Ion Color Brilliance - Demi Permanent Hair Color


34 reviews

82% would repurchase

Package Quality: 4.0

Price: $$

Package Quality: 4.0

Price: $$



on 12/31/2010 3:31:00 PM

Age: 44-55

Skin: Combination, Fair-Medium, Warm

Hair: Brown, Curly, Medium

Eyes: Brown

I am 95% gray on top and have been struggling for years to find a brand of hair color that will hide my gray without leaving my hair feeling like straw, and my scalp sensitive. With all of the other brands, I was leaving color on my hair an extra 10 minutes (for it to take) so my ends were almost always turning black, even though I did not pull through the color till the last 10 minutes.
A Sally's consultant advised that I try a DEMI color that would be less damaging.

I tried the standard shade or two lighter than what I wanted and found that in this line - YOU NEED TO USE 3 LEVELS LIGHTER ! The colors are so much darker than labeled and they do not fade like all of the "permanent" lines I used to use.

That being said - you must start out much lighter than you think if this will be your first time using it.

I love that my scalp is happy now becuase I have extremely sensitive skin. Half of all the products I buy go in the trash after a few uses due to bad reactions.

I love the apple smell of the developer. My hair is in great condition. My hair comes out looking very good, rich colors and lost of shine. I also use this on my daughter with NO gray, and she mixes her Demi colors 50/50 with the ION Clear Color - just to give more shine and cut the color intensity down.

I like the professional Salon Revlon COLOR results (my favorite Salon line) as much as I like ION. So why not save money and do it myself?

When you are as gray as I am, the roots don't always HOLD their color. This is not noticeable at all after coloring. It looks good in the beginning, but by the time I am ready to redo my roots, I notice the hair that has only been colored once, has faded just a tiny bit. So I posted a picture of my hair right before coloring to show that next to my roots, the hair colored once is slightly lighter than the rest. By the second coloring, my hair does not fade any more. I had to pull all my hair up and take a picture at just the right angle to show this.

I am also posting a picture right after being colored so you can see how deep and shiny the color is.

I use a Medium Natural Blond with a 1/4 tube of Medium Warm Blond, in a 1:1 ratio with developer per instruction sheet for very gray hair. Notice how DARK my results are.

My hair comes to just below my ears. So If you have never used this line before and you are covering Gray - PURCHASE 2 Tubes !!! Otherwise, mixing a ratio of 1:2 will give you a total of 6 oz, probably enough to do hair to half way down the neck with one tube. But to be sure, I recommend always having 2 tubes of color.

30 out of 30 people found this review helpful.

Age: 36-43

Skin: Combination, Fair-Medium, Not Sure

Hair: Brown, Other, Other

Eyes: Brown

This is an outstanding demi permanent hair color. I am 15-20 percent gray with pure white temples, and this product covers it completely, plus it lasts and lasts and lasts and leaves my hair shiny, healthy and soft.

Those who leave negative reviews about how dark it turns out tend to not understand how a demi permanent works. Demis *only* deposit color onto your hair since they don't enter the cortex of the hair, as opposed to permanent hair colors that first enter the cortex to destroy your natural color before depositing the new one. The hair integrity is left intact, and therefore is healthier and stronger. But when you deposit color onto color, it gets darker! And the more natural color you have left (not gray) the more pronounced this effect is.

So you MUST heed the warnings to choose a color 1 or 2 levels lighter than your own in order to achieve the look you want. For example, I am a level 4 brown...that is very dark brown. I use a combination of 5g (light golden brown) and 6n (dark neutral blond) to match my very dark brown hair and blend/cover my grays. It works perfectly every time. Seems like it wouldn't make sense, but if I chose a darker color, the pigmented hair would turn nearly black, and I don't want that.

My method is simple. I apply the combo to my roots only to touch up the grays, leave the mix on for 40 minutes (that's my magic number), rinse and viola! My hair is the same color but without grays and a lot of added shine! Plus (and this is huge) this color doesn't burn my scalp and smells really green apples. My scalp isn't itchy for days, my face doesn't break out, I don't get a headache and feel as if I might pass out and die from fumes. It's gentle, and the most important thing grays are covered! That's why we do it, right? :)

One more thing...and this is extremely important! Because a demi doesn't get into your cortex and destroy your natural color, you cannot go lighter with this product. If you want to go lighter, you need to use bleach or a permanent color. I can't stress that enough. This product is best used on those who want to stay their natural level or go darker, or cover gray.

