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  • Writer's pictureKatie M.

Hair Salon Terminology

Have you ever had a tough time relaying to your stylist what you're looking for? Sometimes it can be hard to vocalize what you'd like to achieve during your salon visit, especially if you don't have photos.

Here's a little bit of a breakdown on salon terminology so you can communicate better with your stylist.

photo by Element5 Digital

Color terminology:

Tone. Tone describes a specific shade - for example, "coppery red," "golden blonde," "caramel brunette." Tones are classified as cool or warm.

Dimension. If your hair color is one color, you lack dimension. Dimension is a contrast of tones throughout your hair. It can be achieved through highlights, lowlights, or balayage.

Glaze. Aka, gloss or toner. A glaze is a coloring service from roots to ends for several purposes. It can neutralize unwanted tones. It can enhance desired tones. A clear gloss can add incredible shine.

Highlights. When strands of hair are applied strategically in foils, the resulting look is an overall brightness. Highlights are achieved using lightener, and they make hair brighter than your base color.

Lowlights. Where highlights brighten hair, lowlights add depth. Generally they are a few levels darker than your base color so they are visible throughout.

Balayage. Aka, hair painting. Where highlights are in foils, with balayage lightener is painted onto the hair in a sweeping motion. Balayage is meant to be natural looking and very subtle. It typically won't give a dramatic transformation.

Cutting/styling terminology:

Texturize. This technique is used to remove bulk from the hair. It is also used to blend layers. Remember: wet hair looks different from dry hair. When your stylist dries your hair, he/she may find it necessary to use texturizing shears to finish the look of your haircut.

Layers. Layers give movement to a haircut. They can be short, long, or versatile (a combination of both).

Asymmetrical. An asymmetrical haircut means the cut isn't the same length, especially from the ears forward. One side may be significantly shorter or longer than the other.

Lob. Aka, a long bob. A true lob rests at or just below the shoulders and has minimal layering. This cut looks beautiful either straight or curly.

Blunt. A blunt haircut is a one length haircut. All the weight rests at the bottom of the hair. It's great with those of us who have fine hair because it helps give the illusion of fullness.

Fringe. Aka bang area. A fringe can be wispy, heavy, swept to the side, straight across, etc. - options are endless! Different styles can compliment a face shape or draw attention to facial features.

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