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Hair Color - Ion - Color Brilliance - Demi Permanent Hair Color

rated 4.2(24 reviews)

  • Average Rating: 4.2
  • 87% would buy again
  • Package Quality: 4.0
  • Price: $$

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rated 5 of 5 on 9/4/2009 2:16:00 PM More reviews by Kikuchijones

Age: 44-55 Skin: Normal, Fair, Not Sure Hair: Brunette, Other, Other Eyes: Brown

As of this morning, I've used Ion Demi for my root touch-up and once for all-over color freshening/glazing. LOVE!!

This is the first demi that has completely covered my greys/whites, which I have about 20% - 25%.

I especially love the versatility of this product. Depending on what your objective is, determines what ratio of color to developer you use. For my roots, to cover the greys, I use 1 part color to 1 part developer (1:1 ratio). For glazing I use 1 part color to 2 parts developer (2:2 ratio).

This color is applied to dry hair (I think most demis are applied to damp hair, at least the ones I've tried). I leave it on my roots 35-40 minutes. Glazing time is much less.

Ion Demi has a nice range of shades, including a clear. It does need to be mixed with the 10 volume developer. For glazing I mix the clear with a small amount of a color.

Since this line is a demi, I would suggest using 1-2 shades lighter so you don't have too dark of a color deposit.

My favorite color line yet!


Updated 1/6/10:

I'm still using and loving this color line! I fine-tuned my color formula (Dark Natural Blonde + Light Natural Brown (in a 60/40 ratio) and add a small dollop on Med. Copper Brown. This is what I use for my root touch-ups and the result is a med/dk warm brown. I use the Natural colors as my base since I have about 25% greys/whites to cover. I mix the colors together first, then add the equal amount of 10 volume developer so it's a 1:1 ratio. This ratio ensures the complete grey coverage.

For all over glazing/glossing, I mix clear with a small amounts of Med. Copper Brown and Dark Copper Blonde with the 10 volume developer in a 1:2 ratio and the result is a super shiney Copper Brown/Cinnamon Brown.

When I do my highlights (about 3 times a year) I bleach the selected strands to an orangey level, then tone with the Medium Copper Brown. The streaks are a subtle tortiseshell look which I really like on my dark hair.

16 out of 17 people found this review helpful. Did you? Yes No

rated 4 of 5 on 11/23/2012 9:36:00 PM More reviews by Nerds99

Age: 30-35 Skin: Combination, Fair, Not Sure Hair: Brunette, Other, Other Eyes: Hazel

I'm hoping that this review can give you guys an idea of both my experience, and ways to get the results you want from this color.

First, you should know that researching the basics of hair color is vital if you're going to color at home. You need to understand the levels of color, which colors "live" at each level, and how those factors will affect your results. Also, understanding what the different levels of developer do will make a huge difference in your results. For example, orange "lives" at level 7, so if you buy a level 7 color, that's the tone you will get. Also, if you use a level 5 developer, you will only get deposit, no lift. If you want to lift color, you would use a higher volume of developer, according to the level of lift that you want to achieve. I know it sounds complicated, but if you use Google and do 30 minutes of research, I promise it will make all the difference in the world with your color. I see a lot of people getting hung up on the "names" of these colors, and that's where you're going to get into trouble. When you learn to work with levels, you will be able to choose your color and not get so many surprises. Also, research mixing ratios; those will make a HUGE difference when it comes to how opague your color comes out.

That being said, I have noticed that for me, these colors pull about a level or two darker on my hair. That may not happen to you. My suggestion is to start about a level higher than the color you want, and go from there.

This color line is very good quality. The Sensitive Scalp developer (I use 5 vol) is great for me because its much gentler than anything you will get in a "box color." The color itself is rich, creamy, vibrant and ultra-shiny. It has great staying power and it doesn't damage my hair at all. It spreads evenly, doesn't drip, and stays moist while processing. Because its a Demi, it WILL stain the crap out of your skin. But that's really my only complaint with this color.

If you need any help, no matter what line you use, feel free to inbox me :)

10 out of 10 people found this review helpful. Did you? Yes No

rated 5 of 5 on 9/13/2010 1:49:00 PM More reviews by lefishes

Age: 36-43 Skin: Dry, Fair, Not Sure Hair: Brunette, Other, Other Eyes: Brown

This has been a great solution for coloring my grays. I am about 15% gray, with dark hair (a 4 in permanent hair colors). I used to get my hair highlighted, but don't like dramatic highlights, only dimension, so the salon would use a 5 for highlights and 4 to cover all the extra grays.

Using the ION in a lighter color than my natural shade has given me the dimension I'm looking for, as well as completely covering my grays. I agree with other reviews though -- I use a 7 vs. the 5 I used to. I mix this in a 1:1 ratio for my roots and add more developer to freshen up the rest of my hair. I leave it on for 40 minutes. My grays end up looking like really subtle highlights.

