Frequently Asked Questions

Are you a first timer at-home hair colorist? An experienced at-home hair artist trying ion™ for the first time? Or just want to know more about ion™ At Home? Down below you’ll find our most commonly asked questions to help you easily navigate the at-home hair coloring process at whatever stage you’re in. Get coloring!

Common Questions

How do I determine which hair color product is right for me? Toggle

Use the Ion Color Coder—our online personalized colorist tool—to find the right formulas and shades for you. You can also call our color experts at 1-800-859-3112 for a free one-on-one color consultation.

I currently use a different brand of hair color but want to switch to Ion Color Brilliance. How do I find the color equivalent? Toggle

Our hair experts will be happy to help you find the perfect shade. Call us at 1-800-859-3112 with the brand and shade number you’d like to replicate, and we’ll match you up with the appropriate Ion Color Brilliance color.

Where can I find how-to instructions for my hair color products? Toggle

Step-by-step instructions are included inside every box of Ion Color Brilliance, and general mixing ratios are also provided on the individual product webpages. If you have additional questions, call our color experts at 1-800-859-3112.

How can I test a color before committing to it? Toggle

Do a strand test! It’s a simple process that lets you “test drive” a color on a small, discreet portion of your hair before doing the entire application. A strand test is a critical first step and the safest way see exactly how a shade works with your starting color. It also helps in determining the exact timing you will need to process your whole head. You’ll find strand test instructions inside the product box.

Can I perm and color my hair on the same day? And if so, which should I do first? Toggle

We recommend perming prior to any hair color application. However, if you are using semi- or demi-permanent hair color, and you have no scalp irritation, you can do both in the same day. If you want to use permanent hair color, wait two weeks after you perm or relax your hair. Either way, be sure to check the product directions and do a strand test before coloring. Heads up: Some chemical treatments, like permanent waves and relaxers, can leave the hair more porous and allow color to be absorbed much faster. Feel free to call our color experts at 1-800-859-3112 if you have specific questions about mixing hair treatments and hair colors.

I’m visiting my stylist soon. Should I color my hair cut before or after I get it cut? Toggle

We recommend getting your haircut prior to coloring it.

Does my hair need to be clean for coloring? Toggle

When using demi-permanent or permanent hair color or lighteners, don’t shampoo your hair immediately before application, as it can remove the natural oils that protect the scalp during the coloring process. We recommend shampooing 24 hours prior to coloring. Shampooing closer to color application is only necessary if you have excess oil or product buildup. But when using semi-permanent hair color, it’s best to shampoo immediately or 12-24 hours prior to application.

How can I test for an allergy? Toggle

Do a patch test! It’s a simple process that lets you “test” the product on a small, discreet portion of your skin before applying the product on your hair. A patch test is a critical first step and the safest way to see if you have any skin reactions to the product. You’ll find patch test instructions inside the product box.

What is the mixing ratio of my hair color? Toggle

Here is a general guide to mixing ratios, but always read the product instructions for specific mixing instructions for that particular product, since ratios may vary from product to product.

  • Permanent Crème and Liquid: shade levels 1-10 is 1:1, or 1 oz of hair color + 1 oz of developer.
  • Permanent Crème and Liquid: shade level 12 (or HL) is 1:2, or 1 oz of hair color + 2 oz of developer.
  • Permanent Ammonia Free Crème: Gray coverage is 1:1, or 1 oz of hair color + 1 oz of developer. Everything else is 1:1 1/2, or 1 oz of hair color + 1 ½ oz of developer.
  • 10 Minute and 5 Minute Men: 1:1, or 1 oz of hair color + 1 oz of developer.
  • Demi Permanent Crème: either 1:1 (1 oz of hair color + 1 oz of developer) or 1:2 (or 1 oz of hair color + 2 oz of developer), depending on your color objective. (See insert for detail.)
  • Semi-Permanent/Temporary: no mixing is recommended.
How do I lighten my hair? Toggle

Here are a few things to keep in mind before going lighter. And always remember to do a strand test first!

