An Honest eSalon Review: Should You Order This Custom Hair Dye Online?

Colour Range: 8
Ordering Experience: 9
Shipping Options: 8
Customer Support: 7

Overall Score: 8

Price: Starting at $16

  • Achieve salon-quality results at home
  • Find the perfect shade using a quiz
  • Huge number of satisfied customers
  • No animal testing
  • Ammonia-free options

  • Complicated website
  • No live chat support

eSalon is a custom hair dye company that promises to deliver salon-like hair colouring results at home. But is it true to its word? That’s what we aim to answer in this detailed eSalon review.

We will go over some general information about the company, explain the ordering process, discuss the dye ingredients, and delve into the pros and cons. Read on!

What Is eSalon?

Given that the hair and nail salon industry is worth $4 billion in Canada alone, it’s no wonder there is a wide range of brands promising salon-quality results that can be achieved at home. eSalon is one such company.

eSalon is a popular online hair-care retailer whose main product is custom-blended hair dye. The dye is appropriate for different kinds of hair, from straight fine strands to voluminous curls. It offers a wide range of shades to choose from, and the coolest part is that you can take a quiz to find the perfect shade for you.

The company was founded back in 2008, so it has nearly 15 years of experience in the hair industry. It’s based in Culver City, California.

eSalon Website and Ordering Process

The eSalon website is where you will find the eSalon quiz for creating your custom hair dye. You can also make use of the colouring tutorials available to get the best results from your order.

The quiz starts by asking about your current hair colour. Then, you’ll proceed to answer questions about your hair length, texture, natural colour, and the colour of your eyes. You may also upload a photo so the colourist can better understand your hair type.

After that, you’ll be presented with swatches, so you can choose the desired shade. Keep in mind that the company doesn’t sell bleach or lightening solutions, so if you want to go several shades up, you won’t be able to do it using eSalon’s dyes. Finally, you’ll be asked to select how often you plan on colouring your hair, so that the company knows how often to send products to you. You may cancel anytime.

Having filled out the quiz, you’ll be presented with special offers of other eSalon products. Once you’ve selected the ones you like or skipped the offer, you’re all set to enter shipping and payment information, after which the process is completed.

However, we must say that the eSalon site is not as user-friendly as it could be. Our biggest complaint is that the relevant information is very difficult to find. For instance, when we searched for ways to contact customer support, initially, we could only find the phone number, after clicking on “support.” It was only after we went through the FAQ section that we found the customer service email, too.

eSalon Ingredients

Just like skin, hair needs to be cared for properly. For instance, when buying a face mask like Hanacure, you would first look at the ingredients list. The same goes for hair dye. Thus, let’s examine what eSalon’s hair dye is made of and whether it’s beneficial or damaging to your tresses.

eSalon hair colour ingredients are pretty standard. On the ingredients list, you’ll find everything you’d expect from a hair dye. Some of the ingredients eSalon permanent hair dye contains include:

  • Water
  • Ammonium hydroxide
  • Oleic acid
  • Hydrolyzed wheat protein
  • Sodium sulphite
  • Aloe barbadensis (Aloe Vera) leaf extract
  • Chamomile recutita (Matricaria) flower extract
  • Hydrolyzed soy protein
  • Silk amino acids
  • Hydrolyzed keratin
  • Panthenol
  • Sodium erythorbate
  • Fragrance

eSalon warns customers that some ingredients may cause skin irritation or allergic reactions, which isn’t uncommon for hair dyes. Since ammonium hydroxide is known to cause respiratory problems and is potentially a hormonally active agent, eSalon offers ammonia-free dyes as well. However, without ammonia in the dye, the results aren’t as long-lasting, and the colour isn’t as vibrant.

Nevertheless, there are other ingredients that are beneficial for the health of your hair. For instance, aloe vera helps keep the hair moisturized and shiny, while soy protein and keratin strengthen the hair.

Make sure you use a quality shampoo, so your colour stays vivid for a long time. Our recommendation is Verb, as the company offers top-notch shampoos for coloured hair.

Pricing and Shipping

If you choose the eSalon hair colour plan, there is a 20% discount. Therefore, instead of the usual $42.50, the price for one hair colour set is $34. On top of that, your first order will cost only $16 if you choose to subscribe.