* Color (I use 7N) is not brassy
* Lasts a long time. I wash my hair every 4 days or so, which probably helps, but my grays grow out long before the color starts to fade.
* Does not seem to damage my hair - definitely more gentle than permanent hair color.

Overall, I am thrilled to have found this (and thanks to other reviewers!!). I don't have that one-color unnatural look from permanent dyes, and am not spending the $$ and all that time at the salon for highlights.

8 out of 8 people found this review helpful. Did you? Yes No

rated 5 of 5 on 5/1/2010 11:28:00 AM More reviews by andcrystalwrists

Age: 30-35 Skin: Dry, Fair, Neutral Hair: Brunette, Curly, Fine Eyes: Green

My new favorite demi-permanent. I used 3N Dark Natural Brown two weeks ago. I did my standard clarify/K-pak routine the day before coloring. Next day I mixed color at a 1:1 ratio with the Ion 10vol developer, applied with bottle, plopped a plastic cap on (this is mostly so I don't make a mess while waiting for the color to process) and waited 25 minutes. After rinsing, I conditioned with Ion Color-Seal. Color came out perfectly even, even though my actual hair is NOT so even (I was a red-head last summer, I am covering 6 inches of permanent red on the bottom, top 4 inches are natural medium brown). The actual mixture was very creamy, and I will admit I dripped a bit, but I have done that with every dye I have ever used. It smelled very pleasant also. The first week I used Ion Color Shampoo and used more of the Ion Color-Seal as my conditioner and washed my hair every other day. Last week I went back to my regular shampoo rotation and washed daily (I have fine, thin, curly hair - it is torture when I can't wash everyday). I still can not see grays and the color is still dark and even. The thing I appreciated most about this color is that my hair didn't seem to need a "recovery" period (you know, when the dye seems to turn your hair into a Brillo Pad and it takes a week or so to condition it back to health - Clairol Radiance, I'm talking to you), it never felt dry after coloring. Don't know if that will happen next time I use it, but I will definitely be using it again next time I color.

8 out of 8 people found this review helpful. Did you? Yes No

rated 5 of 5 on 1/25/2014 8:05:00 AM More reviews by haleygwynne

Age: 19-24 Skin: Very Dry, Fair, Not Sure Hair: Brunette, Other, Other Eyes: Hazel

This stuff saved me! Let me tell you how before I get into a technical review.
I have been getting my hair dyed since I was 13/14 anywhere from almost black to milky blonde (I wish it was still milky blonde hah!). I started cosmetology school in 2011 and was going to a wedding and got my hair dyed very dark brown only to wake up the next day to swelling on my scalp, itchy blotchy skin and my lymph nodes were the size of grapes under my skin. I went to the emergency room and they told me I had an allergic reaction to the hair dye, to which I said "I do hair! I've been getting my hair dyed for years and I dye hair everyday... I cannot be allergic to hair dye." - Boy, was I wrong. After another week of severe pain and itching and washing my hair 50+ times, I found an article online about PPD reactions and I was the textbook case! I felt hopeless...

I was in school to be a hairdresser and I am suddenly allergic to hair dye... Great.

So I let my natural hair grow out for over a year (yikes) before I was brave enough to find two professional hair dyes that didn't contain PPD and let me feel pretty again and ION COLOR BRILLIANCE DEMI PERMANENT WAS ONE OF THEM! WOO YEAH!

PACKAGING: Cardboard box - Coated metal tube holding 2 oz of product - Purple plastic screw on lid with poking device to open metal seal.

COLOR SELECTION: If you're using this for yourself, the color selection is enough but I find as a stylist that I would like a wider variety of colors if I chose to use this on clients (I currently don't because I can't do color correction with the colors available).

TEXTURE/SMELL: If used with the ION Sensitive Scalp developer (I highly reccomend) this stuff smells like Granny Smith Apples! No joke... It's one of the least offensive hair dye smells I have ever come across. I do find it hard to mix in a hurry, you need to slowly add the developer (your choice of 2oz or 4oz depending on your need) and mix a lot to get a smooth texture or my suggestion is to buy a mini whisk which will cut back on the mixing time tremendously. It is pretty thick and creamy and easy to spread without being too watery.

LASTING POWER: This stuff isn't permanent, but it's the closest I've ever come to permanent haircolor. I use 3+4N and althought it does wash out a but, it lasts months. Just because it is demi doesn't mean it will eventually come out of your hair, so be careful not to get a lot of color buildup or you'll have a hard time lightening your hair if you decide to. I don't reccomend using a dark demi permanent color along with very light highlights as there is a big chance for color transfer onto your beautiful blonde streaks which might ruin them. With demi haircolor, it is always best to shampoo in luke warm to cold water which will DRAMATICALLY increase the life of your haircolor. For me, it's around 6-9 weeks.

