March 3, 2008

The White Stuff - is - The Right Stuff ~ Permanent Haircolor ~ the Conclusion

H2 O2 Hydrogen Peroxide's effect on Permanent Hair Color

+ Deposit and Lift = exactly what that means

OK with every boxed hair color kit, with every hair color you have ever performed there has been this white stuff you mix with the hair color. People have talked about it for years: peroxide. . ."peroxide blonds" like peroxide is a "big-bad-mean" liquid. Again we are back to one of those word phobias. People hear a word like 'preservatives' like 'bleach', 'ammonia' and now 'peroxide' and through a process similar to that game Telephone when one person hears one word promptly gets discombobulated through the process of time, laziness, misinterpretation. The original story gets twisted & completely out of whack and the truth is the farthest thing from what is popularly known about the original word. That is what happens to these technical terms and they never get cleared up.

I feel the big hair product manufacturers like to keep you (the public) in the dark, fear keeps you in line. You listen to their commercials & ads if you don't know the truth, and buy what they tell you to. Many don't understand the hair color process so the only way to safely go about it is by either purchasing those Boxed Kits with "everything-you-need" in them (including directions) or go to the Salon, 'they' have to know what they are doing they have a license. From the emails and polls I have taken the percentage of quality hairstylists out there does not even sit at 50% which adds to my reasons to clarify the Home Hair coloring process for you.

 A developer is an oxidizing agent that when mixed with an oxidative haircolor, supplies the necessary oxygen gas to develop color molecules and create a change in hair color. Developers, also called oxidizing agents or catalysts have a pH between 2.5 and 4.5. Hydrogen peroxide is the one used in haircolor.

Hydrogen Peroxide is the oxidizer of permanent haircolor, providing the oxygen for lightening of natural pigment and for the development of artificial pigment. It is the hydrogen peroxide in permanent hair coloring -- not the ammonia that causes the oxidative hair damage, although with the new ammonia's and how they rinse thoroughly out of the hair, even that has been kept to a minimum.


The chemical "shorthand" for hydrogen peroxide, H2O2 means "2 Hydrogen atoms and 2 oxygen atoms. Remember H2 O is water, so there is just 1 more molecule of O Oxygen in Peroxide - think about that. Look how close it is to water, how could it really be that bad? Its not, remember your body MAKES hydrogen peroxide...I don't want to take the time here, for any doubters Google: hydrogen peroxide, put your mind at ease. On the contrary, wait till you see all the wonderful uses for hydrogen peroxide, it will blow your socks off.

Higher volumes of hydrogen peroxide provide more oxygen for more extended lightening


.Higher volumes: create more lift & less deposit

Lower volumes: less lift and greater deposit

Any where from 15 - 20 Volume will get you the best gray coverage, one of the trickier formula's to come up with. Remember gray hair is hair with no pigment, so you are not trying to "Lift" any color out, are you? There isn't any color to lift. What you are trying to do is to deposit color to cover that pigment-free (gray) hair. One of the tricks of covering Gray is using the proper developer, many stylists don't know the 15-20 V > Gray coverage trick, I want all of you to be able to figure out how to cover gray hair...its not that hard but its one of the arrows in my quiver... a very tight-kept secret, that I look forward to sharing with you.

The higher the percentage of oxygen in peroxide, the more lift you can achieve. Why would lift be important? The more of the virgin color "lifted" out of the hair shaft the more the new color can be deposited. One color must be removed (lifted) in order for there to be room for the "new" color. As Oxidation occurs, LIFT begins, which is removal of the natural pigment (melanin) in the hair. DEPOSIT ALSO BEGINS. ***at the same time**** - a point I feel needs to be fully understood about permanent hair color, no other color works this way, this distinguishes this particular segment of haircolor from every other. If you can grasp this concept it 'should' make the theory of permanent hair color sink in and hopefully you will have one of those 'a ha' moments. If you don't I honestly want to hear from you at the bottom of this post. PLEASE! I want you all,every last one of you to understand this, leave me a little note in the comments section with a question. There is no 'dumb' question............NONE - ZIP - ZERO

Deposit is a process in which the color molecules lock together to form new color pigment combinations in the hair. The tiny size of the dye precursors before oxidation enables them to pass easily into the cortex of the hair, penetrating it fully. As the color processes, the tiny dye molecules change structure, coupling up to form big, colored molecules. These newly created dye molecules, now too big to leave the way they came in, affix themselves to the keratin chains in the hair. POOF - your hair has become colored just because the little buggers could not escape~!

The LIFT and DEPOSIT occur at the same time in this "permanent" Haircolor procedure. That is a point I have needed to make for several months now in writing some of my posts. Its a bit difficult to fully swallow at first, but such is the magic of chemistry I have come to find out.

