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20 and 30 Volume Developer to Lighten Hair(Ultimate Guide)

20 and 30 Volume Developer to Lighten Hair(Ultimate Guide)

In order to choose the right volume developer for lightening your hair, you have to learn as much as you can about developers.

They are known as activators because, without them, hair dye would not have an effect. A developer helps the color penetrate the hair shaft and turn permanent.

Hydrogen peroxide lifts the cuticle layer of your hair. Depending on the strength of the activator, the cuticle will lift more or less.

Hair developer levels refer to their oxidizing potential or determine how much hydrogen peroxide they have. Most hair color and bleach formulas use developers at either 10, 20, 30 or 40 volumes.

If you pick 40, know that it causes the most damage to them all. Now, let’s learn a little bit more about developers.

What Should I Do Before Bleaching my Hair?

I already mentioned that both 20 and 30 volume developers work because they penetrate deep into the hair and oxidize its natural pigment.

That is why, once you have bleached your hair, it takes a while to go back to your natural color but keep in mind that bleaching your hair is damaging and not recommended.

If you still want to bleach your hair, apply my tips in order to decrease the damage. First and foremost, if you have already dyed your hair, you should wait at least 3 months before bleaching it.

Also, try to keep away from flat irons and hair dryers. I also recommend using sulfate-free shampoos instead of regulars.

2 weeks before bleaching, I suggest that you do a deeply nourishing treatment at least once per week.

You can use homemade or store-bought masks. Another important advice is that you use coconut oil the night before bleaching. You can buy organic coconut oil.

It is solid and you can melt as much as you need in a double boiler. Spread it out over your hair and wrap it up in a shower cap. Leave it overnight and the next day, without washing your hair, bleach it. If you want to learn how to do it right, follow these steps.

How to Lighten Your Hair Right: 5 Easy Steps

Lightening your hair is not a hard process. But to protect your hair from greater damage, you should do it properly. Please, follow these five easy and simple steps on how to lighten your hair the correct way.

Mix the developer and bleach powder in a small bowl using 2 parts bleach to 1 part developer. Maintain this proportion depending on the quality you need in order to bleach your whole head.

Split your hair into sections for easy application. It is best if you start with the part underneath.

Apply the mixture with a brush. Start at the ends and the length of your hair because roots need less time to lighten. I suggest leaving your roots for the last 10 minutes so that your ends match your roots. After you have covered the underside, it is time to do the same with the upper part.

Cover your hair with a shower cap and leave it for 15 minutes. Check every 3 minutes of how the bleach is working on your hair. Never let the mixture on your hair sit for more than 30 minutes.

Once 30 minutes have passed, rinse your hair well. I recommend using a sulfate-free shampoo. Let your hair dry naturally. If you notice yellow parts, use a purple shampoo to neutralize them.

How Long Can You Leave 20 Developers on Hair?

If you are using 20 volume developer with hair color, it is suggested that you leave it for around 20 or 30 minutes on your hair.

Not only does the color turns inactive after 30 minutes but it can also irritate your scalp if you leave it on for over 30 minutes. This is why it is important to respect the recommended time.

Also check our complete guide on How long to leave bleach in hair 20 vol?

Can I Use Just Developer to Lighten My Hair?

A developer can bleach a “virgin hair” or hair that has not been previously dyed but remember that you cannot predict what color your hair will turn without color or toner.

You can get a light brown, orange or yellow. If you want to learn how to lighten your hair using a developer-only, please check out this video.

What Does 20 Volume Developer Do?

The 20 volume developer opens your hair cuticle. However, unlike 10 volumes, it provides lifting of your hair by one to two levels. It will lift your hair four shades.

This volume works best for blondes, especially high-lift colors. If you want to achieve a medium to dark blonde, you should use a 40 volume developer.

Can 30 Volume Developer Lighten Hair by Itself?

If you mix your 20 volume developer with bleach powder, it will lighten “virgin hair” by about five levels. The 30 volume developer, on the other hand, is used for lifting out the color.

Its main purpose is in bleaching and it can lighten your hair around seven levels, depending on the type of bleach powder that you use.

Is 30 Developer Bad for Your Hair?

Using a high volume developer can cause unwanted lightening and damage your hair. If you have dark hair, you should use a 30 volume developer.

But if you have naturally lighter hair, you should use lower volumes, such as 10 and 20. Keep in mind that the higher the volume, the greater the damage it causes.

What Does 30 Volume Developer Do?

The 30 volume developer allows you to lighten your hair while coloring by 2 or 3 levels. It also allows more pigment to penetrate into your hair.

If you have healthy hair that is not damaged and you want a long-lasting, lighter color, I suggest that you choose a 30 volume developer for getting the best results.

How Long Should I Leave 30 Developer in my Hair?

You should leave a 30 volume developer for 30 minutes. It will lighten your hair in a short period of time. Leave the developer your hair for about 30 minutes before you rinse it well with a sulfate-free shampoo.

