What volume developer is in box dye? Dark hair dye colors usually include 20-volume developers

  • The developer volume included in box dye is related to the color you choose for your hair.
  • Dark hair dye colors usually include 20-volume developers. Alternatively, light or extra light colors include 30-volume developers.
  • In high lift colors, the developer is 40 volumes. Be careful with high volume developers because they can lead to permanent damage and breakage.


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One of my clients surprised me today.

She asked me about the developer volumes in the box dyes at grocery stores or online.

Why was I surprised?


I was happy to notice somebody was interested in finding out about hair products.

I’m sure you’ve used a box dye more than once.

But I’m also sure you’ve rarely stopped to think about the developer volumes in hair dyes.


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There are several differences is between box dye developer volumes and it helps to identify them.

 The higher the developer volumes, the higher its power. 

High power in the coloring product means a greater chance of damaging and even breaking your hair.


Understanding the developer volumes in your regular box dye will help you learn how to protect your hair during the coloring process.

So, as my grandmother would say, let’s start at the beginning.

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How does box dye developer work?

cover ombre with dye at home

A developer is, quite simply, hydrogen peroxide. Its job is to lift the cuticle layer of the hair.

Hair is made up of cuticles that look like the scales of a fish. Those cuticles have to be lifted for the hair dye color molecules to penetrate into the hair shaft.

 And that is the function of the developer: to lift your cuticles so that your desired color can tone your hair. 


Also, developers have a lightening effect.

That’s when the box dye developer volumes come into play.

Let me give you an example to help you understand.


If your hair is naturally dark, but you bleached it to a very light shade of blonde such as extra light blonde 10, your roots will be darker when your hair starts to grow out.

In that case, as it’s aggressive for the hair to bleach the roots every month, box dye manufacturers launched box dyes with 30 or 40-volume developers.



 Because the 30 or 40-volume peroxide can remove the dark color from your roots and lighten your hair to an even extra light shade. 

The same applies to high lift hair dyes. They lighten up to 4 or 5 shades so all your blonde hair will be even.

That’s why you should be very careful when choosing a box dye.

How do you know about the developer volumes it contains?


 Once again, I stress how important it is to read the ingredients in the hair products you use. 

Box dyes are no exception.


Box dyes include a list of ingredients where the developer volumes is usually included.

However, not everyone reads them. So, here’s a list of developer volumes according to the color you choose.


20-volume developer box dyes

Each color has specific volumes according to the necessary power.

In this case, dark to light shades are applied with a 20-volume developer. What colors are those?

  • Black 1
  • Brown 2
  • Dark brown 3
  • Brown 4
  • Medium or light brown 5
  • Dark blond 6
  • Blonde 7


Most brands use 20 volumes for these shades because they don’t need much power.


Box dyes with a 30-volume developer

highlighted hair

Some brands increase the developer volumes from light shades like  Revlon or Koleston. They include a 30-volume developer from light blonde 8. 

Other brands do it in the very light and extra light shades:

  • Very light blonde 9
  • Extra light blonde platinum 10


If you’re planning to apply any of them, you should do it carefully to avoid damaging your scalp.

I recommend that you apply them to your hair without having washed it for 48 to 72 hours.


Box dyes with a 40-volume developer


These hair colors are achieved with super-lightening hair dyes.


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 These box dyes include a 40-volume developer. 

Use it carefully because it is quite harsh to the skin of your scalp. It could even damage your hair shaft if you don’t follow the instructions.

These colors are blondes 11 and 12, which are found only in super-lightening hair dyes.


When you apply these shades you also lighten your hair. So, I recommend that you start moisturizing your hair with specific products for bleached blonde hair or chemically treated blonde hair.



The developer is a must when coloring your hair with a permanent hair dye. You must consider the developer volumes you use as your hair can be deeply damaged.


If you dye your hair with dark colors, you don’t need much power. So, the developer in the box dye will be 20 volumes.

Alternatively, if you choose very high blonde levels, the developer in the dye box may be 30 or 40 volumes.


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