However, the subscription isn’t monthly; instead, you can choose a regular interval in which you wish to receive the dye. Shipping in Canada was completely free at the time of writing and took seven to nine days.

Customer Support

When it comes to eSalon’s customer support, unfortunately, you may only contact the agents by phone or email. There is no live chat or chatbot, which would make it easier for customers to get the desired information.

Also, the agents aren’t available 24/7. You can get in touch with them from Monday to Friday between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. PT, and urgent cases may call them on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. PT.

Customer Reviews

Judging by the eSalon reviews on Trustpilot, the company has tons of satisfied customers. It has an impressive rating of 4.2 out of 5, based on almost 2,000 reviews.

The customers were generally pleased with the fact that the hair colour stayed vibrant for a long time and the salon-like results they achieved in the comfort of their own home. They also like the fact that the eSalon colorist they got matched with was very responsive.

It’s commendable that eSalon took the time to respond to every comment on Trustpilot, whether positive or negative. Although the company didn’t offer specific solutions to customer issues, it referred them to the customer support team.

The Pros and Cons of eSalon

eSalon’s customized hair dye line is an excellent option for those looking for customizable hair dye that doesn’t cost a fortune. The company offers a wide range of colours and allows you to choose the perfect shade for your hair type and desired look. However, you won’t be able to get any dyes that require bleach to achieve your desired result, nor can you make use of eSalon’s services if your hair is already bleached all over.

Although finding information on the website and contacting customer support might be a hassle, the products themselves are definitely worth it. eSalon is also an excellent choice for those with sensitive skin or asthma problems, as it offers ammonia-free options.

eSalon vs. Madison Reed

Madison Reed is another buzzed-about company that offers customized hair dye. While eSalon uses a quiz to determine the mixture you should receive, Madison Reed goes a step further.

Apart from a quiz, you also get a free consultation with a licensed colourist. Also, Madison Reed’s website is easier to navigate and has a live chat feature.

Without a membership, the cost of the Madison Reed hair dye is $38.50, so it’s slightly cheaper than eSalon. If you become a member, you get 10% off on all products.

However, keep in mind that you’ll need to pay for your shipment, as opposed to eSalon, which offers free shipping in Canada. Madison Reed also offers a referral bonus: Anyone who gets a friend to sign up receives $19 in credit.

A YouTuber who tried both eSalon’s and Madison Reed’s customized hair dyes twice concluded that both are extremely high-quality and deliver on their promises. However, she felt eSalon was slightly better at mixing the colour she wanted.

Also, a Madison Reed customer complained on Trustpilot that they didn’t receive their order, but the Madison Reed team responded, and the issue has since been resolved. Others weren’t happy with the way their hair turned out. There are quite a few other negative reviews on this review site, but Madison Reed commented on each, offering solutions.

On a positive note, others were happy that the dye covered their grey hairs and lasted a long time. They also commented on the dye’s pleasant smell.

All in all, these two are quite similar, but the eSalon hair dye seems to have a slight edge, as its reviews suggest this brand has more satisfied customers.

Final Verdict

With a wide range of colours to choose from and the option of an ammonia-free formula, eSalon has something for everyone. Although the website could use an ease-of-use-oriented redesign, the ordering process is seamless, and the products seem worth their price. Overall, we would recommend eSalon to anyone looking for a superb at-home hair dye solution.


Does eSalon test on animals?

No, eSalon doesn’t test on animals, as the company is entirely cruelty-free.

Is eSalon ammonia-free?

Yes, eSalon has ammonia-free products. When completing eSalon’s colour questionnaire, you get to select whether you want 0% ammonia hair dye or not.

What is the difference between Madison Reed and eSalon?

The difference between Madison Reed and eSalon is that the former is slightly cheaper. Without signing up for automatic orders, the price of Madison Reed hair dye is $38.50, while eSalon’s costs $42.50. However, with eSalon, shipping is currently free in Canada. In terms of the quality of the products, customers seem to be more satisfied with eSalon.

For more details, you can refer back to our eSalon review.

esalon logo

Overall Score: 8

Price: Starting at $16

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