If you plan to color your hair from home, you can avoid the awkward conversations at the salon while achieving excellent results. There’s one product that works well to create that outcome: a volume developer.
Having an oxidant, activator, or peroxide available is almost always required to have your hair achieve the look and color wanted.
These products are often sold in large packages, which means you need to get the purchase right the first time around. Some brands are starting to sell them in smaller quantities, with a few even providing single-use applications.
With so many different volume developers out there, how can you know that you’re purchasing the right one for permanent dye?
Can I Use 10 Volume Developer with Permanent Dye?
You can use 10 volume developer with permanent dye. However, it won’t lift the dye very well and therefore, the results may not be as desired, because it won’t provide a good grey coverage.
20-30 volume developers, both do a much better job pulling up regrowth, giving you a more consistent and even coverage.
Still, if you’re looking to add a small amount of color depth to your hair, a 10 volume developer can be a good option as it will open the cuticle just a bit to allow the penetration of the color molecules.
The benefits of using a hair developer with your preferred permanent dye create different tinting and mixtures that produce unique results. If you want an extra-strong effect, a 1:2 ratio of developer to cover might be used. For something more standard, a 1:1 or 1:1.5 balance is typically acceptable.
Here’s what you can expect to see when using a hair developer with your color.
- Activation Benefits:The hair dye activates when mixing it with the hair developer, allowing you to start the process at application instead of waiting.
- Better Consistency: Color combined with volume developer tends to be thicker, allowing it to stay in place without dripping. This benefit also provides more uniform coverage.
- Delivery Vessel: Volume developer deposits the color on the cuticle layers with the hydrogen peroxide to help the dye slip inside.
- Color Removal: You can use volume developers to remove the natural pigment from the hair because it opens the overlaps found in the cuticle layer.
- Improved Results: The different shades from your preferred dyes have more intensity when using a developer, which tends to last longer.
When using a 10 volume developer, the product strength is not typically enough to provide benefits to permanent dye. You can wait for a long time to achieve the results and be successful, but this process increases the risk of hair damage.
Higher numbers for volume developers carry a similar risk because of the speed at which they work. That’s why most moderate or vigorous colors use 20 volume or 30 volume products to transfer the pigments.
If you plan to use a lightener for your hair, it might be necessary to use a 40 vol. or above to achieve desired bleaching results.
Guide to Volumes and Uses for Permanent Dye
When you look at volume developers today, you’ll discover a range of numbers from three to over fifty. Each product offers a specific benefit, which you’ll find more information about in the table below.
|5 Volume Developer:||This volume developer (and those lower than five) isn’t used that often, but they still offer excellent results. You’ll see the most success when using it with demi- or semi-permanent color lines. The goal is to have a minimal effect with the cuticle to deposit the next shade. It won’t offer lift or gray coverage. It’s an excellent choice for those with fragile strands.|
|10 Volume Developer:||With a 10 volume developer, you’ll get the cuticle open more for moderate color molecule penetration. It is usable with permanent dye for depositing color, but it won’t deliver lift or much help with those gray hairs. Those with fine strands might see a slight level shift lighter than expected. This product is the default found in most over-the-counter products.|
|20 Volume Developer:||Salons like to use 20 volume developers because the product offers up to three levels of lift when applied correctly. It’s the standard developer for covering gray, although some people with resistant hair might need something stronger. It shouldn’t be used for those who use glazes and toner.|
|30 Volume Developer:||This product is useful for lifting two to four levels while using permanent hair color. The caveat is that it depends on your hair type, although it is helpful for gray coverage. It shouldn’t be used for a basic deposit since it blasts the cuticle significantly. Anyone who prefers open-air processing would want to use a volume developer with this number.|
|40 Volume Developer:||A 40 volume developer can deliver a high lift color of up to four levels, depending on the hair’s texture and the dye’s power. Balayage processing is the ideal option for maximum results with less heat. Bleach and foils with this product can be a dangerous combo, so you’ll want to proceed with caution.|
|50 Volume Developer:||When you want to achieve a significant lightening effect with your color, this vol. might be the right choice to meet your needs. Although you can’t use them with foils, they can create the specific look you want with permanent dye. You’ll want to be careful using any products with bleach.|
|50+ Volume Developer:||Products above 50 volume have started coming to the marketplace in recent years. This trend is due to the popularity of hand-painting techniques for some looks. Developers with this rating are not intended for use with color or foils.|
Frequently Asked Questions About Volume Developer
What Is Volume Developer?
Volume developer is hydrogen peroxide. Although different companies add unique additives to create proprietary products, they all use peroxide to lift the hair’s cuticle layer. That’s why a higher number translates to more strength.
A 10 volume developer will not lift the cubicle layer to the same extent as a 40 volume developer.
What Is the Difference Between Clear and Cream?
Consistency is the primary difference between these two volume developers. When a product contains a thicker viscosity, it allows for an easier application with better control.
If the volume developer is more on the liquid side, the color goes further and saturates the hair more. Different color lines, specific to what developers work with for their various products, are why any permanent dye should use its assigned number during its application.
