Hair DIY: How to Use Ion Color Brilliance Bright White Creme Lightener to Lighten Your Hair (A Review)

Updated on May 7, 2018
hellovictoria profile image

Tori is a 26-year-old, three-time animal mom DIYer living in Northern Atlanta with her boyfriend.


How I Found This Product

I recently started a new job that doesn't care if my hair is dyed (score)! I've had the itch to re-dye my hair for a couple of weeks now, so yesterday I just went for it. My boyfriend and I went to Sally Beauty Supply to pick up my standard set of supplies and decide on a color.

Normally, I buy Ion Color Brilliance Ammonia Free Powder Lightener and mix it with 20 Volume Sensitive Scalp developer of the same brand, as I've always had good results with that combination. But when I went to grab the Powder Lightener I noticed Ion had a new product, creme lightener, that I hadn't seen before.

I called my sister, who is a hair-dye-at-home aficionado, to ask her if she'd ever used it or heard of it and she said no. I'm a little adventurous and I've always had good experiences using Ion products, so I decided to try it out on a whim. I didn't read any reviews until after my hair was already finished.


Ion Color Brilliance Bright White Creme Lightener comes in a 10.6 oz squeeze tube. which I think is a good amount for the price. Overall the packaging is user friendly. I used about 3/4 of the bottle during my first round of lightening, and the remaining 1/4 to touch up spots that I missed.

My one complaint about the packaging is that I feel like I missed a small portion of product because you can only squeeze out so much before you reach the hard plastic opening and can't squeeze anymore. I even left the bottle standing up overnight to see if any of the remaining product would settle into the opening but unfortunately, it did not.

The tube of lightener, along with the bottle of developer that I used.
The tube of lightener, along with the bottle of developer that I used. | Source


I've listed all of the ingredients on the back of the bottle here for reference. Before using any kind of lightening product, I recommend checking the ingredients for any known allergens, so that you don't have any kind of allergic reaction to the product. For some of the lesser known ingredients, I've included links to information or short descriptions of the properties of the ingredient - that way you can learn a little bit more about ingredients that you may be unsure about.

  • Mineral Oil
  • Potassium Persulfate (lightening compound)
  • Ammonium Persulfate (lightening compound, not Ammonia, click here for a video that tells about the differences)
  • Sodium Silicate
  • Sodium Metasilicate
  • Petrolatum (Assists in preventing outside dry-out)
  • Sodium Persulfate (lightening compound)
  • Ethylhexyl Stearate
  • Sodium Stearate (Soap)
  • Kaolin (White Clay, absorbs oil)
  • Magnesium Oxide (Mineral)
  • Sodium Laurel Sulfate (Foaming Agent)
  • Silica (Anti Caking Agent)
  • Titanium Dioxide / Cl77891 (White Pigment)
  • Hydrolyzed Keratin (Moisturizer)
  • Chamomilla Recutita Flower Extract (Calming Agent)
  • Helianthus Anuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil (Provides Nutrients)
  • Beeswax (Softens ad smooths)
  • Hydroxyethylcellulose (Natural Thickening Agent)
  • Carbomer
  • Xanthan Gum
  • Bisabolol (Fragrance)
  • Ceteareth-30 (Emulsifier)
  • Hydrogenated Castor Oil (Emulsifier/Fragrance)
  • Tetrasodium EDTA
  • Butylene/Ethylene/Styrene Copolymer (Viscosity Increasing Agent)
  • Ethylene/Propylene/Styrene Copolymer (Viscosity Increasing Agent)
  • Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Cross Polymer (Viscosity Increasing Agent)
  • PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil (Fragrance/Emulsifier)

Overall, after researching each ingredient individually, there seems to be a low toxicity hazard and should not cause much, if any, irritation unless you are allergic to a specific ingredient. One thing about the ingredients that I appreciated was the inclusion of keratin, sunflower seed oil, and chamomile extract, as all of these ingredients are needed to ensure that your hair is not overly damaged, is receiving proper nutrients, and that your scalp is not irriated while you are using the product.

The end result of all of those ingredients is a creamy lightener that squeezes easily and prevents you from inhaling a bunch of dust.
The end result of all of those ingredients is a creamy lightener that squeezes easily and prevents you from inhaling a bunch of dust. | Source

Supplies I Used

Ion Color Brilliance Bright White Creme Lightener
Sensitive Scalp 20 Volume Creme Developer
Haircolor Mixing Bowl
Nitrile Gloves
Tint Brush (helpful for spreading mixture in roots)
Processing Cap
Generic Value Products Conditioning Shampoo (Purple Shampoo, this is the one I use but you can use whatever other brand you like)
It's a 10 Miracle Leave-In (not required but it's what I used afterward)
All of these products can be found at Sally Beauty Supply with the exception of the It's a 10 which can be found at Wal-Mart or Ulta Beauty.

