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  6. From A To Z: The Ultimate Hair.com Glossary

From A To Z: The Ultimate Hair.com Glossary

close up of stylist cutting hair in salon

The world of hair constantly changes and evolves, so it can feel like you’re playing catch-up on the newest trends every time you visit the hair salon. Rather than looking dumbfounded while your stylist tosses terms around, keep reading for a quick primer on the most popular techniques and buzzwords in the business.

Care

Edges:

The literal edges of the hair, which sometimes need to be combed back with gel before styling depending on the hair texture.

Dandruff:

A medical condition of the scalp that can result in itchiness and white flakes. The FDA regulates certain products for treatment of the condition.

Split Ends:

A condition in which dry or damaged hair begins to split on a strand level. While many products can temporarily mask the look of split ends, the only permanent solution is to cut them off.

Thinning:

The first stages of beginning to lose hair which may manifest in fewer strands and more hair washing down the shower drain.

Color

Ashy:

Increasingly popular, ashy hair colors incorporate gray tones for a neutral-looking finished product.

Brassy:

Blonde or light hair can take on unwanted orange tones over time, mimicking the look of brass. Stylists recommend neutralizing the brass tones with a purple shampoo or hair product.

Color Corrector:

Hair color can become discolored over time, so color correcting products exist to neutralize any unwanted tones that pop up.

Cool:

Many hair colors can be customized based on the undertones of client’s skin. This term is used for shades that have undertones of blue.

Smoked Out Root:

While visible roots used to be considered embarrassing, many stylists now add a blended dark root to base colors. The shadow can make hair look thicker and natural-looking.

Touch-Ups:

An industry term used to describe shorter hair appointments that keep color looking fresh. Whether it’s visible roots or grays that are the problem, a good touch-up can render them invisible.

Virgin:

A descriptor used for hair that has not been color treated.

Warm:

If your hair color or skin tone runs warm, there are probably yellow undertones to it.

Cuts

Asymmetrical:

An asymmetrical cut isn’t the same length all the way around. One side dips below the chin at a dramatic angle.

Big Chop:

A short, dramatic cut that often refers to women of color transitioning from chemically relaxed hair to natural texture.

Curtain Bangs:

A 1960s-inspired style in which the bangs hang below the eyebrows. Wearers brush them to either side of the face like a dramatic, sultry stage curtain.

Hairline Bob:

A newer cut, the hairline bob is pixie length at the back but just long enough to tuck behind the ears in the front.

Hair Tattoo:

A graphic design carved into an undercut or buzz cut with a razor. It can be colored or decorated and is way more temporary than actual ink.

Lob:

Short for “long bob,” the lob cut took off around 2010. It tends to fall just at the shoulders, creating a classic—but still youthful—silhouette.

Styling

Chignon:

A knotted bun or updo that sits at the nape of the neck. It’s the perfect style for both casual and formal events.

Dutch Braid:

Created using the same technique as the French braid, the Dutch braid is sometimes called an “inside-out” braid. Instead of crossing every section over, the braider goes under to create a more striking look.

Fishtail Braid:

A two-strand braiding style in which one small piece from the outside of the left section crosses over to the right (and repeat), creating a tightly plaited style.

French Braid:

A three-strand braiding style in which every section crosses over the center. Each time a new section crosses, the braider picks up a new piece of hair to add to the braid.

Halo Braid:

A casual updo style that’s basically a glorified Dutch braid. It wraps around the head instead of hanging down, creating an angelic effect.

Rope Braid:

A two-strand braiding technique in which both sections are twisted one direction, then spiraled around each other in the opposite direction.

Space Buns:

A festival style that generally involves two buns worn at the crown of the head.

Techniques

Balayage:

A hair color technique in which a stylist hand paints color onto the hair without the use of foils. Though it began in France, this naturalistic technique has taken over the hair color industry.

Blunt:

A term used to describe cuts that end in a sharp, even line. These cuts require trims every few weeks to maintain the line as the hair grows out.

Contouring:

Much like strobing, hair contouring cleverly uses dark and light pieces to highlight or minimize any facial feature.

Dusting:

A technique used all along the strands to gently snip away any broken or damaged hairs that are sticking out instead of lying flat.

Full Highlights:

Full highlights are placed all over the head, creating a noticeably brighter and more multi-dimensional look.

Gloss:

An in-salon demi-permanent hair color that can deepen the look of your color or help increase shine.

Lowlights:

Instead of brightening your hair, lowlights add dimensions through darker tones.

Ombre:

Stylists achieve ombre hair color by gradually transitioning a base color into a second shade. The look is extremely popular because it grows out without a visible line of demarcation.

Partial Highlights:

A highlighting technique that focuses the brightest color around the face. It’s less expensive than a full head of highlights and has a similar visual impact.

Pinwheel:

Using this hair color technique, a stylist divides the top of the hair into pinwheel-like sections to apply color that looks three-dimensional and natural.

Rinse:

An at-home product that can help rebalance your hair’s pH while cleansing and strengthening.

Strobing:

A method of highlighting hair that combines hand-painting and foil to create a uniquely customized look tailored to each client’s face.

Undercut:

Stylists and barbers create undercuts by shearing one section of hair very close to the scalp, leaving the rest a disconnected length. While the style is most popular at the nape, don’t let that stop you from trying it over one ear.