How To Measure Hair Color And Developer?

Using hair color and developer is familiar with many people, but do you know how to measure them? If not, check out this article for further information!

At-home hair dyeing comes with a lot of trial and error. If you’ve ever dyed your hair at home, you probably know the result doesn’t always come out as you expected.

Whether you’re shooting for all-over color or subtle highlights, using correct amounts of dye and developer is key to success. Therefore, “How to measure hair color and developer?”.

Either overdoing and undergoing it can lead you to situations where you need re-coloring or get on term with your hilarious shade. 

Getting the answer to this question is very important because when you know exactly how much hair developer and color you need to combine, the final result will not disappoint you.

We know you don’t want these hair horrors, so before squeezing out your very first tubes of color products, check out our guide on how to measure hair color and developer properly! 

How To Use The Correct Amounts Of Your Coloring Products?
How To Use The Correct Amounts Of Your Coloring Products?

How To Measure Hair Color And Developer?

Look At The Packaging Measurement Marks

You should pay attention to the hair color and developer packaging because it frequently has minor marks to help you with the measurements.

Use A Scale

If you do not see any mark on the box, a scale like a kitchen scale can assist you.

Scale is a useful device when there are no markings in the packaging of the dye tubes and you’re not confident in visually measuring your dye and developer.

Remember that you should never blend these products without weighing them because meticulous measuring is essential for attaining the desired hue.

A Hair Color Scale
A Hair Color Scale

We also highly recommend colorists use a scale for more accurate mixing. Clients like consistency, and it’s on your part to meet their requirements. 

One of the main advantages of always using a scale is you can quickly pinpoint what’s going wrong when the color does not come out the way you want.  

When weighing your color products with a scale, you may want to use a small bathroom cup or an empty bowl so you won’t end up with a dirty, greasy scale afterward. 

Make sure you set the scale to zero after placing the cup or bowl on top of it for accurate readings.

If your device has this function, keep in mind to measure and record the weight of the empty container first, and then use its weight with the coloring product inside to subtract the figure. 

Utilize Measuring Cups

Another excellent option is to make use of your measuring cups before combining the hair dye and developer. Pour each product into its separate cup to ensure that you have the amount you want.

If there’s only one cup or you don’t want the hassle of cleaning afterward, it’s ok to use a single cup for measuring.

Just make sure that you scrape every bit of hair color inside the cup before pouring the tubes of the developer to have the exact amounts for the formula. 

Measuring Cup, Tint Bowl, And Brush
Measuring Cup, Tint Bowl, And Brush

What Is The Ideal Proportion Of Hair Color To Developer You Should Use?

1:1 Ratio

Traditionally, when combining hair dye and developer, the proportion should be 1:1. In other words, while combining the two items, you should use the same amount of each. 

To illustrate, 25g hair color will work nicely with 25ml developer for the finest results.

1:2 Ratio

Besides, the 1:2 ratio of hair color to the developer is also acceptable. Mix one-part hair color and two-part hair developer if you want to enhance the hues.

How Much Hair Dye And Developer Should You Mix?

How Much Hair Dye To Use?

The first thing to figure out is the amount of dye to cover your hair fully. In general, the ratio between hair dye and developer is 1:1, which means you’ll need equal measurements for both dye and developer. 

The amount of dye required will depend on the hair length and thickness and the type of dyeing you want.

A color kit should be enough for short hair. You should get two boxes for medium-length hair and two to three boxes for long hair. The thickness of your hair also determines how much dye is needed for the formula. 

Fine strands will need less dye than thick, coarse strands to ensure full coverage. This is because the latter soak color faster, whereas the former absorb color slower. 

How Much Hair Dye You’ll Need?
How Much Hair Dye You’ll Need?

How much hair you want to dye or the type of coloring you want will also affect the amount of the coloring product. 

Root Touch-Up

For root covering up, 25g of hair dye would suffice. This amount can fully cover any gray hair and the grown-out part of the hair.

To retouch your hair strands, use a small amount of hair color and developer. 
To retouch your hair strands, use a small amount of hair color and developer.


Highlighting your hair means you are only making certain hairpieces lighter than your natural color. You’ll need 25-50g of hair dye for the job (depending on the hair length and thickness). 

Full-Head Coloring

Full-head dyeing job requires more dye, around 50-100g of hair color. 

Note: If you’re dyeing your hair for the first time, it’s better safe than sorry to buy more color boxes than you think. You don’t want to run out of color halfway through the process. Also, do not worry about the leftover box, as you can always return it or save it next time!

How Much Developer To Use?

As mentioned, the dye-to-developer is usually equal. However, you might notice that the measuring units for dye and developer are different: hair color is calculated by gram (g) and developer by millimeter (ml). 