  • If your natural hair color is light brown or lighter…
    Use permanent hair color. For a more dramatic blonde, use a high-lift (“HL”) shade.
  • If your natural hair color is medium brown or darker…
    You will need to pre-lighten with a lightener. Highlighting is always another option. The Ion Color Brilliance Lighteners create natural-looking highlights on selected strands. The look can be subtle to dramatic.
  • If you wish to go more than two levels lighter than your natural color…
    Call 1-800-859-3112 to speak with an Ion color expert. We’ll help you get it right!
  • If you have already colored your hair and want to go lighter (or go back to your natural hair color)…
    We suggest getting personal advice from one of our color experts at 1-800-859-3112 or seeking the help of a professional colorist.
Can I mix different types of hair color together? Toggle

Only mix shades from the same collections. (I.e. Mix Ion Color Brilliance Demi Permanent Intensive Shine only with another shade of Ion Color Brilliance Demi Permanent Intensive Shine.) We don’t recommend mixing shades that are more than two to three shades lighter or darker than each other.

What do 1:1, 1:2, and 1:1 1/2 mixing ratios equate to? Toggle
  • 1:1 is equal amounts color to developer (1 oz color + 1 oz developer).
  • 1:2 is double the developer (1 oz color + 2 oz developer).
  • 1:1 1/2 is 1 oz of color to 1 1/2 oz of developer.
When should I start the timer? Toggle

Set your timer as soon as you’ve finished applying hair color.

My tube of color looks different from what I remember. (There is discoloration when I first squeezed it out into a bowl, and some darkness around the end of the tube.) Is this common? Can I still use it? Toggle

Yes, this is normal, and you can still use the product. Certain manufacturing processes can affect the appearance of the product inside the tube from time to time. But rest assured, this discoloration will not have an effect on the final outcome of your hair color.

Does the length of my hair make any difference in the amount of hair color I will need? Toggle

Yes—because hair should be thoroughly saturated to ensure even, successful results, how much hair you have determines how much hair color you should use. If your hair is shoulder length or longer—or very thick—you may need two tubes of color. It’s also important to note that the ends of long hair tend to be porous and absorb more color, so make sure you perform a strand test. We recommend using Ion Color Brilliance Pre-Color Treatment on porous ends to ensure even color results.

Can I mix two shades together? Toggle

Yes, you can—and it’s a great way to create a unique shade that’s all your own! The only rule is that liquid shades can be mixed only with liquid shades, crème shades only with crème shades, demis only with demis, and permanents only with permanents.

Can I mix my crème permanent hair color by shaking it in a bottle? Toggle

You can try, but it will be very difficult to obtain a smooth mixture. Instead, we recommend mixing crème color in a bowl and applying it with a brush. If you prefer bottle application, liquid color is more ideal. Liquid color may also be mixed in a bowl for a brush application. Note: When it’s mixed with a crème developer, it creates a gel consistency.

Does my hair type and texture affect color-processing time? Toggle

Yes, the texture of your hair is important to keep in mind when coloring your hair. When the hair is coarse, it takes more time to absorb color, so it requires a longer processing time. When hair is fine, it takes less time to absorb color, so it requires a shorter processing time. Dry and permed hair may absorb color quickly, too. Because of the many variables that can affect timing, always do a strand test first.

How long should I process my hair color? Toggle

There are a few factors that determine timing, including the porosity and texture of your hair, your developer choice, and previous chemical services. The best way to know the right timing for you is to perform a strand test (or multiple strand tests, if needed). The processing instructions included in your product are based on average textured hair. If your hair is coarse, it takes more time to absorb color, so it will require a longer processing time. If your hair is fine, it will take less time to absorb color, so it will require a shorter processing time. Dry and permed hair may absorb color quickly, too. Note: The hair closer to the scalp (new growth) may need longer processing time, and previously processed hair usually takes minimal processing time.

Should I wear gloves when applying ion™ Brights Airbrush Tint? Toggle

Gloves are optional, however you should protect your clothing during application.

My color is too warm! Why? And what can I do? Toggle

If the “too warm” result is minimal, it may be remedied by using a violet shampoo, like Ion Cool Blonde Shampoo, which is designed to neutralize brassiness and warmth, one to two times a week. In other cases, too much warmth can be neutralized with an ash base/tone without using a color corrector first. Do a strand test first to determine if this will work. Remember, tint won’t lift tint. But as long as the level (lightness or darkness) is acceptable, and the only issue is minimizing the warmth, a demi-permanent hair color may work. If, after the strand test, the result is still too warm, then the color should be removed and recolored.

