How To Lighten Hair With Developer: Step-by-Step Guide

What Is Hair Developer?

Hair developer is a creamy product that opens up your hair cuticles, allowing the color to saturate the strands of your hair and keep their vibrant shades for a long time. It doesn’t work on its own. It must be mixed with bleach and/or hair dye to develop colour. Levels of hydrogen peroxide vary and are the key to finding the right hair developer for your desired shade.

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How Does Hair Developer Work?

To make sure you get the color you want, developers help to either open or close the cuticle so that color penetrates more deeply into the hair shaft. They also determine how light or dark your hair will be in the end. So before you go any further, be sure to choose a developer based on your expectations. The hydrogen peroxide formulation can help lift color: This is one of the most common choices. It can also be combined with other products such as bleach so it can lighten hair, while still being able to lift color.

What Is The Difference Between Hair Developer And Bleach?

Hair developer is made with hydrogen peroxide, which is the key to developing hair color. Bleach is made of an oxidizing agent, like sodium hypochlorite. Bleaching works on its own and can be used by itself or mixed with another chemical compound to develop color. Bleach also has a higher concentration of hydrogen peroxide than hair developer.

Types of Hair Developers

With hair developer, you’ll find 4 levels: 10, 20, 30 and 40. The higher the volume number, the brighter and quicker your hair will lift.

  • 10 volume. It has 3% peroxide and barely opens the hair cuticles. This is a deposit-only option with no risk of damaging or breaking your hair. Permanent hair color that doesn’t require you to lift your hair can be used with 10 volume developer to maintain a longer effect.When you mix 10 vol developer with bleach, it should lighten your hair a little bit at most.

  • 20 volume. It contains 6% peroxide and works a bit better than 10 volume developer, it can even lift your hair up to 1-2 levels when used with permanent color. Most box dyes come with a 20-volume developer – this provides enough lift so you can cover any greys. It’s also useful for those who want to make moderate changes to the colour of their hair at home.

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  • 30 volume. This has 9% peroxide, making it much stronger than the 10 or 20 volume developer. It shades hair from 2 to 3 levels and can provide up to 100% gray coverage. This is often used for more vibrant color transformations.

  • 40 volume. It has 12% peroxide and gives up to 4 levels of lifting (4 shades). Just about every hair dye kit comes with a 40 vol developer, which is extremely damagingIt loosens your hair cuticles so color or bleach can easily penetrate your hair and work its way in.

Video: Lightening Hair Extensions With Only Using 30 Volume Developer (No Bleach Needed)

Lighten Hair With Developer: Step-by-Step Guide

Coloring your hair by yourself is easy if you do it with care. If you want to lighten your hair with bleach alone, find a chlorine-free bleach. For other methods of lightening your hair at home, find a cream developer. It is crucial to have clean, dry hair before using creme-based developers. They have a lotion-like consistency and do not require shaking. In other words, they are easier to apply.

  1. First, use hair clips to section your hair into 4 equal sections. You can read about how to section your hair correctly in our recent article How To Dye Hair Sections Properly? This will ensure you’re able to cover all of your hair evenly without missing areas. - October

  2. Add enough cream developer to the bowl. Start applying the dye around 2 inches below your roots. This will give you a natural and less time-consuming shadow root effect.

  3. Brush a clear solution across each section you want to lighten evenly. Keep in mind that the saturation level should be even and that too much or too little of the developer is bad for your hair.

  4. Cover your hair with a shower cap.

  5. After 20 minutes check and see if your hair has reached your desired level of lift. If you are happy with the results, rinse out the developer and follow up with shampoo and conditioner.

  6. If you’re not quite satisfied with the results, feel free to leave it up to 10 minutes longer. Rinse your hair with a lot of tap water. Dry it with fan to see the final result.

Depending on the type of developer you used, it should be approximately one or two shades lighter than your starting color.


As you can see, even at home you can lighten your hair by a couple of shades with a developer. You just have to be careful when choosing the type of developer, considering your natural hair color. If you follow all the instructions in our guide, you can easily get a shiny and exciting new color for your hair without too much efforts!