I will use this for as long as it works to cover my gray. I'm encouraged that other reviewers with far more gray can still use this. I want to cover gray but keep my hair as healthy as possible and with this I can. It's really the best stuff out there at this price.

18 out of 19 people found this review helpful.

on 11/23/2012 9:36:00 PM

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 :)

13 out of 13 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.

10 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

on 10/20/2009 10:13:00 PM

Age: 25-29

Skin: Combination, Medium, Warm

Hair: Brunette, Wavy, Medium

Eyes: Hazel

I will share the good and the bad of this product. Though overall, I would buy this product again, but definitely in a different shade. Here's what happened:

I colored my hair about a month or so ago and my hairdresser didn't exactly go as dark as I wanted. In fact my roots were a bit red and I could see a little bit of regrowth peeking through that was darker than the color he used. So I decided to deepen the color on my own. I went to sally's and the lady suggested this brand, but I wanted the demi just in case. I saw the medium brown (which my hair is anyways, but looked dark on the tester). The lady told me that it would come out way too dark so suggested I go with the 5n which is the light brown. She also said I would need 2 since my hair was long. So with along with those, I purchased the ION sensitive scalp developer 10 volume. So after their suggestion and reading the directions, I decide on the 1:1 ratio. I leave it on for the max time for deepening color (25 min) with no heat. I'm not so sure I needed to buy 2 because my hair was sopping with product and I had some left over. Oh well... better more than not enough I guess. Anyways - I Wash/condition - then dry my hair. Wow - is it DARK!! No kidding. I couldn't believe it. Next day I go to my best friends house who colors her hair with some L'Oreal brand Dark Ash Brown and put our hair together and it was the exact same color!! Her hair is as dark brown as brown gets! Think Nicole Scherzinger from pussycat dolls.
Though, with mine you could tell it was just colored - but that is really typical when you do your color at home so that didn't bother me too much. My friend also said she could see some red peeking through, but that may have been from the color my colorist gave me because I think there was some red in it previous. So the 5N didn't cancel any red out, but not sure if it added any.
Anyways, I decide to do some Vitamin C tonic then wash with dish soap (I know - but it didn't damage my hair). The color looks a little bit better.... definitely not as harsh. It's still a little too dark for me, so I'm going to do the Vit.C again. In fact, it's sitting in my hair right now, so we will see how much of this color I can get out to get it how I would really like to see it.

So why would I buy it again? Well, it gave me a really intense shine! Plus my hair felt soft and not too damaged. I just ended up choosing a shade that was way too dark for me. So I will probably try a lighter shade and use a 1:2 ratio instead. If and when I choose to do that, I will definitely give another update. Until then... I'm a little anxious for this to fade a bit more.

7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

on 10/17/2009 3:46:00 AM

Age: 36-43

Skin: Combination, Tan, Neutral

Hair: Brunette, Straight, Medium

Eyes: Hazel

LOVE IT!! Even though I didn't realize that I should have chose a shade a few shades lighter than what I did since it was demi, deposit only...I love the rich deep shade of 5N (Lt.Natural Brown) it left my hair soft, and very shiny. The color was a great compliment to my coloring and made my hazel green eyes "pop." I noticed subtle coppery colored highlights in the sun that are probably reminencent of my previous blonde highlights. I have received compliments from many of my friends and co workers about this haircolor. The only thing I substracted one lippy was that even though I bought the creme and not liquid, this dye was very thin and "runny." It splattered all over my sink and dripped everwhere. On the plus side is that it didn't stink the way Wella's Cashmere hair color did....It will be interesting to see if any of this color fades or runs...the wella color was at least two shades lighter (permanent) after a few hair washings with sulfur free & formulated for hair color treated treated shampoo- Hmm? Overall, I was very pleased with this ION product and will use it again.

