Based on your knowledge of hair color, you may or may not know what a developer is. On a basic level, if you were to buy a box of hair color at the grocery store, it is the cream that you mix with the hair color to activate it. Well, they are not all the same and people ask all the time what the different volumes of developer are. Here is the quick answer…
The volumes of developer refer to how much peroxide that individual developer contains. In turn, the amount of peroxide determines how much the hair cuticle will open during the process.
The Different Volumes of Developer:
- 10 Volume (10V / 3% peroxide) developer will deposit color and make the hair darker that is was. It works by just barely opening the cuticle enough to deposit pigment. Therefore, if you are doing any type of color in which you need to just deposit color without lift (including most toners), this is what you need to use.
- 20 Volume (20V / 6% peroxide) developer is the most commonly used. First off, it is optimal for covering grey hair. Also, you’d use it to stay anywhere around the level your hair already is, or to lift 1-2 levels (see the different levels.)
- 30 Volume (30V / 9% peroxide) will lift the hair up to 3 levels higher and is commonly used with lightener.
- 40 Volume (40V / 12% peroxide) will lift the hair up to 4 levels. It is often used with lightener or high-lift blondes. Some high-lift colors even require double-40V for extra lift. Do keep in mind that 40V used with lightener can be tragically damaging if used incorrectly.
Less Commonly Used Volumes of Developer:
There are some other less commonly used volumes of developer such as 5V, 15V, 50V, 60V etc. Based on what you just learned, you should be able to figure out what each of them does.
Disclaimer: I would never ever recommend using anything higher than a 40V. However, there is a 120-volume developer, in which you can make any other strength by diluting it. This sounds pretty awesome, but do keep in mind that it’s hard to obtain as most shipping companies cannot transport it. Sounds like something you wanna put on your head right?
Now you know…
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With an extensive knowledge of hair color science and over 12 years as a licensed cosmetologist working in the hair industry, Hollee feels the need to share her passion for beauty with the world. She specializes in hair color science, hairstyles, hair hacks, hair knowledge, and how things work in the hair industry. She enjoys sharing her expertise and helping people achieve their personal hair goals.