Complacent Stylist 12: Developers – Your Complete Developer Guide
Strap in for this one and get your notepad ready!
With the release of the new Blue Base Developers from All-Nutrient, I’ve been getting calls with all sorts of questions. So, let’s tackle them now with a bit of knowledge power!
Hair color developer is something I’ve been going on about for years. How much, how little, which one, which strength, do you leave it on this long, that long, does this give you lift, does that gives you coverage, what about for fun, what about for bleach, and on and on. How many conversations have you had about developer leading to confusion, frustration, success, and beauty with hair color?
So, why do we need developer?
Put simply, developer activates hair color. It also provides color formula consistency, easier application, color lightening, and longer-lasting color. Bottom line, it delivers color into the hair.
What is developer? What does it do?
You know that developer activates hair color and starts the oxidation process. You also likely know that developer opens the cuticle layer of the hair allowing the color to penetrate, lift, and/or deposit. But, do you really understand what that means?
Developer is a solution containing Hydrogen Peroxide. Hydrogen Peroxide is a mild antiseptic used on the skin to help prevent infection from minor cuts, scrapes, and burns. Thank you doctor, why do we care? What does that mean for hair color?
Well, ammonia is a compound of nitrogen and hydrogen. It’s the main active ingredient in hair color. Hydrogen Peroxide is a compound of hydrogen and oxygen. Here is where the fun begins. When ammonia comes into contact with hydrogen peroxide, the peroxide starts decomposing the ammonia. This is what we know as the oxidation process.
During the oxidation process, oxygen is slowly released when ammonia breaks down in a series of micro-explosions. This softens the hair, allowing the cuticle to relax, open up and make room for the peroxide to get in and diffuse the natural melanin (pigment) in the hair.
It’s the strength of the peroxide that dictates how much or little the melanin will diffuse. That is what determines how much lift or deposit will be achieved.
What makes developer so useful?
Developer comes in different percentage strengths of peroxide and this is where people start getting all kinds of confused.
Yes, any chemical service is going to create some level of damage but we can control how much damage is done by simply remembering the most important variables… texture, density, and porosity.
Developer mixed with permanent hair color is one thing and mixed with bleach is altogether different. We all know developer as volume, so below are how those different volumes go with permanent color.
- 10VOL may give up to one level of lift.
- It contains 3% peroxide.
- It’s supposed to develop for 20 – 25 minutes.
- It does NOT have the ability to intensely activate ammonia.
- It CAN’T really diffuse a lot of the natural melanin in the hair.
- It results in not a lot of lift.
- Any hair type is good for this type of strength.
- It’s really great for fine, soft, thin hair.
- If the hair is in delicate to normal condition, this won’t further destroy hair that much either.
In my opinion, if the hair is delicate, and/or if the hair is thin, fine, or soft, under these circumstances 10VOL will also open the cuticle enough to ensure proper unpigmented coverage. No one is afraid of this developer so that about covers it.
- 20VOL may give up to two levels of lift.
- It contains 6% peroxide.
- It’s supposed to develop for 30 – 35 minutes.
- It has a moderate ability to activate ammonia.
- It evenly diffuses an amount of natural melanin in the hair.
- The result becomes either a level or two of lift, a good amount of deposit.
- It fully develops the pigment in hair color for the proper amount of unpigmented hair coverage by today’s standards.
In my opinion, everyone is using this in the correct scenarios. The only issue is when people try to rush the timing. Leave it on for 30 – 35 minutes like it’s supposed to and call it a day.
- 30VOL may give up to three levels of lift.
- It contains 9% peroxide.
- It’s supposed to develop for 40 – 45 minutes.
- That means it has a strong ability to activate ammonia.
- It results in lift and lightening of the hair at a level that is readily identifiable.
- It’s extremely popular amongst stylist. That is why so many formulas online and in social media are based on this developer strength.
I believe there is a huge disconnect between using this for lift with hair color vs using it in bleaches. We’ll get to that in a minute.
- 40VOL may give up to four levels of lift.
- It contains 12% peroxide.
- It’s supposed to develop for 50 – 55 minutes.
- It has the maximum ability to activate ammonia.
- It results in the most amount of lift with virtually no deposit.
It’s my opinion, that there is a huge misunderstanding and disconnect when it comes to the subject of 40VOL developer. People think about developer as paired with bleach and get scared of using it with color. Plus, that same nervousness leads to not leaving the developer in long enough and the color turns out undeveloped.
Now, in regards to the All-Nutrient Blue Developers, it’s the same thing as far as timing, strength, and uses. The additional bonus is that it contains blue pigment which helps further control unwanted warmth. This is huge because there is a lot of unwanted warmth, especially when getting up into levels 7 and above.
A lot of stylists ask me if there is a significant difference in the amount of warmth that is cut out and the answer is absolutely yes! So much so that there it is a visual difference.
