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Can You Use 40 Volume Developer on Dark Hair? Tips & Tricks! (2023)

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can you use 40 volume developer on dark hairFirst things first, let’s investigate the truth of this popular theory: can you use 40 volume developer on dark hair? The answer is yes – but with caution. If used correctly, 40 vol developers can be a great way to lighten thick, coarse, and dark locks to lighter shades like brown or blonde.

However, it should not be used by itself as it has the potential to cause severe damage if misused.

In this article, we’ll explore what exactly a 40-volume developer does and how best to use it for coloring your darker hair safely and successfully.

So whether you want an extreme change in color or just subtle highlights – read on for all our tips & tricks!

Key Takeaways

  • 40 volume developer is ideal for lightening thick, coarse, dark hair.
  • Diluting 40 volume developer with water creates a less harsh 20 volume solution.
  • Spot testing the diluted mixture helps determine processing time and color.
  • Applying the developer starting at the ends and avoiding the scalp can prevent burning.

What is a 40 Volume Developer?

What is a 40 Volume Developer
You’re looking for a way to lighten your dark hair, and 40 volume developer is the strongest choice out there. This powerful bleaching agent contains 12% hydrogen peroxide, which can lift up to 4 levels of color from your hair.

The rich creamy formula of this product gives an even application when combing through the strands, protecting both the scalp and ends. It’s perfect for permanent dye or simply bleaching wigs, as it ensures uniform results without damaging them too much in terms of strength or structure.

When used correctly – starting with the ends first and leaving 0.5 inch from the scalp – you will be able to lighten up all types of dark hair while making sure that they remain healthy at all times, thanks to its nourishing properties added into its formula strength.

All in all, if used safely and responsibly, 40 volume developer could provide you with amazing long-lasting results on your hair journey!

When to Use 40 Vol Developer?

When to Use 40 Vol Developer
Gather your supplies, mix the developer (or not), and get started – you’re ready to use 40 vol developer on dark hair.

Before beginning your lightening process, make sure you have all of the necessary items: a bowl, measuring cup or spoon for mixing; gloves; an applicator brush or comb for application; an old towel to protect surfaces from spills and splashes.

You can either mix the 40 volume/12% hydrogen peroxide with water in a 1:1 ratio if diluting it down slightly or use it as is straight from the bottle.

Once everything is set up, start by applying at the end closest to the scalp and gradually work towards the ends.

Finally, rinse off with cool water followed by shampooing and conditioning afterwards for best results!

Gather Your Supplies

Before beginning to lighten your dark hair, gather all the necessary supplies: mixing ratios, spot testing materials, and developer strength. The peroxide levels should match the desired hair level — 40 vol developer is the strongest for up to 4 levels of lift.

The bleach can be mixed at a 2:1 ratio with volume developer; use a permanent dye if a lighter shade is needed.

Mixing the Developer (or Not)

Ideally, you’ll mix the 40 vol/12% developer with an equal part of water for a 20 vol/6% lightener. Spot test to ensure the desired shade without the risk of burning or hair loss. Bleach ratios of 2:1 dev-bleach can achieve platinum blonde, and root protection is key! For best results, use on unwashed hair for 36+ hours, check the color every 5 minutes for a maximum of 30 minutes, then rinse with cool water and shampoo.

Getting Started

To begin, determine the starting/target hair levels to select the developer strength. Formulate a goal and spot test a diluted mix to check the color and time. Aim to achieve up to a 4-level platinum blonde with a strong developer, but avoid applying it to the roots and scalp as it can cause hair loss.

Aftercare is essential; wash your hair less frequently, use a rich conditioner, and apply masks and oils. Additionally, opt for cool water when washing, trim split ends regularly, and avoid heat styling.

The Waiting Game

Once you’ve mixed the 40 volume developer, it’s time to wait and check your hair every 5 minutes for a maximum of 30 minutes. Timing is key to prevent damage, hair loss, and achieve the desired platinum blonde color.

Conduct a spot test to determine the processing time and color result. Consider different volumes and the target level of your hair color before applying the 40 volume developer for optimal results. Protect your roots and cuticles by leaving a 0.5-inch distance from the scalp to avoid burning.

