Should I Use A 10 Or 20 Developer With Toner?

When it comes to toning your hair, selecting the right developer is key to achieving the desired results. The developer is the solution that’s mixed with the toner, and it helps to activate the toner’s pigment molecules. It’s important to choose the right strength of developer to get the desired tone, and there are different options available, such as 10 and 20 developers.

Many people wonder whether they should use a 10 or 20 developer with toner. The answer to this question is not straightforward, as it depends on various factors, such as the natural color of your hair, the current condition of your hair, and the desired tone you want to achieve. In this article, we’ll explore the differences between 10 and 20 developers and help you decide which one is right for you.

Quick Summary
The choice between using a 10 or 20 developer with toner depends on the desired level of lift or deposit of the toner. If you want a subtle toning effect or to deposit color close to the natural hair color, a 10 developer will be sufficient. However, if you want a more dramatic toning effect or want to lift the natural hair color, a 20 developer would be more appropriate. It is always advisable to consult a professional hairstylist to understand which developer would work best for your specific hair type and toning needs.

Understanding the Role of Developers in Hair Toning

Hair toning is an essential aspect of hair coloration. It helps in correcting the unwanted hues and tones that may appear after your hair color application. However, a toner alone cannot work its magic. It requires a developer to penetrate the hair and bring out the desired color. Developers contain hydrogen peroxide, which helps to oxidize the color molecules and provides a color change.

Developers come in several volumes ranging from 5 vol to 40 vol. The volume you choose depends on the hair’s color levels and the desired toning result. For hair toning purposes, developers of 10 or 20 volumes are typically used. The choice of developer volume depends on the desired level of lift and the tone of the hair. Therefore, it is crucial to understand the role of developers in hair toning to choose the ideal developer volume for your hair.

The Pros and Cons of Using a 10 Developer for Toning

Using a 10 developer for toning can have its pros and cons. The most significant advantage of using a 10 developer for toning is that it is less harsh on the hair than a higher developer. This is because it does not lift the hair’s color as much, resulting in less damage. The lower developer is also ideal for toning hair that is already a light shade, such as blonde or gray, as it will not make the hair too light and risk a brassy or yellow tint.

However, the downside of using a 10 developer for toning is that it may not provide enough lift for hair that is darker or has more pigment. This can result in the toner not depositing enough color to achieve the desired shade. Additionally, a 10 developer may not penetrate the hair as well as a 20 developer, which means it may not give the toner the chance to develop to its full potential. Ultimately, the decision to use a 10 developer for toning will depend on the starting shade of the hair and the desired end result.

Exploring the Benefits and Drawbacks of a 20 Developer for Toning

Using a 20 developer for toning hair can have its advantages and drawbacks. One of the benefits of using a 20 developer is that it can achieve a more vivid and intense color compared to using a 10 developer. A 20 developer can also lift the natural hair color by a level or two, providing a more noticeable toning effect.

However, the drawback of using a 20 developer is that it can be more damaging to the hair than using a 10 developer. A higher developer strength can cause the hair to become more porous and brittle, potentially leading to breakage and split ends. It’s important to consider the condition of your hair and consult with a professional stylist before deciding on the developer strength to use when toning your hair.

Tips for Choosing the Right Developer Strength for Your Hair Type

Choosing the right developer strength for your hair type is crucial for achieving the desired result and preventing damage to your hair. The developer strength refers to the concentration of hydrogen peroxide in the developer solution. If your hair is fragile or damaged, it’s crucial to use a lower developer strength to minimize further damage. On the other hand, if your hair is in good condition, you can use a higher developer strength.

For fine hair, you should opt for a lower developer strength to avoid over-processing and causing breakage. For thick or coarse hair, a slightly higher developer strength may be necessary to achieve the desired result. Additionally, if you have resistant grey hair, you may need to use a higher developer strength to ensure complete coverage. It’s essential to read the instructions carefully and follow the recommended developer strength for the toner to ensure optimal results and the health of your hair.

Achieving Your Desired Results: Matching the Developer with Your Toner Shade

Achieving Your Desired Results: Matching the Developer with Your Toner Shade

One of the most important considerations when deciding between 10 or 20 developers for toner is to find a shade that matches your desired result. If you’re working with a very light shade of toner, for example, you may benefit from using a 10 developer, as this will help to achieve a more subtle and understated look. On the other hand, if you’re working with a darker shade of toner or a more dramatic look, then a 20 developer may be the better choice.

The exact shade and result you’re looking for will largely depend on your personal preferences and the look you’re aiming to achieve. However, by taking the time to match your developer with your toner shade, you can ensure that you’re getting the best possible results and achieving the exact look you want to create. If you’re not sure which developer to use with your toner, it’s always best to do a patch test first to see how the product behaves, and to make any necessary adjustments as needed.

Maintaining Healthy Hair While Using Developers and Toners

Maintaining healthy hair while using developers and toners is crucial. Developers and toners can cause damage to hair if they are not used correctly. To prevent damage, it is recommended that you use a deep conditioning treatment before and after the coloring process. This will help to keep the hair hydrated and nourished, protecting it from the harsh chemicals in the developers and toners.

It is also important to follow the instructions on the developer and toner packages carefully. Using too much or leaving them on for too long can cause hair damage. Additionally, using a lower volume developer, such as a 10 instead of a 20, may help to reduce the risk of damage. Remember that healthy hair is the foundation for achieving the best color results, so take care of your hair before and after using developers and toners.

Experimenting with Different Developer and Toner Combinations for Unique Results

If you’re feeling a little adventurous, playing around with different combinations of developer and toner can lead to some pretty unique results. There are a few ways to approach this: you can try using different developers with the same toner, or vice versa, or you can mix and match different products to see what happens.

When experimenting with different developer and toner combinations, it’s important to keep in mind that the results can be unpredictable. However, if you’re willing to take a chance, you might end up with a one-of-a-kind look that’s perfect for you. Just remember to start with small amounts and test your results on a small section of hair before committing to a full dye job. And as always, be sure to follow the instructions carefully to avoid damaging your hair or creating an unwanted color.


Choosing the right developer when toning hair is important and can make a significant impact on the final result. While it’s tempting to use a higher developer such as 20 vol for a more intense toning effect, it’s important to consider the condition of the hair before making that decision. When hair is already damaged or weakened, a lower developer like 10 vol may be the safer choice.

Ultimately, the choice of developer when toning hair depends on individual hair type, condition, and the desired result. It’s always recommended to perform a strand test first to avoid any unexpected outcomes. Consulting with a professional hair stylist or colorist can also be helpful in making the right choice and achieving the desired look while maintaining the health of the hair. With careful consideration and experimentation, anyone can achieve beautiful, toned hair.

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