From a creative standpoint, the blue developers are so much fun! Let’s say that you are using a warm tone color, gold, red, orange, copper, violet, eggplant, chocolate, caramel, tobacco, and any other that you are creating. The blue developer will enhance the depth, richness, and further push the tonal value of the color formula you are mixing.
This practically gives us an entirely new palette of colors to work with. It’s awesome!
Bleach and Developer
In regards to bleach with developer, the major difference is that bleach will continue to work as long as there is moisture left for oxidation to occur. This is where everyone starts throwing in their own two cents about the process.
Developer with color is a timed process, it works for a certain amount of time and then it stops. The level of developer with the level of color indicates how much lift, tone, and time the process will take. With bleach however, there is no time limit. I believe this is where the misunderstanding and disconnect occurs.
The purpose of bleach is to diffuse and even remove pigment from the hair. The developer strength will dictate how long that process will take.
Look, I don’t make the science, I’m just trying to explain why it works the way it does. That way, when you do decide to go outside of how it works you can understand why you got the result you did.
Let’s say that we mix two formulas of bleach. One with 10VOL, the second with 40VOL. So long as that 10VOL formula doesn’t dry out, it can sit for an hour and lift the hair to the same level of the 40VOL formula. This would take half the amount of time if not less.
What about the damage? My response is, what about it? Damage will occur under both circumstances. It’s the same level of damage as long as you watch the timing.
Many stylists, tell me that they never use anything over 20VOL or 30VOL when bleaching because they worry the hair will break off. That is absolutely NOT TRUE!
The variable factor that always needs to be mentioned is texture, density, and porosity. Factoring that in determines which developer strength and how long bleach should be timed on the hair. That timing provides the desired lift result, not our personal fears and opinions.
I know I will get some comments for saying this but here we go. For thinner, softer, damaged hair, I agree that 10VOL would probably be the best way to go. But, does that mean it should sit on there for 30minutes? No! Remember, it needs to be closely monitored every few minutes because of that variable factor.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, clients that have thick, coarse, resistant, healthy hair will need to have at least 30VOL or 40VOL used. Especially if they have a darker natural color and/or if they want to be a lighter level.
As far as bleach goes, there are so many different kinds to use I should probably write an article dedicated to bleach alone. In regards to the All-Nutrient bleaches, there is white and blue-based bleach. They are both the same exact strength in regards to lifting power. The main difference is that the blue bleach has blue pigment which helps control warmth during the lifting process.
Here’s some creative fun. The white bleach mixed with blue developer will, in essence, create the equivalency of blue bleach with one exception. That exception… The blue developer mixing with white bleach enhances the whiteness of the bleach giving you an even brighter hi-light effect as an end result. For creative purposes, that’s amazing!
The blue developer with the blue bleach gives another level of control when lifting that is extremely useful. Especially when trying to take someone from dark to light. Have NO Fear!
At the end of the day, developers are very useful tools and should not be feared. With the way technology is these days, there is so much control and conditioning available in cream-based developers, that the hair feels better than when we started.
I’m sure there are still many more questions after reading this, and there is so much more I want to cover. But, this is an article and not a novel so stay tuned for more.
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Complacent Stylist: Your client brings you an Insta pic that’s 100% wrong for her…
This week brings us one of the most painful and feared topics during a consultation. A client walks in, whips out their phone and shows you some Insta photo filtered to high heaven and says, “I want to look like this!”
Why is Instagram, Pinterest, and/or every other social media picture on a phone so scary!?!? Is it because the phone they’re showing you on is cracked, looking like a spider web and you can barely make out the picture!?!? Is it the layer of foundation offsetting the entire color!?!? Maybe it’s the fancy case reflecting light and the glare is burning a hole in our eyes!?!? :)-
Pictures have always existed, so what has changed? Remember the original Ghostbusters quote: “Don’t cross the streams!”
Technology is as good as it is bad. The media in which we look to for inspiration has crossed streams. Before modern day technology, client’s would come in with a magazine picture or a 10-20 year old photo of themselves and request to look like that. These days, they bring it in on a phone.
It really comes down to the same thing… They are asking for something they don’t know how to ask for. They have an emotional attachment to that picture and it made them feel good. They want to share that with you because they don’t know how to ask for it. We have forgotten this very key element.
We have also forgotten that we as the stylist are the ones that help them filter what kind of pictures they are supposed to be looking at. We are the ones that set the expectations. When that doesn’t happen, social media fills that void and the client it coming asking for all kinds of crazy. There is over saturation of media now because of technology. As bad as we may think that is, it is also good. It may give us an idea of what they are trying to say.
Here’s a fun exercise. Have you client put their phone down and describe the photo with words. Half of your clients will immediately have to look at their phone again. They have no idea what they physically showed you because it was an emotion that made them save the photo. From the other half, only a few will be able to describe what they want… because how do you really describe an emotion? The point of this exercise, do NOT be held hostage by the few clients showing you social media pics.
