In the earlier post, we have a deeper understanding of bleach and developer. We know that developers come in different volumes but is totally unsure how they work and which is suitable for our needs. Since it directly affects the color and shade of our hair, it is important for us to understand color levels and developers.
What is Levels?
Levels simply refer to the darkness or lightness of a particular hair color. From a scale of 1 to 10, 1 arrows to black and 10 points to lightest blonde. A developer is the oxidizing agent which opens the hair cuticle so that the color can penetrate into our hair. It disperses the existing hair color and lightens the color level depending on the strength of the developer’s formulation.
Most formulas of hair colors work with developers volume 10, 20, 30 and 40 in general
and the effects are as follow:
10 Volume (3%) Developer
A standard oxidizing strength for permanent, no-lift hair color. It is designed for use when you only want to add a tint or just a color tone to the current hair shade. Volume 10 developer opens the hair cuticle, allowing the color to penetrate and deposit into the cortex.
For mixing with bleach, a Volume 10 developer is used when your current hair shade is close to your desired hair color. It provides a gentle lightening of 1-2 levels depending on your hair texture and history. If your hair is dark and a major lightening is required for a particular color you want to achieve, then this concentration of developer will be ineffective.
20 Volume (6%) Developer
A common strength also with permanent hair colors, but it lifts the hair color level by 1-2 levels. A Volume 20 developer is usually the most common strength and has the best effect when a hair’s starting level is not more than 1 shade darker than the color you wish to achieve.
A Volume 20 developer is also a rather standard strength for mixing with bleach as it provides 2-3 levels of lift that is enough to take dark brown hair to a light brown shade. If your existing hair color is light brown, it will take you to a medium blonde hair color. However, this concentration of developer is not enough to lift a black or dark brown hair to blonde in a single bleach process.
30 Volume (9%) Developer
Works similarly to a Volume 20 developer, except it lifts a hair starting color by 2-3 levels and works best when a desired color is not more than 2 levels lighter than the existing hair shade. A Volume 30 developer is strong enough for most individuals to notice scalp irritation, though it allows you to achieve a 3-4 level lift with bleach.
40 Volume (12%) Developer
A Volume 40 developer serves only for lightening and provides up to 8 levels of lift. It is ideal for those who want to achieve blonde results and is recommended for use with lightening cream or powder. However, it is critical to note that this strength of developer is harsh on the hair and may cause hair burns if not used correctly.
- Do not mix the color formula until you are ready to apply – the mixture is only active for 60 minutes.
- Every bleach / color process damages your hair shaft – always use a protective hair care treatment (Olaplex is the most recommended) before and after dyeing.
- To avoid unrealistic expectation, have a goal before you bleach so that you have an estimate of how much lift you can achieve.