The scenario: Your bank account gives you a firm NO to getting your next hair color done at your favorite salon, so you head down to your local drugstore and browse the home hair color aisle. All of the models on the package look amazing. You SO want hair color like that. You grab a few locks of your hair and try to find the perfect "before" match on the back of the box so that you can accurately predict what color your hair will likely ending up looking like "after." On occasion you find yourself asking complete strangers, "Do you think this hair color will look good on me?" To which they usually smile, nod and say, "Yes," only to quickly leave the aisle so that you won't ask them anymore questions that you'll expect them to be an expert at. Do you recognize yourself? If you do, then eSalon is for you. It's the perfect blend of salon grade hair coloring products, expert colorist guidance and having the ability to do your hair at home for a fraction of the cost. Intrigued? I was and had the opportunity to try it for myself. You begin at eSalon.com and create an account. To begin it asks you a series of questions and shows you different shades and hues of hair color to choose as your current hair color and with each click, it changes on the model. You then click the hair color you are aiming for. You can also upload a current photo of yourself with any additional information you wish to relay to the expert colorist assigned to you. I stated that I like to have a darker hair color during the colder months. Each order includes: Custom hair color, developer, hair color accessories, and personalized instructions (I liked that it had my name on the instructions showing that this was not a cookie-cutter hair kit.) After I submitted all of the details asked, I received an email that a colorist had reviewed what I selected and based on the picture I submitted, changed my order to meet my needs. I'll be honest, I was skeptical. I'm usually a good judge of hair color for myself. My kit arrived shortly after, which by the way, is only $19.99. There were some extras in the kit so that as a blogger I can relay to you how those products worked, however they are not typical for each order. The instructions were clear on how to use this kit, but seemed a little overwhelming at first (no, it's not as easy as slapping on gloves and putting the color in your hair.) First you apply their Stain Guard--which is a brilliant idea by the way--around your hair line, on the tips and outer part of your ears and along your neck line. The stain guard is a petroleum and oil (coconut, sunflower seed) and beeswax mix. To help you achieve the perfect at home hair color, they send you clips to section out your hair. After putting your hair into 4 sections, you go through and apply to the roots in each section and re-clip. You then mix a second bottle of hair color and apply to each section at a time using hand over hand application. Each portion is timed, and it comes with a timer to help you not over-process your hair. The final step was also unusual in that it requires you to get into the shower, add water to your second bottle (with the leftover hair color still in it), unclip all of your hair and then apply the remainder to your hair and massage in for about 2 minutes. You then rinse until the color runs clear, and then use the eSalon color-safe shampoo and conditioner. The kit also comes with a Stain Remover so that if you did get color on your skin, you can easily wipe it off. The Stain Guard worked for me, so I had nothing further to wipe away. When I first dried my hair, it looked the same to me (medium brown with golden highlights.) So I asked my husband to take a picture of me and to my surprise, and delight, my hair was the EXACT color I had hoped for: a nice dark, rich brown. I was so happy! Here is the picture I submitted to the colorist (and also my hair before) and then the picture of my hair after. Sorry that the picture is blurry, my camera was not cooperating that day. eSalon also offers you the opportunity to call in and speak to an expert colorist as well, which is great during a hair coloring emergency. They also have their own bottles of color-safe shampoo and conditioner, color enhancing treatment and an argan hair serum. I found that the clips served another purpose as well, it helps me to section my hair and dry it faster AND cut down on the frizz. I've been using them all of the time now. eSalon saves your custom color in your account making it easier to re-order. You can choose to subscribe to them sending you auto-shipments or simply do a one-time order. I am super excited about this and so thrilled with how my hair color turned out. Have you tried eSalon yet? Subscribe to A Girl’s Gotta Spa! Watch our reviews on YouTube, see our pins on Pinterest and check us out on Instagram. *Disclosure press sample
TheÂ importance of well groomed eyebrows should never be underestimated.Â After all, eyebrows frame our face and also has the power to transform it.Â Yet there are stillÂ many of us out there,Â who will invest in facials and top of the line skincare and makeup, but then kind of forget about the brows...or worse yet go to an inexperienced aesthetician and get our brows completely hacked in five minutes after we have spent the last three months growing them in...ok I digress. I was given a referral (from a pretty reputable source) of a place to get my brows done before a photoshoot andÂ ended up having aÂ good amount of my eyebrows waxed off in a few minutes and left with horribly thin andÂ dramatically archedÂ brows that I have to constantly fill in (whichÂ for someone who likes to spend 5 minutes or less on her daily makeup routine,Â is very annoying.)Â Plus I cringed every time I looked in the mirror because I looked like I was constantly surprised or tired and older...sometimes all three at the same time.Â Being that I had just moved to South Beach and knew absolutely no one, I had no idea of where I should goÂ to get them fixed, if that was even possible nor would I have trusted another "referral."Â My only option was to continue filling them in and hope that since I was in the Sunshine State my eyebrows would grow in faster...because everything grows faster in the sunlight...right? My brows did start growing in...to their natural shape and not the hyper arched scrawny line that was waxed on to my face.Â While I was ecstatic (and still continue to be) about my brows growing in, they now looked a hot mess.Â I needed a major brow overhaul.