed my hair a blue black and LOVED it. It’s so striking and really brings out the whites/color of the eyes!

    1. Mine has held up pretty well so far, probably because I’m using their Tinted Love product in between shampooing and conditioning!

  1. I’ve always wanted that gorgeous bright red hair that a lot of girls have, but the upkeep would be so much work.

  2. I colour my hair every 2 months or so. I have a lot of difficulties with mainly the roots (around my hair line mostly) keeping colour. It resists colour after a week or so. It get’s so annoying sometimes. This looks promising to me.

      1. That’s what I was hoping. I think I am going to be trying this company out. It does look promising.

  3. Love your new hair color! I always color my own hair at home, and love services like that, because sometimes conventional colors get boring 😉

    1. Well as I mentioned, they don’t have any crazy colors, but they do have enough shades to definitely switch it up!

    1. Thanks Rebecca! Yeah I think it’s a great middle ground between box color and going to the salon.

  4. Your hair looks so pretty!
    I do love my hair get done at salon, but lately I have been dying them at home, because it is cheaper this way.

  5. Your colour is gorgeous and so you.

    Personally, I am all about the salon. No fuss, no muss, someone else handling the roots while I relax and play on my phone. I did my own hair for decades. I am ready to just kick back and be pampered, for a change. 😀

  6. Your hair looks great! This is such a cool service. I was dying my hair blonde, basically bleaching it, for more than a year, which was cheaper than highlights. Last time I went, I got a glaze, which ended up being done twice, to get back to a more natural color, and then got blond highlights. I think I spent $90 on all of it. I will definitely go to my colorist for my hair, I did box dyes before but I like getting pampered at the salon.

    1. I like getting pampered too, but I have kind of an aversion to salons because with my hair, it always takes HOURS to get my appointment finished! This makes it a lot easier since I can just do it myself and be done with it!

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