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