This is a fairly long post; if you aren't new to coloring your hair, or just want to see the results, skip down to the photos and the summary for the "short version".
I mentioned a couple of posts back that I (finally) dyed my hair again. I have been coloring my hair red since I was about 16, and I've wanted to be a redhead since I was about 12! In 8 years of dyeing my hair, I've used quite a few at-home brands with varying luck. I've gone burgundy-red and coppery-red and auburn brown. I've had my hair professionally dyed a few times as well, but decided it wasn't worth the money when I could do it myself at home and get a color that was as vibrant and just about as close to what I had in mind when I started. Enter, Ion Color Brilliance. I'd grown discontented with drugstore offerings after they seemed to have eliminated the shade range between auburn brown and burgundy red; my go-to color is a bright coppery red, which is really difficult to find in a kit. I was also having to buy at least two kits to cover all of my thick, long hair, which wasn't cheap! The icing on the cake was when my favorite shade and formula combination was discontinued. I started reading about professional hair dyes and based on its reviews on the Sally Beauty website, settled on Ion Color Brilliance. People seemed really happy with the results.
Now, before you decide to run down to your local beauty supply store and buy hair dye, there are a few things you need to know. It's a big change in some ways from buying a box of hair dye from your drugstore; those are pretty fool-proof. There's a lot more that can go wrong when you are buying all the individual components on your own, and having to make more decisions without the proper training to do so. The hair dye you find at places like Sally Beauty, including Ion Color Brilliance, are meant for use by professionals. I knew that I was using these products at my own risk! That being said, I did a lot of research and read a lot about hair dye. First, you have to figure out the level of your original hair color, and the level of color you want to go to. Even though the red I was trying to go for looked to me like it was just as dark as my natural hair color, I realized after looking at swatches that I was really trying to lighten my hair quite a bit, and then add a red color on top of that in a single step. Based on your natural hair color (or your current dyed color) and the color you want, you decide what developer to use. In general, the lighter you want to go, the stronger solution you need to use.
So, what did I use? I acquired:
*a non-metallic mixing bowl. I needed to use a buttload of dye for all my hair, and the little mixing bowls they sell at Sally Beauty were not large enough. I bought a plastic bowl from Big Lots as my mixing bowl.
*A Tint Brush: You can find these at beauty supply stores. They'll help you get the color from the bowl onto your hair.
*Lotion. Any kind will do; you'll want to smear it around your hairline and on your ears, avoiding the hair itself, to help keep your skin from getting stained.
*Gloves. I used regular latex gloves that we had laying around the house from painting. You can get a couple hundred to a box at Costco, or you can buy just one pair at beauty supply stores.
*A wide toothed comb: to help pull the color through your hair.
*a hair clip or two: to help keep your hair on top of your head while the color develops.
*Hair color: I used Ion Color Brilliance Liquid hair color in 7IR (7 indicating the lightness/ darkness of the color, IR for Intense Red). It's described as a Medium Intense Red Blonde on the box.
*30 Volume Creme Developer: This gets mixed in equal proportions to the dye.
*Color Brilliance Pre-Color Treatment: Because my hair is long and has been dyed multiple times (and so it's more porous at the bottom than top), I decided to get this treatment to be on the safe side and aid in even color results.
*Thick hair conditioner. It doesn't really matter which one you use, just make sure it's safe for color treated hair and very moisturizing.
While this is more expensive the first time you do it than running to CVS and buying a box of dye, I got much better results with these products, and all but the dye itself will last you more than one use, so after your first application, you'll probably end up spending less using this system than a drugstore kit. And I can guarantee you'll end up spending WAY less than going to the salon!
I mixed 2 bottles of color (for a total of 4 ounces) with 4 ounces of developer, stirred well, and applied it to my hair. I massaged it through, let it sit for 40 minutes, and then rinsed it out, following up by conditioning twice. My hair felt dryer than usual as I rinsed the color out, but after conditioning twice it is fine.
Here are some pictures of my hair. My coppery auburn color had faded and I had a toooon of root showing. After coloring my hair, you cannot see a differentiation between hair that had been colored in the past and my virgin root color. This is impressive to me; lots of hair color kits in the past left a bit of a line. Also, this color is REALLY vibrant. It was hard for me to capture it on my camera. My skin looks a bit washed out in a few of these photos where the color my hair color is accurate.
And here are some of the products I used:
|The box of color and the Pre-Color Treatment|
|On the side of the hair dye box; I don't know what any of this means!|
|The bottle of dye itself|
|The chart to help you figure out which developer to use|
There are crazy warnings all over this thing telling you this is ONLY to be used by professionals. Therefore, if you (like me) are not a professional... Do this at your own risk!
Summary: I've been really pleased with my results using this brand! This is actually the second time I have used Ion Color Brilliance; the first time I mixed this color with a less-vibrant copper red, and my results were great that time as well. I tend to start off brighter than I really want, knowing it will fade a ton after the first couple of washings. If you are dyeing your hair at home, you cannot be too picky about your results, but that being said, my results with this line have been pretty spot-on to the hair swatches they have in the store. However, I want to emphasize that these were just my experiences; hair dye can be really tricky. I also think that from years of using various dyes, I've learned how different shades tend to turn out on my hair. I know that I need to go lighter than I think I do; I know that I need to go more vibrant than I think I do. I cannot say if this would be the case for anyone else. But, if you've been thinking about making the switch from drugstore brands to professional hair color from a beauty supply store, I would recommend checking Ion Color Brilliance out! My results were consistent from root to tip, even on my long hair with damaged split ends. I haven't used this without the Pre-Color Treatment, so I can't say if that's why I got such even results, but I'd highly recommend using that product as well. It's certainly worth the few extra bucks, and one spray bottle will last you through a few applications at least. Also, the Ion brand developer is supposed to be gentle; I think this is probably the case, since when I've had my hair colored at salons, it's stung like crazy, but this wasn't painful at all. All in all, I've had a better-than-average experience with this line, and will continue to be loyal to it.