How to Dilute Developer? [40 to 30 Vol, 30 to 20 Vol, & 20 to 10 Vol]

Before you read this guide on diluting hair developers, we assume that you have read our other articles on what is a developer, how is it used, and the different volumes that can be used.

Developers are similar to hydrogen peroxide, oxidant, peroxide, and a few other similar products. This guide holds all the information and details related to diluting the developer.

The strength or power of hair developers is generally rated as per percentage. We shall also read about how to dilute developers to form a lower concentration.

How to Dilute Developer for Hair Dye?

how to dilute developer?

Before you begin diluting the developer, ensure that you have bought the correct strength or peroxide/developer.

You can dilute it to a certain level as diluting too much will unnecessarily mess up the consistency.

Remember the percentage of peroxide based on developer volumes:

  • 40 Vol. developer means 12% peroxide
  • 30 Vol. developer means 9% peroxide
  • 20 Vol. developer means 6% peroxide
  • 10 Vol. developer means 3% peroxide

Here is a simple chart on the dilution of developers

Volume DilutionVolume DilutionWater Ratio
40 vol. to 30 vol.3 parts 40 vol. peroxide1 part
40 vol. to 20 vol.1 part 40 vol. peroxide1 part
30 vol. to 20 vol.2 parts 30 vol. peroxide1 part
20 vol. to 10 vol.1 part 20 vol. peroxide1 part

Note: Water is the best thing to dilute the developer. You may use tap water also.

Recommended Hair Developer Products

If you are looking for the best hair developers, please check the below options:

  1. Fanola 10 Vol Perfumed Cream Developer
  2. Salon Care 20 Volume Creme Developer
  3. Marianna Super Star 40 Volume Creme Developer
  4. L’Oreal Technique Oreor Creme 30 Volume Developer
  5. Schwarzkopf Professional Blondme Premium Developer

How to dilute 40 volume developer to 30?

You can dilute 40-volume developer to any lower-volume developer. You can use distilled water to dilute any volume developer. However, the proportion has to be balanced and proper.

The mixture is explained in the chart above. In simple words, the values to dilute 40 vol. developer to 30 goes like 3:1 (the first number is the developer and the second is water).

Why dilute 40 volume developers to 30?

When used at the recommended ratio, the developer gets stabilized. It means, it gives you a diluted mixture and the peroxide contained in it gets released sooner.

In simple terms, the intensity of the shade gets water down slightly.

How to dilute 40 volume developer to 20?

If you dilute half of 40 Vol. developer with half part of the water, then you get 20 vol. developer. The same formulae go well with conditioners too.

The values as also explained in the chart above for this combination would be 1:1 (the first number is the developer and the second is water).

Why dilute 40 volume developer to 20?

Ideally, it is recommended to dilute 40 vol. developer as it is very harsh otherwise. Some people also dilute it with shampoo if they know the process well.

This is one of the common tricks followed by hairstylists especially when their developer doesn’t have the strength.

How to dilute 40 volume developer to 10?

40 vol. developer provides maximum lift with some deposit of 10 vol. developer. The values go like 1:3 for 10 vol. to dilute 40 vol. developer (the first number is the developer and the second is water)

Why dilute 40 volume developer to 10?

When you want a natural hair color that is less harsh, you dilute 40 to 10. Volume 40 developers as we all know are very dark and harsh. Mixing in the ratio mentioned gives you 30 volume.

How to dilute 30 volume developer to 20?

To share a fact, box dyes usually come with 20 vol. developer. 30 volume developer is usually used to lift the hair color.

The values go like 2:1 for 20 vol. to dilute 30 vol. developer (the first number is the developer and the second is water).

Why dilute 30 volume developer to 20?

If you dilute 30 volume developer to 20, then there are two things to remember;

  • 20 vol. developer is used to lighten the hair 1 to 2 shades
  • 30 vol. developer is used to shift the hair shade by 3 to 4 levels

It is recommended that you avoid using any developer at home that is stronger than 30 vol.

How to dilute 30 volume developer to 10?

The values to dilute 30 vol. developer to 10 goes like 2:1 (the first number is the developer and the second is water).

When you are using stronger volume developers like 30 or 40, remember that these may cause unwanted damage to your hair. Use vol.30 only if you have a dark hair tone.

Why dilute 30 volume developer to 10?

If you have highlighted or bleached your hair before, then it is always wiser to stick to volume 10 or 20.

In short, the higher the volume, the higher the risks of damage to hair and scalp. If we don’t have a 20 vol. developer, we dilute 30 vol. to 10 vol. to get a 20 volume.  

How to dilute 20 volume developer to 10?

Last but not the least, the ratio to dilute 20 vol. developer to 10 is 1:1 (the first number is the developer and the second is water).

Why dilute 20 volume developer to 10?

As we understand, equal portions of 20 developer and distilled water or normal tap water give us volume of 10. By doing the same process, you can also create volume 5 from volume 20 developer.

If you have a platinum-level hair tone, we suggest that you use a purple shampoo to get a dry texture and leave it for some hours.

Volume 10 developers aren’t strong enough to open the hair cuticle. However, it also means they cause less damage to the hair.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is it okay to mix volumes 20 and 30 together?

Yes, you can mix as we explained above, both the developers have their respective power and strength to either lighten the hair or shift shades up.

2. Is there any risk if I mix too much developer in my box dye?

Too much of anything is bad. Using too much developer may weaken your hair strength leading to breakage of hair.

The excess may also weaken the color shade. The suggested mix is usually one to two parts developer only.

3. What volume developers cause damage to hair?

We don’t recommend using developers with higher volumes. 10 vol. to 20 vol. developers are preferable anything around 40 is likely to cause more damage to your hair.

4. Do I need a developer for my dark hair?

It is wise to get your hair lightened by choosing a 30-volume developer if you have dark hair.

5. Which volume developer is good to cover or dye grey hair?

You may choose volume 10 or volume 15 to cover grey hair.

6. Is it ok to mix developer and conditioner?

Yes, you can dilute your developer using a conditioner. However, you need to know the water content in the conditioner you are using.

Without the proper proportion of water content, you won’t get the desired results. Thus, most hair experts recommend distilled water.