Ion Color Brilliance - Demi Permanent Hair Color


98 reviews

81% would repurchase

Package Quality: 4.2

Price: $$

Package Quality: 4.2

Price: $$



on 9/1/2015 10:36:00 PM

Age: 25-29

Skin: Combination, Fair, Not Sure

Hair: Blond, Other, Other

Eyes: Blue

I am an avid at home, DYI hair person. I had recently dyed my hair a medium blonde, and toned it with Wella T-27. I decided to get away from permanent dyes, and try Demi instead. I am glad I did this, and read reviews because I achieved a beautiful level 8 medium natural/golden blonde by choosing a level 10 Demi. Make sure you choose a shade that's 2 levels lighter than what you are trying to achieve. Blonde is difficult, but try to make it close to your natural level, and you should be good to go.

on 8/19/2015 12:10:00 PM

Age: 25-29

Skin: Very Oily, Fair, Neutral

Hair: Blond, Wavy, Fine

Eyes: Green

I initially liked this line. The formulas didn't feel damaging on my fragile hair, and they are DEFINITELY way better than the average boxed dye you'd get from the drugstore. ION has always been a hit with me in the haircare department, I figured the demi dyes would be created equally.

However, I won't be repurchasing this now that I've found my "holy grail" toner (Wella Liquid Permanent Toner). There were a few dealbreakers with ION that made the choice easy:

1.) The colors turn out darker than the demonstration strands at Sallys...easily. Meaning the color that is depicted by ION, is not completely accurate. I wasn't the only one that had this issue, either. When I looked into it, I was shocked to find many others have ran into the same issue.

2.) The dye grabs unevenly. Even while using a protein filler. And then over time, it fades unevenly. To be fair - this happened with a lot of the lesser quality dyes I've tried. But my "holy grail" toner never does this to me. After a hair mistake from the pits of hell when switching to a powder lightener, I had to wear my hair up for almost a year. Not just because the lightener reeked havoc on my hair's health, but because the color was soooo patchy. I tried and tried to fix it, never realizing that ION was part of the problem.

3.) If you're going to go the ION route - save yourself some hassle and buy the liquid formula. The gel formula is harder to wash out, harder to spread/apply, and you run a way bigger risk of it over-darkening due to not being to wash it out in time.
Edited to add: Just so we're clear - you do not *have* to use an ION Developer. They all contain the same active ingredients, instructing you to use an ION developer with this is nothing more than a marketing scheme. I personally recommend the Blond Brilliance Developer in volume 5 (lowest % available at Sally Beauty). Demis are intended to deposit color only............using a higher volume means using more peroxide. In turn, you are further damaging your hair. I use the Blond Brilliance developer with all my hair dyes. (Just don't touch their powder lightener.... :( )

