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

rated 4.3(39 reviews)

  • Average Rating: 4.3
  • 84% would buy again
  • Package Quality: 4.0
  • Price: $$

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rated 4 of 5 on 2/26/2014 11:23:00 AM More reviews by shortii53

Age: 30-35 Skin: Dry, Fair-Medium, Cool Hair: Brown, Straight, Fine Eyes: Blue

I bought ion demi color to use for year while I was dying my hair darker. I always use demi when going darker to only deposit color and little damage to hair. I have found good color combos to use with ion. I wanted a pretty meduim auburn shade. I used 9ng with 4rc, light natural golden blonde and medium copper brown. Beautiful auburn shade. I added the blond with it so it didn't come out too dark. perfect. The shades do run a bit dark. I mix ratio 2:1 with volume 10 developer. Buy a shade or 2 lighter then what you want, but it is shiny and long lasting. I find I use the 9ng a lot as mixing shade so ash tonesare not too ashy and same with neutrals. The neutrals are nice on own though. The 9ng is not very light a name suggests. More a medium to dark golden blond FYI. More yellow gold rather than red though. That is why i mix, to not get too much red if I want a darker golden brown. Buy neutral brown and add golden blond.

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rated 5 of 5 top reviewer on 4/19/2013 12:21:00 AM More reviews by heyannette

Age: 36-43 Skin: Very Oily, Fair-Medium, Warm Hair: Brunette, Straight, Coarse Eyes: Green

So many well written, detailed and positive reviews here I won't go on. Believe the good reviews. This stuff lasts! After 2+ weeks using #3RVR burgundy brown it's STILL shiny and coloured. I had these light ends from using drugstore permanents and nothing would blend it. My hair dresser did a great job blending it with a semi I think but for $100 and having it wash out in under two weeks, it wasn't worth it. This demi though is amazing! :o I'm so shocked. For $3 on sale plus developer, the colour is complex and gorgeous. I'm so impressed. I used it 1:1 because my hair doesn't take colour well and it did end up quite dark and saturated but I adore it. I would recommend this to anyone!

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rated 4 of 5 top reviewer on 8/9/2011 1:21:00 AM More reviews by lisaf6501

Age: 25-29 Skin: Dry, Fair-Medium, Not Sure Hair: Brunette, Other, Other Eyes: Hazel

This is a good dye but it does run extremely dark. So dark that I felt compelled to write a review, which I haven't done in ages. I've used this hair color many times with good results. I've always tried to deepen the color of my hair, so the fact that it ran very dark didn't bother me. I still chose 2 shades lighter than my desired shade and I was always happy.

This time I decided I didn't want to deepen the color, but just take the red out of it. My hair is a dark reddish brown right now. The last time I dyed it (which was with this dye) was probably 4 months ago. I knew I wasn't going to lighten it but I just wanted it the same color (or slightly darker) and to cover up the red.

I have very thick, longish hair. I used a tube of light neutral brown and a tube of clear. I also used a ratio of 1:2 for dye to developer so the color wasn't so concentrated. I figured the clear would add shine and cut the color as well. I left the mixture on for 20 minutes and washed and dried. It's nearly black!

I'm not super upset because the color doesn't look bad on me and it is very shiny and pretty. But I just can't give a 5 star review to something that runs 3-4 shades dark. Use this dye with caution! It is a good product but it runs very, very dark.

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rated 5 of 5 on 10/20/2010 4:09:00 PM More reviews by edahl69

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

Love this stuff! Have tried Natural Instincts and another demipermanent line whose name I can't recall, and this provided far prettier color and better coverage at a rock-bottom price. My hair is a medium brown, 20% gray, and regularly colored. Based on the reviews here about how dark the results are, I went light and bought a 7N. Came out just right--hair is still a medium brown, but a prettier and far less gray one now. Used 1:2 proportion, did roots first, then went to ends. About 20 mins total processing. A little more do-it-yourself than the regular drugstore kits, in that you have to buy the developer separately, provided your own plastic gloves, etc., but the extra effort is completely worth it. Just use a nice conditioner after you rinse and shampoo.

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rated 5 of 5 on 8/8/2010 9:12:00 PM More reviews by CK5

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

I agree with everyone else, the color certainly runs a couple of shades darker, so be very careful when choosing your shade. Let me share my experience with all of you...

My hair is naturally curly, my natural hair color is a level 4 brown. Originally when I started to use this product, I bought either a level 4 or even a 3!!! While I didn't mind the darker shade of brown, with time, the ends started to look almost black compared to my roots. I had to do something to remedy the situation.

I decided to get highlights done to try and blend the dark color with some lighter tones in an attempt to get closer to my natural color level. This has worked well but needed a couple of visits to the salon for full foils before I really saw a difference. It was a much safer alternative than completely bleaching my hair and starting from scratch!

Needless to say, I've learned my lesson, I am not going to touch anything lower than a level 6 in this product, there are plenty of tones to choose from (natural dk blonde to dk copper blonde) depending on my mood. These colors blend beautifully with highlights. I did the copper blonde for a few months and just re-colored with dark golden blonde. This has yielded a beautiful shade of brown with tons of shine!! It's also pretty darn close to my natural color but better! I am very pleased with the results.

