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Hello again, and THANK YOU very much for visiting my Organic Hair Color Review website. For those of you who don’t know me, I’m Melanie Nickels, a ranking member, exam evaluator, and the only organic educator in the American Board of Certified Hair Colorists organization here in the U.S. I am the founder of the first organic / non-toxic salon in Southwest Florida, Raw Hair Organic Salon in Naples. I am also the creator / founder of Raw Hair Organics, a professional natural / organic hair products line. I hold college degrees in both accounting and business, as well as being a 16+ year professional stylist & salon owner…and that’s just the beginning! For a full bio on me, click back to the home page and you can read a whole lot more about me and my background. I DO NOT SELL HAIR COLOR.
This weeks review is of the new Chi Ionic Permanent Shine hair color by Farouk Systems, based here in the United States. The story of how Farouk came to be is a good one. Here’s a quick summary:
First off, Farouk Sami is the richest hairdresser in history (his words, not mine). He is worth about $3 billion dollars (yes, BILLION with a B). It’s truly a rags-to-riches story. He came here from Palestine for college, planning on studying to become a teacher like his father. But a part-time job in a hair salon changed everything. He liked being around people and making them happy. In 1981, he opened his first salon in North Houston, Texas. He had gained quite a following as a colorist, but was allergic to the ammonia. Thus, he developed his own color line, and the next thing he knew he had distributors knocking at his door. It wasn’t long after that he was making in the high millions (dollars, that is). Now, he manufactures CHI salon tools (hair dryers, flat irons, etc…at as much as $300 a pop), as well his hair product lines. He manufactures about a million bottles a day…which he says “is better than printing money.” He has warehouses in Houston, Texas, South Korea, Belgium, and the Middle East. He sells in 92 countries world-wide. I was glad to hear that after about 7 years of manufacturing his CHI salon tools in China, he has started moving all of those operations back to the U.S.A. That alone is a good reason to support his business. Although his is a passionate & active supporter of Palestine, he is an American citizen of 47 years, and a true, red-blooded Texan, right down to his bright red signature boots. He is a flashy old guy, driving a bright red new Lamborghini and not shy in the least to brag a bit about his riches. At 70 years old, he’s not showing any signs of slowing down. Quite the contrary: at this point, he and his team of researchers are trying to create a blow dryer that actually GROWS hair….good luck with that 😉 . Mr. Shami introduced ammonia-free hair color to the industry 25 years ago, although there seems to be many hair color companies out there right now who claim they were the first…even though they may have only been around 2-3 years or so. As far as my research is concerned, his statement is probably accurate.
I purchased, with my own money, some of the Chi Ionic Permanent Shine Hair Color for this review, and took it to my Naples, Florida salon, Raw Hair Organic Salon, to try it out for myself. I also went through a training class with a friend and co-worker hosted by one of the Farouk educators. According the company, it’s ammonia-free, formulated without PPD, has no parabens, is anti-fade, provides 100% gray coverage, as well as richer, more vibrant reds & firery coppers…and doesn’t smell.
The product contains ethanolamin and resorcinol, but indeed, I did not find ammonia or ammonia derivatives (sic) on the label, nor does it have any wheat for those concerned about that. The PPD, which is pigment, is replaced with TDS (Toluene 2,5 Diamine Sulfate). This is considered a “cousin” to PPD and thought to be less of an allergenic. The product uses silk, oil, and aloe as ingredients as well. The color is a 1:1 mixing procedure, which is very simple compared to some other lines. One part Chi Color Generator and one part Chi Ionic Permanent Hair Color is the rate at which you formulate. The color comes in 3 oz tubes (85g for those of you outside of the U.S.), and one 3 ounce tube equals 2 applications. The tubes are marked in 1//2 ounce increments, which again makes for easy measuring. I was told to massage the tube to mix the silk and oils before using. The developers are a cream consistency so when mixed with the color, you get a thicker frosting like working consistency. This is good for bowl & brush application, not for bottles. NOTE: This is a PROFESSIONAL color line, and it is NOT intended for anything other than professional use. I did a little research online and did indeed find sources selling it to retail customers. However, when I read the feedback, I found a 14 year old girl who bought some, and when she opened it up was upset because “there were no instructions” (no kidding).
