Can You Mix Semi-Permanent Hair Dye With Developer?

You should never mix a semi-permanent hair color with a developer, as the latter might destroy the whole color payoff.

The reason semi-permanent hair dyes are popular is because of the ease of their use. You add the semi-permanent hair dye to your hair and it sets naturally to your hair without having to worry about the damages that permanent hair dye pigments can cause to your hair. In the beauty industry however, there is something called a developer that helps to set in the dye.

So can you mix semi-permanent hair dye with developer? It is interesting to think about because developers help to set in hair dye and it could have the potential for semi-permanent dye. But the active ingredients in developers are the major problem. To know if you can mix hair dye with developer, you should first understand what a developer is and what it is made of, and what a semi-permanent dye is made of to get a better understanding of their mixture.

What is a Semi-Permanent Hair Color?

What is a semi-permanent hair color

Currently, the most common trend in hair color is incorporating semi-permanent hair dye into light hair. These fall somewhere between temporary hair colors that fade after one wash and hair colors that can last for months. When you limit the number of hair washes, the color should last for a few weeks to a month. Semi-permanent hair dyes are the least damaging as they do not contain any sort of ammonia or peroxide. So you can just get the color out of the bottle and apply it directly to the hair. Finally, no mixing of hair colors or other activators is required.

Semi-permanent hair dyes are easy to use and tend to last when you care for the hair. The best feature of these is that they can be used directly at home and are ideal for use with any type of hair treatment. So you can use a semi-permanent hair dye on top of straight or permed hair. And they are the best way to cover up the patchiness of the hair. And when you already have a base of the hair, the semi-permanent color will go on top perfectly. They will add gloss to the hair.

What is a Developer?

What is a developer

A developer is used to lighten hair and get an acceptable color result using hydrogen peroxide. It is typically used on bleached hair. They frequently alter their own hair for color. You can lift the inherent dark tones of the hair using hair bleach and apply another color as a topper. Hair bleaching is necessary if you have brunette, black, or brown hair since the topping color will not come through owing to the blackness. Bleaching is typically used for hues that are too light.

A good example would be ash blonde. And when you do highlight, the bleach is applied section by section. When hair is colored over previously dyed hair, it is a lighter shade and also bleached. And most salons recommend bleaching the hair to bring out its true color.

When you have light hair, it is easier to bleach your strands. However, if you have really dark hair, bleaching will be a difficult decision since most individuals with dark hair have a black pigment called melanin that is difficult to remove. And for those strands, a strong bleaching chemical is required. Hydrogen peroxide and ammonia are also used on the hair as effective bleaching agents. And, in most cases, you will need to bleach your hair more than once to achieve the desired of golden. This will give the hair a proper color lift. In most cases, you will need to perform more than one bleach treatment to achieve the desired results.

When it comes to bleach developers, they are primarily the product that influences the overall bleaching effect. And so here’s the list of developers with their strengths:

  • 40 volume developer =12% strength  
  • 30 volume developer =9 % strength  
  • 20 volume developer= 6% strength  
  • 10 volume developer = 3% strength   

The developers will lift the color from the hair and act as an activator for the hair. They will also help the bleach powder work. And when you’re using bleach on dark hair, use 20 developers for the roots and 30 developers for the ends of the hair. There will be only a slight color lift with ten developers, and the may be uneven color damaged with 40 developers.

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Why shouldn’t you mix semi-permanent hair color with developer?

Why shouldn’t you mix semi-permanent hair color with developer

Semi-permanent hair coloring and dye is added to the hair for more color payoff. But when you add a developer to the hair color, you are just ruining the overall hair texture, and thus both the semi-permanent and developer will forego their abilities and will not work. So here are the reasons why you shouldn’t mix them together:

  1. Developers are mostly hydrogen peroxide, which is used to lift the hair’s natural color. And a semi-permanent hair dye is supposed to add color to the hair. They counteract their work, and thus they do not work.
  2. The semi-permanent dye has all of the pre-mixed ingredients, and they are good for your skin with all the nourishing ingredients. But the developer is damaging to the hair, and they don’t have a good relationship together.
  3. Higher-level developers can be harmful to hair because they destroy the melanin on the strands. Dyes are pure pigments, and they add color.
  4. The developer contains harsh chemicals, and when they are added to the semi-permanent dye, they will not work well.
  5. When semi-permanent hair dye is mixed with a developer, it has a faded shade, which doesn’t look flattering at all. The acidic molecules of the developer will break down the pigments of the hair, which tend to make the color less vibrant.

