How to choose the right hair colour developer for the best result

How To Choose The Best Developer For Hair Colour

How To Choose The Best Developer For Hair Colour

Do you plan to colour your hair from the comfort of your home. For every hair dyeing with professional hairdressing colours it is almost always necessary to buy a developer (oxidant, peroxide, activator). But, it is often sold only in a very large package. But some brands sell developers in small packages for one application (e.g. Wella Welloxon Perfect or Schwarzkopf Igora).

The developer is a totally essential element in the hair colouring process. The oxidant creams contain the hydrogen peroxide, which opens the hair cuticle. Colour pigments, due to this process, can penetrate deep into the hair fiber and colour it. Without the developer you would never achieve a significant changes in the colour of your hair.

The hair colour and the developer are mixed in a certain ratio to form a tint mixture which is then applied to the hair. Mixing ratio is usually 1:1, 1:1.5 or 1:2 (for an extra strong lightening effect).

Benefits of Hair Developer

  • Activation – hair dye is activated after mixing with hair developer.
  • Consistency – colour that has been mixed with cream developer is thicker and stay in place without fear of drips. The developer also helps to uniform coverage.
  • Colour delivery – the developer deposits colour by lifting the cuticle layers just enough for colour pigment to slip inside.
  • Colour removal – developer opens the overlaps of the cuticle layer wide enough for natural colour pigment to be removed from the hair.
  • Better colour – the resulting colour shades will have more intensity and it’ll more long-lasting.
Choosing the right developer for hair colouring

Choosing the right developer for hair colouring

If you want to get the best result, it is important to use the right concentration of developer. This choice will also depend on the type of colour, degree of lightening, type of hair and quality of hair.

1) Developer Choice by Colour Type

  • Temporary colours – semi-/demi-permanent colours are mixed with weaker developers (3 Vol. to 20 Vol.) or even no developers.
  • Permanent colours – these colour are used with moderate developers. Usually 20 Vol. to 30 Vol.
  • Lighteners – it is necessary to use stronger developers to the bleaching powders or creams. Usually 30 vol. to 40 Vol.

2) Developer Choice by Degree of Lightening/Darkening

Choose concentration of developer according to how distinct you want to achieve hair lightening. Usually each 3 % of developer achieves lightening of 1 degree. If you want to keep your level of colour, use the 3% developer.

5 volume developer (1.5% peroxide)

  • Usually for ‘deposit only’ results. Its role is as an activator for the colour and will typically be in developers specifically made for glazes and toners.

See 5 volume developers

7 volume developer (2% peroxide)

  • Perfect for toning hair that’s already been lightened and for gentle bleaching.

See 7 volume developers

10 volume developer (3% peroxide)

  • Darkening of hair by 1 level.
  • It only works if you are going from a lighter to a darker shade, not the other way round.
  • Adds a shade or tint to hair of the same lightness level.

See 10 volume developers

20 volume developer (6% peroxide)

30 volume developer (9% peroxide)

40 volume developer (12% peroxide)

Lightening and darkening hair with hair colour developers

Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

3) Developer Choice by Hair Type

Type of your hair can also influence the colour result. Different hair types react differently to dyein*. For example, fine hair is easy to become lighter, colour faster penetrates into the hair fiber. While thicker hair may be more resilient during the dying process. Observe to the following rules:

Fine hair

  • This hair is easy to become brighter or the darker.
  • When colouring your hair to a darker shade, it can be darker than required. Choose a lighter hair dye.
  • You can use the lower volume developer than recommended.

Normal hair

  • This hair has a normal colour reaction.
  • Use the recommended volume of the developer.

Thick hair

  • This hair is harder to lighten and darken.
  • When colouring your hair to a darker hue, the colour result may be slightly lighter.
  • You can use the higher volume developer than recommended.
  • Also gray and white hair is very resistant.

4) Developer Choice by Hair Quality

The quality of hair can also affects the colouring process. It’s also very common that we have hair of different quality on our heads (e.g. normal hair with dry and split ends).

Porous hair

  • Porous hair is easily brightened and absorbs the colour very well. But the colour fades quickly.
  • Lightening: It is possible to use a lower volume developer or a shorter processing time of dyeing.
  • Darkening: You can use a higher volume developer to ensure better penetration of colour pigments.
  • Tip! Apply the colour on hair ends for the last 5-15 minutes.

Healthy hair

  • The hair has a normal colouring reaction. Colour is absorbed very well.
  • Follow the instruction on the box.
Keepping healthy hair

Keepping healthy hair

Colourwarehouse Tips

  • We always suggest using a lower-volume peroxide and working with time and minimal controlled heat versus using a stronger peroxide level and trying to go faster, which can blow the cuticle. A slow lift is a better lift!
  • The colour formula should not be mixed until you are ready to apply. Apply the tint mixture immediately to ensure better color penetration. This mixture is active for only 60 minutes.
  • Keep in mind! Always mix every professional hairdressing colour only with a recommended developer which is designed for the colour.
  • The very frequent application leads to a significant damage of the hair shaft. Do not forget to use protective -plex care (e.g. Olaplex, Fibreplex or Smartbond) during and after dyeing.

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Read how to choose the right hair colour developer for the best result


How To Choose The Best Developer For Hair Colour
How To Choose The Best Developer For Hair Colour
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