Let’s revisit salon days before cell phones and see how nothing has really changed. When it was a magazine or a photo, it would go one of two ways. One, we would tell the client, “Get real, who doesn’t want to look like that picture in the magazine!” Or two, “Look at that picture, you can barely tell what the color really looks like because of the paper, lighting, etc.” We explained to the client that pictures in magazine are just that, pictures.
When it comes to a client presenting a photo from their glory days this is what would happen. You would sit down next to the client at eye level. Depending on the client, you may even put a hand on their shoulder and make the most sincere face you could. Then you would say this line that we have all said before. Something that sounds a little like this:
“Miss, sweetie, honey, darling. You still look gorgeous, beautiful, amazing. You don’t look a day over 35. This photo is really nice, but you should put it back in your album and always remember it.
You know your hair will not do that, we have spoken about this before. This is why we are doing this with your hair now. This is why we do this color on you like this. This is why we cut your hair this way, and why we style your hair this way. We are doing it this way because this is what your hair can do and BECAUSE I SAID SO!
I am the stylist, I am the authority, I am the one with my finger on the pulse of what your hair can and can’t do. Would you like a cup of water or coffee? Oh, of course, no worries, I know you were just asking, this is why we consult. Two sugars? Cream? No problem, I’ll be right back.”
Some of you reading are laughing and remembering back. Some of you are reading and saying “What the hell just happened? There is no way stylist used to talk to clients like that.” Yes, oh yes we did, and the clients loved it! Let’s break it down to understand why the clients loved it. This is really important!
- (Insert nice pet name) Miss, sweetie, honey, darling.
- (Insert pick me up line for attractiveness) You still look gorgeous, beautiful, amazing.
- (Insert confidence booster) You don’t look a day over 35. This photo is really nice, but you should put it back in your album and always remember it.
- (Insert intervention) You know your hair will not do that, we have spoken about this before.
- (Assert authority and reinforce the plan) This is why we are doing this with your hair now. This is why we do this color on you like this. This is why we cut your hair this way, and why we style your hair this way. We are doing it this way because this is what your hair can do and BECAUSE I SAID SO! I am the stylist, I am the authority, I am the one with my finger on the pulse of what your hair can and can’t do.
- (Don’t let it get awkward or give them a chance to respond) Would you like a cup of water or coffee?
- (Now the client is apologizing like a child thinking they made the parent upset) Oh, of course, no worries, I know you were just asking, this is why we consult.
- (Back to customer service and getting on with our day) Two sugars? Cream? No problem, I’ll be right back.
This is why they come to us. Social media doesn’t know them, it can’t see who they are, or what they look like. It doesn’t know what their hair can or can’t do. Social media is just a modern day magazine or photo album.
Let’s remember that and continue to be the authority for them. Just say NO if that’s what it takes. Remind them of what you are doing for them and they will love you.
Don’t be lazy, don’t get comfortable and complacent. Stay creative and solve the puzzle of what the client is wanting when they bring in that totally wrong-for-them Instagram picture.
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Is big hair back? Valentino’s F/W 2018 hair broke Instagram!
Last Thursday night in Paris, Valentino’s latest collection was presented for Fall/Winter 2018/2019. What got photographs camera snapping however was model Kaia Gerber who stepped out with a massive bouffant created by Guido Palau, that was teased out, brushed back and smoother to a super shiny finish.
The look was classically retro with a modern day twist, that is a throwback to a style created for Marie Antoinette but modernized by Raymond (“Teasy-Weasy”) Bessone in the mid-fifties, the bouffant has been favored by mythical creatures from Jackie O to Brigitte Bardot, its proportions even subtly reinterpreted in the decadent va-va-voom 1980s by a young Cindy Crawford.
Fast forward to 2018’s Valentino show and it offered a form of chic grandeur as sweeping and dramatic as Piccioli’s lavish capes and floor-dusting jewel-tone dresses. All it took was one glance at girl-of-the-moment Kaia Gerber to understand its transformative effects: with her deep chestnut hair pulled back to reveal chiseled cheekbones and a swan-like neck hovering above a swirling storm of pink feathers, the result was sheer runway magic.
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Genius marketing idea! Girls & Dolls!
American Girl Place in New York gives matching makeover to girls and their favorite dolls! From intricate braids to ponytails, it’s a cute idea as a once a year way to promote your salon!
This place gives matching makeovers to girls and dolls.
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Hot hair trend: #flamboyage!
A fresh new take on summer color popped up on Instagram form summer 2018: flamboyage! As refined as it is chic, it combines balayage and ombre into a an elegant look that works for any hair color and type.
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Welcome to Kallyas Network. This is your first post. Edit or delete it, then start blogging!
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