May 12, 2012

Haircolor's Best Friend : Developer

H2O2 = Peroxide = Emulsion = Developer : What it is and Why You need to Love It

 One of our illustrious readers asked a question about 'developers' and how they worked... and in the process of attempting to send her a link to a Post I had written I discovered there were none !  

Are you kidding me, no wonder some of you have been having a hard time with formulating ....THAT subject is "key" to having some "A-Ha moments"... OMG its up to you all to bring that missing subject to my attention. See how I turned that all around and blamed you, instead of me ! Ha, I am completely sorry, my bad and all that ! You will now learn more than you ever wanted to learn about developers that are half of the entire process of coloring your hair whether it be light or dark.    
A couple blips from research on the web as far as what H2O2 is  & is used for :   
.... Peroxides are found in nature and it is 100% true, they are. So Peroxide is a completely "100% Natural " product. So many of you are looking for "natural" products and want "natural" hair color. Well, using Developer (peroxide)is natural...

.... The main usage of hydrogen peroxide is in production of chemicals (approx. 40%), bleaching pulp and paper (approx. 30%) and bleaching textiles (approx. 20%). Small quantities are used in cosmetics. Hydrogen peroxide is used for hair bleaching and for oxidation in permanent hair dyes and in oral hygiene products such as mouth-rinses and dentifrices as well as in tooth bleaching products.  
So those of you worried about putting it on your have been putting it in your mouth for years --- get over it...

OK... now for the grass roots explanation and what you will need to know for coloring your hair! 1995: Sassoon declares that the use of the term: Developer will now be used exclusively for all Peroxides. For some odd reason Americans get nervous with the term: Hydrogen Peroxide / or Peroxide ... so to not have anyone nervous we will now be calling it developer. Got it.

 For this Post we will refer to those tubes of color you purchase and are in those Swatch Charts, as 4 different names, in order to get you used to what they are called. They do not have 1 name. 
They are referred to as all of these names:
  1. Tint
  2. Colors
  3. Highlift Tint
  4. HairColor

Hydrogen Peroxide :Technical Description
A developer is an oxidizing agent that, when mixed with a oxidative hair-color, supplies the necessary oxygen gas to develop color molecules and creates a change in hair color. Developers, also called oxidizing agents or catalysts, have a pH between 2.5 and 4.5. Although there are a number of developers on the market, hydrogen peroxide  (H2O2) is the one most commonly used in haircolor.

VOLUME : is the measure of the potential oxidation of varying strengths of hydrogen peroxide.
OK here it is: . . . .the lower the Volume ; the less lift is achieved ; the higher the Volume the greater the lifting action. Remember "lift" translates into the word "lighten" .... when going blond you want to "Lift" that color out of the hair so you may achieve a more beautiful shade of blonde. You want to "lift" out that darker color so that you can go PAST the brassy stage. The more lift the better for blonding. It is rare that there is too much lift, I can honestly say I don't think in all my years there has ever been one case of too much lifting. I know that would be one remarkable moment.

Actually that is one of the drawbacks of 'tint'...they just have not mastered getting a lot of "lift" out of hair yet.  Yet, do not get me wrong - the fact that 60 years ago someone discovered this marvel just blows me away ... STILL TO THIS DAY !  You apply Level 10 Blond + 40Volume to Level 7 dark blond (looks light brown) - and that tint combination "LIFTS 3 levels of color out of the virgin Level 7 hair and then DEPOSITS a tone to give it a nice tonal value as well. NOW THAT IS A COMPLETE AND WONDERFUL MIRACLE in MY BOOK !   Do not ever think that is an easy thing to accomplish. That miracle happens only and BECAUSE we have Developer.

So.......... Developer has created this miracle.

So when people tell me they have used 30 Volume when going blonde - -  I always cringe. Worried they will have landed at Brass and that is a tough color to get rid of. With Lightener it is not a problem.... because Lightener is not doing two things at once like tint.
Lightener is only LIFTING hair color out of the hair.
Lightener does not "lift" and "deposit" like Hair colors do.
Tint (haircolors) especially highlift colors have 2 jobs....all blonde colors when you are not using them as toners.... have to lift the dark color of the virgin hairout of the hair strands ( all of them) AND THEN... Deposit a Toner on top. I mean there is no incredible feat like that in skin care or in many other personal care categories that I can think of.

 I'm always stunned that so many of you are trying to color your hair and balk at using Developer.    WHY?
You have been gargling with it for years......Bleach your teeth? You have your teeth & mouth and are swallowing it all the time and you never put up a stink about it..That is much more invasive than haircolor. Using it, is a complete miracle....and if you don't want to be near it, then you need to just not color your hair.

Its so funny back in the Academy they had giant drums of 100Volume developer and we were all required to calculate and make gallon containers of 10 Volume 20 Volume, 30 Volume, 40 Volume. Now a days there is every variation in the world which only makes my formulating even more fun & complicated.....There is 3,5,6,9,10, &13 Volume for Levels available below 20....which classifies it as a DEPOSIT-ONLY Volume of developer. All the different Volumes makes for even more fun in personalized hair-coloring.
Here is a basic chart from the book used to study for the State Boards of California.
Oh how archaic this is!

This Chart is the standard chart from a long time ago before we began pushing the borders of hair coloring. It shows you how the developers were made to work. But in Chemistry (which is basically what hair formulating is) there are a set of rules with how each Level of colors were supposed to use. 

That is your first introductory Post on Developers, with a lot more to come, just give in and order yourself some hair color. Developer is not your enemy I promise you, it opens all the doors to achieving haircolor that is flawless. Yes, it took me a long time to realize that. Now I look at it with love not hate as I did when I didn't understand how hair color worked. I hope you will to. There will be more posts on developer and all I have learned about it.
3 comments on "Haircolor's Best Friend : Developer"
  1. I'm an instructor of cosmetology and have been a question about developer that I need to know. what happens if you mix 40 vol with 20vol?

  2. I am a instructor in cosmetology and have been asked a question about developers. the question is, what happens when you mix 40 volume with 20 volume? can you help?

  3. No, that will not work like you hoped it will ! You are taking our trick with hair color in hopes that it would also work in developer!
    But, it won't. You see in hydrogen peroxide to make things easier you first want to go back to the metric system to make things easier and to make it simpler to understand.
    in order to dilute Developer you must mix it with water, not more developer!
    Lets first change the developer to percentages (metric)
    40Volume is 12% ( which means this dilution of Hydrogen peroxide has 12% hydrogen peroxide in it)
    20Volume has 6% in it. (This one has 6% hydrogen peroxide)
    So, you add those 2 together and what do you have?
    You have 18% Developer which is Over 50 Voiume ! Assuming... my old----tired----chemo ---brain has it right. I noticed alot of people doing that in Salons though ...I never did it and to be honest never thought closely about it until today....
    But in Sassoon they bought 100Volume and 150Volume and they made all of us learn to dilute it INTO 10. 20, 30, 40 it would be cheaper for them. So we all were tested on the dilution of wasn't until I got out of there did I realize they were just testing us and making us do their dirty work, no one in their right mind in Salons buys + dilute's developer.
    No one does it but but Academy's ! very tricky Sassoon...very tricky.
    So learning that long ago taught me that mixing two percentages of developer together would not make it have a lesser strength. So I never tried it.
    That is a great question tho., obviously you don't dilute your Developer at your Academy, you may want to suggest it ! Give those students the Sassoon experience !
    Thank you


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