When you can’t find the right shade of hair dye you want, the best option is to customize your own color.
But when you’re accustomed to using box dyes, it can get intimidating to figure out the proper ratio of hair color to the developer since there’s a possibility that it’ll turn into a disaster if you don’t get it right.
So to be safe, how much developer do you mix with hair color?
Don’t worry because, in this article, we’ll tell you how much hair dye and developer you’ll need to get the perfect hair color you want.
Before you find out the proper ratio of hair color to the developer, let’s discuss why it’s essential to get their measurements right.
When dyeing your hair, you’ll usually need a 20 or 30-volume developer to get the shade that you want. So depending on the strength, the developer will lift between 1-4 shades of your base color.
So if you put too much developer in the mixture, you’ll end up with a lighter base, but the dye will show up less saturated since there are not enough pigments to deposit. This mixture will also make the dye fade faster compared to a properly mixed formula.
Also, the dye mixture will have a thinner consistency, making it easier to apply to your hair, but it may run down your skin and clothes.
So if you accidentally put too much developer in the mixture, you can fix it by adding more hair color to balance it out.
Since adding too much developer in a hair dye mixture will lighten your hair, what would happen if it was the opposite?
You’ll know when the dye mixture needs more hair developer when it has a thick and clumpy consistency. This will make it difficult to spread onto your hair, so you’ll end up with uneven patches of color later.
The hair color will also appear darker than it’s supposed to be since there’s not enough developer to open up your hair cuticles.
So to fix this mishap, you’ll need to add more of the developer to thin out the consistency and get a better application.
Now that you know why mixing the proper ratio is necessary to get your perfect shade let’s talk about how much hair developer you should add to your hair color.
When preparing a hair dye mixture, you’ll usually need to use a 20-volume developer to get an even application without lifting a lot of pigments from your base color.
So the general rule is to mix 1 part hair color with 1 part developer. You can then adjust the amount of product you’ll need depending on the application that you want.
For example, if you want to do an all-over hair color using a 60mL tube of dye, you’ll also need to put in 60 mL of the developer.
But if you only want to touch up your roots, you’ll only need to use about 25ml of the dye, so you’ll also need to add 25 ml of the developer to get a 1:1 ratio.
A 30-volume developer is usually used when you want to lift 3-4 levels of your base color, so it’s helpful when you want to go from dark hair color to a lighter one.
So to create a proper mixture, you’ll need to use 1 part hair color and 2 parts developer to form a high-lift formula. You can also alter the amount of product you need depending on the type of application you want, as long as the mixture is in a 1:2 ratio.
But remember that a 30-volume developer can be harsh on your hair, so only use this level if your hair is healthy to prevent burning it off.
But what about when the hair color is a 2 oz tube? How much of the developer should you add then?
As mentioned above, the ratio of the mixture will depend on the volume of the developer you’re using.
So if you’re working with a 20-volume developer, you’ll also need to use 2 oz to create an equal mixture.
But if you have a 30-volume developer, you’ll need to double the amount to create a high-lift formula. So you’ll need to add 4 oz of the developer to the 2 oz of hair color.
You can then use another tube of hair color if you have thick or long hair; just make sure you stick to the correct ratio of the developer you’re using.
In a salon, a hairstylist will typically use a digital scale to accurately measure the developer they’ll need to use.
But if you don’t have a scale at home, a plastic measuring cup is also a great alternative.
After measuring, you can scrape off the developer with a hair coloring brush and into a mixing bowl to get most of the product out. You can then add the hair color, ensuring they’re mixed well before applying.
Another option is to use a plastic measuring spoon, where it’s helpful when you only need to mix a small amount of dye, like for root touch-ups. But if you want to dye all of your hair, the process can get tedious, so stick with the measuring cup instead.
But if you want to get a proper hair dyeing tool, you can also look for a mixing bowl with measurement lines.
To get the proper ratio of hair dye and developer, you’ll need to learn how to measure them accurately since eyeballing them won’t make a consistent mixture.
So now you know how to measure out the developer, how do you get the right amount of hair color if it’s from a tube?
Most hair color tubes will have lines printed on them to indicate where you’ll need to stop if you want to squeeze out a certain amount. So on a 75ml tube, there will be 3 lines where you'll see 75, 50, and 25ml printed on it, so it'll be easy to know how much hair color is in the tube.
Just like the hair color tube, a measuring bowl will also have measurement lines indicating how much product is inside the bowl.
Depending on the measuring bowl, it may measure in ounces (oz) or milliliters (ml), so make sure to read the indications.
So to measure out hair color, you’ll only need to squeeze out the product until it reaches the line you need.
For example, if your measuring bowl has 8 lines indicating 1 oz for every line. So if you need 2 oz of hair color, you’ll only need to add product until the line that’s next to the 2. It’s better to find a transparent measuring bowl, so it’s easier to see the contents.
Once you’re satisfied with the amount of hair color, you can then add your developer to complete your mixture.
Once you master measuring hair color and developer, you can then mix and match different dye colors to create a unique shade.
But when you’re new to mixing hair colors, where should you begin?
Before you can start mixing colors, there are a few ground rules you’ll need to know to get a beautiful shade.
The first is to only mix the same type of dye together since each type works differently when depositing color to your hair.
So you can only blend a permanent hair dye with another permanent dye while a semi-permanent color with another semi-permanent shade.
Next is to only mix hair colors from the same brand. Since each company uses different chemical ingredients, combining them may trigger a chemical reaction that will damage your hair.
So if you’re new to mixing hair colors, referring to a hair color mixing ratio chart will be helpful so you’ll have a guide on how to get the perfect shade.
But the basic method is to choose one dominant color to be your primary shade, so you can find a secondary color that complements well with it.
Also, avoid combining opposite tones since mixing a warm shade with an ashy color will make a muddy hue that won’t be flattering. So sticking to 2 warm shades or 2 ashy hues will make a better color payoff.
Box hair dyes can be a convenient way of dyeing your hair since the developer and hair color is already pre-measured for you, so you’ll only need to apply the mixture to your hair.
But knowing how to mix the proper ratio of hair color and the developer will not only avoid any hair color mishaps, but it will also be a handy skill since this will give you the freedom to customize your own hair colors.
It may take a few trials and errors to get the hang of mixing your own colors, but once you master it, you won’t need to rely on using box dyes anymore.