Hair Dye Review: Ion True Tones for Dark Hair

As someone with extremely dark hair, I never expect to get really bright color without bleach. But my greys were driving me crazy, so one night I ran to Sally Beauty to collect dye, developer, and some clips. I also stopped by Target for a round brush and a new hair dryer.

I was about to attempt something that should definitely only be left to the professionals: dying my hair.

After a couple of YouTube videos, I felt like I could at least do it without messing it up too badly.

A few things to note about my hair: it’s slightly oily, and it takes red dye fairly well. All dye, really. I’ve never had any serious problems with my hair breaking badly or anything when I dye it. It doesn’t dry out, and overall dye is usually a fairly decent experience for me.

The dye I chose was Ion True Tones for Dark Hair. It’s a permanent, bright color and I got 30 volume developer to go with it. I chose Red and Copper as the shades.

Mixing red and copper together was interesting. Red was a true blue red, a Marilyn Monroe lipstick red. Copper was just straight orange.

I did make one mistake – I used more dye than I needed. I now know for future reference that even hair halfway down my back doesn’t need two full tubes of dye mixed with developer. I had to throw a lot of product away, regrettably.

The result? Beyond my wildest dreams. With no bleach, my dark brown hair is now a gingery, coppery, Weasley red. It in no way looks natural, but it’s more vivid than I ever could have expected.

With washing in cold water and the use of sulfate/silicone free shampoo and conditioner (in my case, Love Beauty And Planet’s Coconut Milk and Jasmine), it hasn’t faded so far.

Here’s the before:

The light makes my skin look a little weird here, but I definitely have breakouts

You can see I had some old dye remaining in my hair, over a year old. I had 6 or 7 inches of root at this point, and quite a bit of greying at my temples and hairline.

This was the final result:

This is surprisingly true to color. It looks slightly darker in less light but never looks anything less than red.

I have never, ever gotten this ginger because I’ve never really bleached my hair. I’ve had highlights done by professionals, but that’s it. Never actually bleached my whole head of hair to get color this bright. I’m absolutely stunned, but pleased.

The lighting in those pictures is the same – the same room with no windows on the same day.

Ultimately, if you have dark hair and want to experience a vivid red, try this brand! They don’t have a lot of “mermaid” or “fantasy” hair colors, but they’re great for vivid reds on dark hair. I’m going to definitely be using this dye moving forward: just be prepared for a mess if you’re new to hair dye!