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

on 7/7/2015 1:25:00 PM

Age: 19-24

Skin: Very Dry, Fair, Neutral

Hair: Red, Straight, Fine

Eyes: Green

This review is for the Ion Color Brilliance Intensive Shine Demi Permanent in the colour 6rc-6.4 Dark Copper Blonde. Before I start I wanna just say I'm Canadian, so you're going to see the Canadian spelling of the word "color" throughout this review, lol (just wanted to mention that in case people thought I was spelling it wrong the whole time). First my hair history is as follows: I had been having my hair coloured at a professional salon for months and months. The colour I had was a level 7 copper, so a shade lighter, but I wasn't pleased with it. The colourist, no matter what I said, did not process the lengths of my hair long enough, so my roots were always brighter and the lengths would wash out so quickly. With red hair, you have to refresh your entire head more often than other people do with other hair colours, and for some reason this colourist did not seem to understand that. I decided to try sally's and to achieve as similar a colour as possible on my own, so at first I used L'oreal Techniques Excellence Creme (Permanent) in the shade 7.43 Dark Copper Golden Blonde. That colour worked for a while, but when it faded it would become too light for my liking, but I did like how it looked fresh because it was a nice natural copper redhead shade. When it faded, it looked obviously unnatural and sort of too orangey. I decided I wanted to go a shade darker, and I had heard good things about this colour and brand from a youtuber. Her name is Bethany Fae, if you want to watch her video where she talks about this exact colour. I liked how her hair looked so I decided to give this a try. By the way, my natural colour is a level 7 light auburn. My hair is mostly light brown but with natural golden and copper highlights. So I tried this colour and noticed numerous things. Firstly, it didn't take to my roots as well as permanent colour does. Secondly, while it did not take to my roots as well as the lengths, the colour at my roots looked a bit more vibrant and red-red than my lengths, but I could still see a bit of my natural colour peaking through a tiny bit right at the scalp. I don't mind this too much because my natural hair colour seems to blend fairly well with this shade. The lengths and ends of my hair looked more copper, but this difference was very very slight and only visible under certain lighting. At first, I hated this colour. I was in shock because it was a big difference. I did not have the experience of it going black or super dark, like many others report with this colour, it was the right darkness for my liking and accurate to the swatch at sally's. I felt, however, that the colour was too bright and scary and not natural looking. It is not my goal to look like Rihanna, or Jessica Rabbit, and I do not want neon or super true red hair. I freaked out and thought it looked like that (it didn't, it was just too bright at first but not that bright). My goal is to achieve a natural looking colour that a real redhead might have. It was, however, extremely soft and shiny and healthy looking, much more so then when I used permanent colour. After washing it a few times, however, the colour is much better. It looks very natural now, a nice copper redhead shade and it's not too dark, but also not too light. I have washed it probably about 5 times now, and the colour does not have a faded look. Those who colour often know what I mean by that. When a colour is fresh it looks rich and shiny, but once it fades it becomes less believable and dull. That has not happened, and it looks much more natural and rich then it did at first. I think next time I will leave it on my hair for less time. I left it on for 25 minutes, with 10% developer. I think next time I will try 15-20 minutes. I might have a different opinion after I use it for a second time, so I will update this probably in the future. But at the moment, the shine and health is still there, even after washing. A lot of the time with permanent colour the hair looks shiny when it's freshly done, but as you wash it the shine goes away. That has not happened, and I think hair colour looks better and more natural when the condition of the hair is good. With that, I think for a demi permanent this colour is really good. You just have to pick the right shade, and do a strand test to make sure it's the right colour before you put it on your entire head. I did do a strand test, but I only left it on for 20 minutes, so I think next time I will do that on my whole head. If you really need your roots completely covered, or you have greys, I don't know if this will work for you. But there is no harm in doing a strand test to figure that out. Don't just go into it blindly and put it on your hair without checking it first on a small strand. You are a lot less likely to have a disaster that way.

I just coloured my hair for the second time with this product and shade. This colour lastsssss. It's really weird actually, because when I used permanent colour the colour would fade and fade, but with this it really doesn't fade too bad. It's been 5 weeks since I coloured the first time, and there is no clear line of demarcation that I get with permanent colour, the roots blend really well and don't look super gross. The colour faded to a really nice, coppery but natural redhead shade, and didn't need much touching up. I decided that this time I would dilute the colour with clear, to make the immediate result more natural and more similar to how it looks after washing a few times. I followed the directions for how to dilute with the clear, and it look absolutely perfect now. It doesn't look like that super scary colour it did when I coloured the first time, but it did refresh the colour and deepen it a little. It did not, however, go as dark as it did when I first did it, so if you really want the darkness you might need to go a shade darker or skip the clear if you like the vibrance of the shade on its own.

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

on 5/14/2015 6:51:00 PM

Age: 56 & Over

Skin: Oily, Fair-Medium, Neutral

Hair: Brunette, Wavy, Medium

Eyes: Brown

For years I had been doing my hair with permanent color from the drugstore. Usually Garnier Nutrisse or Revlon Colorsilk. Since I got my hair cut short and its in such great shape, I decided to try a demi permanent color from Sallys. I was hoping this would cause less damage to my hair.
I had medium golden brown hair to start and I bought 7WR (Medium Warm Red Blonde) in Ion Color Brilliance Demi Permanent Color. I mixed it with Ion Sensitive Scalp Developer in a 1:2 ratio and let it sit on my hair 25 minutes. The results were dark brown hair with a touch of red. I deliberately chose two shades lighter than the color I wanted and it still came out too dark. The color isn't bad with my complexion but its not what I hoped to achieve. I wanted a medium reddish brown color. The good thing is this demi permanent color and will wash out in about a month's time.
There were a few good things about this product. It was easy to apply, very gentle on my hair,didn't burn my scalp and the color came out a very rich dark brown and shiny. Next time I will try a lighter color.