Shortly after the cream which holds the dye is combined with the peroxide .....dye molecules begin developing - - - rearranging into bigger, complex, colored molecules. Which leads me to a point that I want you all to understand.The "lifetime" of hair color is narrow, or at least where the hair color's "sweet spot" is, which begins ticking away about 10 minutes after the colorant is mixed with the developer. You want to apply that formula just as fast and efficiently as possible to get the best use of it. Be all ready to go, no dawdling. Seriously

Many stylists mistakenly think it is the peroxide that causes the cuticle to open...which would be wrong...the peroxide acts as a buffer for the ammonia in color. Its pH is actually 2.5 to 4.5 . Only when it is released through oxidation does it begin to eliminate pigment.

Peroxide + Ammonia = Lift & Development of Color

In Permanent haircolor the substances you mix together will not "look" like the color you hope to achieve. This is the only category, because of the "oxidation".

During Coloring, the peroxide is converted to water and oxygen

  • Water drives the pigment into the hair
  • Oxygen develops pigments

Once they're developed, the pigments enlarge and become trapped inside the hair shaft. Compare it to a mini hydrogen bomb going off in each reaction, causing the intermediates to fuse together. THAT equals permanent hair color

It is the oxidation process that removes( lifts) melanin. it also DEPOSITS color. The colorless intermediates combine to form a compound, which makes the color.

Lift and Deposit Occur at the same time. Lift occurs at a more accelerated pace immediately after application, whereas deposit accelerates toward the end

The timing of the process is essential with the LEVEL SYSTEM.

If the product is removed too early, there will not be enough deposit. If the application is slow, the effectiveness of the lift is impaired, so be prepared and work quickly.

The final result of single-process tint is the total of the hair's natural pigment combined with the products color molecules. With the LEVEL SYSTEM use of refined pigments and base ingredients,the result is shiny healthy looking hair.

We must learn that the word Peroxide, or Developer are not 'bad' words, if we didn't have this marriage of ingredients, our hair would be so very very boring ! !
24 comments on "The White Stuff - is - The Right Stuff ~ Permanent Haircolor ~ the Conclusion"
  1. What is your policy on bleach,color, et. during pregnancy with your clients?

  2. I believe this should be a personal approach. Gather the facts then make your own decision that makes YOU the person happy.

    For my clients and myself? If we were truly doing anything that actually affected the body itself or the unborn child, from the inside, I believe we would be in MED School for many many years... Not Cosmetology School for 1.

    I just don't think the government, the FDA nor any other institution would be willingly handing over the health of any newborn infant into the hands of a Cosmetologist. I have more faith in our systems than that. After 10,000 heads of hair I have never seen any sort of indication that we are performing anything further than coloring of the hair strands on the head, and I promise you I would be the very first to be sceaming it from the top of the mountain.

  3. Hey Dakota!

    I colored my hair this past weekend. It was my first time doin it myself... with mirrors and backwards coordination, hahaha... The results were... were SEXY!! :D Turns out, I used a level 3N instead of a 2N. The box was in the wrong spot! :O And like a dummy I didn't double check. I really love how it turned out regardless. 3N is practically the same color as my level 1 virgin hair. But I don't know though... I haven't seen it in sunlight or fluorescent lighting yet.

    I definately want to try a lighter shade sometime as well. I REALLY like the 6W 6/7 (dark sand) a really really dark brown chocolate. What would be your best suggestions on gettin around to that? Would I have to bleach my hair first? I have no idea what volume of peroxide the "activating lotion" for the wella color charm demi-permanent is. On the color tube it says "Must be mixed with color charm activating lotion," but is it ok to use a wella color charm demi-permanent color with a wella 20 volume developer? Would you happen to know what a 6W 6/7 demi-permanent haircolor plus 20 volume peroxide do to my hair? Good idea, bad idea? Any change?

    Thank you for all of your help!! I really do appreciate it. Hope you are doing well and having fun!

    -Vang :D

  4. hello~
    I have a question with level of developers.

    well i have natural level 2 hair and i want to get it to a level 5 light neutral brown. I was wondering what combination of developer and color would achieve this lv2 -> lv5 neutral brown since i think theres alot of red/orange when u lift it.

    hope you're feeling better and thanks for your time.


  5. VANG...
    Congratulations, I was wondering when you were going to get the guts up...and I KNEW you would LOVE IT!........You are on your first "color-high" its that first time you accomplish a proper run and properly formulated hair color procedure. Which to be perfectly honest . . .
    Now . . .
    is it?

    Just enjoy what you have - don't already be trying to change it...
    People do that...
    and relax your new color. You are right 3N is so darn dark....When you get below 4N they all look the same to me...I deal in so many lights most of the time my "dark" meter is not what it should be. But a 3N is extremely dark and if you are already thinking of going lighter then be very HAPPY that you used a lighter color.
    Now remember what's the rule about going lighter? at this stage?
    Its not as easy as you think it is...I'm afraid

    Did you make a mess? or were you neat?

    again, Congrats!

