What developer to use with permanent hair color? Use a 20-vol but check for some exceptions…

woman with dyed hair with doubts bites her lip

  • The permanent hair color is used with a 20-volume developer. Therefore, all coloring kits include a 20-volume developer. But there are exceptions.
  • If you are applying black or brown permanent hair color, it’s best to use a 10-volume developer.
  • And if you apply a super-lightening color, you should use a 30 or 40-volume developer. I’ll tell you why you should use these developers in some cases.


YOU MAY ALSO BE INTERESTED IN: 10 developer vs 20: which one should you use?


 Knowing what developer to use with the permanent dye can be messy.  


And truth be told, there is some logic to the confusion.

While most permanent dyes are used with a 20-volume developer and even the dye kits include a 20-volume developer there are some exceptions very few people know about.

What are they?


 Some dye colors don’t need the strength of the 20-volume developer. Other colors, however, need more strength than the 20-volume developer. 


Although 20, 30, or 40 are simply numbers, when they refer to developers they mean the strength that the hair dye will have to open the hair cuticles and fix the color in the innermost layer of the hair.

In some cases, the developer will need more or less strength. Do you want to know which ones? Read on.


If you color your hair with black or dark brown hair dye, use a 10-volume developer

10 volume developer for dark colors

 If you apply these dye colors with a 20-volume developer, you risk wearing out your color with its lightening power. This is also true when touching up your color because unwanted tones such as red or orange may emerge. 


YOU MAY ALSO BE INTERESTED IN:  Can you use a 10-volume developer with permanent color?


After all, the 20-volume developer lightens the hair on its own.

Because the developer has lightening power apart from opening the cuticles for the dye pigments to penetrate your hair fiber.

So, if you dye your hair with a dark brown hair color and use a 20-volume developer, you won’t notice anything except a nice dark brown hair the first time.

However, after several months and touch-ups, you’ll notice that your roots are dark brown, but your lengths and ends are lighter.



After each touch-up, the developer will lighten those sections of your hair.

My advice is to buy the dye and developer separately. Remember that the ratio of developer to dye is 1 to 1. If you use 50 cc of dye, you should use 50 cc of a 10-vol.


If you color your hair with a super-lightening dye, you should use a 30 or 40-volume developer

30 and 40 volume developer for super lightening hair dye

These are very light blondes such as 11 or 12.

In this case, s 30 or 40-volume developer is used according to the manufacturer.


Although you can get dye kits, my advice is to go to a salon. If you’re not trained in coloring, and you use a 30 or 40-volume developer, you can damage your hair irreversibly.

When could I apply the super-lightening dye?

For example, to avoid bleaching your roots every four weeks if your natural color is dark and you dye it with a very light blonde dye.


However,  the super-lightening dyes with a 30 or 40-volume developer can be as harmful as bleaching if you don’t have much experience in coloring. 


YOU MAY ALSO BE INTERESTED IN: High Lift Vs. Bleach: which one should you choose according to a pro


Use the 20-volume developer for brown 4, light brown, or blondes

blonde lock and dye elements such as developer and dye

Both brown and light brown are the medium colors on the scale. Therefore,  no matter your natural hair color, the 20-volume developer will have the strength to open the cuticles and deposit and fix the color. 


So, you can either buy the dye kit with a 20-volume developer or buy the dye and developer separately.

 As regards the light colors on the scale, namely blonde 7, light blonde 8, very light blonde 9, and extra light blonde 10,  they’re also applied with a 20-volume developer.

As the roots are virgin, the 20-volume developer will lighten them enough to cover the growth and leave a perfect even color.



As a colorist, I recommend you use a 10-volume developer with the black and dark brown dye. As regards the super-lightening dyes, you should use a 30 or 40-volume developer according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

For the rest of the colors, such as brown, light brown, and blonde, use a 20-volume developer. And if your hair is red, orange, or purple, you should also use a 20-volume developer to touch it up.

Deja Tu Comentario