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

on 3/13/2015 8:42:00 PM

Age: 19-24

Skin: Normal, Fair-Medium, Neutral

Hair: Blond, Wavy, Medium

Eyes: Blue

I initially wrote a lengthy review but as I've got some updates I'll just sum it up with an ol fashion list of pros and cons:

1. The developer smells nice thus mixed with the colorant you still get that chemical smell but it's slightly masked by a green applesque scent.
2. The colorant is usually 4.49 with a Sally's card but many times they're BOGO or you can buy the color and get free developer to boot.
3. The colorant tubes have the ounces marked on the side thus you can use say half of the 2 oz package and save the rest for another application or root touch up.
4. You can re-use the colorant even if you've opened it (I've done this months later..which Idk is good or bad in the professional world.)
5. Ion brand comes with many different additives for their shades including intensifiers, pre color treatments, after color sealers, etc, all of which are pretty effective, inexpensive, and make coloring hair pretty idiot proof.
6. *****YOU DON'T HAVE TO USE ONLY DEMI SHADES FOR DEMI COLOR. unlike Wella brand which has specific 'developing lotion' for their demi shades, Ion is okay to use with any generic developer and their own in varying 10-40 Volume. THUS, you can use ANY ION SHADE with a 10 volume developer and achieve the demi perks, i.e less damage, more color deposit, no lift (best for hair of same shade or darker, TEN VOL WILL NOT LIGHTEN, demi color or not)

sounds pretty great, right?
Here's the cons:

1. I find the ion creme (cream?) color DOES NOT easily mix with the developer so strictly tinting brush and bowl = wrist cramping and frustration. you're best bet is to purchase an applicator bottle, which are relatively cheap at Sallys, and shake it up then pour into bowl.
2. Despite the developer being 'sensitive scalp' developer, I find it still irritates my scalp slightly, and I don't have overly sensitive skin or anything and I don't mind i mean, its chemicals, I've come to terms with it. But you definitely should patch test regardless of it's claims.
3. This is where it gets bad. The colors, demi or not, do not seem to EVER be true to description or swatch. Obv unless you're at virgin blonde hair, the swatch will not be your outcome. But if I use a 9A blonde, with a protein filler, I shouldn't get black hair.
4. Ion always leaves my hair dry and damaged. Granted, it's chemicals, and like I said I'm not kidding myself with the state of my hair before or after, but it takes a lot of deep conditioning and a lot of NOT heat styling to get my hair to look shiny and somewhat healthy.

I have been using Ion brand in permanent, semi permanent, and demi for a while. I've used the demi in various shades numerous times and my complaint isn't even like the rest in that the color comes out too dark (by now you should know to pick two shades lighter).
But I recently switched to Wella brand, and although I can't (I don't think) convert any Wella color I like to a demi shade, I do love the way it leaves my hair and the color/pigment/tones are all spot on.

Would I repurchase? Probably, it could happen. But I PREFER Wella.

6 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

on 3/9/2015 7:31:00 AM

Age: 30-35

Skin: Normal, Fair, Not Sure

Hair: Black, Other, Other

Eyes: Green

I just colored my dry, damaged hair yesterday with the Ion demi-permanent black (1NA) hair color and it came out wonderfully! My hair doesn't feel or look dry OR damaged! However, I did use the Ion pre-color treatment as well as the after-color treatment since my previous hair color was very uneven from my last coloring that I did a few weeks ago using a box color from Wal-mart. I just hope that this color lasts its 24 shampoos like it is supposed to. I use the Pureology line for shampoo and conditioner so I'm sure that it will stay for awhile. I can't wait to color my hair again with the Ion line!

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

on 9/24/2014 10:42:00 AM

Age: 36-43

Skin: Dry, Olive, Warm

Hair: Red, Straight, Medium

Eyes: Brown

I purchased the shade 4RV along with their 10 volume developer as I was looking to darken my hair from my current color which is a level 6 light brown to a nice dark burgundy wine shade for Fall.

First I sprayed my hair from the mid-shaft to the ends with Zotos Porosity Equalizer since my hair was previously lightened. Then I mixed 1 tube of the 4RV (2 oz) with 2 oz of developer since the instructions said to deepen color use a 1:1 ratio. I applied it to my roots first and then went back and did my mid shaft to ends and processed for 25 minutes.

