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How much developer do I use for 1.4 oz of color?

When coloring your hair, it’s important to use the right ratio of hair color to developer in order to achieve your desired result. Hair color comes in a variety of strengths and formulas, and the developer you pair it with can impact the intensity and longevity of the color.

What is Hair Developer?

Developer, sometimes called hydrogen peroxide, is a solution that is mixed with permanent or demi-permanent hair color. It comes in different volumes, from 10 to 40 volume, that determine the strength and lifting power on the hair shaft.

  • 10 volume developer contains 3% hydrogen peroxide and is used for toning and glossing.
  • 20 volume contains 6% hydrogen peroxide and is commonly used with permanent color for maximum grey coverage.
  • 30 volume has 9% hydrogen peroxide and is used for significant lifting of natural hair color.
  • 40 volume contains 12% hydrogen peroxide and achieves the most lifting for lightening dark hair.

Higher volume developers contain more peroxide and will lift and deposit color more aggressively. However, they can also damage hair if not used carefully so it’s best to consult a professional when using 30 or 40 volume.

How Much Developer Should You Use?

Most permanent and demi-permanent hair color kits will come with instructions listing a specific developer to use. This is usually 20 or 30 volume for darker hair, and 10 or 20 for lighter hair. As a general rule of thumb:

  • Use 10 volume developer for toning, glossing, or coloring hair 1-2 shades lighter.
  • Use 20 volume developer for permanent color or lifting 1-2 shades.
  • Use 30 volume developer for lifting hair 3 or more shades lighter.
  • Use 40 volume sparingly and with caution when trying to achieve extreme lightening.

It’s always best to follow the recommendations of the color brand and kit you choose. But if mixing custom ratios, a good starting point is a 1:1 ratio, meaning equal parts color to developer.

Developer Ratio for 1.4 oz of Color

Most standard hair color kits contain 1.4-2 oz of cream color. To find the right developer ratio for 1.4 oz specifically:

Color Amount Developer Ratio Developer Volume
1.4 oz 1:1 ratio 1.4 oz

Using the 1:1 ratio, you would mix 1.4 oz of developer for 1.4 oz of hair color. While the volumes may be equal, keep in mind the strength of the developers:

  • 1.4 oz of 10 volume developer contains 3% hydrogen peroxide
  • 1.4 oz of 20 volume developer contains 6% hydrogen peroxide
  • 1.4 oz of 30 volume developer contains 9% hydrogen peroxide
  • 1.4 oz of 40 volume developer contains 12% hydrogen peroxide

So while the ratios are the same, the higher volume developers will lift and deposit more color even though the ounces are equal. It’s safer to use lower volumes to avoid damage, then increase if the results are too subtle.

Adjusting the Developer Ratio

In some cases, you may want to adjust the standard 1:1 ratio depending on your hair and color goals:

  • For less lift or deposit: Use a 1:1.5 or 1:2 ratio of color to developer (e.g. 1 oz color to 1.5-2 oz developer)
  • For more lift or deposit: Use a 2:1 or 1:0.5 ratio (e.g. 2 oz color to 1 oz developer)

Again, more developer will result in greater lifting and color intensity. Start conservatively and increase the developer amount for subsequent applications if you don’t achieve your desired results on the first try.

How to Mix Hair Color and Developer

Once you’ve determined the correct ratio, mixing the color and developer is easy. Follow these simple steps:

  1. Pour the color into a tint bowl or application bottle.
  2. Add in the corresponding amount of developer.
  3. Mix together thoroughly until cream is smooth and consistent.
  4. Optional: Perform a strand test to check the color result.
  5. Apply immediately after mixing for best results.

Be sure to use a tint brush or applicator bottle to apply the mixture neatly and evenly across sections of the hair. Process according to timing instructions based on your hair type and condition.

How Long Does the Color Last?

How long your hair color results will last depends on several factors:

  • Hair type and condition – Healthy, undamaged hair will hold color longer than overprocessed or porous hair
  • Color formula – Permanent color will have the most longevity compared to demi-permanent or semi-permanent colors
  • Developer volume – Higher volume developers allow deeper penetration and staining of the hair for longer-lasting color
  • Aftercare – Proper shampooing, conditioning, and minimal heat styling helps extend color life
  • Re-growth – As natural roots grow in, regular touch-up applications will be needed

Generally, permanent hair color with a higher developer volume may last 4-6 weeks or longer. Demi-permanent or semi-permanent colors fade faster and begin showing signs of fading within 4-5 shampoos.

Tips for Longer Lasting Color

Here are some tips to help your custom hair color, or any salon hair color service, last as long as possible:

  • Use a sulfate-free, color-safe shampoo and conditioner.
  • Wash hair in cool water instead of very hot water.
  • Limit washing to 2-3 times per week if possible.
  • Rinse with cold water after shampooing to seal the cuticle.
  • Use a leave-in conditioner or hair mask weekly.
  • Protect hair from sun exposure with a hat or spray.
  • Avoid excessive heat from hot tools like curling irons and straighteners.
  • Get a gloss or toner service between full color applications.

With the right formula, developer ratio, application and aftercare, you can achieve lasting hair color results.

Consult a Professional

While mixing custom color ratios at home can save money, for the best results it’s wise to have your hair colored professionally. A stylist can evaluate your hair needs, recommend formulas and developers, and expertly apply the right ratios. Over-processing hair with improper ratios can cause severe damage. Consult a pro for an in-salon custom color service for beautiful, healthy, longer-lasting color.