Coloring your hair is one of the quickest ways to achieve a dramatically new look, and in this Madison Reed vs eSalon review we’re going to be looking at two of the top ways to get the job done in the comfort of your own home.
It’s tempting to tell ourselves that we can’t get the same quality at home as we can in the salon but is that really true in these times of worldwide connectivity, where you can take advantage of expertise from all around the world?
Both Madison Reed hair color and eSalon hair color selections set out to challenge this notion by providing what they claim to be salon-quality hair color in the comfort of your own home and the convenience of a box delivered to your doorstep exactly when you need it.
No more waiting for an appointment to open up with the only colorist you trust at your regular salon – with services like these you can access advice from top experts exactly when you need it.
Madison Reed vs eSalon
When considering Madison Reed vs eSalon for your home color needs it’s essential to know they go about things a little differently, and one is likely to match more closely with your personal hair goals.
Madison Reed lets you immediately shop the entire range of colors, but will quickly prompt you to take the online quiz or book a free color consultation to find your ideal shade. The quiz involves a few simple steps including choosing your hair type and skin tone and selecting your natural color from the Madison reed color chart.
Using the information you give, Madison Reed will recommend one or more colors that match your goals and are expected to work well with your hair type. You can still browse the entire range and add any of them to your basket, but a link to your recommended color will appear on each product page , so you never need to worry about losing sight of the color the quiz thinks will work best.
If you’re unsure what color to go for or what would work best with your eyes and skin tone then this could be the ideal service to get you started.
eSalon does things a little differently; its primary selling point is the completely personalized nature of every bottle of hair color. Instead of getting advice on what existing products will work best for you, the end goal of the customer is central and a bespoke hair color formulation will be made to your specifications.
To this end, the eSalon color chart is significantly more complicated, with a huge number of variations to choose from when selecting both your natural and goal hair color. While you can also book a consultation if you’re not sure what to go for, the emphasis at eSalon is much more focussed on wish fulfillment and the infinite variation possible in its formulations mean you have much more freedom to try a bold change without damaging your hair or messing about with multiple stages.
Madison Reed vs eSalon Pros and Cons
- Leaping bunny certified cruelty free.
- Helpful if you’re not sure what color to choose.
- Madison Reed color bars allow you to get an in-person service.
- Limited personalization options.
- No semi-permanent or ‘fantasy’ shades.
- Pending class action lawsuit regarding hair loss and toxic ingredients.
- Customized products to achieve individual goals.
- Companion range of personalized subscription haircare.
- More expensive option.
- Slow and uncommunicative customer service.
Madison Reed Hair Dye vs eSalon Hair Dye
Both companies boast a wide range of natural hair colors with eSalon also carrying a range of semi-permanent fantasy dyes. The major difference is in the formulation.
Madison Reed is proud that its products contain none of the parabens or ammonia famous that can make conventional hair dyes harsh on the scalp and hair, but there are major questions about some of the ingredients used to replace these and other common hair dye ingredients.
While Madison Reed states that it has replaced a range of common hair-care offenders with gentler and kinder ingredients, there are a huge number of reviews and complaints on sites like Trustpilot and Better Business Bureau (as well as a pending class action lawsuit) claiming that the replacements are actually much harsher and lead to extensive scalp damage and hair loss.
A really nice addition to the personalization service is the Madison Reed color bar – with locations countrywide, it’s easy to find a color bar near you where you can either pick up products you buy online in person and get some tips while you’re there or book full consultations and color treatments to make sure you get the most out of your dyes.
eSalon colors are made with much more conventional ingredients and the uniqueness is in the individual mix tailored to each customer. While there certainly isn’t a lack of customer complaints about eSalon, most of them are about poor quality or just plain slow and unresponsive customer service, and most of the reviews we’ve seen of the products themselves are very positive about the colors meeting or exceeding their expectations. The proof is on TrustPilot, where eSalon has a high score of 4.2 out of over 2,000 customer reviews.