7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

on 3/10/2013 8:24:00 PM

Age: 36-43

Skin: Combination, Fair-Medium, Not Sure

Hair: Blond, Other, Other

Eyes: Hazel

This review is for shades 8N and 7N. I want to start by saying that if it weren't for the reviews here on MUA, I wouldn't have taken the plunge and colored my own hair. I am so glad I did! I am like many reviewers, natural color is around the 6N swatch- dishwater blonde or light brown- mousy. I was a heavily highlighted blond for years, then a couple of years ago I went brunette. I loved the rich shiny chocolate color, but when my roots grow out, they are noticeable. I was spending $$$ on keeping that brunette, because my color would also fade quite a bit. The last 2 times I got professionally color treated (single process, demi) I was disappointed that no one could achieve the color I wanted- rich but medium brown- just a richer and slightly darker version of my natural color. I also have about 5-10% silver now. So after reading a lot of blogs, I bought Ion Demi in 8N&7N with volume 10 developer. I was very nervous that I would mess up my hair because after all, the professionals couldn't even get it right! On dry, clean hair, I used 1 oz of 8N, 1 oz of 7N and 2 oz of developer, started at the roots (it had been 4 months since my last color at the salon) and then immediately applied through the rest. My hair is fine, and it soaked up all the product, so next time I will make more (length=midback). I let it sit for 40 minutes- no stinging at all. Nice fragrance. I shampooed with Ion sulfate free shampoo, then conditioned with a packet of after color conditioner (also Ion) that I got at Sally's checkout counter. The Result: Perfect! Very shiny, no staining anywhere, the perfect medium rich brown! I noticed in the sun that I saw copper highlights- but that's my hair- tends to pull reddish-orange. I don't mind them- I love the color! In indoor light, there is no sign of the coppery highlights. Next time if I change anything else, I would go for 7N- I was afraid it would be too dark. Demi color is the bomb! Don't waste anymore of your $ at the salon- or save it for a great haircut!

6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

Age: 19-24

Skin: Combination, Fair-Medium, Neutral

Hair: Brunette, Straight, Medium

Eyes: Blue

Wow! This demi is amazing. I wanted to refresh my hair color, which was originally dyed brown over heavy blonde highlights. It was turning into a faded light brown, and I wanted a deeper, richer color.

I know from experience that Ion colors are absolutely beautiful, but that they run a bit dark. I therefore bought the light golden brown and the clear shine. I used 2 parts developer to 1 part color and 1 part clear shine.

It came out as a beautiful dark brown. It is so rich and wonderful, but I am definitely glad that I mixed it with the clear shine. Otherwise, it would have been even darker. I think it is still a bit too dark, but I'm sure it will lighten to perfection after a wash or two.

The smell isn't bad at all, and my hair feels amazing! I'll definitely buy this again and again. Ion really makes high-quality hair color.

6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

Age: 25-29

Skin: Combination, Olive, Not Sure

Hair: Black, Other, Other

Eyes: Green

This review is for women who use black dye and are allergic or think they may be to PPD. Skip to the bottom for the review otherwise.

I have very dark brown hair that I dye black (roots, only) every two weeks with a demi dye. Then a semi-permanent dye is used all through my hair every week. It's a lot of upkeep and I'm always looking for different dyes that promise jet black hair so I have been the happiest with Wella's Colour Charm demi-permanent dye.
I'll do a fast comparison between this dye and the other Sally Beauty Supply dyes, as well as discussing the PPD aspect.
PPD is a dye used everywhere from hair colour to printer ink that is in highest concentrations in black hair dye. It's the reason why Bigen dye is feared by many- because it's levels of PPD are so high that it can trigger a horrible attack in people who have not known they were allergic to PPD. I have used Bigen and it was great but worked no better than the demi-permanent colours I'm discussing here so use that at your own risk!
I have had my hair blonde and then red with no scalp irritation (these colors do not use PPD). When I started dyeing my hair black years ago I didn't not have scalp irritation either, for several years. But then I have noticed in the last year that as soon as I apply the dye on my scalp I would have some stinging and for days after I would have an itchy dry scalp. I thought maybe it was the peroxide so after doing research I decided to change dyes to see if that helped. I always used the lowest developer as I was depositing colour, not lifting (10 volume or lower when possible). It was not the peroxide that was bothering me, it was the PPD. It's worth noting that PPD won't always irritate your skin during a skin patch test. My patch tests were fine, the only time I knew something was wrong was the progressive worsening of itchy, painful scalp when dyeing and lots of hair loss with otherwise healthy hair.

