Hair colorant developer, usually in the form of a solution, comes into contact with your hair to help it take on dye.
Hair can be bleached, but if you use permanent hair colorant instead of bleach, then the developer has the function of opening up the cuticle so that the color can penetrate.
If your hair is naturally dark, it will take on more dye than hair that is light. The developer has the function of allowing penetration of lighter hair.
Developers have different volumes, which represent how strong they are. Volume is indicated with a number attached to the term “volume.”
As you would expect, developers with lower numbers are weaker, and those with higher numbers are stronger.
The strength of the developer corresponds to the number of times that you have to leave it on your hair before rinsing it out.
In other words, a weaker developer needs only a short amount of time while a stronger developer needs more.
Let’s look at the 10 and 40 volume developers.
10 Volume Developer
It is a standard oxidizing level for no-lift, permanent hair color. The 10 developer is fit for self-use coloring.
The 10 volume developer should not be confused with toners, which are clear liquids used to alter the shade of hair color without lightening it.
It is not necessary to dilute developers because they are already pre-mixed to an appropriate concentration level.
To mix, pour the entire bottle of developer into the color paste or gel. No other dilution is necessary.
The standard level for permanent hair color is 10 volumes, referring to the amount of hydrogen peroxide in the mixture.
This standard ratio will lift natural levels 4 levels (2×2) if left on long enough due to its high peroxide content.
40 Volume Developer
It is the most potent developer with the ability to make critical alterations. The developer lifts hair in four hues and can be used for blondes, especially high-lift colors.
This developer is also an excellent choice for toning hair.
The 40 volume developer can lift lightened hair to four shades lighter than roots or natural color.
This number should only be used when processing colored hair because it’s too strong for virgin hair and can cause severe damage.
In addition to lifting your hair four shades, the 40 volume developer will also deposit. The developer can also be used to increase the color intensity and add tone.
As you can imagine, this powerful developer is not recommended for use with virgin hair, as it may cause severe damage.
How to Use 40 Volume Developer
A 40 vol means 40 volume peroxide solution. It’s far more oxidizing than 20 vol and is used when hair needs to be lifted.
It can be left on the hair for more than 20 vol, such as up to an hour, but it will damage more hair.
For use with bleach powder or cream, mix one part of 40 vol with every three parts of emulsion or water (1:3 ratio, e.g. 1 part 40 vol to 3 parts water) (Baptista, 2009).
Suppose using a cream bleach powder mix one part of 40 vol for every 9 parts cream (1:9 ratio, e.g. 1 part 40 vol to 9 parts cream).
– Mixing the developer into other products that are already mixed – Bleach Powder, Bleach Cream, Colour Developer (powder or cream)
A 40 vol developer can be mixed into these products. It is generally about 1 part of the developer to every 3 parts of bleach powder/cream (but this will vary depending on what you are making – it depends which volume peroxide is required).
If using a 20 vol, mix one part of the 40 vol to every 6 parts (1:6 ratio).
– Using it with 20 vol developer – Bleach Powder only
A 40 vol is far more oxidizing than a 20 vol, so when using it with bleach powder make sure you are very careful not to over-bleach your hair!
Mix one part of 40 vol to every 6 parts of 20 vol (1:6 ratio, eg. 1 part 40 vol to 6 parts 20 vol).
Make sure you mix the bleach powder thoroughly so there are no patches of white powder which won’t bleach!
– Mixing it with other products – Bleach Powder or Cream + Colour Developer (powder or cream).
As above, a 40 vol developer can be mixed into these products. It is generally about 1 part of the developer to every 3 parts of bleach powder/cream (but this will vary depending on what you are making – it depends which volume peroxide is required).
If using 20 vol, mix one part of the 40 vol to every 6 parts (1:6 ratio).
For example, mix one-part 40 vol with three parts bleach powder/cream and, if desired, color developer. Make sure the developer is thoroughly mixed in before applying to hair.
Can I Use a 40 developer Instead of a 10 with Ion Color Brilliance?
No, you cannot use a 40 developer with ion color brilliance. The developer should be 10 or 20 volumes.
When you mix the developer, the dye molecules get smaller and penetrate deeper into the hair shaft, making getting them back out of the cortex more challenging.
This will cause permanent damage to your hair from over-processing.
From the above discussion, one can use a 10 or 40 volume developer depending on what you want to achieve.
The 10 developers are used for no-lift permanent color. The 40 volume developer is the strongest and can be used in different ways to serve various purposes.
The baseline is knowing what you want, then choosing the right hair developer for you.