eSalon's Color Cart: Understanding How We Make Your Custom Color

Our color chart is the key to understanding your goals and creating a custom shade that is as unique as you are.

At eSalon, each custom shade we make starts with our color chart. Unlike pre-made hair colors, we make each individual color from scratch using our color chart as a starting point to understand your goals. Then, our colorists factor in things like your current color, hair type, hair history, complexion, eye color, and gray coverage needs to create a hue that fits you like a glove—because no one should have to fit in a box. To get a closer look at our color chart and understand how we make your custom color, read on.

STEP ONE: We get to know you and your goals.

To make your custom color, we use our quiz to get a better understanding of your hair history, concerns, and goals. Think of it like an initial consultation with a colorist in a salon. And since our colorists have to do their job virtually, we always recommend sending in a photo of your ideal color result or your current look. This helps us picture the exact combination of pigments that will complement your natural beauty while reaching your desired look.

STEP TWO: We craft your custom color from scratch.

In our quiz, you will have the opportunity to see our color chart and select your desired shade—but our job doesn’t stop there. For example, let’s say you currently have light brown hair and want to try a medium brunette hair color with copper undertones for a reddish final outcome. That’s great! Now we know where you’re starting and where you want to go. However, your colorist may determine that you may actually need both copper and gold undertones to achieve the exact look you want while enhancing your natural features. Make sense?

Let’s look at another example. Let’s say you have light blonde hair but want to transition to a dark brunette hair color. Since your ultimate goal is more than two darker than your current hair color, this is where our colorists will step in to make a plan so that you can gradually get this look. It may even require a few special steps and specific maintenance which your colorist will be happy to help you with. 

If we were to send you dark brunette hair dye right off the shelf, you may end up with a funky, greenish tone. Therefore, our colorists know to slowly add darker pigments to your custom color so that each time you color your hair, you get closer and closer to your ultimate color goal. The eSalon experience is designed to mimic that of an actual salon, rather than blindly sending pre-made hair dye to your doorstep. This process is part of what makes our at-home hair dye so special.

What are hair levels and hair tones?

Wondering what the numbers are on our color chart? Without getting too deep into color theory, these numbers represent the level and tone of each shade. Hair color levels essentially describe the lightness or darkness of any given shade. On our color chart, “10” (lightest blonde) is the lightest shade level possible while “2” (soft black) is the darkest level. The level of your desired shade is indicated by the number before the decimal point as shown in the diagram. 

If hair color levels represent the lightness and darkness of a hair color, hair color tones signify the warmness and coolness of the underlying tones. On our color chart: 

1: Ash tones 

2: Violet tones 

3: Golden tones

4: Copper tones

5: Mahogany tones

6: Red tones

7: Matte tones

The tone of your desired shade is indicated by the number after the decimal point as shown in the diagram. Keeping these factors in mind, a 2.1 hair color is a soft black shade with ash undertones. 

Example of what our color formulas look like.

STEP THREE: Your custom color arrives at your doorstep.

Now for the exciting part: your custom color has arrived! In each Custom Color Set, we include personalized instructions that are tailored to your needs and an in-depth look at your unique-to-you shade. So let’s break down the color wheel and numbers that represent your custom hue to get a better sense of what it all means. 

Depending on your hair length and hair color history, you may receive one or two bottles of color. If you have long virgin hair, each bottle may contain the exact same formula to give you a seamless color from root to tip. 

If you have previously color-treated hair of any length, you may receive two bottles of color with different formulas: one for your freshly grown-out roots and one for the rest of your hair that already contains pigments. The color wheel for both bottles shows the tones and base color that you’ll find in each bottle. 

In the example provided, the first bottle contains a medium brown base color with gold tones. The second bottle specifically designed for this client’s ends, only contains gold tones. This is to account for the fact that the ends of this person’s hair already contains medium brown pigments from having been previously colored. By only introducing more gold tones, it creates an even color from root to tip.

Example of what you see in your Color Set.

STEP FOUR: Make adjustments to your color if desired.

Another bonus of the eSalon experience is that you can easily adjust your color at any time. Our colorists can change your color down to ¼ a shade and shift the percentage of tones to help you get the exact color you want. They’re also here to help offer any additional guidance or suggestions to make your color journey as smooth as possible.

Ready to start your custom color journey? Take our quick quiz and our team of expert colorists will handle the rest.