For years before the PPD allergy flaring up, I have used Wella Colour Charm. My favourite and trusty dye for years. Colour 1N is the darkest black I have found and very neutral. The water runs purple which means the dye is well-balanced. I hate colouring to find the water is running green! (Manic Panic Raven) The dye doesn't smell as nice as others but the colour stays forever and processes very quickly. Downside is your hair must be towel dried to start. And my scalp itches the most with this dye, I believe because it's SO black the PPD levels are higher causing irritation. But the dye is great and cost mere dollars to use.

Clairol Radiance demi-permanent dye is the
second choice dye for me. It is a neutral black, smells absolutely gorgeous. Wella is not harsh at all and Clairol is super gentle with even more so than Wella. My scalp is still irritated and itchy with this but I adore this dye and it gives me very shiny hair before it fades, much faster than Wella.

I have used Redken Shades EQ which was not memorable at all for me. One n Only's Argan Oil dye was the same, in fact it seemed more harsh than any other dye I have used and the colour was not as black as Wella. Then came Goldwell Elumen (the Elumen-trained stylist applied the chunky jell nightmare but the colour wouldn't stick at all).

I started looking into PPD-free dyes as I know a PPD allergy can only get progressively worse and I didn't want my black hair to put me in the hospital one day.
I saw the now discontinued Nice and Easy dye was PPD free, but drug store developers in boxed dyes are far too harsh anyways. Online, PPD-free dye was going for $30-50 a box! The reviews for these dyes were worse than the prices... Just as I was putting off bleaching my hair back to a "safer" colour like light brown, I saw the only demi dye in Sally''s that I had not tried and by a brand I had written off.
Ion Colour Brilliance promised PPD free demi-permanent color. Even in the colour #1- Blue Black. Which is what I got even though I don't look good in blue black. I figured in a few days it would wash the blue out and leave me jet black, anyways. The dye and low volume developer were two dollars cheaper than any other dye as well- $6 for a two month supply! The creme is a bit runny but smells okay, a bit citrusy/floral? The creme does take forever to start turning dark so don't be alarmed. I was using it to deposit only on my roots only so I used a 1:1 ratio on dry hair. I don't know about the other complaints of this doing nothing because when I rinsed it out the colour was very black and incredibly shiny! I couldn't believe a PPD free dye could be so dark. My scalp did not sting at all during dyeing process and my head is not itchy at all today for the first time in years. The colour is not actually Blue Black. But it's a very dark black which will satisfy any raven lover. Especially those who thought black hair wasn't possible with a PPD allergy. I will miss Wella and Clairol but I think I'll stay with this colour from now on, for safety's sake.
I will update with how well the colour holds. I also bought the the semi-permanent rinse colour from the same line so I'll update on how that revitalised my all-over hair colour in between root touch ups.

5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

on 5/23/2013 3:10:00 AM

Age: 25-29

Skin: Combination, Medium, Warm

Hair: Brown, Curly, Medium

Eyes: Hazel

I really liked this dye. I have medium chocolate brown hair and due to heat styling regularly and using bleach (ombre, past highlights) my hair was several shades of brown. I went out and purchased Medium Warm Brown (4W) hoping to keep the same depth of color, but make my hair one solid color.

I first used Ion Color Corrector to lift any color buildup from my hair, blow dried and then used Ion Pre-Color Treatment all over my hair to even the porosity of my hair for even color (mainly so I won't get light roots and dark ends). I used a Tangle Teezer to evenly coat my hair.

Then I applied the dye as directed with 10 volume developer. I left it in for 25 minutes (which could have been too long, but by the 20 minute mark my roots didn't look dark enough - since they were super light from the color corrector).

Well, I ended up with fabulous, even color.. but the only thing wrong is that my hair is JET BLACK. Much more like a level 2. Way darker than what I wanted.

Most reviews say to pick a shade that is two shades lighter than what you want. Make sure to do that. I will repurchase this brand of hair dye, but I will for sure go two shades lighter for medium-dark brown.

Also, this dye stains the skin worse than any other dye I have used. Make sure to use vaseline around your hairline.

5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

Popular Hair Color Products

Feria Haircolor
657 Reviews
15 Reviews
Pro Series
34 Reviews
Back to Top