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Hair Color Developers
By AMANDA MILLS 383 views

Hair Color Levels and Different Volumes of Developers

Achieving the desired hair color is an art. We recognize your strong desire to achieve your preferred colors, but the substantial presence of developers may encourage you to reconsider the idea.

But, for an overall lasting effect, the appropriate amount and right formulation of hair developer is crucial. A color developer is rich in hydrogen peroxide that lifts the cuticle layer and aids the penetration of the color into the hair shaft. If you don’t mix your hair color with a developer, the color will wash off easily. Whether you are looking for a subtle gray coverage or a dramatic color change, the right developer helps achieve the shade you want.

Hair Color Levels – Darker to Lighter

Hair color levels depict the depth and darkness of hair color concerning itself and other colors. It means the lower the number, the darker the hair. The level of color is measured on a scale of 1 to 10. To clarify, this doesn’t mean the color’s tint. It’s a way to understand if the color is light, medium, or dark.

Darker Hair

  • Hair Level 1: Black
  • Hair Level 2: Darkest brown
  • Hair Level 3: Dark brown
  • Hair Level 4: Medium brown

Lighter Hair

  • Hair Level 5: Light brown
  • Hair Level 6: Dark blonde
  • Hair Level 7: Medium Blonde
  • Hair Level 8: Blonde
  • Hair Level 9: Light Blonde
  • Hair Level 10: Lightest blonde

Lift vs. Deposit

A doubt that arises while choosing a hair developer is whether you want to lift the color or deposit it. Simply put, lift is when you go from a dark to a light level, whereas deposit is vice versa. Plus, you will need to decide how many levels you want to lift or deposit to consider the right volume of hair color developer.

Hair Developer Volumes & Uses

The volume of a hair developer relates to its strength which ensures consistent and uniform color results. To activate the hair dye and maximize its efficacy, it is important to pick the correct developer volume.

  • 5 Volume (1.5%)

With a minimal effect on the cuticle, the 5-volume developer is teamed with semi and demi-permanent hair colors. Offering gray coverage and a visible lift, it can shift the natural hue a little bit. It works as a color activator, creating a very slight shift in the hair color. When used with bleach, it can be a great choice for fragile baby hair.

  • 10 Volume (3%)

It is mainly used for depositing color and allows moderate penetration of the cuticle. The 10-volume hair developer is the default developer for most toners you may use. If you want to darken the hair color by 1 level, this developer can be your call. When going darker, it provides gray blending (not full gray coverage). It can give 1 to 4 levels of lift when used with bleach, depending on the bleach and hair type.

  • 20 Volume (6%)

The 20-volume developer is probably the most used developer in salons and at home. Being the standard developer for gray coverage and giving 1 to 2 levels of lift, it is often used with permanent hair color. When teamed with bleach, it can lift 1 to 9 levels undoubtedly, depending on the hair & bleach type. It allows 100% gray coverage and can be used if you’d like to stick to the same color.

  • 30 Volume (9%)

The 30-volume developer gives you 3 levels of lift. It may elevate the risk of over-processing when used with bleach or foil. Thus, it is ideal for open-air processing. You can use this hair developer for gray coverage on more resistant hair types. Mostly, people use the 30-volume developer with lightning creams and permanent colors.

  • 40 Volume (12%)

It lightens hair quickly and provides 3 to 4 levels of lift when used with high-lift colors and permanent hair colors. The 40-volume developer helps remove dark color pigments. It is your perfect match if you wish to go for highlights or vibrant blondes. Usually, it is used on hair lengths only due to its strong lifting power.

  • 50 Volume (15%)

Contrary to the 20-volume developer, this is an uncommon developer type. The 50-volume developer (or higher) is often sold as a professional product used by salon specialists. It is used for bleaching, highlights, and whitening.

While choosing the right developer volume helps get the results you want, it also depends upon the ratio of developer and color or bleach. Usually, the mixing ratio is 1:1, 1:1.5, or 1:2.

Pro tip – If you have fine or porous strands, go for a lower-level hair developer like 10 volume. Whereas if you have normal hair volume, it’s better to stick to the recommended developer volume by the chosen hair color brand.

Amanda Mills

I’m a Web Designer, Freelance Writer, and Digital Marketer with a study background in Logic, Philosophy, and Journalism. I’ve always had an unwavering passion