Are just your roots too warm? “Hot roots” are typically minimized after a few shampoos. However, applying an over-wash of demi-permanent in a gold base/tone can minimize the intensity of your roots, too. In the future, we recommend applying a retouch application every quarter inch or half inch of growth. If more new growth is evident, apply the color a half inch away from the scalp to the midlength area first, then apply it to the scalp area. This will keep “hot roots” to a minimum.

Sometimes, a full 30-40 minutes of processing time is necessary when you are neutralizing underlying pigment. When using a lightener, it is also important to allow enough time for the warm pigments to decolorize. If a lightener is not left on long enough, the end result can be too warm--even if a demi-permanent (toner) color is used to neutralize warmth. So try doing a strand test with the maximum processing time to see if it gives you better results.

Remember, you can always call our Ion color experts at 1-800-859-3112 for personalized advice and recommendations. We’re here to help!

My color is too dark! Why? And what can I do? Toggle

If your hair color results are too dark, it can’t be lightened, but it can be removed. (Clarifying shampoos will not lighten the color.) Use Ion Color Brilliance Color Corrector and follow the directions either for “slight removal” or “total removal.” Too-dark results can also be a result of incorrectly evaluating your hair texture and porosity, which both affect how your hair absorbs hair color. To avoid this in the future, you can also adjust your formula and developer. For example, if you used a 20 volume developer and you have coarse hair, try a 30 or 40 volume developer. And prior to any future color application, use Ion Color Brilliance Pre-Color Treatment to even out your hair’s porosity. Lastly, consider your processing time. If your processing time was too short, it could result in hair that’s darker than you want. Next time, increase the processing time to achieve the desired lift. Remember, you can always call our Ion color experts at 1-800-859-3112 for personalized advice and recommendations. We’re here to help!

My color is too light! Why? And what can I do? Toggle

If your hair color results are too light, it could be a result of your hair’s texture and porosity, processing time, or incorrectly assessing your natural hair color. Fine hair absorbs color faster, so it may be necessary to reduce your processing time to prevent over-lightening. You might also have to adjust your formula and developer. For example, if you used a 30 volume developer and you have fine hair, try a 20 volume developer. We also recommend reconditioning hair with protein-rich and moisturizing conditioners. And prior to additional chemical treatments, use Ion Color Brilliance Pre-Color Treatment to even out the porosity of your hair. Remember, you can always call our Ion color experts at 1-800-859-3112 for personalized advice and recommendations. We’re here to help!

Why is the bottom of my hair darker/lighter than the top? Toggle

This can happen when you color your whole head of hair—instead of just new growth—during touch-up applications. When you do this, you end up coloring the older (and more porous) ends, which can result in color buildup. Instead, follow the product usage instructions for new growth application only, and use Ion Color Brilliant Pre-Color Treatment prior to color application on previously colored hair. Or, when coverage is more uniform, do a retouch application: First, apply color to your roots only. Five minutes before processing time ends, color the rest of your hair, only if necessary. Regular trims are also a great way to keep color looking consistent.

My color is too ash! Why? And what can I do? Toggle

If your hair is lacking a warm underlying pigment and you used a hair color with an ash base, the hair color can over-neutralize and go ash (blue, violet, or even green). Or, if your hair is overly porous due to previous chemical treatments, hair can easily go ash, too. When this happens, it cannot be neutralized with a warm hair color. The best way to get rid of overly ash results is to remove it with Ion Color Brilliance Color Corrector. When hair porosity is the main culprit, we recommend reconditioning hair with protein-rich and moisturizing conditioners and using Ion Color Brilliance Pre-Color Treatment prior to additional chemical treatments. Remember, you can always call our Ion color experts at 1-800-859-3112 for personalized advice and recommendations. We’re here to help!

