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A complex, creative personality with a bubbly, excessively girly finish!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

ION Color Brilliance System

This is my natural color (Level 6-7 Dark Blonde):

Which I dyed to this using L' Oreal Superior Preference box dye in shade 4A Dark Ash Brown:

Then, I got sick of it being basically black so I went to a salon where a color specialist that I absolutely adored gradually lightened it to this (about a Level 9-10 with highlights and lowlights ranging from Level 8-Platinum) using heavy foil highlighting:

THEN, I decided I was craving a richer, more solid (even sexy, if you will) shade so I took it back brunette using box dye again (L' Oreal Excellence Creme in shade 6A Light Ash Brown followed by 5A Medium Ash Brown about a month later):

But now it is summer, and so I have let the dark brown fade out (permanent dye is never really permanent...) hoping that would be enough lightening to transition into warm weather. It was not. Too dark & too red. Not enough golden.

So I decided to use ION Color Brilliance products from Sally's Beauty Supply to attempt to lighten it at home for the first time ever!

Now the ION product section at Sally's has many helpful little charts and booklets to assist you in choosing the right products for your goal. I was looking to achieve a Level 7 Neutral Medium Blonde. Using the available tools & advice from a Sally's employee, I determined that I would need:
  • ION Color Brilliance Color Corrector (to lift permanent dark brown dye)
  • ION Sensitive Scalp Developer Creme 10 Volume (for use with Color Corrector; not stated on package, but needed in instructions)
  • ION Color Brilliance Liquid Permanent Color in shade 7.1-7A (Medium Ash Blonde; natural Level 6 hair will ALWAYS pull orange/gold especially in naturally warm toned hair like mine so using an ash dye will give more of a neutral tone or more often still a warm tone)
  • ION Sensitive Scalp Developer Creme 20 Volume (for dye mixture; ION permanent color dye chart recommends that natural level 6's use 20 volume developer with level 7 color to achieve lightening to level 7)
  • Ardell Red/Gold Corrector Single Use Packet (recommended by employee; include in dye mixture to combat brassiness)
  • ION Color Brilliance After Color Treatment (optional; seals cuticle & stops processing)
  • Latex Gloves
  • Callibrated Plastic Squeeze Bottle for Dye
Other items needed that I had at home:
  • Plastic Shower Cap (for use with Color Corrector)
  • Hair Dryer (processing Color Corrector)
  • Wide Tooth Comb
  • Gentle, Color Saving Shampoo (L' Oreal EverStrong Reconstruct Shampoo)
  • Deep, Color Saving Conditioner (L' Oreal EverPure Moisture Deep Restorative Masque)
What I did:
  • The ION Color Corrector had two sets of directions. I was using the product to completely lift the permanent dye from my hair so I followed the instructions for achieving a complete "color change." After evenly applying the mixture, you could choose to cover your hair with a plastic shower cap & apply intense heat using the hair dryer or to go without the cap & heat, but leave the product on for about 5-10 minutes longer. After the color corrector, my hair looked like this:

  • After using the color corrector to achieve your desired level of lift, you have to do a 10 volume developer "rinse" to stop the oxidation/processing. This just means you coat your still wet strands with the developer & let it sit for 5 minutes. This part can be confusing, because after I did the developer rinse, my ends actually turned darker and my roots turned lighter. The opposite of what originally happened. I'm still not sure if that was just my hair, or if it's supposed to do that...
  • Now, you are ready to color... I used the callibrated squeeze bottle to mix the proper ratio of permanent color/tint with the 20 volume developer. I only bought one bottle of color and one bottle of developer, but I almost ran out of the mixture so I recommend getting two bottles of the actual tint. There is only 2 oz. in the tint bottle, but the developer comes in an 8 oz. bottle.
  • Instead of adding the entire pouch of Ardell Red/Gold Corrector, I added about half. I have a warm (yellow/olive) skintone so I didn't want the color to be too ash toned.
  • The ION Color Brilliance instructions said to put it on your ends first then your roots if you were going lighter than your natural color so I did.
  • Unfortunately, this step did not work for me. My ends became very dark very fast, and my roots couldn't process long enough since the ends were going to become way too dark. This left me with extremely orange/gold tone roots and more ash toned ends. Also, the roots are about 1-2 levels lighter than the ends.
That being said, I DO NOT think ION Color Brilliance products were the problem. I actually quite like the products. I think they are extremely affordable, easy to use and understand, and very gentle.

My hair turned out the way it did due to the porosity of my ends which have been dyed and bleached and dyed again! I left the dye on the ends too long, because I didn't go with my gut and rinse them when I noticed them turning too dark.

Since I wanted it to be lighter, I've been using Head & Shoulders Classic Clean (known to fade color) mixed with the other half of the Ardell Red/Gold Corrector packet to combat brassy tones. I run the shampoo mixture through my wet strands evenly, allow it to sit for several minutes, and lather it up right before I rinse it out. This is how it looks now:

Brassy roots in direct sunlight...