AVAILABILITY: Luckily for everybody, this is avaible at Sally's which means anybody can walk up and buy it!

PRICE: Cost at Sally's is $4.99 online without a discount. For the developer, I seriously, seriously think you should try the ION Sensitive Scalp 10 volume cream developer and a bottle enough for two applications is only $3.19.

TIPS: Wash hair in cool water - Wash hair as least frequent as possible - Don't use a dark demi permanet color along with light blonde highlights as it may bleed - 3N is basically black so be warned ahead of time - Use 4oz instead of 2oz developer - With demi hair color you will see some color the first week of washing so don't be alarmed.

RESULTS: Very shiny hair! Some hair color can leave you looking flat but this has something in it that makes the hair very, very shiny after dying. Of course, it won't stay that way without touch ups, but for the first 3 weeks it is very shiny. I have found that the colors run a tad darker on your actual hair than the hair samples at the store, so if you're wanting brown or dark brown hair, I would NOT go darker than a 4. I use a 3 mixed and it turns it very, very dark.

This product is a great hair dye for those who have a PPD allergy or those who don't even want to risk it and go for something more gentle. Perfect for people who like a "real" hairdye but not so scary and doesn't have a 100+ color selection so it's great for beginners.


6 out of 7 people found this review helpful. Did you? Yes No

rated 5 of 5 on 7/22/2010 2:07:00 PM More reviews by sctnyve

Age: 44-55 Skin: Combination, Fair, Not Sure Hair: Blond, Other, Other Eyes: Blue

I have been using this product since it came out, apox 2yrs. Before using the Demi line, I had been using their permanent color only with a 10vol developer. Every time I go to Sally's I stand in front of the selection of colors for at least 10min, trying to make a decision. With me, it seems to be the most decision of my life, right up there with deciding on a purse or curtains, but we won't go there.
So after coloring my hair successfully for a year and a half, not making huge changes in my naturally dark blonde hair, just keeping the greys hidden and "warming up the shade" a little, my daughter came home from the drug store where she works with a box. "Mom, try this!" It was a pretty color on the front of the box, a couple shades lighter than my color. So to make her happy, I used the box after it sat in the cupboard for a couple of weeks. "YIKES!!!" what did I do?? My hair is now yellow!"
I went back to Sally's and have been using 2:1 ratio mixing 10N and 10NB now for about a month,. I was happy with the results the first time and then after several weeks my new growth is beginning to show, so today I sit with wet hair after toning it down again 2:0 10N and 10NB. We will see after I dry it. I think I may bite the bullet and use 1:1 9N, but my hair pulls red so easily. Wish me luck trying to correct this and then how to decide to keep it up is another problem entirely.

Well, it turned out great!! I love, Love, LOVE this product! The only thing that I may do differently next time, is us a level 9. But I have time to think on this.

5 out of 6 people found this review helpful. Did you? Yes No

rated 5 of 5 on 7/6/2010 3:47:00 AM More reviews by laurel22

Age: 25-29 Skin: Acne-prone, Fair, Cool Hair: Blond, Wavy, Medium Eyes: Green

Thank you, Ion, for saving my hair!! And thank you, MUA ladies, for leading me in the right direction! I've been coloring my hair for a long time--I was born a towhead, but as is common, my hair darkened over the years to a level 6-7 ashy dark blonde/light brown shade. Ugh. Totally washes me out.

Clairol's A Touch of Sun Ultra lightened me up nicely for years... until it was discontinued. I no longer had the time to lighten my hair with that anyway & it quit working because my hair got too dark. I can't afford salon prices so I've been dying my hair for a couple years now, up to a level 9 golden blonde. My hair pulls a lot of red/gold while bleaching (only process that seems to lift it), so a good toner is VITAL for me... unless I want neon hair! Of course, my go-to toner (Loreal's Tone Refiner TR1) got discontinued, and my roots were horribly long... so I picked up the closest thing I could find, Clairol's Born Blond Toner. Ugh, mistake. The sales girl @ Sally advised me to the wrong shade--it had a red base! It toned my hair slightly, but it was still way too bright AND it added a pink tint! I almost cried when I found out the ash shade I needed to begin with was no longer available online or in store.