There are a couple different lines within the Chi Color line so that can be a little confusing, but we are referring to the Standard Series right now. There is a good selection of colors: 82 plus 8 pre-mixed additives. I found it to be true that it did not have a smell and it covered gray well, fading was minimal, and the hair was nice and shiny. Processing time is 30 min room temperature for normal or 45 min for resistant. Or, you can use low heat for 15 min, and room temp for 20 min. I processed all of mine at room temp for 30 min.
As much as I and my co-worker wanted to totally love this color line, unfortunately, there were a few negative experiences that I have to acknowledge. I used this color on my own hair, like I most often do before using it on any clients. I was one that experienced some irritation. My scalp itched while it was processing. The longer it stayed on, the more it got itchy, so after 30 minutes I couldn’t wait to rinse it off. Once I rinsed it and shampooed, my scalp was fine. All but 2 of my clients (who had mild itching) were fine with no reactions. My co-worker, on the other hand, had several clients that had itching with this color and a couple that had severe allergic reactions with burning. These were clients that have been coloring their hair professionally for many years with ammonia haircolor and had not previously had any issues.
The other part of the Chi Color line that I worked with is the Chi Infra Environmental Cream Color. It is an ammonia-free, non-oxidizing system with 19 colors. There is High Lift and No Lift. The Infra High Lift Cream Color provides up to 8 levels of lift and tones in one step. The Infra No Lift Cream Color is deposit only. In the High Lift, there are 3 blondes, 3 reds, and 3 browns. I used the High Lift Blondes. The key points they state for the Chi Infra Environmental High Lift Cream Color is: it’s ammonia free, oil based, lifts and deposits, has the ionic and far infared technology that lightens from the inside out, and it can lift previously colored hair.
It comes in a tube and is mixed 1:1 with the chosen color generator. Processing time varies (from up to 10 min under low heat to up to 25 min under low heat) and 5 min cool down, according to how much lift you want. I have also processed at room temp just fine. The consistency is fluffy like cool-whip, and it does leave an oily residue in the bowl after rinsing. I have liked how this product works for highlighting. It is easy to work with, it lifts the hair quickly and the tones are nice, and the hair seems in good condition for high lighting.
My co-worker on the other hand, did not have such a great experience with the Infras. She used one of the the High Lift Browns and she and her client both noticed it had a terrible smell to it (Strange)! Then, the stylist went to rinse her bowls while the client was processing and when the color in the bowl mixed with the water, it started turning a BRIGHT cobalt blue. The more she tried to rinse it, the more it stained…the bowl, the cleaning brush, the sink, and her hands. Needless to say, she literally sprinted down the hall to rinse and shampoo the color off of her clients hair. Luckily, the client had medium brown hair and it did not stain or take the cobalt blue color. I took some pictures and will include those in this posting. We are not sure if that was just a bad tube of color or if there seems to be some kind of chemical reaction when it is mixed with our Florida water, which depending on the time of year and the water tables, can be a bit aggressive. Regardless, neither one of us was willing to try that one again. I have however continued to use the Infra blondes after that without problems.
So there you have it. Overall, I think this is a decent non-ammonia haircolor line as far as the level of toxicity, but there seem to be a few glitches we experienced to be aware of. Everyone is different as far as sensitivites so what might bother one person may be fine for another.
Please, if you are looking to try a non-ammonia color line, or are looking for quality salon-professional products and/or tools, by all means try Chi. They deserve our business. It’s clear that they are trying to do the right things, and are putting people, health, and America as country first above profits. They are moving jobs back to the United States from overseas at a time when a majority of U.S. companies are leaving. They are spending considerable amounts of money on research & development of innovative products for our industry at a point in Farouk’s career where he could just as easily walk away and spend his billions pampering himself. But he’s not. And that’s commendable. And he deserves to be recognized for that.
I rate this color line a 3 on my scale of 1-5.
<For more information on the Chi color line, and others as well, visit my Youtube channel “RawHairOrganics”, or the following websites:
http://www.rawhairorganics.com (in the blog section on the left side of the home page)
I welcome comments, as well as suggestions for color lines or products that my readers would like to see reviewed. Feel free to email me with questions as well, and I will always do my best to respond.
Until next time, here’s to great, healthy hair….and great, healthy hair stylists.