Can I save my unmixed hair color or leftover semi-permanent color for future use? Toggle

Yes, you can! Just be sure to promptly place the caps back on the products after dispensing, and store them in a dry, cool place. Unused hair color can be stored for three to six months. When you’re ready to use it, be sure to perform a strand test of the unused portion to ensure the product is still effective after storage. If you have leftover mixed product, safely discard it.

Help, my hair color is NOT what I expected! What do I do now? Toggle

Don’t worry, our color experts are here to help! Call us at 1-800-859-3112.

How long does ion™ Brights Airbrush Tint last? Toggle

Depending on porosity, 1-2 shampoos.

What is ionic technology? Toggle

Ionic technology generates negative ions that break up water molecules to dry hair faster than most traditional versions. Negative ions also seal the cuticle to cut down on frizz and fly-aways for a super-smooth look.

How do I know if my styling tool is dual voltage if I don't have the original packaging or the instruction booklet to verify this? Toggle

All styling tools must have a rating label silkscreened on the device which indicates the voltage(s) they support.

North American power outlets provide between 110 to 120 volts. Outlets in Europe normally provide 230 to 240 volts. Voltages vary in other countries.

Dual voltage electrical items are normally marked as 110/120V-240V. If your styling tool only indicate 110V or 120V then it is not compatible with both voltage standards.

Can I use a dual voltage converter on a single voltage item? Toggle

No. Dual voltage converters are safe to use only if the device is compatible with both voltage standards. Most dual voltage flat irons and curling irons are automatic. However most dual voltage hair dryers have settings on them so be sure it's switched to the correct voltage before operating it.

If you plug in a device that isn’t rated for the outlets' voltage, it may be seriously damaged.

I am traveling out of the country and I have a dual voltage styling tool, do I need a plug adapter? Toggle

Possibly. Look up the countries you will be visiting online and check the socket type they use so that you will know the type of adapters you will need to purchase ahead of time. Don't forget that different countries also use different voltages so you need to make sure your device is rated for those outlets' voltages.

How to do I purchase an extended warranty? Toggle

An Extended Protection Plan can be purchased, along with the covered item, at Sally Beauty Supply store locations and online at When buying it online, select the purchase price of the item you wish to protect, add it to your cart, and proceed to checkout.

What is Magnesium technology? Toggle

Magnesium is a natural element with incredible heat conductivity and recovery for styling in a snap. The technology maintains a stable temperature and recovers heat more quickly, which results in less damage and salon-quality results.

What are the benefits of using steam? Toggle

Steam is the latest in straightening technology. It provides even heat and optimum moisture while you style. It also adds a visibly noticeable smoothness and shine, usually with less passes through the hair.

Does the ion™Steam PRO Straightening Brush work for all hair types? Toggle

Yes it works on a wide range of hair types--from frizzy and textured, to coarse and wavy --to create sleek and shiny hair. For kinky, curly hair we would not recommend this iron, but instead would recommend the ion™ Magnesium PRO Flat Iron.

How do I choose the right temperature for my hair type? Toggle

Choose a lower temperature for fine and thin hair and a higher temperature for coarse and thick hair.

What is the difference between an AC and DC blow dryer? Toggle

AC motors typically have larger and heavier motors, allowing for more powerful airflow and faster drying times. DC motors are usually smaller and lighter, but slightly noisier.

What type of water should I use with my ion™ Steam PRO Straightening Brush? Toggle

The ion™ Steam PRO Straightening Brush should be filled with filtered water only. Simply remove the tank, pull back the rubber covering and fill with filtered water. Once filled, re-cover the tank and click back onto the tool.

I can’t find my favorite ion™ hair care product. Was it discontinued? Toggle

The ion™ brand packaging was recently updated and refreshed, so many of the old products will look different in the new package. Some hair care items were discontinued, but you can find a similar Ion product that will give you the results you want.

I’ve noticed some ion™ hair care products have changed. What changed? Toggle

With the new packaging update, some of the formulas had to be revisited and re-tested for quality control purposes. Some products required formula and fragrances changes to stay compliant with regulatory and FDA standards. These items were rigorously tested and the performance was either improved or comparable to the old product.

Can ion™ LUXE Solutions products be used on color treated hair? Toggle

These products are perfect for all hair types, including color treated hair.

