|Misleading photo of my Manic Panic slightly purple hair.|
I was ready to go in and get my hair bleached, but I had to wait for the Manic Panic to all wash out before I could go. While I waited, I hit tech for Twelfth Night, and so my plans to get my hair bleached were put on hold. I happened to be browsing the Sally Beauty site and saw another of the semi-permenant hair colors they offered that had some interesting colors. It was the Ion Color Brilliance Brights Semi-Permanent Hair Color line. They have a line of traditional hair colors, but this is their "hi-fashion hair colors designed to give vivid, boldly intense results." Like most hair colors, they recommend bleaching first. However, there were many positive reviews about how well they layered over unbleached hair, and also how fade-resistant they were. At only $4.79 a tube, I figured it was worth a shot before I spent significantly more time and money bleaching my hair.
After doing a bit of research, I decided to buy the Ion Color Defense Intense Moisture Conditioner and the Ion Color Defense After-Color Sealer in addition to the Ion Color Brilliance dye. Many reviews mentioned that the dye was quite thick out of the tube and that they'd found it helpful to thin it with some conditioner. I didn't want to thin it with a cheap conditioner, which is why I invested in the Ion conditioner. Also, I figured even if I never used the Ion dye again, it would still be great conditioner to use at any point on my dyed hair. The After-Color Sealer is recommended by Ion (of course, because they want to make more money) but there were several positive review regarding its use. And, again, even if I hated the Ion dye, I could use it after other dye jobs in the future.
The experience of using the Ion Color Brilliance dye was quite pleasant. It was very thick, but the conditioner helped get it to a nice, workable consistency. I went ahead and applied the dye the way I feel most comfortable, which is brushing it along the roots, starting at center and working first towards on side, then the other. Next is the roots in the back. Once I'm satisfied I've gotten all my roots, then I slather it on the ends, comb it through, and clip it up. I left it on for 40 minutes, which was the longest recommended on the packaging (it said 20-40 minutes). I also heated it up a couple times under my glamorous bag shower cap while I waited. I think given that it is an ammonia and peroxide free treatment, I would probably stretch it to a full hour next time.
The color I picked out was Red. I hesitated for a moment at the Magenta and the Fushia (which looks much cooler on the in-store swatch than it does online) but as I didn't know how well it would go on my hair, I played it safe (relatively speaking) with the Red. The Red is actually fairly pink, in my opinion. It comes out of the tube red, but anytime it got on my skin, towel, or other porous surface (like the poor Brita filter on the faucet in the kitchen or the door jamb in the bathroom) it looks very pink. Like bright, hot pink. It seemed quite pigmented and was pretty hard to wash out of my hair, though it didn't stain my scalp as badly as the Manic Panic did. I spent a good 5+ minutes in the kitchen trying to wash the bulk of it out of my hair before I moved into the shower. I don't think I would have noticed as much had I not been in a hurry to get to work, but in the end I'll admit I didn't wait until the water was 100% clear because it seemed like that was just never going to happen.
All that to say, I am really happy with the color. I took a picture the first day to document (though I don't love the photo). I'll try and take another, hopefully better one, after I wash it for the first time tomorrow. It definitely reads more as a magenta than a true red, but as I almost got the Magenta anyways, I'm perfectly happy with that. It's not crazy in-your-face about being an unnatural color, but it's unusual enough to make me very happy and feel more me. I never feel like myself when my hair is brown. Given how well this turned out, so long as it doesn't fade crazy quick, I'll most definitely be trying some of the other colors to see if they pop as well over my natural hair. But, I would 100% try this color again. I've gotten tons of compliments on it, and zero weird looks, so I'm calling that a win!