Regular Lift DeveloperQ: I'm a student at Sherman Kendall Academy and I'm barely learning color. My mom would like me to color her hair a level 2. I went to the beauty supply store and bought Wella Color Charm and Salon Care Professional Developer. But the developer says "20 volume cream, regular lift" on it. I'm a little confused because since I'm coloring her hair a dark color would the developer even work because it says regular lift on it? Or do I need to go buy a different developer?
A: The developer you have should be perfectly fine for your mom's hair color process.
The thing you need to remember about color is that it is easier to go darker than lighter, or at least, the hair can be darkened with less chemical processing. The differences in the volume of peroxides is that the higher the volume number the more lifting action can be achieved as a part of the single coloring process. A 10-volume peroxide developer is considered a no-lift developer because when it is combined with hair color it creates a formula that doesn't lighten the existing color at all, but instead deposits the new color.
20-volume developer will give you a lift of one to two shades (lightness levels) and would be good for taking the hair from say a level 4 to a level 3 or 2. (Using heat during the color processing will increase the amount of lift you can achieve, and hair that has higher porosity and finer texture will often process more quickly and to lighter colors with lower volume peroxide developers.) 30-volume developer is good for 2-3 levels of lift before depositing the color, and there are even 40- and 50-volume developers for high-lift color processes.
Even if your mom's hair is black (level 1), using a 20-volume peroxide developer will give sufficient lift to allow you to bring it up to level 2. If you are darkening your mom's hair, you only really need a 10-volume developer. The 10-volume developer is only meant to soften the hair and allow for penetration of the haircolor.
How to color hair
Haircolor levels and peroxide developer
How to do a hair porosity test