Are ion™ LUXE Solutions products gluten free? Toggle

The Opulent Shine crème oil is gluten free.

Are the ion™ LUXE Solutions products paraben free? Toggle

Yes, all of these products are paraben free.

Are the ion™ LUXE Solutions products vegan? Toggle

The Hair spray and Opulent Shine crème are both 98% vegan.

Do the ion™ LUXE Solutions products work with curly hair? Toggle

Yes, they work great with all hair types

How well does the ion™ LUXE Solutions hairspray hold? Toggle

It is a Flexible Medium Hold while drying fast and adding volume and fullness.

How long should I leave the ion™ LUXE Solutions Masque in? Toggle

After using the ion™ LUXE Solutions shampoo, massage into wet hair. Leave in for 1-2 minutes then rinse. For more luxurious hair, leave in for 3-5 minutes.

What’s the difference between the ion™ LUXE Solutions Masque and the Opulent Shine Crème? Toggle

The Opulent shine crème oil is made to reduce frizz, give radiant shine, and leave intense silkiness. The Masque is made to restore dry and damaged hair giving it rich nutrients while leaving it strong and luxurious.

Is the ion™ Volume line safe for Color Treated Hair? Toggle

Yes, it's safe for all hair types.

Should I use the whole ion™ Volume line for volume or just one product? Toggle

You, can use all 3 beginning with the Mousse on wet hair, followed by the Reboost spray, then the Finishing Spray.

How can I give my hair more volume? Toggle

Begin with ion™ Volume Shampoo & Conditioner, followed by applying Mousse to towel dried hair. Continue to blow out hair with a round brush, finishing with Teasing & Finishing Spray for ultimate volume and texture. Finally, add in the Reboost Spray before the Finishing Spray.

Will any of the ion™ Volumizing products weigh my hair down? Toggle

No, these are meant to build volume on all types of hair.

Can I use the ion™ Volumizing Reboost spray in place of a dry shampoo? Toggle

Yes, this products is great for second day hair & absorbs excess oils, refreshing the hair & scalp.

Are the ion™ Volumizing products gluten free? Toggle


Are ion™ Volumizing products paraben free? Toggle

Yes, all are paraben free.

What's the difference between the ion™ Volume Reboost Spray and the Teasing Spray? Toggle

Reboost is more lightweight without hold. The Teasing Spray adds hold & texture.

Where can I purchase Ion products in the US and Canada? Toggle

You can purchase Ion in any Sally Beauty Supply store or online at and Not finding what you are looking for? Unfortunately, it may no longer be available. For assistance finding a replacement product, you can always call us at 1-800-859-3112.

What are the key benefits of using Ion styling tools, and how do they compare with other professional tools? Toggle

Ion styling tools feature advanced ionic technology—the same technology found in styling tools used at full-service salons. Ionic technology provides minimum damage and maximum protection, which results in shiny, conditioned, frizz-free, and healthy-looking hair. Our tools and appliances are designed and manufactured under the highest standards with superior materials to give you salon-quality results at home.

Does Ion do research testing on animals? Toggle

Ion does not conduct animal testing or commission animal testing to be done on our behalf.

What is the difference between semi-permanent, demi-permanent, and permanent hair color? Toggle

Semi-permanent hair color lasts for four to eight shampoos, depending on hair’s porosity. It is deposit-only, non-oxidative, and non-damaging. It offers minimal to moderate gray coverage (up to 30 percent) and is perfect for adding subtle color. It won’t lighten hair.

Demi-permanent color is a very versatile hair color, because it lasts much longer than semi-permanent color (up to six weeks), but is less damaging than permanent color. It is sometimes referred to as deposit-only hair color or non-lift deposit-only color, because it’s formulated to deposit (add), but not to lift (lighten) color. Demi-permanent color is ideal for blending or covering gray (up to 100 percent!) and enhancing, deepening, or changing the tone of your natural color. It also adds intense shine.

Permanent hair color chemically alters the natural pigment of the hair—permanently—by lifting (lightening) the natural pigment in the hair and depositing the permanent hair color selected. That means your color remains until your hair grows out, is cut off, or removed by a hair color corrector.

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