I tried to show the two tone which is hard to capture in pictures.

This is what it looks like most of the time. Imperfections aren't really noticeable since it blends nicely.

As soon as I nurse my hair back to health, I am going to attempt to correct this. My next post will be on how I am restoring the moisture and repairing the damage done to my ends... So check back!


  1. Thank you for posting this! I am going to try the Dark Ash Brown Loreal Preference! I can't stand the colour red in my hair and have been looking for a dark ash colour, it looked nice on you! Hopefully it takes out the old red in my hair!

  2. thank you for this post. I just bought the Ion color corrector and was hoping someone who has used it, put up pictures. Your pictures and post answered a lot of questions I had. Now I'm looking forward to my hair lighting experience from a 6N to 7v.
    Again Thank you

  3. Hey, came across your blog while trying to find directions for ION corrector, used it before and worked great, still have half a box but no info on the mix ratio...cant believe it's not posted somewhere out there?! :|
    Your hair looks much better, stick with the blond! Just a tip on the color timing, usually the apply to ends first is for virgin color on natural hair, maybe the first time or two, since hair near the scalp lifts faster and easier than mid and ends, first time application they get longest time and often higher developer, but after that just retouch new growth first and work into rest of hair last 10 or so, color only lifts so much till eventually the porous areas just suck up color and get muddy, especially if they have ever had corrector or lightener. Even though it's blond color it builds up darker and darker towards the ends.
    Should be able to wing it, did nothing but color for several yrs, just need it to clean up old hi-lights, and the client is me for a change! lol Thanks for your post, I had forgotten about the developer rinse step...Take care! AJ

  4. I tried almost the same process. I wasn't happy with the color corrector, or I was disatisfied with my inexperience. My hair was left mousy brown pale red.
    I plan to try again to gain blonde with highlights to blend with the white/gray.
    I felt pretty alone with what I had done until I read your blog. Thanks

  5. I know this is sort of random, but do you remember what the directions were? I tried to color my hair from an electric blue to a brownish red but i got this really ugly mix of colors. I bought the color corrector kit, but there were not instructions included. :(

  6. This WHOLE article has been so helpful to me.

  7. To Anonymous 09/09/11: The mix ratio for the Color Corrector is 1:1. It's important not to use either Phase separately.

  8. You have pretty hair, and the blonde with hi-lights is beautiful. I just wanted to say that I used to dye and lighten my hair a lot. Maybe twice per year until I started to actually lose hair. My hair started shedding lightly, then it increased, until I lost my thick hair. I wish I had not lightened it out so much. A dermatologist told me that constant lightening damages the follicle, it contracts and releases hair in bunches over a quick period of time. I'll never regain the thickness of my hair. It is so thin now, I can't wear headbands, or you see all of my scalp. Please be careful. Peace.

  9. personally you looked the best and hottest in the pic with short blond hair. you looked so flawless with blond and it seemed to compliment you the best. i have dark hair and wanted to go blond but unfortunatley that's not a good look for me ;(

  10. You have an ugly nose and dark hair brings it out more. If you had good taste, youd know that the professional coloring job was the ideal color.

    1. WHAT? She's beautiful!! Love to see a photo of you!

  11. Don't mind the dope with the rude comment..you're gorgeous regardless of your hair color! Thanks for the much needed info!

  12. Your info is much appreciated, helped me greatly. The comment from anonymous on Aug 1, 2013 pisses me off. You don't have an ugly nose, and your hair looks just fine. She is the one that has an ugly personality. I bet she is as ugly on the outside as she is on the inside.

  13. Was looking to colir my hair with the loreal dark ash and found this, youre one of those fortunate girls who look gorgeous with light or dark hair! Hopefully it will work out for me too!!! Lol

  14. I found this incredibly helpful. Thanks a lot for all of the directions since our natural hair color is about the same, and I did the same color changes to my hair. I ended up on your site after googling the color brillance products I bought. I even have the same color corrector. Thanks!

  15. Thank you for posting this info, it is greatly appreciated. I am an ex hairdresser who is trying to reverse my daughters bad dye job. She bought this tint from a discount shelf while I was in Florida. Needless to say left it on tooo long and ended up with purple. Please do not believe the comment on your nose, they are wrong.

  16. I could fix this or possibly tell you how to fix this with the least amount of damage Facebook/bswdesigns

  17. The reason your hair got darker after putting on the developer is because you still had color molecules left in your hair. Next time, repeat the correcting process until it no longer darkens with the developer. That's how you know all of the artificial color is gone :)

    Not that I've done it...yet. I've just been researching on starting over on my red hair color. It always comes out super red or mostly brown. I can't get a good in between mixture so I'm looking to correct and recolor.

  18. Honestly you looked the best with the darkest hair :)