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For your coloring pleasure there are two types of color developers to choose from: liquid and cream. Cream developers are the perfect match for tube colors and create a thick, creamy hair color that's luxurious and easy to work with. Cream developers often have conditioning agents added to them as well, and really pamper dry, fine or delicate hair types.
Mix the hair color and cream developer in a color bowl. Be sure to follow the color to developer ratio instructions. A 1:1 ratio means equal parts of color to developer. A 2:1 ratio means twice as much developer as color in the formula. Because tube colors and cream developers are so thick, they must be mixed in a bowl, not a color bottle. The good news about cream color and developer is, because of their thicker consistency, they stay where they're put and aren't as messy or prone to drips as liquid hair colors and developers.
Blend the color and cream developer with the color brush until all the lumps are gone and the mixture is completely smooth and creamy. Slip on your latex gloves to protect your tender digits.
Apply the color to your hair. If you have roots apply the color there first and then apply it to the mid-shaft and ends. If you have virgin (no color) hair or color with no roots then apply the color to the mid-shaft first (1 inch away from the scalp, 2 inches away from the ends) then go back and apply it to the roots and ends.
Let the color process. Semi-permanent color needs 20 minutes to work its magic, while permanent color should be left to chill for 30 minutes. When the time has elapsed, rinse the color out of your hair until the water runs clear.
Follow up by applying a conditioner for color-treated hair and rinse after one minute. Congrats! You've just blended your own custom hair color with a rich, cream developer.
If you chose a semi-permanent hair color, or a permanent hair color that is darker than your current hair color, then you can use a 10-volume developer. If you're going lighter you'll need to buy either a 20-volume cream developer (to go one or two levels lighter) or a 30-volume developer for three levels of lift.
Make sure the tone of the hair color suits your skin tone. Always match cool hair colors with cool skin tones, and warm-based colors with warm skin tones.
If you have stubborn gray hair that doesn't like to take permanent color properly you can pre-soften those gray hairs by carefully applying a small amount of the cream developer on the stubborn hair and letting it sit for five to 10 minutes. Wipe it off after the time is up and apply the color right over top.
Never use a developer stronger than 30-volume on the scalp. It will chemically burn your skin -- not good!