  6. Jessica,
    You would want to perform a test strip for this,
    But with the professional colors that I use, I would use a Level 12ASH + 40 Volume developer.
    leaving the color on a full 60 minutes.
    its what is called a HIGHLIFT TINT, but don't let the name throw you. People mis-use that name all the time.
    Now that is provided you have completely VIRGIN hair, right?

    I can see its hard for many to understand the theory, but when an ASH color is used it sends the hair you are coloring through an "ASH bath" which in other words washes the red/oranges OUT OF THE HAIR!!
    Remember? Ash is a "green/blue" tone...which is OPPOSITE of a "red" on the color wheel -- how you get rid of the underlying using the OPPOSITE color on the color wheel

    Have you gone over that on my BLOG, please review if you haven't, you'll be glad...
    make sense?

  7. hi dakota!
    yes my hair is virgin lv2 black-brown
    hmmm would the professional colors you use include wella? I've seen that brand at sally's and i thought it would be easier to use that brand. Oh and i looked up a chart on the wella colors and i don't think there is a ash(green-blue) lv 12 color, theres lv12 colors with only a "blue-base", "violet-base" or "blue-violet base" and are under that ash section but i don't see any green based lv12 colors :(
    oh and i have reviewed the color wheel many times and it makes perfect sense~
    thanks again~


  8. Jessica,
    If a color is "ash" you can just assume it has green in the base - that is what "ash" means... Within the company WELLA, they have many completely separate Lines of Color, there are the 2 lines they have in Sallys - Color Charm permanent and Color Charm Demi Permanent....
    Then you move up the ladder to the next line which you cannot get at Sally's but must get at a wholesale outlet called COLOR PERFECT - their medium priced line.
    Then There is the Line called Koleston Perfect - the Permanent Line that is supposedly the TOP-OF-LINE and Color Touch their top-of-the-line Demi Permanent color.

    I would purchase a Level 12 Ash + 40 Volume and run a test strip. Many other factors affect whether or not this combo will work for you, that I cannot take into account because I cannot see nor feel your hair. Things like porosity, texture, condition...all effect hair the best way to know is to take a 1/2 inch strip of your hair underneath and run a test strip, making sure to process fully.

  9. oh i see, alright ill try out a strand test and see how it goes,
    another question, I noticed that the wella's line's highest level of developer is 30, is it alright if i used a 40 developer from some other brand with the wella color? or should i just stick with their 30?
    thanks again


  10. Jessica,
    I don't know where you are looking but Wella has a larger variety of developers than any other line, I get their 6 volume, their 17 Volume They even have a "TONER" volume..
    So you need to look further, something is wrong.

  11. oh i think sally's only carries wella's 20 and 30 volume developers, but i'm just curious if a different brand's 40 developer would work with wella's color

    and i had another question because i was thinking about having 2 colors instead of just one, one being the light neutral brown and the other being lv4 medium neutral brown.

    could i still use that lv12ASH + 40vol to achieve that medium neutral brown? maybe by removing it sooner than the hair i want light brown??

    i'm sorry that im asking all these questions but i'm kind of confused with this kind of formulation and the color formula you gave us, the one where u add the difference of levels to the level you want. Maybe that applies to different situations?? please clarify! :)

    many thanks!!:)

  12. Im confused. Im interested in using the wella magma Ultra liftin powder but i dont understand the product at all.

    I looked it up on ebay and the Wella Magma- Ultra Liftin Powder Color comes in different colours?

    I thought it was a bleach and i cant find what developer it is, or are they 40 and if i dye it with the Wella Magma will i have to put another hair colour on top, or does the wella magma range (beause it comes in different colours) already do the deposit for me?
    Or have i found the wrong product entirely?
    I was only going to use the bleach to lighten my level 3/4 hair to a level 6/7
    (my hair pic )
    Please help me!
    Its pretty diff to figure out because my hair was previously dyed a dark choc brown (permanent) and has worn out but left all the red and orangeness there, and i think naturaly it might be an ash brown colour but something about it seems wrong, so i was thinking that if i was going to do it at home what does it mean?
    Do i need to tone it blue or green before i colour it only the bits that are red/orange or should i not touch the toner? Then when i bleach it and then tone it afterwards, but i was thinking that if the wella magma comes in colours what colour do i dye thishair to get to a dark blonde? if it would suit me? sorry im soo confused.
    But on the bright side, i do understand the lifting and depoisting bit, i think
    So what if i just bleach my hair with 40 volume hydrogen peroxide + for 60 minutes with the semipermenant dye and use a toner afterwards a blue one to get rid of the orange/red if its there?