Rinse with cool water after a maximum of 15-20 minutes and properly shampoo and condition your hair afterwards.

Rinse and Condition

After rinsing, condition hair with a rich moisturizer to reduce breakage and improve the look. Bleach safety requires following instructions carefully—only leave 40 vol on for a maximum of 30 minutes.

A cool water rinse helps protect hair from chemical damage; follow up with maintenance such as regular trims, limiting heat styling, and avoiding chlorine exposure.

Aftercare of Hair for 40-Developer

Aftercare of Hair for 40-Developer
It’s important to take steps to protect and heal your hair after using 40 volume developer.

Here are some tips for aftercare:

  • Wash your hair less frequently.
  • Apply rich conditioners and oil treatments.
  • Avoid using heat styling tools or exposing your hair to chlorine.
  • Use hair masks to prevent further damage from the peroxide in the developer.
  • Nourish your hair with oils like coconut or argan to keep it soft and supple.
  • If you want to retain a level 5 of lift with 40 vol developers, these oils can also help maintain your hair color.
  • When applying permanent hair color, always use it on top of bleach that has been mixed with a 2:1 ratio of developer/bleach.
  • This will prevent over-lightening the ends, which can cause split ends.
  • Regularly trim split ends to maintain healthy-looking locks.

How to Dilute 40 Volume Developer to 20?

How to Dilute 40 Volume Developer to 20
To achieve a lighter shade than 40 volume allows, you can easily dilute it with water in a 1:1 ratio to create 20 volume.

Here are some tips on how to use your developer:

  • Spot test the mix before applying it all over your head. This will help you determine if bleaching or dyeing is needed.
  • When mixing bleach with 40 vol developer, make sure the ratio is 2 parts developer: 1 part bleach for best results.
  • If using permanent dye along with lightening, be sure that one process does not interfere with another.

It’s important to remember that when dealing with high volumes of peroxide like 40 vol, there will always be risks involved, so extra caution must be taken. Never leave it more than 10 minutes maximum or scalp burning may occur! Proper aftercare, such as avoiding heat styling, washing in cool water only, and regular conditioning treatments, should follow any lifting session no matter what level you are going from or to.

What Does a 40 Volume Developer Do?

What Does a 40 Volume Developer Do
You may be looking for ways to lighten your hair without damaging it, and a 40 volume developer might be the answer. It contains 12% hydrogen peroxide, which can lift up to 4 levels of color from dark, coarse hair.

To use it safely, dilute it 1:1 with water until you reach 20 volume strength, and spot test on a strand before applying all over your head.

When you’re ready, start at the back of your head where there is usually more new growth or darker strands that need extra attention. Work around in sections using the bowl technique if necessary. Apply the mixture liberally, but avoid getting too close to the roots.

Then quickly move onto the ends. Leave it on for 15-20 minutes, checking every 5 minutes, with a maximum of 30 minutes. This will give great lift results, especially when mixed with bleach prior for a super platinum blonde tone.

However, never leave it in longer than 10-20 minutes, as this could cause irreversible damage.

What Volume Developer Should I Use for Dark Hair?

What Volume Developer Should I Use for Dark Hair
For dark hair, you should choose a developer with the appropriate volume to achieve your desired results. 10 volume won’t lighten, and 20-40 can lift 1-4 levels depending on the peroxide percentage. Knowing your starting and target colors is key when selecting the right strength of developer.

From black to blonde or brown in one session, you can use 40 vol. The cuticle layer also needs lifting for dye to enter/exit hair, so more peroxide means more opening up of this protective barrier.

Aftercare is essential too. Use rich conditioners, apply masks and oils, but avoid heat styling and chlorine exposure for best results. To ensure successful bleaching at home, spot test the diluted mix first, then start application on ends, avoiding the scalp area.

How Do I Lighten My Hair With 40 Volume Developer?

How Do I Lighten My Hair With 40 Volume Developer
To lighten your hair with 40 volume developer, start by dividing it into sections. Then, prepare the bleach to a 1:1 ratio of 40 vol and water before applying. Begin by bleaching the roots first, then apply onto each section from ends to roots for even results.

