What Is Hair Developer And Why You Might Need It

What is hair developer
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Hair developer is an important product for hair dyeing process.

If you are already dyeing your hair, you know how vital a hair developer is for hair color. On the other hand, if you are new, then you probably have a lot of questions. Well, guess what? We have all the answers you need.

What is Hair Developer?

Hair developer, also known as color activator or peroxide is a part of the dyeing process. It’s a creamy product that consists of hydrogen peroxide and it should be mixed with bleach or dye. The amount of hydrogen peroxide inside the hair developer determines developer volume.

You can buy hair developer separately, but it is usually one of those two bottles in the box dye. Make sure to purchase the appropriate developer that will not be too strong for your hair. Choose it according to desired hair color result, hair condition, and texture.

Why Is Hair Developer Important?

Without hair developers, hair dye wouldn’t have any effect at all. That is why they are called activators, they allow you to make the color you want. The developer helps the color to penetrate into the hair cuticle. The main ingredient, hydrogen peroxide lifts the cuticle layer, allowing the color to get in. Depending on the developer volume, cuticles will open more or less.

What is Developer Volume and Which You Should Use?

Hair developer volume refers to their oxidizing potential. It also means the amount of hydrogen peroxide it has in it. Hair color formulas work with a hair developer at volume 10, 20, 30, or 40.

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And which one you should use? Depending on the color you want to achieve. Low developer volume will be great for simple dyeing since it lifts the cuticle just a bit allowing color to penetrate. However, if you are bleaching your hair, then you will need a higher volume.

  • The 10 Volume Hair Developer – standard oxidizing volume for most hair dyes. It is designed for dyes that you use just to add a color tint or another shade of your natural hair. It opens the hair cuticle and allows the color to penetrate.
  • The 20 Volume Hair Developer – a bit stronger than volume 10, so it is often used in drugstore box dyes. Unlike volume 10 it lifts the hair cuticle by one to two levels. This volume developer is suitable for women with 50% or more grey hair. It does great grey coverage, so if you want to achieve that but not damage the hair, use volume 20.
  • The 30 Volume Hair Developer – Similar to volume 20, but stronger. It will lift up the hair color by two or three levels lighter than your natural hair color. Chose this volume when you want your color to be deep and lighter than your natural hair color.
  • The 40 Volume Hair Developer – the highest volume of all hair developers. It will lift your hair up to four levels and is suitable for women that want to achieve blonde hairstyles. Mostly, the 40 volume is used with bleach, for even better results. Use it with caution, it can easily damage your hair.

How to Mix Hair Dye and Developer?

Depending on the result you want to get, you will mix hair dye and developer in different proportions. Usually, you should mix in a ratio of 1-1, or 1-1.5. If you want to achieve a lighter shade then make sure the ratio is 1-2. However, we recommend always read the instructions that come with the package.


Is developer bad for your hair?

It is unavoidable fact that hair developers damage hair. However, if you choose low volume one, like 10 or 20, that damage would not be visible as much as when using bleach or volume 40.

Can I use a conditioner instead of the developer?

You can’t actually use a conditioner instead of a developer. When you dye your hair you need a developer to open up the cuticles, and conditioner simply won’t do that. If you would like to avoid developer, then use semi-permanent dyes which don’t contain ammonia and don’t need bleach to develop color.

How do I know what developer to use?

It is best to choose the hair developer according to the preferred color you want to achieve. Also, think about how many layers of hair cuticle you want to lift. Use volume 10 and 20 for 1-2 levels, 30 for 2-3, and finally 40 for 3 levels. For lighter shades, you will have to use bleach.

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