There is no need to get confused about this difference; pay attention to the number. 

For example, 25g of hair dye should be mixed with 25ml of developer for root touching up. Likewise, 50g of dye will go with 50ml of developer for highlights, and you might need 100g of dye and 100g of developer for full-head covering. 

Regardless of the amount of dye you want to use, use the same quantity of developer to achieve the 1:1 ratio. 

Depend on Hair’s length

Apart from the coloring purpose, the quantity of each product you need is also determined by the length and thickness of your hair.

Long and thick hair

If your hair is long and thick, you should get two boxes of hair dye. Shoulder hair or longer or particularly thick hair will take more color than what is included in a single box. Therefore, prepare two boxes simultaneously.

Short and not-too-thick hair 

Preparing one box of hair color and developer may be enough for short and not-too-thick hair.

Getting one box of hair color and one box of developer is enough for short hair. 

Above all, remember that the amounts required stay unchanged no matter what you are coloring. The only variation is the product’s total volume.

Also, prepare more mixture than you assume you may need from the start, so you do not have to stop dyeing in the middle to re-measure it and mix more.

In addition, you can get the hair dye and developer from the same brand or two different specialty hair care manufacturers.

Getting one box of hair color and one box of developer is enough for short hair. 
Getting one box of hair color and one box of developer is enough for short hair.

Use The Right Strength Of The Developer

Besides the volume of hair products, you will need to decide on the strength of the developer, also known as “volumes”.  

Hair developer levels refer to the oxidizing potential or how much hydrogen peroxide is in the product. Most bleach and hair color formulas often use developers from 10 to 40.

The higher this number, the stronger, the more hydrogen peroxide, and thus the stronger the developer. 

Different Volumes Of Developer
Different Volumes Of Developer

Level 10

Developers at level 10 are the most gentle. They are the choice for permanent, no-lift hair color. This level also opens the hair cuticle layer, enabling the dye molecules to enter and deposit in the cortex.

If you want to add a color tone or tint to the hair of the same lightness level, you can use a developer of this level. 

Level 20

Level 20 lifts the hair from one to two shades. It is also suitable for more than 50% gray hair and those who want 100% gray coverage. You may want to use a 20-volume developer with bleach to lighten hair that is naturally blonde in a gentler fashion.

Level 30

This is stronger than level 20 and is used to lighten the hair by two to three shades. It means that more color pigment can be embedded into the hair shaft using a developer of this level. 

So, in what case a 30-volume developer is recommended? When your strands are in good condition, and you desire a lighter hue that can last, you can use this level. 

Low-porosity hair does not take color well. In such a case, a developer at 30 volume can be a better option than other lower levels. In addition, a 30-volume developer can be mixed with bleach to lighten light to medium brown hair.

Level 40

Level 40 lifts your hair to four levels and is ideal for blondes, especially high-lift colors. In addition, these developers can be used to bleach brown and dark hair. 

Beware that 40-level developers contain up to 12% peroxide; therefore, frequent use is very damaging to your hair strands and scalp. 

If you’re bleaching your hair yourself, we recommend doing several rounds of bleaching with a developer of lower volumes, either 20 or 30, to minimize the damage. You may want to restore your strands by doing conditioning and protein treatment in between.  

Problems With Measuring Hair Color And Developer And How To Fix It? 

Too Much Developer

Too much developer will cause the mixture to be wet and runny. Ideally, it should come with a creamy consistency to achieve your desired color. The watery blend makes it hard to apply to your strands. 

The color coming out will be too light, soft, and weak without shine and vibrancy. It also does not last as long as you expect. For this reason, you’re likely to make a complete coloring overhaul to fix your mistakes. It not only further takes a toll on your hair but also your budget. 

To avoid this costly blunder, it pays to double-check your mixture before applying it to your strands. If you feel the mixture too runny, try pouring more dye into the mixture, slowly, until you get a creamy consistency.

Too Much Hair Dye

If there’s too much hair dye and too little developer, you’ll end up with a relatively dry mixture. 

Due to the lack of developers, the mixture cannot lift the natural melanin enough for the dye to set in. You will be left with uneven and patchy color results when everything’s done. 

The hair color might become darker than you wished for. Not to mention that the dry paste will not easily stick to the strands, making the applying process more daunting than ever. 

Therefore, if you notice the mixture is thick and dry, and it’s challenging to apply from the get-go, try to fix it by adding a tiny amount of developer. It’s always recommended to check the state of the mixture and adjust accordingly before it actually makes it to your hair. 

How Do You Combine Hair Color And Developer?