As I suspected the color initially came out SUPER dark, especially at my roots. It was almost black with a burgundy tint in the light however after a couple of washes with head and shoulders my hair is now a dark burgundy shade although it took a bit longer for my roots to lighten up. So in future I'd color all of my hair at the same time so it processes evenly.

Now that I have the shade I desire I am washing my root area with sulfate free shampoo every 3-4 days and using Pantene CC on my mid shafts to ends since red fades quickly and plan to use the Ion Color Brilliance Temporary Color Masque in Hot Red to see if it helps to keep the color vibrant.

My hair is so shiny and healthy looking and I've gotten tons of compliments since coloring my hair. I plan on purchasing their 4RV in the permanent line when my roots start to show but will be using the demi permanent color to refresh the lengths of my hair to minimize unnecessary damage.. For color refreshing the instructions recommend mixing a 1:2 ratio (so for me it will be 1 oz of color to 2 oz of developer). Overall I'm super happy with the results. I have before and after pictures in my gallery.

3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

on 8/20/2014 4:20:00 AM

Age: 44-55

Skin: Combination, Fair-Medium, Neutral

Hair: Blond, Straight, Medium

Eyes: Brown

Really like this product for toning freshly bleached roots. Easy to work with and smells lovely.

My natural hair is a level 6, very thick and very healthy. I have been a full blonde for over 20 years and a Dye It Yourself blonde for the last 10 years. I have only used professional products and never a drugstore box product. All the products I use can be purchased at Sally's Beauty Supply, very cheaply.

Here is my process.
Root length anywhere from 1/4" to 3/4" (depending on how long I have waited between touch-ups)

1.Mix bleach (I use Quick Blue for "On & Off Scalp Application" Powder Bleach) to the consistency of a fluffy whipped cream or thickish cake batter with a 30 Volume Developer (any brand will do - I have used most of them) in a plastic coloring bowl. This does not need to be an exact science, just get it to a consistency you feel comfortable working with.
Thicker consistency the faster the lifting.
Thinner consistency the slower the lifting.
Too thick, then it will dry too fast on the hair and once it dries, it's not working.

2. Section DRY, unwashed hair into 4 quadrants. I find the natural oils in unwashed hair help protect your scalp a bit during the process.
Start applying bleach to back sections first. My hair in the back is more resistant to lifting than in the front. As a note, I have someone help me with the back since I find it impossible to reach around and section thin, even pieces. Continue sectioning and applying to roots until your entire head is covered. This takes about 25 minutes to do.
3. Let it develop for approximately 40 to 60 minutes. I will put a shower cap on during this time to trap some of the heat from my scalp to aid in the lifting process. This is not necessary just something I do. I start timing once all of my hair is covered in product. Check often to see if the hair is lifting to a pale yellow. Not gold but yellow (like the inside of a banana). If you find after say 75 minutes you are still very gold then you may have to do the above process again (Double Lift). I have never had to do this but it is possible. Note: this could be very damaging to thin or unhealthy hair.
4. Rinse out. Do NOT use shampoo. Hair will feel dry, coarse and slightly gummy.
My freshly bleached roots will be pale yellow with slight gold tones in the shaft. I guess the contrast of my fresh roots against my previously colored hair shows any gold that may be present.

PROTEIN FILLER (To help the toner to deposit more evenly on your treated hair)
5. Towel dry briefly and SPRAY on "Colorful Neutral Protein Filler". Use a large tooth comb (gently) to distribute product through hair. Let sit for 20 minutes. Read the reviews on Sally's Beauty Supply to understand this product better.
6. After 20 minutes hair should only be slightly damp. If necessary, use a towel to remove most of the moisture to speed up the process. Hair is now ready to be toned. Slightly damp to fully dry hair can be toned.

TONE (To remove any brassiness, even out the color and deposit a color tone you desire)
7. Mix 1 part toner (i.e. I use ION Color Brilliance Demi-Permanent Color in 10N-10.0) with 2 part ION Sensitive Scalp 10 Volume Developer into a squirt bottle with a long pointed, angled neck (i.e. 2 oz. Toner + 4 oz. 10 Vol Developer).
8. Apply to all roots first. Working it with your fingers along the roots.
9. After roots are covered, then apply to hair shaft and ends. Use a large tooth comb to distribute product from root to shaft.
Total Time maximum 15 minutes. Start timing from the moment you START applying the toner.

