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What Is the Bleach to Developer Ratio? Step-By-Step DIY Guide

A young African American female with very dark hair wearing a bleached hair color in an updo ponytail style.

Are you planning on bleaching your hair soon? If so, then you need to hear this! Using the proper amount of bleach and developer is critical if you want to get a good result.

So, what is the bleach to developer ratio that we recommended?

In this article, we will reveal the standard bleach-to-developer ratio that’s recommended by most professionals. We’ll also give you tips on how to get the most out of your bleach mixture, so make sure you read until the end.

What Is the Bleach to Developer Ratio?

Although you should always follow the directions on your specific products, most professionals recommend using bleach and developer in a 1:2 ratio. Adding one part bleach to two parts developer gives you a creamy but easy-to-apply consistency.

The thick, runny texture spreads on quickly and evenly, so your color won’t come out patchy. You should use the same 1:2 ratio, regardless of your developer volume

A nice black lady after bleaching hair cuticles in a unique partial blonde, brown, and black hair styled by a hair colorist.

What Happens if You Put Too Much Developer in Bleach?

Putting too much developer in your bleach mixture will leave the mixture runny, so applying it will be challenging. It will also make keeping the bleach off your face and skin more difficult, which can lead to burns and irritation. But that’s not all.

Bleach with too much developer may not adhere to your strands well enough to lighten them effectively.

Lastly, your color may turn out pale and dull rather than fresh and vibrant. If you do accidentally add too much developer to your bleach mixture, discard it and whip up a new batch. 

African girl with a natural dark hair color that's been dyed with hydrogen peroxide and a 1:2 ratio of bleach.

How to Mix Bleach Powder and Developer

Now that you know the correct bleach-to-developer ratio, we’d like to walk you through the rest of the process. Proper mixing is crucial if you want to achieve good results, so here are step-by-step instructions for how to mix your bleach powder with a developer. 

Get Your Supplies Ready 

The first step to mixing bleach and developer is getting all your supplies ready. Bleach doesn’t last long once it’s mixed, so you want to ensure everything is ready to go.

Make sure you grab the following before you start.

  • 10 Volume Developer – 10 Vol is the weakest developer. It’s too weak to lighten your hair in one session and is typically used for same-level coloring or when coloring your hair darker.
  • 20 Volume Developer – This strength lightens your hair by one to two levels without a significant damage risk. 20 Vol is also ideal for toning blonde hair or covering grays. 
  • 30 Volume Developer30 Vol developer can lighten your hair by two to three levels
  • 40 Volume and 50 Volume Developer – These developer strengths can lift your hair by three or more levels. However, 40 and 50 Vol developers are incredibly damaging and shouldn’t be used unless you have significant experience.
A young black female, after undergoing the bleaching process to make her dark brown curls shades lighter.

Prepare Your Area

Bleach can lighten your clothes and irritate your skin, so make sure you protect your area before you start. Put on gloves and wear clothes you don’t mind getting stained.

Drape an old towel around your neck and tuck it into your shirt. You might also want to lay down old towels or newspapers to protect your surfaces from bleach splatter. 

Part Your Hair

Once your bleach mixture is ready, you’ll have a limited amount of time to use it before it expires. Make sure you’ll have enough time to apply the bleach by preparing your hair ahead of time. Part your hair into four or more sections and secure each section with a hair tie or clip. 

After drying her wet hair, an African female sees dark regrowth at the roots of her naturally curly hair strands.

Mix Your Bleach and Developer

Pour your bleach powder into a nonmetal, preferably plastic, bowl. Then, add two parts developer and one part bleach. Mix well until you’re left with a uniform consistency and no lumps.

Once you’ve mixed your bleach and developer, you’ll have to use it within the next twenty minutes. Using spoiled bleach increases your chances of severe damage and can throw off your color results. 

Apply Your Bleach Mixture

Once you’ve finished mixing your bleach and developer, it is ready to apply. Take down one of the back sections and separate a thin sliver of hair. Apply the bleach to your strands with an applicator brush.

Your roots process more quickly than the ends and mid-lengths of your hair. Start by applying the bleach about an inch from your scalp and work downwards. 

A black woman with hair cuticle damage is now using a hair care routine for people that have used hair bleach on dark hair.

Then, once you’ve finished with the rest of your mid-lengths and ends, go back and touch up your roots. Make sure your hair is fully saturated with bleach and cover it with a processing cap.

Set a timer and wait for the specified time.

This will usually be between 10 to 30 minutes, depending on your hair color and desired shade. The longer bleach sits on your hair, the more likely it is to cause damage, so keep an eye on how your color is lifting while you wait. 

Rinse and Tone

As soon as you’ve reached your desired shade or your time is up, rinse your hair thoroughly with lukewarm water. Check your hair color for signs of yellow streaks or brassiness. If you want to neutralize them, wash your hair with a blue or purple shampoo. 

Doing so will help your blonde come out cool and ashy or create the perfect base for your hair color. Follow up with a hydrating deep conditioner to help repair your strands and restore moisture. Then, dry your hair and evaluate your new color. 

A lady wearing a pineapple updo on dark brown and blonde hair created with a bleach ratio of 1:2 and blue bleach.

Dos and Don’ts of Mixing Bleach and Developer

Now that you know the basics of mixing bleach and developer, we’d like you to review this list of dos and don’ts. Keeping these tips in mind will help ensure your results are consistent, even, and exactly what you wanted.  


  • Do use the lowest volume developer you can for your desired shade. Using a developer that’s too strong can quickly result in a hair dye disaster. 
  • Do mix your hair bleach and developer in a nonmetal bowl – plastic is best. 
  • Do use a cream developer if you’re new to bleaching your hair. It’s less likely to get all over the place than liquid developer. 
  • Do a patch and strand test before you apply your bleach mixture to your entire head. 
  • Do cover your hair with a cap after applying the bleach unless the bleach packaging suggests otherwise.  
  • Do make sure your hair is healthy enough to bleach before you start the process. 
  • Do follow the directions on your bleach and developer. 
A cute black girl with curly, long hair styled with coconut oil and good quality bleach to lift hair to a pale yellow color.


  • Don’t save your leftover bleach
  • Don’t use your bleach mixture if it comes out too runny. 
  • Don’t bleach your hair more than once a day. 
  • Don’t use anything stronger than 30 Vol developer unless you have a lot of experience.
  • Don’t use an improperly mixed bleaching mixture. 
  • Don’t make more bleach mixture than you think you’ll need.
  • Don’t use your bleach mixture after 20 minutes, as it spoils quickly. 
African girl has light brown curls after using a 1:2 bleach ratio while lightening hair is dancing outdoors.

Related Articles

So, there you have it! Bleaching your hair is risky, so we recommend you head to a salon for professional color whenever possible.

If you decide to bleach your hair, follow the instructions as closely as possible to reduce the chances that something will go wrong. That said, we hope this article has answered all of your questions about how to mix bleach and developer!