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Do you mix developer with Pravana ChromaSilk Vivids?

Vivid, long-lasting hair color is a popular request at many salons. Clients want eye-catching hues that will stay true for weeks. To achieve this goal, stylists often turn to professional semi-permanent hair color lines like Pravana ChromaSilk Vivids. But can you mix these vivid tones with developers to boost intensity or longevity? Let’s take a look.

What is Pravana ChromaSilk Vivids?

Pravana ChromaSilk Vivids are a line of pre-mixed, semi-permanent hair colors made for creative coloring. The creamy formula deposits intense pigment onto the hair for ultra-vibrant results. The colors are available in over 60 fun shades like emerald, violet, and fire engine red.

Some key features of Pravana Vivids include:

  • Pre-mixed formula – no developer needed
  • Semi-permanent results that fade gradually over 6-10 washes
  • No ammonia or peroxide
  • Vegan and cruelty-free
  • Multi-dimensional shine
  • Minimal hair damage since coloring process opens the cuticle less

The vivid tones are ideal for fashion looks, mermaid hair, pops of color, ombre, and vivid full heads. Since the Vivids are pre-mixed, they provide an easy way for stylists to achieve bold hair color results.

Should You Mix Developer With Pravana Vivids?

Pravana ChromaSilk Vivids are designed to be used as stand-alone color with no developer added. The instructions state not to mix the Vivids with peroxide or any other additives.

There are a few reasons why developer should not be added to Vivids:

  • The vivid pigments are already saturated at their maximum intensity. Developer will not make the color any brighter.
  • Developer contains peroxide which opens the cuticle more to lift color. Since Vivids are direct dyes that only stain the outer cuticle, this extra lifting action is not needed.
  • Mixing developer can oxidize the vivid pigments, potentially causing the color molecules to swell and become too big to penetrate the hair properly. This could lead to uneven results.
  • Developer could counteract the conditioning agents in the Vivids, making the color formula more drying on the hair.
  • The Vivids may not process or rinse well if mixed with developer, leading to staining of skin and other unwanted issues.

Overall, Pravana does not recommend diluting down the Vivids with developer or any other product. The vivid color is concentrated exactly the way it needs to be for optimal results.

Will Developer Make Pravana Vivids Last Longer?

Some stylists wonder if adding developer to Pravana Vivids will help the color last longer on the hair. It’s understandable to want the vivid results to have more longevity.

Unfortunately, mixing developer with Vivids will not extend the length of time the color remains vibrant. Here’s why:

  • Vivids are direct dyes that only coat the outer hair cuticle. Developer works by opening the cuticle to deposit color deeper in the cortex. But Vivids do not penetrate into the cortex, so this action is fruitless.
  • The vivid color molecules are too large to penetrate the cortex, even with added developer. So the core color payoff will not be greater.
  • Oxidizing the Vivids with developer may even cause the color to fade faster, since oxidation can break down direct dye pigments.
  • Using developer is more likely to damage the hair cuticle since it will require a longer processing time. A rougher cuticle surface will cause the vivid color to fade quicker.

If clients want longer-lasting vivid color, it’s better to switch to a different long-lasting color line designed for permanence rather than trying to change the chemical behavior of the Vivids with developer.

Developer Dilution Ratios

Again, Pravana clearly states not to mix developer with the ChromaSilk Vivids color. Diluting the pre-mixed formula is not recommended or endorsed by the company.

If a stylist chooses to go against this recommendation and adds developer anyway, Pravana suggests no more than a 1:2 ratio, which is one part Vivids to two parts developer. This very weak dilution is advised to minimize potential damage to the vivid pigments. But the best practice is to not dilute the Vivids at all.

Lift and Deposit Method

There is one exception where you may pre-lighten the hair before applying Pravana ChromaSilk Vivids. This is when using the lift and deposit technique.

With this method, the stylist will first lightly lift or bleach the hair using developer and a low volume peroxide like 10 or 20 vol. This opens the cuticle partially and removes any underlying pigment. Then immediately apply the pure undiluted Vivids shade directly to the lifted hair. The cuticle remains open just enough for the large vivid pigments to grab on and show brightly.

This lift and deposit approach can boost the intensity of the Vivids results. But again, the Vivids are still applied directly with no developer added. The developer is only used initially in the lifting step, followed by plain Vivids application.

Mixing Vivids With Other Brands of Color

In addition to not mixing with developer, Pravana also does not recommend blending ChromaSilk Vivids with permanent hair color brands, bleach, lighteners, or toners. The vivid dyes have a unique concentrated formula tailored specifically for semi-permanent results.

