What is the difference between developer and bleach? Are they the same?

  • The developer or peroxide itself can lighten the hair slightly up to two levels. Meanwhile, the bleach powder, also called bleach, won’t do any process on the hair if you don’t mix it with the developer.
  • So, once you mix the bleach powder with the developer, you can remove the natural pigments from the hair by lightening it up to 4 or 5 levels.
  • If we talk about bleach and developer, the difference between them is that the bleach lightens the hair up to 4 or 5 levels while the developer will only lighten it 2 levels.


three shades

YOU MAY ALSO BE INTERESTED IN: 3 Best Hair Dyes to Lighten Dark Hair without bleaching (updated 2021)


In Spain, strawberries are known as fresa. Spanish people use terms such as fresa, fresita, or fresón interchangeably to name the same fruit, even though they’re actually different varieties.

Now you’ll tell me, “What does this have to do with the difference between developer and bleach?”


We often use different terms for the same thing when, in fact, they refer to different things.

So, let’s make it clear.


 Generally, the word “bleach” is used to refer to both the bleach powder and the bleach mixture. 

Although they’re related, they’re different things.

The bleach powder is mixed with the developer to achieve the bleach mixture that removes the natural or artificial pigments from the hair. Therefore, this chemical reaction can lighten hair up to five levels.


  • So, if we refer to the bleach and developer mixture, the difference is huge. While the bleach mixture lightens the hair up to five levels, the developer can only lighten it two.
  • Also, the chemical reaction generated by the bleach mixture is much more aggressive than that produced by the developer as long as we are talking about a 20-volume developer.


I guess that if you’re researching the differences between these two products, you want to lighten your hair.

I’d like to tell you when you should apply the bleach mixture (which we’ll call bleach from now on to make things easier) and the developer.

Tabla de Contenidos


When to use the developer by itself to lighten hair

If you’re thinking of lightening your hair slightly, you should use a 20-volume developer. It lightens hair by itself. In this case, you don’t need to mix it with bleach powder.

Did you understand?


I wrote a 20-volume developer.

 I didn’t write a 30 or 40-volume because the only thing you’ll achieve by using a higher volume developer is to burn your hair. 

Also, you should mix it with shampoo because it’ll ease the developer distribution on your hair.

Do you want to lighten your hair two levels?


These are the necessary ingredients:

  • Moisturizing shampoo
  • 20-volume developer
  • One empty shampoo bottle


Step by step:

  • In the empty shampoo bottle place 250 ml of moisturizing shampoo and 250 ml of 20-volume developer mixing them until they’re completely integrated.
  • When you apply the mixture to your hair, be careful not to get it in your eyes because it’s very irritating and can hurt them.
  • Wet your hair and apply a generous amount of the mixture, leaving it on for 10 to 20 minutes. Massage your hair every 5 minutes.
  • After this exposure time, rinse with plenty of water, apply conditioner, and leave it on for 5 minutes.
  • Rinse and dry.


You can use the developer mixed with shampoo once a week, every two weeks, to avoid damaging your hair.


YOU MAY ALSO BE INTERESTED IN: Bleach Powder and Shampoo No Developer: Does it work? Could it damage your hair?


When to use bleach to lighten your hair

before applying it to the hair

You’ll need to use bleach, the mixture of bleach powder and developer, when you want to strip your hair of natural or artificial pigments, to lighten it four or five shades, or to remove a permanent hair dye.


 In this case, you’ll need 30-volume developer to generate a stronger chemical reaction in the hair. 

The 30-volume developer will open your cuticles for the bleach powder to penetrate to the core and expel all the pigmentation.


Although the bleaching procedure is simple, your hair must be healthy. Unlike the 20-volume developer bleach, it could severely damage it.

Having clarified that, let’s move on to what you need to apply the bleach.



  • Bleach powder
  • 30-volume developer
  • Plastic container
  • Hair dye brush
  • Gloves
  • Hair tweezers



  • Comb and separate your dry hair into 4 sections, from forehead to nape and from ear to ear, and pin them up.
  • In a plastic container, place the bleach powder and the 30-volume developer mixing them until they’re completely integrated. You can add a few drops of natural coconut oil to minimize hair dehydration.
  • Put on your gloves and start applying the bleach from the back sections, distributing it from roots to ends with the help of the brush.
  • Repeat on each section. When all the hair is covered, put on a shower cap or nylon bag to maintain the reaction temperature. LEAVE ON FOR 20 MINUTES AND CHECK THE COLOR EVERY 5 MINUTES.
  • After the exposure time, rinse your hair with plenty of cold water to slow down the mixture’s action.
  • You can use your usual shampoo and conditioner to make sure there isn’t any bleach residue in your hair.


YOU MAY ALSO BE INTERESTED IN: How Long to Leave Bleach in Hair 30 vol? Bleach your hair safely


You can bleach your hair again after three weeks, but you should moisturize it during this time to repair the damage caused by these powerful chemicals.

What’s more, before each bleaching session, I recommend that you do a strand test to make sure your hair can withstand the process.



When you want to lighten your hair slightly, up to a maximum of two levels, you can use a 20-volume developer.

However, if you want to lighten your hair more than three levels or remove a permanent hair dye, you’ll need to use a mixture of 30-volume developer and bleach powder.

Deja Tu Comentario