Finally, rinse off after 15-20 minutes or when the desired color is achieved, and follow up with proper aftercare such as shampooing and conditioning.

Step 1: Split Your Hair Into Different Sections

First, section off your hair into four equal parts for an even lightening process. Divide the front from the back and each side in half by creating a center parting down to the nape of your neck.

  • Use gloves, protective clothing, and eye protection when mixing bleach and developer to prevent burning skin and eyes.
  • Apply 40 vol/12% peroxide mix only on unwashed hair 36+ hours old, 0.5 inch away from the scalp for the same reason.
  • Spot test the diluted mixture first to check processing time and color before applying all over.
  • Follow up with nourishing masks and oils after washing with cool water instead of hot. Also, trim split ends regularly.

Step 2: Prepare Your Bleach

Mix the 40 volume developer and bleach in a 2:1 ratio. Spot test to ensure desired results and avoid scalp burning. As a lightening agent, it opens the hair shaft for multiple rounds of bleaching. Use toning only if necessary, as the risks may be too high. Gather your supplies and prepare for great results.

Mix carefully and apply to the ends first, then lighten all over with even coverage from roots to tips. Monitor the color every 5 minutes, with a maximum of 30 minutes, then rinse with cool water and conditioner before shampooing.

Step 3: Apply the Bleach on Your Hair

Put on gloves, then apply the bleach mixture onto your hair starting at the ends and working up to the roots. Start slowly. Avoid the scalp and roots. Monitor progress every 5 minutes. Leave for a maximum of 30 minutes.

Wash out with cool water. Bleaching tips for thick dark hair: use a developer strength for cuticle lifting, protect your hair before lightening, carefully monitor the application time, and rinse thoroughly after.

Step 4: Work on Bleaching Your Roots

Start sectioning off your roots and apply the 40-volume developer directly to them, weaving carefully for a flawless lightening result. Protect these delicate areas with extra care – this strength of developer can cause hair damage if left in too long or applied incorrectly.

Understand the color levels you’re working with and use the right ratio of bleach to lighten dark, thick hair up to four shades lighter for that platinum blonde hue.

Step 5: Rinse Your Hair

Once you have lightened your hair with 40 volume developer, it’s time to rinse off the product. Remove any clips and dye remnants before washing in warm water for several minutes. Condition afterwards using a rich formula to help repair any damage from the bleaching process.

Selecting the correct developer strength is important for achieving optimal lightening results without further damaging your hair or prematurely turning it blonde.

What Does Developer Do?

What Does Developer Do
You can achieve up to four levels of lightening with 40 vol developer, making it ideal for achieving a blonde or platinum blonde. On average, the high volume peroxide, depending on the percentage used, is capable of lifting 1-4 levels.

This rich creamy formula gives an easy application and uniform results for bleaching wigs. It is also suitable for patchy bleaching and evening out previously treated hair.

Cool water should be used when rinsing off after applying 40 vol developer to prevent further damage from heat styling. The permanent dye helps give you the desired shade without worrying about toners weakening its purpose.

Proper care post-usage, such as avoiding chlorine exposure, trimming split ends frequently, and using oils and masks, can go a long way in ensuring that your hair remains healthy despite using such strong products like 40 vol developers!

Hair Levels

Hair Levels
To achieve your desired hair color, it’s important to know the levels of lightness or darkness of your current and target shades.

When selecting a developer for lighter hair, consider formulating strength with 20-40 vol depending on percentage peroxide. For platinum blonde results, use 40 volume/12% hydrogen peroxide developer like Loreal Paris Oreor Cream Lightener.

Other options include semi-permanent dyes or dyeing with 30 vol if you have more delicate locks that need extra care.

Be sure when coloring at home to also wear protective gear such as a bowl, disposable gloves, dye brush, and hair clips.

Lift Vs. Deposit

Lift Vs. Deposit
Lift and deposit are two ways to alter the color of your hair. When using 40 volume developer, lift refers to lightening or bleaching the hair, whereas deposit is a way of adding darker pigment into it.

Lift is achieved by opening up the cuticle with peroxide so that bleach or dye can enter more deeply.

On the other hand, depositing adds color molecules, which result in darker hues like browns and blacks when used with permanent dyes.