Â Lucky for me a trip to my hometown of Minneapolis, MN for my friend's wedding was in my near future so instead of taking my chances on an unknown salon/spa and have my brows defiled, I decided to wait until I was in Minneapolis to go to the only person who understood my brows and their needs (she was actually the first person to clean and shape my brows to perfection) and immediately after booking my Flight to MN, I booked at appointment at Blink For Beauty to see THE brow guru herself, Christina Snead. Christina has been in the aesthetics and fashion industry for 12 years and is an absolute expert, you only have toÂ glance at her brows to know that youÂ will beÂ in the best of hands.Â The first time I saw Christina was after a makeup artist shaved off most of my eyebrows and filled them in with brow powder to hide the deed (imagine my surprise after I got home and washed my face!)Â I don't know how she did it, but Christina saved me from looking like something out of Star Trek and I've never looked back since.Â I was hoping that she would again be able to work whatever magic it is she does and save my brows for the second time. The next morning after my flight to Minneapolis, I woke up and headed straight to Blink For Beauty (I would have gone right after my flight landed but the studio is not open at 11pm).Â Upon walking through the door I immediately felt reassured and relaxed.Â The space is absolutely breathtaking. It is modern and sleek yet very relaxing, warm and welcoming...much like Christina herself.Â It's always a great idea to get there a bit early to browse the great selection of jewelry, dresses and beauty products that Blink For Beauty carries, I especially love the wrap bracelets and products from Coola. I didn't even need to explain the torture that my browsÂ underwent in Miami; Christina pointed out where too much had beenÂ waxed offÂ and explained to me what she would be doing to clean them up as well as to make sure they would grow back into their natural shape.Â In twenty minutes my brows were transformed...as well as my entire face.Â No longer did I look like an surprised, angry, tired Klingon, but my face somehow looked cleaner and more refreshed.Â I swear her chair has magical powers because although she is removing hair from your face, she manages to make the processÂ absolutely relaxing and painless.Â I always get a bit sad when the service is over because I absolutely love being in the Blink For Beauty studio surrounded by calming music, relaxing scents, the nicest aestheticians I have ever met and the pretty great, but hard to find beauty products.Â Â When I did manage to tear myself away fromÂ Blink For Beauty, I of course, had to leave with a bracelet... In four weeks, when my brows are again ready for a tune up, my plan is to fly to MinneapolisÂ and once again head straightaway toÂ Blink For Beauty.Â I am convinced that paying for a plane ticket is a much better choice than walking around and having people speak some weird language toÂ me because they honestly thinkÂ IÂ might be aÂ Klingnon (thanks to my brows)Â and to be honest Blink For Beauty is definitely worth the plane ticket, after all they have transformed hair removal into an art form.Â Now, if only I can convince founders Christina and Brook to start traveling and teaching their "art of hair removal" secrets to the rest of the nation...first stop of courseÂ would be Miami.
After getting my summer hair coloring at Salon L'etoile, those pesky UV rays had their way with me over the weeks that followed bringing out more of my highlights and lightening my hair considerably. When I went to NYC to attend Cocktails & Couture during fashion week 2 weeks ago, I decided it was time for the hair color switch to fall. I was looking to get back to my dark brown hair color and visited Salon A.K.S. on 5th Avenue to help me with my transformation. With the capable hands of hair colorist, Selma Aktas, and co-owner Alain Pinon working the scissors, I walked away a very happy customer. I explained to Selma that I wanted my hair darker and she flipped my hair over looking right at the roots. She explained that she didn't want to go darker than my original hair color and I agreed. I have to mention the sink for washing and conditioning because typically this is the most uncomfortable part of getting my hair done. You know when you lay uncomfortably into the sink? Well the lip of the sink somehow conforms to your neck, so there is no awkward arching or pressure on the back of your neck. I could simply do the one thing I like to do most---relax.Â
In Selma's words..."For fall, my goal was to give Shannon a rich, shiny look. I filled in Shannon's hair so the blonde wouldn't pop out. I also made the color deeper so it doesn't fade out and looks shinier, more healthy. I used L'oreal Power Dose protein treatment to hydrate and make her hair stronger. This is a great post-summer product that helps restore hair from the damages of the sun."My hair color was definitely dark and I was happy with the shine. Selma is a pro at her job and I highly recommend her! Now onto the cut with Alain..who is so super nice by the way. I explained to Alain that I was tired of my hair doing a flip at the bottom as it touched my shoulders. I said I wanted to look youthful but necessarily young (there's a big difference!) To solve my dilemma he suggested that I cut my hair shorter than it currently was. I don't care who you are, when you hear someone saying to cut your hair shortER, you kind of freak out. He explained that as my hair looked now, I was hiding my neck and that a shorter style would suit me better. My response was, "You can do what you want, just don't make me look like a boy." Looking at this picture, you can see on the white cover just how much length was taken off. To style my hair, Alain's assistant used Phyto Professional Glossing Cream and Phyto Professional Strong Sculpting Gel. And voila! A richer hair color, with a shorter style that suits both my age and face shape. I shouldn't have stood in front of a window for the after shot--however if you go to the A Girl's Gotta Spa! fan page and look in the Cocktails & Couture photo album there are some super pics of my hair. Phyto products can be purchased directly on the Salon A.K.S. website and when you register, you can get product discounts and 10% off any service. They also have a spot on their blog where you can pose questions to Alain or Selma (or any of their experts), just click Ask AKS. So what do you think? If you've been to Salon A.K.S. please share your experience in the comments! Don't forget that you can get 40% off on spa and salon gift certificates at for a participating place near you using discount code AGGS40 on www.icitycerts.com. *Disclosure