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What volume do you use for Demi permanent hair color?

When it comes to coloring your hair with demi-permanent hair color, choosing the right developer volume is key for achieving your desired results. Demi-permanent hair color is deposited into the hair’s cortex and does not lift or lighten the natural hair color. Demi-permanent color works by depositing pigment while slightly swelling the hair cuticle to allow the color to enter. Since demi-permanent hair color does not lighten hair, a lower volume developer is used to simply deposit color without significant lifting or lightening.

Developer Volume Options

There are a few common developer volume options when working with demi-permanent hair color:

  • 10 Volume (3% peroxide)
  • 20 Volume (6% peroxide)
  • 30 Volume (9% peroxide)
  • 40 Volume (12% peroxide)

Higher volume developers contain higher percentages of peroxide which opens the hair cuticle more and allows for greater lightening. However, since demi-permanent hair color is only depositing color without lightening, a lower volume developer is recommended.

Recommended Developer Volume

The recommended developer volume to use with demi-permanent hair color is 10 volume or 20 volume. Here’s an overview of each of these options:

10 Volume Developer

10 volume developer contains 3% peroxide and will provide the gentlest depositing of demi-permanent hair color. 10 volume opens the cuticle slightly to allow demi-permanent color to enter the cortex but does not cause any noticeable lightening. Using 10 volume developer with demi-permanent hair color will produce very natural-looking results.

20 Volume Developer

20 volume developer contains 6% peroxide and will cause a bit more swelling of the hair cuticle compared to 10 volume. This allows more demi-permanent hair color to penetrate for richer, longer-lasting color results. However, 20 volume does not lighten or lift the natural hair color. Using 20 volume developer will create more vivid, intense demi-permanent hair color.

When to Use 10 vs 20 Volume With Demi-Permanent Color

Choosing between 10 and 20 volume developers with demi-permanent color depends on the specific hair goals:

  • 10 volume is best for more natural subtle coloring results and for delicate or damaged hair that benefits from gentler processing.
  • 20 volume is ideal for creating bolder, richer demi-permanent color results and for coating resistant gray hairs. 20 volume can help demi-permanent color last a bit longer before fading.

It’s best to stay within the recommended 10 or 20 volume guidelines when working with demi-permanent hair color. Higher volumes like 30 or 40 can cause unnecessary damage by overly swelling and lifting the cuticle. Lower volumes may not allow enough color to penetrate for even results.

Mixing Ratios

It’s important to mix demi-permanent hair color and developer correctly to achieve ideal results. Follow the mixing ratios specified on the color brand’s instructions:

  • For 10 volume developer, common mixing ratios are 1 part color to 1.5 or 2 parts developer.
  • For 20 volume developer, common mixing ratios are 1 part color to 2 parts developer.

Only mix as much demi-permanent hair color as needed for a single application. Do not store mixed leftover hair color as it can oxidize and become less effective.

Application and Processing

When applying demi-permanent hair color, section the hair cleanly and use a tint brush to saturate all the strands from roots to ends. Allow the manufacturer’s recommended processing time, usually about 20-30 minutes. Using the right volume developer ensures the color will process properly and penetrate the hair for even coverage.

Use low heat from a hair dryer to process the color and develop the color molecules. Avoid using high heat, which can over-swell the cuticle. Rinse hair thoroughly with cool water and follow with a color-locking conditioner for shiny, hydrated results.

Benefits of Demi-Permanent Color

Using the ideal developer volume brings many great benefits when coloring with demi-permanent hair color:

  • Deposits rich, translucent color into the hair
  • Ammonia-free and lower peroxide formulas are gentle on hair
  • Subtly blends away gray hairs
  • Longer-lasting color compared to semi-permanent options
  • Can be used to tone and gloss existing color treated hair
  • Won’t lighten or lift underlying pigment

Tips for Success

Follow these tips when using demi-permanent hair color for best results:

  • Perform a strand test to confirm color result before applying to full hair
  • Use 10 or 20 volume developers only
  • Mix color and developer according to manufacturer’s instructions
  • Apply to clean, dry hair for optimal color saturation
  • Process for 20-30 minutes under low heat
  • Rinse thoroughly and use color locking conditioner
  • Use color protecting shampoo and conditioning products


Choosing the right developer volume is key when using demi-permanent hair color. For natural-looking subtle color with a gentle process, opt for 10 volume developer. For bolder, more vivid demi-permanent color results, use 20 volume developer. Always follow the manufacturer’s mixing and processing recommendations for optimal demi-permanent hair color results. Using the ideal developer volume will help achieve beautiful, translucent, long-lasting demi-permanent hair color.