Package and sustainability
Madison Reed gets a big tick for its leaping bunny certification when comparing Madison Reed vs eSalon in terms of sustainability. It’s always reassuring to have the confirmation of cruelty-free ingredients and freedom from animal testing that the leaping bunny gives.
Neither company has much to say about the material or recyclability of their packaging which is a little disappointing when so many customers are committed to reducing their impact on the environment. You will need to check the recyclability of various packaging elements with your local municipality whichever product you choose.
As with all chemical products, it’s important to dispose of unused hair dye properly, as some of the ingredients can be very toxic to wildlife or waterways if they are put down the drain. Check the information provided with your products carefully and ensure you dispose of them properly.
Madison Reed hair dye is only the start of its comprehensive range of hair care products, accessories, and even services. The website allows you to choose from the entire range of styling products and hair treatments to be delivered either as one-offs or on a subscription basis
You can use the online service to locate your nearest Madison Reed color bar where you can book color and touch-up services, or just arrange to pick up your orders and have a natter about the latest haircare trends.
eSalon is a little more focussed on personalized services and, while you can buy a range of generic hair care and accessories through the website, the main emphasis is on eSalon hair colors and equally personalized haircare subscriptions from the brand’s partner company Aura.
Aura haircare works on the same bespoke formulation principles as eSalon hair colors, offering subscription haircare tailored to your exact needs with some innovative subscription options such as personalized fragrances and temporary colors added alongside your usual shampoo.
Answering the question of Madison Reed vs eSalon in terms of quality is a bit of a sticky situation right now as the jury is (literally) still out on the safety of some of the ingredients in Madison Reed products.
Trustpilot, Better Business Bureau, and other review sites are littered with complaints about hair loss, scalp damage, and sensitivity to ingredients. There is currently a pending class action lawsuit against the company regarding these issues and we’re not comfortable making pronouncements on the quality and safety of these products until it’s heard by a fair judge.
eSalon doesn’t fare much better on the same range of objective review sites but in this case, it’s the quality of the customer service and not the safety of the products that are under scrutiny.
Where the quality of the products is discussed, nearly all the reviews we’ve seen speak highly of the results of eSalon’s personalized services. On a more personal note, some of the people we’ve spoken to who’ve used eSalon’s services claim that dye is really easy to apply and feels pleasant on the hair.
Customer review ratings
As we mentioned above, customer reviews for Madison Reed hair color are all singing to the same tune and we didn’t come across a lot of positive reviews outside of the company’s own website.
While the reviews hosted on the Madison Reed website do feature some negatives, none of them mention the big issue we’re seeing everywhere else, so we’re confident there’s some cherry-picking going on!
eSalon comes out much better on Trustpilot with reviews of 4.2 out of 5 closely matching the rating shown on its own website for the personalized eSalon hair color collections and a fairly similar division of positive and negative reviews.
Customers who receive their products in good time, don’t need to return or cancel any orders, and who have expectations matching the capabilities of the product rate the results highly and come back for more, but we’ve seen a worrying amount of negative reviews concerning lackluster customer service or experiencing issues that should have been communicated better before the point of sale.
Contacting eSalon quickly enough to make changes within its self-imposed window seems to be the major issue, with multiple customers resorting to leaving complaints with the Better Business Bureau or negative reviews after weeks of attempts to get in touch over simple issues.
Madison Reed vs eSalon: Editor’s Verdict
The verdict on Madison Reed vs eSalon has been one of the easiest to come to as we can’t recommend any product with so many safety questions still open about its ingredients. Until the lawsuit against Madison Reed is heard, the jury has to (literally) remain out on recommending it.
Safety questions aside, the services offered by these two companies are quite different with eSalon encouraging you to choose your own goal and the Madison Reed color chart guiding you to the best option for your type and tone. When comparing apples and oranges, it’s always important to recognize the value of personal preference!