First, prepare your hair color and developer based on the objective of your coloring as well as the length and thickness of your hair.

Use a plastic or glass bowl to combine the color and developer and put everything together. You should not use a metal one since it may oxidize the hair color, causing your hair dye to remain unchanged.

Next, put an old cloth or paper in the area where your hair dye will be applied. If you are going to use a cloth, choose one that you do not really mind being ruined.

Most hair color boxes include a pair of gloves already. So, wear gloves before combining the color and developer to cover your skin from the chemical compounds.

Then, mix the hair color with the developer in either a 1:1 or 1:2 ratio.

Finally, combine the color and developer by using a plastic fork until the result is relatively smooth.

If you are a beginner, this video is helpful for you:

Tips For Mixing Hair Color And Developer

Say No To Guesswork

You won’t see any scale in the salon more often than not. This might fool you into thinking that accurate numbers do not matter when it comes to mixing dye and developer. 

However, don’t place your trust in your eyes since “human error” still happens. We know you don’t want uneven, patchy color in your first dyeing job. If you’re dyeing for the first time, use a scale or measuring cup or the marking lines on the tube in the least. 

Do Not Use The Color Brush

Contrary to popular belief, color brushes are not for mixing! There will be a few things to wash when you’re done coloring. However, the dye will easily form clumps in the brush, and you won’t get the desired smooth consistency. 

For a smooth blend, our tool of choice is plastic utensils. Alternatively, you can use plastic forks or silicone whisks, which are affordable and quite long-lasting. 

Use A Whisk To Mix The Chemicals Instead Of A Brush
Use A Whisk To Mix The Chemicals Instead Of A Brush

Choose Cream Developer If You’re Beginner

Clear developers are likely to get messy and chunky, and you will find yourself struggling to apply it to the hair. 

On the other hand, cream developers are much easier to mix, making it a better choice for at-home DIYers and amateur colorists. If you prefer a cream developer, keep in mind to always use it with lightening powder. 

In case a clear developer is your choice, pour bit by bit as you mix so you can avoid these pesky clumps from taking form. So, take it slow and pour a quarter of the whole tube at a time while mixing. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What Occurs If You Do Not Use A Developer With Your Hair Dye?

The developer is specially made for combining with the dye for good reasons. Dyes without a developer will be rapidly washed out, or you won’t even get the intended hair color in the first place. 

The color of the dye can only be deposited to your hair strands when the cuticles are open up. That’s where the developer comes in. It will open the cuticles, which allows the color to enter the strands. Without the developer, the color won’t make it to the stands, resulting in undesirable color change. 

Another reason developers are used to permanent hair is to keep the color last longer. Without it, the color will soon fade, and you’ll need to do another dyeing job. 

In case you have powder hair color, you can not use it without the developer that it is occasionally provided with. 

On the other hand, color creams can fool you into thinking that it is not required to include any developer. As a result, you may find yourself putting the hair dye cream on your hair using no developer.

If you make this error, the hair dye you use will get into the hair but just on the surface. So it will be easily washed out and will not remain there constantly as it should. As a result, your hair color may fade faster than anticipated, and you may need to re-dye it to make it lustrous and vivid once more.

You can dye your hair without a developer but it is not as good as using one. 
You can dye your hair without a developer but it is not as good as using one.

How To Solve Hair Color And Developer Measuring Issues?

There are times when you use too much hair color or developer in the mix. As mentioned above, nothing too severe may happen, and there is no need to panic. 

The easiest way to solve this problem is to change the proportions of the combination by putting more of one component or less of the other before you apply it to your hair. Also, it would help if you noted the amount you have used or see the box to know how much of each item you have previously used and adjust the combination as necessary.

Is It Possible For The Hair Developer To Harm Your Hair?

A developer is a chemical that removes or alters the pigment in your hair to change its color. It is made up of various concentrations of hydrogen peroxide, which is a hair-lightening agent. So, a developer is often used to brighten hair, get rid of undesirable tones, and mix colors.

Although it is less harmful than coloring due to the lack of ammonia, if you choose a too powerful developer for your hair condition, it may lift the hair cuticle so much that it can not be settled back down, leaving your hair brassy.

As a result, using too strong a volume developer might lead to needless brightening and severe hair damage.

Final Thoughts

You should now be clear on “How to measure hair color and developer?” Understanding how to blend hair color and developer is critical to getting your ideal hair dye. However, keep in mind that each product differs, so always check the packaging to be sure you are not damaging your hair.

Applying too much hair color and developer on your hair can damage it and result in an unappealing hue. If you are unsure what you should do with your hair, ask the hair specialists for help.

We hope you can measure and mix your hair dye and developer professionally after the end of this article. Good luck!

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