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rated 5 of 5 top reviewer on 6/29/2010 12:18:00 AM More reviews by cmhwi

Age: Unknown Skin: Sensitive, Fair-Medium, Cool Hair: Brown, Straight, Medium Eyes: Brown

I have been using this for a few years. Before this I was using the Wella Demi which I also had pretty good luck with.
I have about 50% gray at the crown and a few others mixed in. My normal level is about 5 (with gray). I tend to go orange, so want to counteract that and I previously experimented with 7N and some 7G (didn't like the results). I have also used 7N by itself w/developer, but that came out very dull on me.
I was in the mood to go darker (I know the outgrowth will be a negative), but I picked up 5N and 3RV, plus some clear color gloss and the 10 vol. developer.
I used a tube of 5N with a small dab (about an inch), of the 3RV (to counteract the gold tones), and then the developer to equal the color 1:1. This came out very dark on the roots, but I left it on over 30 min. Next time I would not let it go that long, maybe 20. Ended up the root area was a dark cherry cola shade which is beautiful, but more like a 4 level on me.
Then for the length I mixed 1:1 5N and 00 (Clear gloss) and ran that through and left on for 10 min. That did a good job of refreshing the length and producing shine.
~just remember to be careful about the level go a shade or two lighter until you find the level you like.
My hair is not damaged by this brand and I will continue to use it, since I like experimenting with customized shades.
The Ion Effective Care conditioner is really wonderful.
I can spend $10 and do my thick, shoulder length hair.

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rated 5 of 5 on 8/20/2014 4:20:00 AM More reviews by Partise

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)

BLEACH
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 2 parts toner (i.e. I use ION Color Brilliance Demi-Permanent Color in 10N-10.0) with 1 part ION Sensitive Scalp 10 Volume Developer into a squirt bottle with a long pointed, angled neck.
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.

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rated 5 of 5 top reviewer on 7/8/2012 12:12:00 AM More reviews by suzanneb

Age: 36-43 Skin: Very Dry, Fair-Medium, Cool Hair: Brunette, Wavy, Fine Eyes: Green

I am in the process of going back to brown hair, my hair started to fall and has gotten really thin due to high lift permanent color, highlights and bleach, it was down to my waist and now is at chest level. Did a lot of research before choosing this brand since my hair and scalp can't take the multiple root touch up I was doing monthly. I am happy that going back up in the color scale is pretty easy considering that it took me a little under two years to become a level 11 blonde. Two days ago I bought Ion Demi in 8N mixed with 10V, sprayed the pre-color treatment and left the mix for 25 minutes since I had so many different shades of blonde. Color came out pretty uniform and darker as everyone has mentioned, on me it's a dark warm blonde/very light warm brown depending on the light. Hair feels soft, looks shiny and I hope I am on my way to having beautiful, long, shiny healthy hair again.

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rated 5 of 5 on 8/4/2014 1:39:00 PM More reviews by pollyannahouse

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.

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rated 5 of 5 on 6/2/2014 2:35:00 PM More reviews by kaitlyn1991

Age: 19-24 Skin: Normal, Fair-Medium, Neutral Hair: Red, Wavy, Medium Eyes: Blue

Okay so this may turn into a novel but I have to share the gruesome details in order to express how amazing this product is. My hair has been through it all. I've been dying it since I was in middle school so that's a decade of constant abuse of my beloved follicles.

Anyways, most recently I had been super dark, then stripped color and gave myself a light brown base and then highlighted until I was about blonde. I am naturally a redhead (I couldn't appreciate the gorgeous color I had until now) and so my newest endeavor was to go red. And anybody who is a fake red knows the struggle to get there.


I colored over my shoulder length hair, highlights and all with box dye. Typical outcome: beautiful color at roots, bland dull ends due to porousness from bleaching.

I was devastated BUT determined. I googled, I interrogated the Sallys staff, I needed a solution because my ends would not take color. All roads led to giving up and chopping the ends off. Which is like 3 inches and I'm not about to do that. I'm not kidding I utilized protein fillers, varying shades of red with different bases thinking one would take, deep conditioning and prayed to the hair gods. Nothing worked.


so, I stumbled onto this product. I was staring hopelessly at the colorant wall at Sallys and saw Ions little section. Curious, I did some research and discovered the Demi required a 10 developer thus no lightening which was PERFECT. (I.e. If you are going lighter than your current shade I don't think this will work for you ) I followed the directions after doing a crucial strand test, and voila, 30 mins later my hair was the most gorgeous, rich shade of red. It wasn't loud or spotty and best of all, it was shiny and my dry ends seemed to be reborn.

literally, I'm in love. And have gotten so many compliments. Best of all, with the left over color in the tube I will use it to refresh weekly with a conditioning treatment BC it wont damage my hair.


ladies, if you have reached a brick wall with your hair, give this a shot. I legit thought my case was hopeless.


btw, I used the 6rc. And also, the colors are limited but remember you can always dilute or combine shades for a less dramatic effect. Just always do a strand test and deep condition afterwards!!!

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