Can I Use a Generic Developer?
Since the main ingredient in any developer is hydrogen peroxide, it’s theoretically possible to use a generic product or an alternative brand with permanent dye.
It should also be noted that most manufacturers and producers spend several years creating a specific developer for their formulas. That means longevity, consistency, and tonality are typically only guaranteed when using the partner product.
What Is the Strength Equivalency of Each Number?
When you see volume developers for sale, each one comes with a number assignment. The most common ones are 10, 20, 30, and 40, although lower and higher ones are available today. Each number represents a relative peroxide strength.
- 10 Volume equals 3%.
- 20 Volume is 6%.
- 30 Volume has a 9% rating.
- 40 Volume is 12%.
If you see a volume developer with a percentage instead of a number, you can compare the ratings in the bullet points above to select the correct product. A 3% volume developer is still a 10 volume developer.
When Should I Use a 10 Volume Developer?
A 10 volume developer is the ideal choice when you don’t want your natural hair color lightened by the dyeing process. Although you could technically use it for permanent products, this option works better for deposit-only dyes. You’d use toners or glazers with it because of how long it would take to create results with other needs.
Can I Dilute Hydrogen Peroxide?
It is better to purchase the correct peroxide strength when the goal is to alter your hair color. It is possible to reduce the concentration slightly, although adding too much new material will ruin the volumizer’s consistency.
You should always use distilled water to dilute the hydrogen peroxide percentage. Tap water works in a pinch.
If you want to have a 10 volume developer, the best dilution method is to use 1 part 20 volume peroxide with one part water.
Here are some other mixing ratios to consider if you’re looking to dilute a stronger product.
|Dilution Need||Mixing Ratio|
|40 volume (12%) to 30 volume (9%)||Take 3 parts 40 volume to 1 part water|
|40 volume (12%) to 20 volume (6%)||1 part 40 volume to 1 part water|
|30 volume (9%) to 20 volume (6%)||2 parts 30 volume to 1 part water|
Does Volume Developer Ever Go Bad?
If you decide to use a 10 volume developer with a cream base, it should be used or discarded within one year of opening the product. You’ll need to check the container for the period after opening rating to know for certain. A few items are rated to last for two years.
Once a developer starts losing its effectiveness, the hair color results won’t be as consistent. If you want to get the most long-term storage capacity out of this product, you’ll need to replace the lid and keep it in a cool place away from sunlight. Storing it in a warm environment will hasten the degrading process.
If you’ve mixed the 10 volume developer with bleach or color, it cannot be stored.
What Volume Developer Brand Is the Best to Use?
When using bleaches and permanent dyes, you’ll discover that some products specify a specific volume developer. You’ll typically want to stick to that formula to guarantee the results you want.
If a specific brand isn’t noted in the instructions, you can use a generic peroxide to save some cash. Even better, put more money toward the dye or bleach to ensure your color comes out the way you want.
Can I Use Household Bleach for Hair Coloring?
Household bleach is an ineffective and dangerous product to use if you’re trying to alter your hair color. Not only will it barely change the tone and shade, but it also can burn your skin, damage your lungs, or impact your vision.
Only use a designated hair bleaching product to lighten things while following the manufacturer’s instructions.
Does Volume Developer Damage Hair?
A 10 volume developer by itself is unlikely to damage your hair. When it’s applied directly, it doesn’t have much to activate. That means the lightening effect is minimal, if noticeable at all. It needs another product to increase the risk of damage.
Peroxide can cause issues when mixed with dyes or bleach powders, but the developer itself essentially works as a softener.
Can I Use Volume Developer on Damaged Hair?
You can use a 10 volume developer product on damaged hair when it’s mixed with something meant for your situation. If you’re not using anything else, you can go up to a 30 volume product without many consequences. It is essential to remember that any lightening process does create damage, so it helps to apply strand tests before using anything new.
Best 10 Volume Developer to Use
When it’s time to update my look, I always turn to the Pulp Riot 10 Volume Premium Developer for the support I need. It’s intended to work with the same brand for maximum performance, but I’ve found excellent generalized results with it.
- Creamy Consistency Developer
- Vegan & Cruelty-Free
It’s a cream-based volume developer that comes from a vegan, cruelty-free production method. You’ll receive the instructions needed to find the right proportion or ratio to ensure your color comes out correctly each time. In return, your hair can become your canvas.
Some of the brand’s colors include neon and vibrant pastels, or you can work with a high-speed toner from Pulp Riot with the help of your volume developer.
I’ve also enjoyed using their cream bleach and clay lightening products.
- Blue Tint
- Neutralizes Yellow Tones in Hair
- With Quinoa Mild Bonding Properties
Beautiful hair with the color you want is only a few steps away with the right items at home. That journey begins with a great 10 volume developer.
The best way to think about volume developer is to compare it to an accelerating car. As the speedometer shows increasing speeds, your safety risks start rising. You can still reach your destination at 90 mph or 20 mph, but the latter takes more time. A 10 volume developer is like traveling at 20 mph.