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How to Choose a Hair Color Developer: Volume Strength, Application, & More

How to Choose a Hair Color Developer: Volume Strength, Application, & More

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As the season transitions slowly from sultry summers to the motley shades of autumn, you might want to lose the current hair color and try a new one. From blonde to espresso brown to eye-catching rainbow colors, it’s time to dazzle with an ultimate makeover. Let’s start with the braids and get them with some color on them; as they rightly say, hair is the best accessory.

Now that you have planned to turn a few heads with a stunning hair color let’s introduce something essential to the coloring mix - Hair Developer. Have you ever wondered how these colors work or how we color our tresses so quickly? Hair Developer is your answer, and we decided to dig a little more about its whats and hows.

Also Read - A Guide to Hair Toner

What is a Hair Developer?

A Hair color developer is an oxidant cream rich in hydrogen peroxide. It opens up the hair cuticles, allowing the colors to penetrate the hair strands. The pigmentation of the color depends on the amount of developer added. Different volumes and percentages of the hair color developer are added for different hair colors.

For the darker shades, we chose volume 20.

For the lighter shades, we decided on volume 40.

Here is the chart that satisfactorily explains the volume and percentage of hair developers to be added to hair color.
5 VOLUME 1.5%
10 VOLUME 3%
20 VOLUME 6%
30 VOLUME 9%

Universally, there are four developers available in the market. However, our semi-permanent hair colors require significant developers with a low percentage of hydrogen peroxide, like five volumes with 1.5% of developers. Oxidation is the principle on which permanent hair dyes work.

Different types of hair developers explained!

hair developer
  • 5 volume developer- With 1.5% hydrogen peroxide, this developer lifts 1 level of shift in the cuticles, creating a minimal effect. It acts as an activator for the color. It is generally used for semi-permanent or demi-permanent hair color. Typically, 5 volume does not promise gray coverage, but with Moehair 1.5% ( 5 VOLUME) Hair Developer, covering gray hair is entirely possible. You should try it.
  • 10-volume developer- With 3% hydrogen peroxide, this developer lifts 1-2 levels of the shift in the cuticle. Allowing moderate penetration of color molecules, but when it is used with bleach, it is possible that it can give 1-4 levels of lift depending upon the bleach. This developer is a default developer for toners and glazes. It is often used to deposit color or tone-on-tone color.
  • 20-volume developer- This is recommended for SALON USE. This 6% product is the standard developer for gray coverage and can also be used for temporary and permanent colors. We generally use a 20-volume developer on dark hair. It is suggested not to be used as a developer for a toner. With bleach, it becomes powerful as it would lift 1-9 levels depending upon the bleach, with 1.5% hydrogen peroxide.
  • 30-volume developer- It lifts three levels with permanent hair color depending on texture & natural depth. It is used for gray coverage.

Purpose and Benefits of Hair Color Developer

  • Activation- To apply the hair colors, we must activate the hair color by mixing and mandating a developer's use.
  • Consistency- The thickness of the developer will help the hair color stick.
  • Color delivery- Used for color development in the hair cuticles.
  • Color removal- The developer enables you to remove the natural hair color texture so the new hair color gets the room.
  • Better results- For long-lasting and better hair color.

Developers are measured in volume or percentage. The degree of lighting/ darkening usually depends on % of hydrogen peroxide in the developer. The developer gives tonality, longevity, and consistency to the hair color.

How to choose a color developer

We are well aware that we need different kinds of hair developers for different types of hair colors. Here's how to pick up the right developers:

  • Temporary colors- Demi or semi-permanent colors usually do not require any developers, but a little developer is necessary for some exceptional quick hair colors. Weaker developers like 5 volume to 20 volume can be used in that case.
  • Permanent colors- It requires moderate developer volume 20, and volume 30 is more likely to be used.
  • Lighteners- Volume 30 or volume 40 is highly recommended.
Also Read - Demi vs semi permanent hair color


Do not color your hair at home, as you might damage your tresses. If you notice any kind of chemical reaction, visit a doctor.

Using the right developer volume according to the hair color or bleaching process you want to achieve is essential, as using the wrong strength can lead to undesirable outcomes like over-processing, hair damage, or uneven hair color results. It is always recommended to follow the instructions on the hair color or the bleach product. Before applying the mixture to your head, perform a patch test to check for allergic reactions.

How we reviewed this article:

Our experts continually monitor the fashion and beauty space, and we update our articles when new information becomes available.

    • Current Version

  • Aug 23, 2023

Written By -

Upasana Kakati is a lifestyle writer with 7+ years of experience in writing in the beauty and haircare industry.

Edited By -

Saima Ahmed with 8+ yrs of experience, specializes in crafting engaging content focused on Hair care, lifestyle, and beauty.

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