Mixing Vivids with other color lines can cause a few potential issues such as:

  • The vivid pigments may oxidize and turn muddy or dull from the peroxide in permanent color or lightener.
  • The color payoff may become uneven or unpredictable.
  • It may be harder to control the timing and accuracy of the color results.
  • The hair could become damaged from improper processing.
  • The Vivids may not rinse cleanly which could stain the skin or other surfaces.

For best results, it’s advisable to use Vivids as a stand-alone vivid color treatment. If permanent root coverage is needed at the same time as a vivid refresh, the two color services can be done separately. Permanent color first, followed by undiluted Vivids on mid-lengths and ends only.

Using Additives With Pravana Vivids

Pravana states that ChromaSilk Vivids should be used as-is straight from the tube without any additives. Water, conditioners, developers, accelerators, or other mix-ins should not be added according to the manufacturer.

Adding foreign substances not approved by Pravana can impair the performance of the vivid dye. It may alter the viscosity, process time, oxidation rate, adhesion to hair, and final results. Sticking to the pure formula as intended is best.

The only exception could be adding a bit of daily or leave-in conditioner to the finished vivid color mixture right before application. Some stylists do this to help detangle and evenly distribute the Vivids through stubborn or dense hair. However, it should just be a small amount of conditioner as too much can dilute the pigment load.

Using Pravana Vivids With Low-Volume Developer

Stylists should never mix Pravana ChromaSilk Vivids with high strength developers like 30 volume or 40 volume. This will definitely damage the vivid dyes and likely the hair too.

What about low volume developers like 10 or 20? While not advised, some colorists report carefully using an equal 1:1 ratio of Vivids to 10 volume developer to help open the cuticle just enough for marginally better vivid results. This very weak dilution does minimize the risks compared to high strength developers. However, Pravana still does not officially recommend this practice.

At the end of the day, Vivids will look most vibrant used according to the instructions with no developer added. The pre-mixed formula needs no extra help to maximize its intense color payout and shine.

The Takeaway

To summarize, Pravana ChromaSilk Vivids should not be mixed with developers or other additives according to the manufacturer. The vivid permanent hair color is designed to be used as-is straight from the tube. While some stylists may experiment with diluting or mixing, this poses risks of damaging the hair or altering the final results. For best practice and safety, stick to applying Vivids undiluted.

The vibrancy and longevity of ChromaSilk Vivids comes from its unique highly-concentrated formula. Diluting will not significantly improve the color payoff or longevity. If you want more permanence, it’s better to switch color lines instead of trying to fundamentally change the chemistry of Vivids. When used properly as intended, Pravana Vivids will deliver stunning stand-out color.

As an innovator in creative hair color, Pravana puts years of research into developing the ideal vivid shades and formulations. Trust the brand’s recommendations for how to use their products for awesome results every time.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why shouldn’t you add developer to Pravana Vivids?

Developer contains peroxide that can oxidize and damage the vivid dye molecules. Vivids are direct dyes that only coat the outer hair cuticle, so they do not require a developer to open the cuticle and deposit color. Dilution will not make the Vivids brighter.

Does 20 volume developer make Pravana Vivids last longer?

No, developer does not extend the longevity of Pravana Vivids. Vivids fade over time on their own based on the gradual washing away of the direct dye pigments sitting on the hair cuticle. Using developer will not deposit more Vivids into the hair cortex to make it last longer.

What happens if you add 40 volume developer to Pravana Vivids?

High strength developers like 40 vol will likely damage the vivid pigments leading to color that looks faded and dull. It can also severely dry out and break the hair. Do not use anything higher than 20 vol with extreme caution. Never mix with 30 or 40 volume developer.

Can you mix Pravana Vivids with permanent color?

It is not recommended to mix Vivids with permanent color brands, bleach, lightener, or toners. The peroxide can oxidize the vivid pigments, leading to lackluster results. Each color line should be used separately for best results.

Is it OK to add conditioner to Pravana Vivids?

A small amount of daily or leave-in conditioner can be added to the Vivids right before application to help detangle and evenly distribute the color. But too much conditioner will dilute the pigment load. Follow Pravana’s instructions to use Vivids without additives for best results.


Pravana ChromaSilk Vivids is a top professional semi-permanent hair color prized for its incredible vibrancy. While some stylists may be tempted to customize the formula by adding developer or other additives, this is not recommended by Pravana. Following the precise instructions for undiluted usage will provide beautiful, lasting vivid color. Trust the brand and their scientific understanding of how the Vivids bond best to hair. With the proper application, you can consistently deliver stunning vivid results to your clients.