So then I turned to Ardell's Red/Gold Corrector b/c it had been reviewed so well, but it didn't work for me AT ALL--it actually made my problem worse! It took out the pink tint, but made my hair dull & even yellower than before. So after hours of careful, holding-back-tears researching, I decided to go with this product in 9NA Very Light Ash Blonde + 00 Clear. I liked that it was deposit-only hair color w/out ammonia (my poor hair had been through enough!) and was reviewed very well. My hair definitely needed shine enhancement, and adding the clear helps dilute the shade you mix it with... I wanted to err on the safe side b/c I read that Ion tends to go on 1-2 shades darker than labeled. I don't mind going slightly darker, but didn't want to end up too ashy or below a level 8.

The strand test went well, so I mixed 4 oz Ion Sensitive Scalp Vol10 developer to 1 oz color & 1 oz clear shine. It smelled GOOD for a dye (mild, flowery) & was luxuriously creamy. I put A LOT on my neon roots, waited 10 mins, then worked the dye thru the rest of my hair for 5 mins (the length didn't need nearly as much toning). No problems with dripping or stains, and it didn't irritate my scalp at all. I could see it working, and was even more pleased after rinsing, deep conditioning and letting my hair air-dry--the color is great!! It's not 100% even, but that's prob more my fault than the dye's. My hair is soft & shiny again (almost shimmery!) & now has a lovely silvery, ash tone--no more neon yellow. It knocked out the yellow but still left me with some warmth... total ash would wash me out :) I love the purple base in the 9NA! I actually might go darker next time... either nix the clear & use just 9NA or 9NB, or step down to an 8. Thanks again, Ion! :D

5 out of 5 people found this review helpful. Did you? Yes No

rated 4 of 5 on 11/2/2009 7:49:00 AM More reviews by baubet

Age: 30-35 Skin: Oily, Fair, Not Sure Hair: Brunette, Other, Other Eyes: Blue

I'm dissapointed with the results. As far as the actual coloring experience, I would rate it 5 stars. The odor was pleasant, there was no burining, and the color left my hair super soft. Now the color results are a different story. My hair started a medium-dark blonde. I picked dark neutral blonde, 6NB for the color. It turned out DARK brown. I couldn't believe it when it dried. It isn't even close to dark blonde or even light brown for that matter. We're talking 3 shades darker! I've used lots of different at home hair colors, and none have been so different from the package and sample at the store. I might use this color again and pick a much lighter color. They really should consider changing their descriptions. I've only washed it once so far, so it will be interesting to see how the color wears over time.
Update: After the initial shock of the color result, I got so many compliments on the color and shine, that I really grew to like this product. Now that I'm aware of how much it differs from the description and swatch, I think I'll be much better prepared next time. It did last well considering this was demi.

5 out of 5 people found this review helpful. Did you? Yes No

rated 4 of 5 on 2/17/2013 2:33:00 PM More reviews by Bangzoom6877

Age: 36-43 Skin: Acne-prone, Fair, Not Sure Hair: Blond, Other, Other Eyes: Hazel

I'm an at-home double process blonde (hubby does the back of my hair), and I had originally tried the Ion Demi in 10N (lightest natural blonde) to tone. I watched carefully as is necessary when toning pre-lightened hair, and ended up rinsing after 8 minutes. Recommended processing time for toning is 10-15 minutes. The color was a little too dark for my taste. After some research, I decided to try using this again but diluted it with the clear shine. The color came out perfect! Got rid of the leftover yellow from bleaching, gave me a beautiful natural looking shade of blonde I was looking for...not ashy but not too golden and certainly not brassy at all. I will use this as my toner from now on. My hair is also in superb condition. And this time I left the color on my roots for 5 minutes, pulled it through the rest of my hair for another 5 minutes and rinsed. Perfectly even color after also using the Ion pre-treatment spray. I highly recommend this. The only reason I didn't give it the full 5 lipsticks is because the color comes out much darker than their swatches indicate so I feel they need to be mixed with the clear shine to become more true to the swatch. Otherwise an excellent color!

4 out of 4 people found this review helpful. Did you? Yes No

rated 5 of 5 top reviewer on 7/3/2013 2:21:00 AM More reviews by sivadore

Age: 30-35 Skin: Acne-prone, Fair, Cool Hair: Blond, Wavy, Medium Eyes: Blue

9NA Very Light Ash Blonde. Been using this as a toner on pre-lightened hair for more than a year now. I am very satisfied with the results. It's not too harsh, considering I have to bleach my roots and tone every 6 weeks. My hair has remained strong and the color lasts for the whole 6 weeks. I use a 20 vol. developer, comes out exactly like I want it every time, fades evenly and unnoticeably.

I would suggest, if you're using a blonde shade of demi, to pre-lighten your hair to the level closest to the demi color, then use the color as a toner to darken and give depth. It's a demi, it's not going to be able to lift your hair color. What it will do is change the tone, and give depth to hair that is otherwise flat or washed out.

3 out of 3 people found this review helpful. Did you? Yes No