Color Theory

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  • Thumbnail image of Hair Color
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Throughout history, people have been coloring their hair.

Ancient Egyptians used henna to color their hair. Greeks and Romans used vegetable extracts from walnuts and elderberries as haircolor. And, on special occasions, they used metals such as mercury, copper, and lead!

But that’s not the worst of it. During the Middle Ages, hair was heavily greased so that saffron would stick to it, creating a blonde look. The grease became rancid quickly and left an overpowering odor. And you thought ammonia was bad!

Thankfully, modern hair coloring is fast, easy, safe and gorgeous! Current technology has made haircolor products gentler on the hair and more accurate than ever before, giving today’s customer almost unlimited options.

Below is a brief overview of the types of haircolor currently available in Ion.

Semi-Permanent Haircolor:

Semi-permanent haircolor lasts slightly longer than a temporary color. It is also deposit-only and nondamaging.

  • Semi-permanent haircolor is deposit-only, non-oxidative haircolor formulated to last through 4-8 shampoos, depending on hair’s porosity.
  • Contains direct dyes.
  • If hair is porous or overly porous, color may not shampoo out completely. Continued application can, over time, create a “staining” effect on the hair.
  • Offers minimal to moderate gray coverage up to 30%.
  • Is NOT mixed with a developer.
  • Does NOT lift (lighten) hair.
  • Does not require maintenance of new growth, but does require frequent re-application.
  • Is perfect for adding subtle color results and for introducing a client to haircolor services.
  • Can be used to tone pre-lightened (bleached) hair.
  • Some semi-permanents can be processed with heat for more deposit.
  • Can be used immediately following a chemical service such as a relaxer or texturizer. When used immediately after a relaxer, semi-permanent color longevity is increased due to porosity. Results can become permanent or darker.
  • Does not damage hair and is considered to be far gentler than permanent haircolor. Requires a patch test 24-48 hours before application.

Demi-Permanent Haircolor:

Demi-permanent color is a very versatile product because it is much longer lasting than semi-permanent, but less damaging than permanent color. It is sometimes referred to as deposit-only haircolor or non-lift deposit-only color because it’s formulated to deposit (add), but not to lift (lighten) color. Demi-permanent color can last up to six weeks.

  • Demi-permanents are a good introduction to haircolor because they create natural looking results, are safe for all hair textures and are easy to apply and maintain.
  • Demi-permanent color can blend or cover gray up to 100%.
  • Refresh faded permanent color on the midshaft and ends.
  • Color correction (when going darker).
  • Bring color treated hair back to its original darker level.
  • Create a change in tone, enhance, deepen, or change the tone of a natural color.
  • Color after Relaxer, Texturizers, or Permanent Wave services.
  • Add INTENSE shine.

When considering demi-permanent color, it is necessary to take into account the current tone, texture, and porosity of the hair. It is not necessary to consider the natural underlying pigment because there is no lift (lightening) involved.

Permanent Haircolor:

Permanent haircolor chemically alters the natural pigment of the hair – permanently! It remains until hair grows out, is cut off, or removed by a haircolor corrector. Permanent haircolor always leaves a line of demarcation where new growth begins and requires regular touch ups. Permanent haircolor is sometimes referred to as “tint”, and the application commonly used is a “single process” because it lifts and deposits color in one step.

Permanent haircolor, which is oxidative, penetrates the cortex and becomes “locked in” by a process known as oxidation.

  • Permanent haircolor requires an oxidizing agent – usually 10, 20, 30, and 40 volume developers (hydrogen peroxide).
  • Hydrogen peroxide and color molecules enter the hair separately and combine to make larger molecules that cannot escape.
  • Permanent haircolor lifts (lightens) the natural pigment in the hair and deposits the permanent haircolor selected.
  • Most brands lift (lighten) one to three, and sometimes four levels.
  • High-lift permanent haircolor can lift up to four or five levels.
  • Whenever natural haircolor is lifted, the underlying pigment of the hair is exposed. The underlying pigment contributes tones to the hair color and affects the final result.
  • Permanent haircolor is available in a crème and liquid formulation. The best method for liquid application is a tint bottle while a crème is with a bowl and brush.