Can You Mix 20 and 30 Volume Developer?

You can mix 20 and 30 volume developer. The 20 volume developer has the power to lighten your hair 1 to 2 shades while 30 volume developer will shift your hair 3 to 4 shades.

However, you should never use anything stronger than 30 volume developer at home. Box dyes usually come with 20 volume developer.

What is the Difference Between 20 and 30 Developers?

The main difference between 20 and 30 developers is that 30 volume developer is a medium-lift for five shades. A 20 volume developer is a standard lift.

It is most common among people who want to lighten their hair for one or two shades. The 10 volume developer is the weakest, while the 40 is the strongest.

What Happens if You Put Too Much Developer in Hair Dye?

If you put too much developer in hair dye, you will weaken your color. Meaning, it will not last for much longer. Also, you will be lightening your hair.

If you put too little developer in hair dye, you will prevent the opening of the hair cuticle as it should open in order to lighten.

For high lift colors, the right mix is 1 part dye to 2 parts developer. If you want to learn how to mix them properly, please watch this tutorial.

Does Developer Damage Your Hair?

Yes, however, it depends on the volume how much damage it causes. For example, the 10 volume is not that damaging while using the 40 volume developer will certainly damage your hair.

If not used properly it may cause chemical burns as well. Meaning, you should be careful when using a 40 volume developer.

Do You Need a Developer for Darker Hair?

When turning your hair darker, it can turn darker than expected. That is why it is important to choose a lighter hair dye. Also, you should use a lower volume developer than recommended like 30 for example.

What Volume Developer Should I Use to Cover Gray?

It is recommended to use a lower volume of a developer to cover gray. For instance, you should use a 10 or 15 volume developer if you believe that it is enough to open the cuticle enough to deposit the color.

How Do I Know What Developer to Use?

You can choose from four main volumes of a developer. Keep on reading to learn how to select the right one, depending on your needs and expectations. It depends on how much you want to lighten your hair.

10 volume

10 volume is great for use when you do not want your natural hair color to be lightened by the dyeing process. It used in color glazes and toners. These types of developers are also known as “deposit-only”.

20 volume

It is often used with permanent and semi-permanent hair colors. A boxed hair color that you buy in the grocery store often comes with 20 volume developer.

It can lighten natural, undyed hair of 1 or 2 shades when used with a permanent color. If you mix 20 volume developer with bleach powder, it will lighten “virgin hair” by about five levels. If you want to learn more about hair color levels, please read this text.

30 volume

The 30 volume developer is perfect for lifting out the color. The purpose of this developer is bleaching.

It can lighten around seven levels depending on the bleach powder. It is used by people with darker hair who want to lighten it. Last, but not least, I have a 40 volume developer.

It is perfect for super dark and stubborn hair. It bleaches super quickly. And its effects are more damaging than lower volume products.

Does Developer go Bad?

Yes, most developers should be used within a year of opening. In order to check the expiry date, check the bottle.

The number stated on it will probably be 12M or 24M which means 12 or 24 months. Just like any other product on the market, developers go bad as well. And they lost their effectiveness over time.

In order to get the most from your developer, I suggest that you always replace the lid and store it away from direct sunlight in a cold, dark place. However, do not store it in a warm place.

Also, remember that if mixed with bleach or color, it cannot be saved for later use. So, you should throw it in the trash safely.

Can I Dilute Developer With Conditioner?

You can dilute a developer with a conditioner. But the water content of conditioner varies from one brand to another a lot. Meaning, this makes it impossible to accurately calculate how diluted your developer is.

Can I Use Developer on Damaged Hair?

If you apply 30 volume developers without mixing them with anything else, then yes, it is safe to use on damaged hair. If you are toning blonde then it is safe to use 20 or 30 volume developer.

Any lightening process will damage your hair. That is for sure. This is why it is important to do a test before adding new products for your hair. This will help you check the outcome before you actually use the new developer.

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, I have managed to answer all your questions associated with 20 and 30 volume developers and how to pick the right one. I also tried to answer some frequently asked questions on the internet.

However, feel free to ask your own questions in the comment section below.

I will be more than happy to answer them for you. Please, follow our website for interesting articles and do not forget to share this one with your loved ones on social media profiles. You never know who needs this type of information.

Lisa Williams

Sunday 6th of June 2021

I've never heard of starting on your ends. My hair stylist always starts on my roots....


Thursday 4th of June 2020

If I don't have enough 30 developer can I just add 20 developer and if so what is the new strength of the developer

Rachel Branan

Friday 24th of April 2020

This was my question I've been researching alot. You should check out some You Tube videos! I've read that it does with a good bleach powder like the Loreal blue one and using t18 Wella toner! I'm trying to get the courage to Bleach my dark hair!!


Friday 11th of June 2021

Do it! This exactly what I did and love it!!!


Thursday 5th of March 2020

I have brown hair.will 30 volume remove my natural color so I can go very blond