The Process

First, I took a shower the night before to ensure that any hair styling product were out of my hair. If you have residual products such as gel, hairspray, mousse, etc in your hair, it will mess with the lightening or coloring that you are doing and it may not take evenly.

The next day, I mixed a 1:1 ratio of 20 volume developer with the creme lightener in the bowl. I used the tint brush to mix it together. The texture of the mixture looked like a chalky paste. The more you mix it the smoother it gets.

From here there are a couple of ways to apply the product. Lightening products work quickly already, so you have to work fast or be prepared to apply and rinse out sections of your hair at a time instead of your whole head.

I think the best way to apply the mixture while keeping your hair neat and not missing any pieces is to use the tint brush. Do your roots first: Start where your natural part is and paint the mixture on. Once you finish that layer, lift it up and put it to the other side, so that you can do the section underneath. You may need a friend to help you with the back of your head, but with this product you need to work very, very quickly. Let it sit for 10-15 minutes, then rinse it out. After your roots are done, section your hair out in 1-2 inch sections using clips and apply the bleach mixture using your gloved fingers to rub it in. Let it sit for another 10-15 minutes and then rinse it out.

Alternatively, you could do what I did, which is not the best way but it is a way. I applied the lightening mixture with my hands, as if I was shampooing my hair, making sure to rub product into my roots and scalp to ensure full coverage of my roots. Then I went back over with the tint brush to apply product to any areas of my hair that looked like they weren't fully covered. If you do it this way, you have to be prepared to do a touch-up round, because no matter how much you think you've coated, you will most likely miss a spot. I was lucky and only missed some small spots on the back of my head so I just did a quick touchup round and was ready to go.

During each rinse, I used the Generic Value Products Purple Shampoo to remove brassiness and tone down the yellow that comes with lightening my hair. I followed up with OGX Coconut Water Conditioner, and rinsed with cold water to seal my hair cuticles

After getting out of the shower, I used It's a 10 Miracle Leave-In to help rehydrate my hair after lightening. I waited 2 hours in between my first round and my touch up round, so that my hair could mostly air dry and rest a little bit. When I went back for my touchup round, I used my hair dryer on the warm setting (not hot) and the diffuser attachment to finish drying it before applying my touchup round using the tint brush and only covering areas that needed extra attention.

After rinsing the touch up lightener out, I did two rounds of purple shampoo - the first to remove as much of the lightening mixture as I could, and the second round I let it sit for about 7 minutes before rinsing to remove as much brassiness as possible. I followed up again with conditioner and then the leave in product after I got out of the shower.

The lightener worked incredibly quickly. This is only five minutes or so after I finished putting all of the lightener in.
The lightener worked incredibly quickly. This is only five minutes or so after I finished putting all of the lightener in. | Source
Here's a back view.
Here's a back view. | Source


Overall, I was very impressed with this creme lightener and would recommend it if you're looking to lighten your hair and dye it a bright color! I had no issues with using powder lightener, but I appreciated how fast this product worked once applied to my hair. My hair was originally a dark blonde with some residual yellow-blonde highlights at the bottom. This product lifted my hair so quickly that I only left it on for about 10 minutes before rinsing each time. The only thing I felt was a slight warming feeling on my scalp as the lightener reacted with the developer - no burning or stinging.

My hair felt soft and shiny, and split/fried ends were minimal. For my just-above-shoulder-length hair, I only needed to use one bottle to achieve the desired color, but if your hair is longer than mine you may have to use two. I bought two 8 oz bottles of 20 volume developer to use with this lightener and it ended up being the right amount, as I only needed about 10.5 oz of developer for a 1:1 mixing ratio. You will definitely need purple shampoo, because as with any hair lightening product it will typically lift to a yellow-blonde. If you have any other dyed colors in your hair at the time of using this product, you may have different results.


If you have used this product, would you recommend it?

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This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

Questions & Answers

  • What is developer used for when dyeing hair?

    Developer is what is used to lift your hair color level. It often has peroxide in it. The higher the number on the developer the quicker it works and the more damaging it can be if used incorrectly. I typically use volume 10 if I am removing color from already lightened hair, and volume 20 if I am lightening virgin hair. However, if your hair is naturally medium blonde or lighter, you shouldn't ever need to go higher than volume 10 to lighten.

  • Did you tone your hair? Should I tone mine if it's orange?

    No, I did not have to tone my hair after because my hair doesn't have red tones because it is naturally dark blonde. Orange can happen after any lightening process if you're lifting from a darker or more red-toned color, in which case you will need to tone once you're done. I recommend Wella T-18.


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    • hellovictoria profile imageAUTHOR


      4 months ago from Atlanta

      @milly, you can for permanent or Demi permanent dye - I've never mixed developer with semi permanent though - never needed to!

    • profile image


      4 months ago

      hi can I mix ion sensitive developer with one n only hari color

    • profile image


      7 months ago

      I love that product, works great


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