What Developer to Use for Bleach: A Guide to Perfect Hair

Bleaching your hair is a bold choice, but it can be transformative in the hands of the right professional hair stylist. Developers play a crucial role in the hair bleaching process, and choosing the right one can make or break your hair color transformation. In this article, we will guide you through the different types of developers to use for bleach and help you make the best decision for your hair.

The Basics of Hair Bleaching

Before we dive into the different types of developers, let’s first cover the basics of hair bleaching. Bleaching is a process that uses chemicals to strip the natural color of your hair. It involves three main steps:

  • Pre-lightening: This step lightens your hair’s natural shade and prepares it for the dyeing process.
  • Toning: This step helps to neutralize any remaining brassiness and create your desired hair color.
  • Conditioning: This step nourishes your hair after the bleaching process and helps to prevent damage.

The Role of a Developer in Hair Bleaching

Developers are also known as activators, oxidizing agents or peroxides, are essential in the hair bleaching process. They work by opening up the hair cuticles and allowing the bleach to penetrate the hair shaft. The strength of the developer determines how much the cuticle will be opened, and how light your hair will become.

Developers come in different volumes, with different strengths and levels of peroxide concentration. The most common volume of developers are 10, 20, 30, and 40, with 10 being the weakest and 40 being the strongest.

Types of Developers

10 Volume Developer

The 10 volume developer is the weakest developer and is mostly suitable for toning and touching up hair color – it can be used to deposit color, but not to lift your hair color. It is suitable for use with semi-permanent hair dyes or for lifting hair color by one level.

This developer is gentle and does not cause any harm to your hair. However, if you want to lighten your hair by more than one level, you will need to use another type of developer.

20 Volume Developer

The 20 volume developer is a popular choice for most hair color transformations as it lifts the hair color by up to two levels. It is ideal for coloring gray hair, lifting natural hair color or for achieving a lighter shade of hair dye.

It is essential to note that using 20 volume developer can cause some level of damage to the hair. Therefore, it is advisable to use heat-protecting products and to avoid prolonged exposure to the sun.

30 Volume Developer

30 volume developers are suitable for lightening the hair by up to three levels. They are best used on virgin hair or hair that has not been dyed before. This type of developer is powerful and can cause hair damage if left on the hair for too long.

Additionally, it is not advisable to use 30 volume developers on damaged hair as it can worsen the hair’s condition. If you have fine hair, it is important to consult with your hair stylist before using this type of developer as it can cause breakage.

40 Volume Developer

The 40 volume developer is the strongest developer, and it is mostly used for high-lift hair dye and for lightening hair by four levels or more. It is not suitable for use on damaged hair as it can cause severe damage and breakage.

It is essential to note that this type of developer is not recommended for use at home due to its potency. It is best used by a professional and only for specific hair color goals.

Choosing the Right Developer for Your Hair

Choosing the right developer for your hair is vital to achieving your desired hair color. It is essential to consider your natural hair color, hair type, and the level of lift you want to achieve.

  • If you have fine hair or hair that is already damaged, it is best to avoid using high-volume developers.
  • If you have dark hair and want to achieve a lighter hair color, you should use a stronger developer, such as 30 or 40 volume.
  • If you want to achieve a subtle hair color change or have light hair, you can use a weaker developer such as 10 or 20 volume.


In conclusion, choosing the right developer for your hair is crucial in achieving your desired hair color. When in doubt, it is always best to consult with a professional hair stylist who can help guide you through the process and make the best decision for your hair. Remember, it is important to take care of your hair after the bleaching process to prevent damage and keep your hair healthy and beautiful.

Commonly Asked Questions

What developer do I use for touching up my hair color?

For touching up your hair color, use a 10 volume developer as it is gentle and does not cause damage to your hair.

Can I use a 30 volume developer on already colored hair?

It is not advisable to use 30 volume developer on already colored hair as it can cause extensive hair damage.

How do I prevent hair damage when using 40 volume developer?

To minimize hair damage when using a 40 volume developer, it is advisable to use a heat-protecting product and avoid exposing your hair to sunlight. Also, ensure that the developer is only left on the hair for the recommended duration.

What is the best developer to use for dark hair?

For dark hair, a 30 or 40 volume developer is the best choice for achieving a lighter hair color or high-lift color.

What should I do if I experience hair breakage from using a developer?

If you experience hair breakage or damage from using a developer, it is essential to seek professional hair care to restore your hair. You can also use hair care treatments such as hair masks and deep conditioning treatments to help revive and nourish your hair.


  • https://www.matrix.com/~/media/new%20folder/hair-color/developer-volume-chart-en-us.pdf
  • https://www.liveabout.com/what-does-hair-developer-do-3517258
  • https://www.wikihow.com/Choose-Developer-for-Hair-Color

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