How to mix developer and bleach

How To Mix Developer And Bleach At Home In 5 Easy Steps

Check out this guide on how to mix developer and bleach to the ideal ratios, application techniques, and pro tips for bleaching and coloring hair.

As a seasoned hairstylist with over a decade of experience in the bustling beauty industry of the United States, I’ve witnessed firsthand the transformative power of hair lightening.

However, the art of hair lightening is not without its intricacies, particularly when it comes to mastering the delicate balance between developer and bleach.

So today I thought I’ll delve into the world of developer and bleach, equipping you with the knowledge and expertise to confidently embark on your hair-lightening journey.

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Why You Should Trust Haireveryday?

The author of this article, Leah Marie Priest has a degree in Cosmetology with years of experience in dealing with hair care, scalp care, and hairstyling. As someone who extensively deals with all kinds of hair textures, products, styling methods and more, hair Leah Marie knows what kind of products and procedures suit each hair type and person. We have also tested these hair products and processes ourselves to provide you an unbiased review about every product. Each of our articles are also reviewed by a team of medical professionals so that you get the most accurate and expert-reviewed information.

How To Mix Developer And Bleach 

Here’s the quick answer:

Professional hair stylists typically mix developer and bleach in a 1:2 ratio, meaning one part bleach to two parts developer. This ratio is a good starting point for most hair types, but it may need to be adjusted depending on the desired level of lift. Here are the steps on how to mix developer and bleach for hair coloring:

  • Put on gloves and a cape to protect your skin and clothes.
  • In a non-metallic bowl, mix one part bleach with two parts developer.
  • Use a tint brush to mix the bleach and developer until it is smooth and creamy.
  • Apply the bleach mixture to your hair, starting at the ends and working your way up to the roots.
  • Process the bleach for the desired amount of time, checking your hair every 10-15 minutes.
  • Once your hair has reached the desired level of lift, rinse it thoroughly with cool water.
  • Apply a deep conditioner to your hair to help restore moisture.

Understanding The Basics Of Mixing Developer And Bleach

When it comes to hair bleaching, mixing developer and bleach is a crucial step that requires careful attention. 

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Developer is a type of hydrogen peroxide solution that helps activate the bleach powder, which in turn lightens the hair. 

The bleach-to-developer ratio is a critical factor that determines the potency of the mixture, and it’s important to understand how to mix bleach and developer properly to achieve the desired results.

The first thing to consider when mixing developer and bleach is the developer’s strength. Developers come in different volumes, with 10, 20, 30, and 40 being the most common. 

The higher the volume, the more potent the developer is, and the faster it will lift the hair. However, high-volume developers can also be more damaging to the hair, so it’s important to choose the right strength for the job.

Another important factor to consider is the bleach-to-developer ratio. 

The golden ratio for mixing bleach and developer is 1:2, which means one part bleach powder to two parts developer. This ratio ensures that the mixture is potent enough to lighten the hair but not so strong that it causes damage. It’s essential to measure the bleach powder and developer accurately to achieve the right consistency and potency.

When mixing bleach powder and developer, it’s important to mix them thoroughly until the mixture is smooth and consistent. 

The consistency should be thick enough to stay on the hair without dripping but not so thick that it’s difficult to apply evenly. If the mixture is too thin, it won’t lift the hair properly, and if it’s too thick, it can cause damage.

One common mistake when mixing developer and bleach is putting too much developer in the mixture. This can result in a weaker mixture that won’t lift the hair as effectively. 

It’s essential to follow the recommended bleach-to-developer ratio to achieve the best results.

In summary, mixing developer and bleach is a crucial step in the hair bleaching process. Understanding the basics of developer strength, bleach-to-developer ratio, consistency, and mixing process is essential to achieve the desired results.

Step-By-Step Guide To Mixing And Applying Bleach

Mixing developer and bleach can be intimidating, but with the right materials and step-by-step guide, you can achieve a hair color transformation that you desire. Here is a guide on how to mix and apply bleach to lighten hair or create highlights.

Materials Needed

Before starting, make sure you have the following materials:

  • Gloves
  • Plastic bowl
  • Measuring tool
  • Powdered bleach
  • Developer (30 vol or 20 vol)
  • Paintbrush
  • Non-metallic bowl
  • Aluminum foil
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Patch and Strand Test

Before applying bleach to the entire head, it is important to do a patch and strand test. This test will determine if you have any scalp sensitivity or if the bleach will cause hair damage.

To do a patch test, apply a small amount of bleach mixture behind the ear and leave it for 24 hours. If there is no scalp irritation or redness, it is safe to proceed with the hair bleaching process.