Knowing both these processes will help you make an informed decision on what kind of results you want from your 40 volume developer.

The Different Volumes of Developer

The Different Volumes of Developer
The strength of the developer you choose depends on what kind of color change you’re after, so make sure to consider your starting and target levels before selecting. When it comes to developers, there are several volumes available ranging from 10 – 40+, with each one offering different benefits.

10 volume is ideal for depositing color onto hair without lightening them, while 20-40+ vols can lift up to 4 levels depending on the percentage peroxide content in them. Higher volumes offer greater lightening potential but also come with a higher risk of damaging the scalp by burning if left too long or used incorrectly.

It’s important that stylists know how much developer they need for a certain point in the process – too little won’t be enough, but too much could cause irreversible damage and unnecessary breakage. Additionally, applying the developer directly at the roots and scalp area can lead to burning and scalp irritation.

Different shades require different amounts, so understanding which works best will help achieve desired results without sacrificing safety or causing excessive damage!

Less Commonly Used Developer Types

Less Commonly Used Developer Types
When it comes to less commonly used developer types, 40 volume/12% hydrogen peroxide lightener should be at the top of your list. It’s great for bleaching wigs and can lift color up to 4 levels when used with permanent dye.

This thick, dark, and coarse hair ideal formula is also perfect for all color correction services. It can be used for lifting or depositing a few shades, as well as achieving platinum blonde results in one session.

For best results, use cool water rinses during processing time. Additionally, use conditioning treatments afterwards, such as rich conditioners, hair masks, and oils.

Remember, don’t mix 40 volume with anything stronger than bleach. This is because you risk burning your scalp if applied directly onto the roots or scalp area. Instead, create a 2:1 ratio of developer to bleach mixture before applying it onto thicker sections of hair.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Are There Any Risks to Using 40 Volume Developer on Dark Hair?

Yes, there are risks to using 40 volume developer on dark hair; lifting can cause irreversible damage. So take caution and mix it with bleach for platinum blonde or permanent dye to lighten – never leave it in for more than 10-20 minutes.

Spot test the diluted mix first, then proceed with care and follow the right aftercare routine.

How Long Should I Leave 40 Volume Developer in My Hair?

Leave 40 volume developer in your hair for no more than 30 minutes, checking every Any longer risks burning and damaging the cuticle. Achieve up to 4 levels of lift with this powerful lightener; mix it with bleach for platinum blonde or permanent dye.

Take good care of your hair afterwards – wash it less, use a rich conditioner and masks, and avoid heat styling and exposure to chlorine.

What Hair Types are Best Suited for 40 Volume Developer?

Thick, dark, and coarse hair types are best suited for 40 volume developer. It can lift up to 4 levels and is great for achieving platinum blonde tones. Use caution as its strong peroxide content can cause damage if applied directly to the scalp or roots.

Is 40 Volume Developer Better Than Other Volumes for Dark Hair?

40 volume developer is a powerful lightener, perfect for lifting dark hair. It can achieve up to 4 levels of lift quickly and efficiently.

Is There a Difference Between Developer and Bleach?

Yes, there is a difference between developer and bleach. Developer lifts the cuticle of your hair to allow for dyeing or lightening, while bleach actually removes color from your strands. Bleach can lift up to 7 levels of darkness, while developer will only lift 1-4 depending on its strength.


Using a 40 volume developer on dark hair can be tricky, but with the right approach, you can achieve a beautiful, lightened hair color. It’s like a game of chess: you need to map out your moves to protect your crowning glory.

Gather your supplies, mix the developer and bleach, and apply the mixture starting at the ends and avoiding the roots. Keep an eye on the timer and rinse the mixture out of the hair after 15-20 minutes.

Afterward, take care of your hair with rich conditioners, hair masks, and oils, and avoid heat styling. With proper steps, you can use 40 volume developer on dark hair without fear of damaging it.

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Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim is a published author and software engineer and beard care expert from the US. To date, he has helped thousands of men make their beards look better and get fatter. His work has been mentioned in countless notable publications on men's care and style and has been cited in Seeker, Wikihow, GQ, TED, and Buzzfeed.