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Demystifying hair developers and bleaches: a guide for hairdressers.

In this guide, we'll explore what hair developers and bleaches are, their functions, how to use them safely, and essential tips for a successful hair-coloring journey.

Understanding Hair Developers

Hair developers, also known as oxidizing agents or peroxides, are an essential component of hair coloring products. They come in various volumes, usually measured in percentages. Their role is to activate the hair color or bleach and lift the natural pigment from the hair shaft.

The Different Volumes (Strengths) of Hair Developers are as follows:

10 Volume (3%)

Use this for level-on-level coloringa and when going darker. 

20 Volume (6%)

Lifts the hair up to two levels lighter when mixed with color and by around 3 levels when mixed with bleach.

Use this developer for gray hair coverage and for most types of lifting, coloring and toning.

30 Volume (9%)

Lifts the hair up to three levels when mixed with color and by up to 5-6 levels when mixed with bleach.

Use this when heavy lifting is required - for example when you are seeing a lot of orange and red and you need to take the hair blonde.

40 Volume (12%)

Lifts the hair up to four levels.

Use this for maximum lift, especially for lightening dark box-colored hair, stubborn, resistant hair, and for color correction situations.

Understanding Hair Bleaches

Hair bleach, also known as lightener, is a chemical agent that removes the natural pigment from the hair shaft, making it significantly lighter.

It is used in the process of highlights, balayage, and full head bleaching to achieve blonde or pastel hair colors.

If you need to lift hair by more than 3 levels, you will need to use bleach first and then color or tone after.

Ugly Duckling has 2 bleaches on the market.

Brilliant Blonde Bleach

Blue based dust-free bleach will lift hair by up to 8 levels.

This is one of the most powerful bleaches on the market.

It can take very dark hair up to blonde in 1 session.

Brilliant Blonde has been especially formulated for dark bases (Asian hair, hispanic hair, African hair etc).

Use this bleach when you have heavy lifting to do and when you are working with dark hair which needs to go blonde.Recommended to be used as an off-scalp bleach.

Brilliant Blondexx Bleach

This is a white bleach made with the latest Plex technology. It gives a great balance of hair protection and lift.

This is a white bleach which produces and exceptionally creamy mix which you will find is comfortable on the scalp.

It lifts by up to 7 levels and can also be used at the root area thanks to the Plex technology.

This bleach produces a very comfortable, creamy mix and is one of the most comfortable bleaches on the scalp.

Use this bleach for most situations where you need to lift and protect at the same time.

Safety Precautions and Best Practices when using developers and bleaches:

Strand Test

Before applying any developer or bleach to your entire head, perform a strand test. This helps you gauge how your hair will react to the product and determine the processing time needed.

Gloves and Ventilation

Always wear protective gloves during the application process to avoid skin irritation. Additionally, ensure proper ventilation in the area to minimize inhalation of fumes.

Patch Test

We recommend that you always conduct a patch test 48 hours before coloring your hair to check for any adverse reactions.

Application Technique

Follow the instructions on the bleach or hair color product carefully. Section your hair and apply the product evenly, starting from the ends and working your way up.


Never exceed the recommended processing time mentioned on the product's packaging. Leaving bleach or color on for too long can cause damage to your hair.


Once the processing time is up, rinse your hair thoroughly with cool water, followed by a deep-conditioning treatment to restore moisture and prevent damage.


Store developers and bleaches in a cool place away from direct sunlight. 

Hair bleach: a first timer's guide to getting it right

What level is my hair?

How to use bleach like a professional

Should I use a 20 or 30 Vol developer?

Developer Choice

How hair bleaches work. And how to choose your bleach.






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