To do a strand test, take a small section of hair and apply the bleach mixture. Leave it for the recommended time and check the hair color. If it is too light or too dark, adjust the mixture accordingly.

Mixing Bleach

Mix the bleach and developer in a non-metallic bowl. Use a kitchen scale to measure the bleach and developer in the correct ratio. For a creamy consistency, mix one part bleach to two parts developer.

bleach powder and developer ratio

Pro Tip: To prevent bleach-developer mixture from getting clumpy and to make sure it mixes well DO NOT pour bleach and developer at the same time in your bowl. First take the entire bleach powder in the bowl and then add developer liquid by parts. Don’t forget to whisk the mixture continuously as you pour the developer to prevent clumps. 

Applying Bleach

how much 20 volume developer to mix with bleach

Start with unwashed hair and section it into four parts. Apply the bleach mixture to the hair using a paintbrush, starting from the ends and working your way up to the roots.

Wrap each section with aluminum foil to prevent the mixture from drying out and to speed up the hair-lightening process. Leave the bleach in for the recommended time, checking the hair color every 10 minutes.

Toning and Moisturizing

After the recommended time, rinse the bleach mixture out with cool water and apply a toner to remove any remaining pigment. Rinse again and apply a deep conditioner to moisturize the hair.

Difference Between Bleach and Developer

difference between bleach and developer

Bleach and developer are both essential components for hair lightening, but they serve distinct purposes.

Bleach is the main lightening agent, responsible for removing natural pigment from the hair. It contains a chemical compound called persulfate, which reacts with hydrogen peroxide to break down melanin, the pigment that gives hair its color.

Developer, also known as hydrogen peroxide, is the activating agent that facilitates the bleaching process. It provides the necessary oxygen molecules to break down the persulfate and release its lightening power. The strength of the developer determines the lifting power of the bleach. Higher volume developers (30, 40 volume) lift more hair color, while lower volume developers (10, 20 volume) provide subtle lightening.

In essence, bleach is the lightening agent, while developer is the catalyst that activates the bleaching process. Without developer, bleach would remain inactive and ineffective.

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Here’s a table summarizing the key differences between bleach and developer:

Primary FunctionRemove hair pigment (lighten hair)Activate bleaching process
Main ComponentPersulfateHydrogen peroxide
PurposeBreak down melaninProvide oxygen molecules for bleaching reaction
StrengthFixedVaries depending on volume (10, 20, 30, 40 volume)
Contribution to LighteningDetermines the overall level of liftDetermines the speed and intensity of lightening


Mixing and applying bleach can be dangerous if not done correctly. Always wear gloves and avoid getting the mixture on the scalp to prevent chemical burns. Follow this step-by-step guide to achieve platinum blonde hair or highlights without causing hair damage or scalp irritation.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the ratio of 20 developer to bleach powder for hair?

The ratio of 20 developer to bleach powder for hair is 1:1. This means that you should mix equal parts of 20 volume developer and bleach powder.

What is the ratio of 40 developer to bleach powder for hair?

The ratio of 40 developer to bleach powder for hair is also 1:1. You should mix equal parts of 40 volume developer and bleach powder.

Can hair dye be mixed with bleach powder and developer?

No, it is not recommended to mix hair dye with bleach powder and developer. Bleach works by removing the natural color pigment from the hair, while hair dye adds color to the hair. Mixing the two can result in unpredictable and potentially damaging results.

What happens if too much developer is used when bleaching hair?

If too much developer is used when bleaching hair, it can cause damage to the hair and scalp. It can also result in uneven color and patchiness.

How do you mix 20 volume developer with hair color?

To mix 20 volume developer with hair color, use a 1:1 ratio. This means that you should mix equal parts of 20 volume developer and hair color.

Related: How To Dilute Developer For Hair Dye

Final Thoughts on How To Mix Developer and Bleach

The trick to mixing developer and bleach the right way is to get two things right – the ratio of each ingredient and the consistency.

Just remember to add one part of bleach to every two parts of the developer. So if you’re taking 10g of bleach, you’ll have to add 20g of developer.

If you want the bleach to do its job effectively then you should also make sure the consistency of the mixture isn’t too runny or too thick.

Also, make sure you have all the other accessories like plastic brushes, gloves, etc. handy when you’re applying bleach at home. 

It’s also worth noting that if you have chemically processed hair (permed, relaxed, etc.) or dyed hair or just thin or fragile hair in general, go to a specialist. 

They will usually stretch your bleaching sessions over a period of time to minimize damage. 

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