Have you ever been to a stylist to get your hair colored and had no friggin idea what she was talking about? Have you ever wanted a particular color and your hair came no where near that when you dyed it? Have you ever stood in a beauty store desperately staring at developers hoping the right one with just come off the shelf and land in your arms? Well I know I have, MANY times.
I honestly don't know how many times I've been disappointed that my hair color didn't turn out like the color on the swatch or box. I've stood in Sally's for what seemed like hours staring at developers hoping the right one would slap me in the face and say "You need me dumbass." That's why I'm writing this, to help just one girl like I was to understand hair color and developers.
Firstly, hair color starts off by identifying the level of your hair. By level I mean darkness/lightness. If your at a beauty supply, like Sally's for instance I remove the swatch from the shelf. (if you do it carefully it will pop back on.) If your going to a professional supply use a swatch book. Then hold it up against you hair and try to match it. If it matches that is the level of your hair. Standard hair color levels are defined on a scale of 1-10. 1 is the darkest, blackest color and level 10 is the lightest, blondest color. A basic scale would look like this.
Level 1- Black
Level 2- Darkest Brown
Level 3- Very dark brown
Level 4- Dark Brown
Level 5- Brown
Level 6- Light Brown
Level 7- Dark Blonde
Level 8- Medium Blonde
Level 9- Blonde
Level10- Light Blonde
After you have established you current color level and desired level, you must decide which tone you would prefer. Tones are put into 3 standard categories; cool, neutral or warm. Tones are usually indicated with letters. This is an example of tones
Cool Tones Warm Tones
A- Ash C- Copper
B- Blue G- Gold
G- Green W- Warm
V- Violet R- Red
R/B- Red Brown
Tones are usually mixed in formulas to create that perfect shade. For example the color I recently used on my hair is a 5RR from Matrix. So what would that be??? Its a Level 5 which is a darker shade, and RR is red with a red undertone. So if I went with a 8VR what would that be??? a Level 8 which is pretty light, and the color would be violet with a red undertone. Are you still with me? :P
Now picking the right developer is quite easy once you understand color levels. Developers mainly come in 4 volumes; 10, 20, 30, and 40. a 10 volume mainly deposits color into the hair. It doesn't lift color at all. if you are wanting to go darker than your previous color or just darker in general use 10 volume. 20 volume mainly deposits color as well. Volume 20 is also best for gray, resistant hair and is the most commonly used. 20 Volume lifts color by 2 shades, an example would be going from a level 5 color to a level 7. You would use 20. 30 & 40 have the most lift but can but rather harsh to the hair. 30 volume lifts 3 shades and 40 lifts 4 shades. so if I was going from a level 3 to a level 7 I would use a 40 volume. Now if it cannot be achieved with a 40 volume then you must use lightener aka bleach.
you cannot go from a level 3 to a level 8 without a double process.
10V- No lift/Deposit only- Dark colors
20V- Best for gray hair/ Mainly Deposits/ Lifts 2 shades
30V- Lifts 3 shades
40V- Lifts 4 shades
Lightener- To lift higher than 4 shades.
I hope this helped at least one person understand color and feel comfortable and confident choosing color. Sitting in my theory class learning this I felt like a total dumb ass for not being able to understand or putting 2&2 together for the longest time. My light bulb finally clicked on after 10 years of coloring my hair. lol