10. Shower - wash, condition and deep condition.
I use the following after lifting and toning:
Shampoo: ION Color Defense Sulphate Free Shampoo
Conditioner: ION Color Defense After-Color Sealer
Deep Conditioner: Any super moisturizing deep conditioner. I leave this on for 20 minutes while in a shower cap. Then rinse, and let my hair dry naturally overnight.

Next day... shiny, healthy hair. :) I do not like ash or gold tones in my hair. I prefer a pale ever so slight sand blonde.

As a note: You can use the ION Color Brilliance Demi-Permanent "Clear 00-0.0" formulation on your hair a week or two later to add more shine and silkiness.

Hope that helps some new DIY Blondes.

15 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

Age: 44-55

Skin: Combination, Fair-Medium, Not Sure

Hair: Brunette, Other, Other

Eyes: Brown

I was absolutely terrified to use a hair color that didn't include a box or a professional. I researched and researched and watched YouTube videos and read tons of reviews before deciding to take the plunge and try Ion's Demi Permanent Hair Color.

My hair is aging, thin, fragile, dull, dry and lifeless. Pretty much the worst hair imaginable (at least to me). I stopped getting my hair professionally colored about 2 years ago when I could no longer stomach spending $150 every six to eight weeks. So I did some research and decided to start using Revlon's Colorsilk. The first several times I used it, my hair looked and felt great, but over time it seemed to be drier and more damaged even though I hardly had any noticeable split ends. It just looked extremely unhealthy. I read that even though Colorsilk has no ammonia, over time it does damage your hair. My hair could not take any more abuse, so I decided to try a demi permanent color.

I washed my hair with Ion's color-safe clarifying shampoo to get rid of product buildup, but did not use a conditioner. Instead I let my hair air dry, then I saturated it with the Ion Pre-Color Treatment spray. I pulled out a small section of hair at the nape of my neck (about a 1/4 inch thick section) and did a color test. It looked good, so I went for it!

My natural color is a level 4-5, but my current hair was more like a level 6 and was lifeless and brassy. I wanted my color to be richer and deeper. My hair normally pulls orange and then gets brassy as the color fades, so I chose to mix 1 oz. of 7N (Medium Blonde) and 1 oz. of 7WR (Medium Warm Red Blonde) with 2 oz. of #10 Ion developer. I left it on for 35 minutes, but watched carefully as it developed. I followed up with half a packet Ion Color Defense After Color Sealer. I should have left the color on longer because I still have a few grays around my face. Maybe I'll do that section first next time and leave it on 10 minutes longer.

Anyway, I chose colors that were two levels lighter and got exactly what I wanted. It did turn out pretty dark, but it's a lovely chocolate brown with subtle red (not orange) highlights. I would say it took me to a level 4 -- maybe because my hair was dry & porous to start (?). My friends at work said my hair looks super healthy and shiny now!

I am hooked!!

A word of caution: Be careful with the color! I put too much on the brush and a blob fell on the front of my bathroom cabinet and now there is a huge *permanent* stain there.

5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

on 7/1/2014 8:38:00 PM

Age: 25-29

Skin: Dry, Fair-Medium, Not Sure

Hair: Other, Wavy, Fine

Eyes: Green

I absolutely love ion demi permanents! The color selection is fantastic. I like to use them on clients (and myself!) for lowlights in blonde hair. I've tried basically all of them. The best are the cream demis. A personal favourite is the 6W (it's a warm red blonde); it turns out to be a darker auburn color but is so beautiful.
These hair colors tend to fade quickly but it's just because they are demi permanent. It happens! If you want it to last longer, go for a permanent shade.
I personally enjoy the fact that they fade quickly. I can switch up low light colors on myself frequently and keep my hair supa fresh :)
If used with the ion sensitive scalp developer (in a 10 vol. to add color, or a 20 vol. to lift a few shades) color line is perfection! The color always turns out rich and beautiful.
An added bonus, the smell is very gentle and so is the formula. It left my hair feeling soft and manageable, not dry and crispy. It seems to fix over-bleached, damaged hair quite a bit .

Follow up your color treatment with an Ion Keratin Shampoo and Conditioner, also two amazing products from Ion.

7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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