So to sum it all up, we might say that the semi-permanent hair dye and the developer don’t go well together because the objectives of these products are not similar. One will lift the color, and one will add chlorine. So you better go with a developer and bleach first and then add the semi-permanent dye on top.

How do I use semi-permanent hair color?

Well, now that we have clearly stated that you cannot use a-permanent hair color with a developer, let us also include some points that will be helpful when you are about to do a hair color by using the semi-permanent hair dye:

How do I use semi-permanent hair color

Step 1: Prepare your hair

The first step at the beginning with a semi-permanent hair dye is to prepare the hair. And for that, you might want to start with a good clarifying shampoo. That way, the scalp will have no oil buildup, and the color will go on nicely on top. And make sure to put on a hair mask before you go with the overall hair color routine, and they’ll add strength and hydration.

Step 2: Bleaching

The next part would be to bleach the dark hair. Well, it might not be necessary when you already have light hair, but when you have dark hair, you might want to bleach it first. And in this case, you have to use a developer and blech powder. This will help to create a light base for the hair to sit on top of.

Step 3: Apply the dye

For the color of the hair, just pour some hair color directly into a bowl and use gloves and a brush to apply the color. Apply the color evenly and saturate the hair properly. Keep the color on for 15 to 30 minutes and wash off the hair color as recommended.

Step 4: Hair Care

Hair care is important as it will last around ten to thirty washes. So if you want the color to last, you might want to use a color-reviving shampoo and conditioner, and make sure to avoid sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner. You can also use color depositing shampoo to enhance natural color of the dye.

How to extend the life of semi-permanent hair color?

How to extend the life of semi-permanent hair color

When you are all about semi-permanent hair dye, you might want to go through some processes that will help with the overall color payoff. And here, we are including some of the ways that the color payoff will be good on the hair:

  • Allow the dye to sit on the hair for a longer period of time.
  • Use pigmented dyes and make sure that the color has good flexibility to wash.
  • Add heat before washing the hair.
  • Apply the color to damp hair directly.
  • Use a color-reviving shampoo and conditioner.


1. What happens if I put too much developer in the dye?

It will become runny and wet, which needs more time for it to dry.

2. Can you mix semi-permanent hair dye with conditioner?

You can add a semi-permanent hair dye to a conditioner; that way, the hair will be more smooth and more nourished.

3. Can you mix 10 and 30-volume developers?

No, you shouldn’t mix two different developers or the chemical reaction would ruin the bleach and developer reaction.

Final Thoughts

A semi-permanent hair dye and a developer shouldn’t be mixed; otherwise, you will not get your desired color off. When you want to involve both a semi-permanent hair dye and a developer in your color routine, there are some steps you should follow. The first person would be doing your base. Even for a semi-permanent color, you have to bleach the hair first. And for that, you have to use a developer and bleach powder. And then do a bleaching session first.

For the bleaching part, you might want to be careful with the developer, as it has the potential to damage the hair. After the bleaching, go with a semi-permanent hair dye. You don’t have to go with deep tones; rather, go with light shades, and you will get an appropriate color payoff because of the bleach.

Key Points

  1. A developer is a regulated product that is used to lighten the hair. Because it destroys the dark pigments in the hair, using a developer straight to the strands will lighten the strands and finally result in blonde hair.
  2. Semi-permanent hair color cannot be mixed with a developer. As a result, the integrity of the hair color will be compromised, and you will be left with a color that will not allow any color on the hair. As a result, it is best not to mix semi-permanent hair color with a developer.
  3. When you have light hair, it is easier to bleach your strands. However, if you have really dark hair, bleaching will be a difficult decision since most individuals with dark hair have a black pigment called melanin that is difficult to remove.
  4. The developer can be used with permanent hair color. However, the developer only applied it during the bleaching process, not to the hair color combination.

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