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If you have 40 vol, can you dilute it by half to get 20?


Been doing hair 10 years and have heard yes and no. Never tried it myself.


Today thats what they told us in an ADVANCED L'Oreal color class.


Just wondering what you think?



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Sure can. Back in the day salons used to buy big jugs of 120 volume and mix the different volumes themselves from what I've heard. The only problem is with a cream developer because it will screw with the consistency with certain color lines.
I was talking to a lady today that said the same thing....150 volume diluted for everything.....damn
Very similar to what they use for cheap alcohol. They take a very high alcohol content and mix it with water so you really could be getting 80% alcohol diluted with equal parts water to get 40%. That's why it's nastyy.

At the first salon I worked in Josh, it was the assistant's job to get the client to spend a little more by suggesting 'special' shampoos for certain conditions.

There was the 'egg' shampoo for dry hair, it was a lovely golden color, like yolks and smelled yummy...

there was 'medicated' shampoo, for dandruff, it was green and smelled, well, medicated and there was the 'special shampoo for oily hair', it was blue and smelled minty...


The shampoo was ordered in gallon jugs, it was all white. Our first job every morning was to 'make the shampoo'.

We'd open a jug, put in a small vial of yellow or blue or green coloring and another of the appropriate

fragrance and voila! A new profit center!

Same crap, different color and smell! That was marketing, ha ha...


It worked a treat, those suckers used to come in and actually ask for the egg shampoo or the 'medicated' shampoo...we'd pee our drawers about it downstairs...


In those days there was an extra charge for 'lacquer'...that was what was used to hold the hair in place, it was before the product we know as hairspray was invented.  This was before the invention of pressurized metal hair spray-cans too, we used small plastic bottles with a cap which had a small hole in'd squeeze the bottle sharply and the lacquer would spray out in short bursts as you swept across the head, of course the clients held a spray-guard in front of their faces, that stuff was toxic.

Each morning we had the disgusting job of using a hairpin to pick off the dried lacquer which had dribbled from the cap but that was a job which the older assistants kept for themselves, the younger newer hires had the unenviable job of going in the back room where all the previous day's swept hair was kept and holding a large magnet on a string in the hair to attract all the hairpins which had accidentally fallen onto the floor the previous day, those were then sorted into sizes and lengths and re-used in the salon.

I know some people will not even believe this but...before there were tissue perm papers we either wound using nothing at all, (which meant crimped ends) or we used sheep's wool (yes, the real wool from a sheep)

which came in a braid that could be pulled apart almost like cotton and that wrapped the ends.

Then came tissue paper wraps in a box, however they were expensive compared to the wool and my boss required us to save the perm papers from the sink after unwinding the perms and bring them down to the basement where they would be laid out on a table, flattened-out and allowed to dry to be re-used.

Who said the beauty business isn't glamorous?

HAHA that shampoo story is so good! +1 Reminds me of a salon I worked at were we just used regular conditioner for treatments, under the dryer for 10 extra bucks.

Yes you can.

I'm surprised and disappointed that this wasn't made clear to you in school (actually I'm not surprised I guess) or that in 10 years you've never tried experimenting with peroxide strengths yourself. Come on, what are you waiting for, have some fun!

You can use distilled water (get it in gallon jugs at the drugstore), if you don't have any, regular tap water will do too.

Peroxide is just water with differing percentages of oxygen in it, right?

H2O2, remember that from school?

As an example...20 volume (6%) is a quart (e.g.) of water, with 20 quarts of oxygen in it. If you want 10 volume (3%) you would simply add an equal amount of water and it would dilute it to 10 volume.


If you don't have any 20 volume you can mix equal amounts of 10 and 30 volume and you'll get 20 volume.

If you want 35 volume to boost the lift of a tint, you'd mix equal parts of 40 and 30 volumes and you'd get 35 volume.

If you wanted 15 volume, to get better deposit, you'd mix equal parts of 30 volume and water or you could mix equal parts of 20 volume and 5 volume to get 15 volume.


I always have a bottle of 100 volume in my dispensary, as well as some 50 volume.

In Europe it's not uncommon to use 100 volume developer in certain situations, particularly when attempting to lift levels 1 and2 hair.

Developer loses it's strength sitting on the shelf, especially in warm weather, even those which are 'stabilized'... Most salons years ago used a hydrometer to test the strength, to be sure that it was right, Josh is correct, we used to buy gallons of high volume developer and dilute it ourselves...I don't think most hairdressers use one any more, but they can and should.


Today one can buy peroxide in 5/10/15/20/30/40 and 50 volume strength bottles at Sally's.

In any case, a few drops of 100 volume in a bleach mix will assure that the strength is adequate, likewise a few drops of 50 volume in a tint mixture helps, especially with high-lift tints.


You might have difficulty getting 100 volume developer, not because it isn't available, but because it's very volatile and UPS and Fed-Ex won't transport it.


A little about peroxide:

Hydrogen peroxide is most commonly available as a solution in water. For consumers, it is usually available from pharmacies at 3 and 6 wt% concentrations. The concentrations are sometimes described in terms of the volume of oxygen gas generated (see decomposition); one milliliter of a 20-volume solution generates twenty milliliters of oxygen gas when completely decomposed.

A common concentration for hydrogen peroxide is 20-volume, which means that, when 1 volume of hydrogen peroxide is decomposed, it produces 20 volumes of oxygen. A 20-volume concentration of hydrogen peroxide is equivalent to 1.667 mol/dm3 (Molar solution) or about 6%.


Everything you want or need to know about peroxide:


Where do you get your 150volume from Mitchell ?
I saw it at Sallys on the OC.

When I started a brand name school 10 years ago they actually did teach that you can dilute. Then after a few years and a new coloring  system they changed there mind apparently and said you can't effectively do it. They said it won't be the same percentage... blah blah blah......


I see people in the salon do it all the time, but since I was trained originally to do it, then not, I just never do it.

They have 100 vol down the street, I'm going to get some for sure.


Thanks for the detailed info.

Please be careful when using it Eric, it's very corrosive...a splash or a drip on your clothing will burn a hole very quickly... hold the container away from you, remove the cap carefully and point the open bottle away from you too...keep it well away from your face and eyes too.

Don't shake it or transport it carelessly, treat it with the respect that a volatile chemical deseves.

Put it in it's own 'place of honor' in the dispensary and return it there every time it's used. Don't just set it down anywhere or I guarantee that eventually somebody will create a problem with it.

Pay attention while you are dispensing it, accidents can happen quickly and easily. Be sure that you will not be bumped or jostled by other people in the dispensary, stay alert...

I always use a big felt marker to create a warning on the bottle to remind me that this is special.

 It's best to put it in a quart bottle to dispense from, (use a plastic funnel) it's not as heavy

 to deal with as a gallon.

It is also very effective in stopping bleeding if you cut yourself, people expect it to burn their skin but it doesn't, just put it on some cotton and set it on the cut, it gets all warm and bubbly, you might have to reapply a couple of times but it will stop it.

I seem to remember a friend using 150 on a hair swatch then tapping it with a flat iron...BAM! Instant Platinum.


In all seriousness though, thanks again for the info....

I have been told that u can but your % of peroxide doesnt go down... so it's still more Damaging on the cuticle...



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