    Sorry i think i think too much about this.
    But i do find it pretty interestin so i cant help it =p

    1. hairdresser with magma experience here:

      wella magma is professional only because it is VERY important it CANNOT touch your skin. it's basically only for use as balayage. it cannot touch your roots! ends only! it does lift and deposit in one step, BUT you have to uses the magma low ph cuticle sealing conditioner, instead of regular conditioner, timed 5 minutes after washing out the shampoo. it will lift over old dye, unlike most things.

      toner is something one uses *after* bleach or colour, not before. magma lifts and tones in one process.

      pool chlorine will pull out the red toner if you use the red one, you'll have to go back over it with a semi-permanent to retone it.

      follow the chart on the instructions inside to know which one to use with which volume peroxide. while it's processing, it looks lighter than it is! in general, almost always time it for the maximum time in the instructions, which varies according to what colour you are using.

      i do not recommend a non-professional mess with magma.

  13. actually silly me!
    its all sunk in now. (i hope and think!)

    I'm a level 3/4 but the hair growing out isnt, and is maybe a 5.

    I want to achieve a level 7?
    So I dye my hair a level 12 ash blonde and leave the peroxide on with it applying the permenant level 12, within 10 minutes of having the peroxide on my hair. Then leave it on for 60 minutes?

    and after tehstrand test is donetake a look at it and see if it has turned out ok?

    Then can i dye a semi permenant colour on top like dark blonde or light brown? or will it already be a dark blonde/light brown?
    or Am i all wrong.

    >< so complicated.

  14. M,
    Its a COLOR BLEACH. Its a one of a Kind product, no one else has this technology . . that I have heard of. It works great, and does exactly what they say it does.
    It bleaches and tones in 1 Step, but if you are not sure of it...I would be very very careful before using. Wella made the line intended for all dark haired people, so the product does both LIFT & DEPOSIT!. Get it?

  15. I currently have my hair bleached. I know the color they use after they strip is Matrix #10 Extra Light Blonde. I would like to do the color myself since finances are tight. I have very dark hair. What bleach would I use to strip the hair then would I also need peroxide to mix with the toner add?

    Thanks for all your info.

  16. June,
    Why don't you join our GROUP, which has some help with learning some of the basics AND we have a store there, where you can buy some of the products you need including the best bleach - you can buy one kit for $20.00 which gives you 2 applications for the best oil bleach there is.


  17. Hi Killer Chemist

    I currently have very dark brown hair.
    i had died it black a longggggggg
    time ago. i think almost a year ago.
    and so the color has faded out.
    (doesnt look black anymore)

    I went to purchase hair color
    in order to lighten my hair

    (I want it like a light brown)

    and the lady at the hair
    place gave me:

    Natural Blonde
    colour for dark hair only

    and she gave me Volume 40

    I was reading the instructions
    and it keeps telling me NOT
    to use a developer higher
    than 30 but all i have
    is 20(from a previous coloring

    and a 40 that i just bought.

    Is it okay for me to go ahead and use the 40 volume one...

    or what do you think?!

    (in advance)


  18. Anonymous,

    >You need to read some of my posts about hair color.
    >You are going to ruin your hair.

    >Pay attention and read this next sentence over and over til it makes sense to you:

    > Tint does NOT lift TINT

    Do not do what you are trying to do , no volume of developer is going to do what you want it to.........its just going to make an orange mess of your hair

  19. OK here comes a 'dumb' question..dumb in that I'm confused.

    I use a permanent color that comes with a developer..color box states NO ammonia...I mix and use immediately and generally leave on longer than the suggested 45 minutes as the color never stays on the white/grey roots but a few days. Now can I use an additional product to get the roots to hold the color. I once bought a product that was for 'Professionals only' and got scared and didnt' use it.
    How in the heck do I get the color to hold especially at the temples so I'm not touching up every week???

    The simpler the answer the better for me! LOL thanks so much

  20. volume of developer DOES determine the strength and DOES NOT determine the length of time that it will continue to work for. 40 volume doesnt work twice as long as 20 volume. just twice as strong and will get you there twice as fast.

  21. I have been using L'Oreal Diarichesse semi-permanent hair colour with their 6 vol (1.8%) DeActivateur, mixing 50ml of colour with 75ml of DeActivateur as per the instructions. I have run out of the DeActivateur and have bought some Wella Color Touch Emulsion, 6 Vol (1.9%). According to Wella colours, you need to mix at a ratio of 1:2. Can I use the Wella emulsion with my L'Oréal Diarichesse colour and what ratio would you recommend? Thank you.

  22. When you change brands of developer there is no need to change the ratio, you would still use whatever ratio it says to use with the hair color you are using.


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