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What Developer Do I Need?

Your colour goals, hair condition and history determine the developer you need.

Developer activates the colour and determines the impact, or effectiveness of the colour on hair. The higher the volume, the stronger the developer. Stronger developers have more power to open the cuticles of your hair to deposit colour, and can achieve either more lift (lightening) or colour coverage over colour-resistant greys.

Each of our colours can be blended with either our:

  • 5 vol Developer
  • 20 vol Developer
  • 27 vol Developer

It’s important to consider your hair condition and goals before selecting a developer.

Toners and semi-permanent colours are blended with our 5 vol developer.

Our 20 vol developer is the industry standard strength to achieve permanent colour results and grey coverage.

If you have stubborn greys which resist colouring, or if you need a bit more lift than the 20 vol can provide, then our 27 vol developer is the best developer for you.

Here’s everything you need to know about our developers, and what colour results they can achieve for you:

5 vol Developer

Our 5 vol Developer is the right developer for you if you want:

  • a semi-permanent colour result, or
  • balance and refine the tone in your hair
  • boost shine
  • avoid damage, or
  • to try a new tone or add depth temporarily, without committing to a permanent colour.

Our 5 vol Developer has a very gentle formula which will (only) deposit colour and tone semi-permanently. Colours blended with our 5 vol developer can function as either a semi-permanent colour or a toner, and will add tone, colour and shine to refresh, boost or balance your tone.

Our 5 vol developer is very gentle, and will boost colour, shine and tone without damaging your hair.

Semi-permanent colours:

Semi-permanent colours are the perfect choice if you want to experiment with adding depth or warm or bright tones, without committing to a permanent colour.

A darker, warmer or brighter colour will deposit colour and tone, giving a semi-permanent colour result.

Rich, warm colours such as Portofino, Palermo, Roma, Messina, Milano or Lucca, or darker neutrals, can perform brilliantly as semi-permanents, adding depth and richer tones over your existing colour level.


Select cool toned colours to tone and correct your colour. Colours with cool tones contain either purple, blue, green or ash pigments, which neutralize unwanted warm tones which typically occur in bleached or highlighted hair.

Semi’s and toners will last for 6-12 washes, depending on the porosity and condition of your hair. They won’t provide grey colour coverage.

20 vol Developer

Our standard 20 vol developer will achieve

  • permanent colour results
  • two levels of lift (on natural, uncoloured hair)
  • grey coverage

Our 20 vol developer is the best option for you if you want to lift your natural colour or roots up to two levels, cover greys, or to achieve permanent colour results.

27 vol Developer:

Our 27 vol developer is the perfect choice if you

  • need 2-3 levels of lift
  • have colour-resistant greys which are not fully covered using the 20 vol developer

We don’t recommend using a developer which is 30 vol or stronger, as they will damage your hair.

We have a developer to achieve almost any colour goal.

Our colour and developer formulas are no-itch, low chemical and suitable for sensitive skin, so you can colour with confidence and comfort!

Talk to our colourists today to find your perfect shade, and the perfect developer to activate it to achieve your colour goals.

I have been colouring my hair for over 20 years as I went grey early. Using other products, the colour faded way too fast on my roots. The Shade colour not only lasts on the grey but keeps its vibrant colour until its time to do the regrowth. I love that everything is provided in the pack for easy colouring including great shampoo and conditioner sachets. I’ve been using The Shade for a year now and won’t go back to any other brand.

A. Fardsavar

OMG!!! I absolutely love how this has turned out and am very impressed. The coverage is great and my hair was left soft, silky and the shine was amazing.

Sara Leach

5 replies on “What Developer Do I Need?”

  • I’m loving my darkest brown shade it’s lasting much better on my roots as now getting grey sprinkling around the front and on my side— boards, I’m feeling my hair is in much better condition also…I like you can have duo colours also it’s much more natural…Thankyou

    • Hi Clara! Thanks for getting in touch. We are digital only and our products are available direct to consumer from our site only. I hope that helps. Thank you!

    • Hi Sharlene,

      The Shade has removed most of the main irritants including ammonia and PPD. It really depends what you are allergic to.

      You could purchase a colour kit and do a patch test to see if there’s any issues. All our ingredients are found here

      I hope this helps!

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