Last Updated on 17th August 2023 by Chauncey Morgan
If I am sure about one thing in life, it’s that we have all been tempted to change our hair at home without the help of a professional at least once. Coloring your hair is one of the easiest things to do by yourself. And the first thing to learn is how to measure your hair color and developer.
I know a lot of people are more inclined towards using box dyes. Even though there are a lot of pretty great shades to choose from, I always recommend using professional hair color, as it is less damaging to the hair. It’s always better when you use quality products that you select for yourself.
If you are planning on coloring your hair at home, refer to this guide first to learn all about the correct hair color to developer ratio you have to keep in mind for best results. Proper technique will help you achieve the desired color with ease, and that’s what we all want in the end. So, let’s get right into the guide!
Table of Contents
The Right Ratio
When it comes to mixing hair color and developer, the ratio should always be 1:1. That means you should use the same amount of the two products when mixing them together. You can follow the marks on the packaging to determine how much of the products you need to use.
How to Measure Hair Color and Developer
Both hair color tubes and developer bottles come in many different sizes. The ones you will usually come across typically range from 50g for color and 50ml for developers up to 100g for color and 100ml for hair developers.
Let’s see how you can properly measure the products to get the best hair coloring results! Here are a few things to look out for and keep in mind when you open up your package of hair color and developer to ensure you’re measuring them properly.
Refer to Packaging Measurement Marks
One of the things that you will notice on the packaging of hair colors and developers is that they usually have little marks on them to help you with the measurements. Usually, the marks on hair color tubes are set at 25g, 50g, 75g, and 100g. On the developer, the marks are usually set at 25ml, 50ml, 75ml, and 100ml.
Use a Scale to Measure Product
If there are no marks on the packaging, I would recommend that you get a scale such as a kitchen scale to help you out. You should never mix these products without measuring them beforehand – remember, careful measuring is key to getting the color that you want!
Be sure to measure equal amounts of both products, as you want to get as close to that 1:1 ratio as possible. You can put the product in small bathroom cups to avoid getting your scale dirty. Simply measure the weight of the cup while it’s empty first, and then subtract that from the measurement of the cup with the product inside.
Use Measuring Cups
Another great idea is to use measuring cups before mixing the hair color and the developer. Just like the scale, make sure you have equal amounts of the color and developer products before you mix them. Pour each product into separate cups to make sure you have equal amounts of each.
If you use proper amounts and achieve a 1:1 ratio, your mixture should be similar to a paste that you can apply to the hair without any problems.
Fixing Problems with Measuring Hair Color and Developer
In the best-case scenario, you’ll ideally have no problem measuring equal amounts of the two products and mixing them up before using the mixture on your hair. However, there are those cases where you happen to end up with too much hair color or too much developer in the mixture. What happens then? Can the product still be salvaged and used?
Thankfully, there’s no reason to panic as long as you detect the problem before applying the mixture to your hair. You can easily adjust the mixture by adding more of one product or the other. Keep track of how much you’ve used or just check the packaging to see how much you’ve already used of each product and tweak the mixture as needed.
Remember, that 1:1 ratio is what you should aim for. You will likely end up with a larger amount of both products than initially anticipated, but at least you will get a good hair color result.
Let’s look a little more in-depth at the most common issues that occur when improperly measuring color and developer and how to recognize and solve them.
1. You Used Too Much Developer
If your mixture seems a bit too watery and hard to apply to your hair, chances are, you have too much developer in the mixture. If you use this watery mixture to color your hair, the color you end up with will be light but not vibrant or shiny. You will most likely have to re-color your hair, which means doing more damage to it.
Because of this, I would advise that you be careful and you double, if not triple, check your mixture before applying it to your hair. That will save you from a lot of trouble!
You can also try slowly adding more hair color to the mixture until it thickens up and is easier to apply.
2. You Used Too Much Hair Color
If your scale or measuring cup failed you and you ended up with too much hair color in the mixture, you will find that the resulting dye will be very thick and will not easily stick to your hair. Even if you manage to get it on your hair, the color will probably not look the way you had hoped it would once it’s finished processing, and you will have to re-color your hair.
If the mixture seems too thick and difficult to apply from the beginning, it could be a good idea to add a few drops of developer at first and see if it gets better. As mentioned before, be careful when making the mixture and adjust it as needed before actually applying it to your hair.
How Much Hair Color and Developer Should I Mix?
This is a common question from people who are coloring their hair at home for the first time. I have spoken about the different size bottles and tubes you can find, but now we’ll look at the precise amounts of the products you’ll need to use for your hair.
I would always recommend buying more than enough of each product from the very beginning just to be safe. You do not want to run out of product in the middle of coloring. That is the worst thing that can happen! If you aren’t sure if you have enough, buy an extra box or kit just to be safe. You can always return the unused product if you end up not needing it.
First, go to your local beauty supply store and choose the type of hair color and the developer volume you are planning on using. Once you get home, the first thing you want to think about is how much of the hair you want to color – are you going to retouch the roots only, or are you coloring your entire head of hair?
- To color your roots only, you will need 25g of hair color and 25ml of the developer. This small amount of dye can help you cover any gray hair that might be sticking out or cover the grown-out part of the hair.
- To make highlights in your hair, you will need around 25 to 50g of hair color depending on your hair length, as well as the same amount of developer. Once you prepare the mixture, you can go in and color only those sections of hair you want to change.
- To color your entire hair, you will need anywhere from 50 to 100g of hair color and the same amount of developer. Again, the amount of each product you use depends on the length and thickness of your hair. I would advise you to make more mixture than you think you’ll need from the beginning so you do not have to pause in the middle of coloring to re-measure it and make more.
That is everything you need to know about the amount of hair color and developer you should use to color your hair. The most important thing to remember is the ratio – always use the same amount of color and developer to get the best results!
What Happens if You Use Hair Dye without a Developer?
If you have hair color in the form of powder, you will not be able to use it without the developer it is sometimes packaged with. However, there are color creams that can trick you into thinking you do not need any developer. So, you might end up leaving the hair color cream on your hair without using any developer.
If you make this mistake, the hair color you apply will get into the hair, but it will not permanently stay there like it should. You will notice your hair color fading a lot quicker than usual, so you will have to re-color your hair to make it shiny and vibrant again.
Hair Color Measurements Unlocked!
I hope this guide helped you learn how to measure hair color and developer to get the perfect ratio before coloring your hair. If you want your newly-colored hair to look vibrant and gorgeous, make sure you pay attention to the amount of product you use!
Let me know if you tried following the tips I shared in this guide and if they helped you with the coloring process. I cannot wait to read all about it!