Navigating the world of hairdressing can be confusing, especially when faced with a barrage of unfamiliar terms and phrases. To help you communicate effectively with your stylist and achieve the perfect look, we've compiled a comprehensive guide to hairdressing terms and techniques. From salon jargon to the latest trends, this article will help you understand the language of hairstyling and feel more confident during your next salon visit.
Hair Styling Terms
1. Beach Waves
Beach waves are a popular hairstyle that mimics the tousled, windblown look of hair after spending a day at the beach. This style is often achieved by applying a saltwater-based spray and curling the hair from the mid-lengths down with a curling iron.
2. Backcombing / Back brushing
Also known as "teasing," backcombing is a technique used to create volume in the hair. By pushing the hair down towards the scalp using a comb or brush, hairstylists can create the illusion of fuller, more voluminous hair.
Balance is a design principle in hairstyling that refers to the aesthetic placement and arrangement of elements in a hairstyle. A balanced hairstyle is visually pleasing and harmonious, with all parts working together to create a cohesive look.
4. Braids and Plaits
Braids and plaits are hairstyles in which the hair is divided into strands—usually three—and then interwoven to create a variety of intricate patterns. Some popular braid styles include the French braid, Dutch braid, fishtail braid, and crown braid.
A chignon is a low, gathered bun at the nape, secured in place with pins. This elegant hairstyle can be worn for formal occasions or as a casual updo.
Crimping is a technique that results in an angular and rhythmic wave pattern in the hair. By using a crimping iron, hairstylists can create a textured, zigzag effect that adds interest and volume to the hair.
A diffuser is an attachment for a blow dryer that disperses the airflow, helping to maintain the hair's natural curl pattern while drying. By using a diffuser, hairstylists can minimize frizz and enhance the definition of curly or wavy hair.
8. Finger Waves
Finger waves are a vintage hairstyling technique in which the hair is set into waves using setting lotion and a comb. This elegant style was popular in the 1920s and 1930s and has experienced a resurgence in recent years.
9. Flat Iron Set
A flat iron set is a technique used to create a smooth, polished finish on dry hair. By using a flat iron, hairstylists can straighten the hair and eliminate frizz for a sleek, sophisticated look.
10. Heat Styling
Heat styling refers to the use of heat tools, such as curling irons, blow dryers, and flat irons, to set and style the hair. While heat styling can achieve a variety of looks, it's essential to use thermal protectant products to prevent damage to the hair.
Hair Cutting Terms
An asymmetrical haircut is one in which the hair is not the same length throughout. For example, in an asymmetrical bob, the hair may be longer on one side than the other, creating a unique and edgy look.
2. Bangs or Fringe
Bangs, also known as a fringe, are the layer of hair that falls across the forehead, typically extending to around eyebrow level. Bangs can be cut straight across, angled, or wispy, depending on the desired look.
3. Blunt Cut
A blunt cut is a haircut in which the hair is trimmed straight across, creating a clean, even edge. This technique is often used for one-length cuts and can add weight and structure to fine hair.
A bob is a chin-length hairstyle that first became popular in the early 1920s. There are many variations of the bob, from shaggy and layered to sleek and angled.
5. Caesar Cut
The Caesar cut is a short hairstyle in which the top hair is styled forward, creating a short fringe around the face. This classic men's haircut is named after Julius Caesar, who allegedly wore his hair in a similar style.
6. Choppy Haircut
A choppy haircut is one in which the hair is heavily textured, with many different pieces at varying lengths. This style can create movement and dimension in the hair, making it a popular choice for those seeking a more casual, undone look.
A crewcut is a tapered haircut in which the hair is extremely short on the top of the head and gradually becomes longer towards the front. This classic men's haircut is low-maintenance and easy to style.
A disconnected haircut is one in which the main areas of the cut are not seamlessly connected or blended. Instead, there is a distinct difference between the two sections, often creating contrast and visual interest.
Dry cutting is a technique in which the hair is cut while dry, rather than wet. This method allows the hairstylist to focus on detail and see how the hair will lay when styled, resulting in a more precise and tailored haircut.
Elevation is the act of lifting the hair while cutting to create layers and remove weight. This technique is often used in layered haircuts to build shape and structure.
Hair Colouring Terms
Balayage is a freehand hair colouring technique in which colour is hand-painted onto individual sections of hair for a soft, natural effect. This method is often used to create subtle highlights that blend seamlessly with the base colour.
Foilyage is a combination of balayage and traditional foil highlighting techniques. By painting colour onto sections of hair and then wrapping them in foil, hairstylists can intensify the colour and create more vibrant, light-catching highlights.
Ombre is a hair colouring trend in which the hair transitions from darker roots to lighter ends, creating a "dip-dyed" effect. This technique can be subtle or dramatic, depending on the desired look.
Sombre is a subtler, more natural-looking version of ombre hair. The colour transition is less obvious and more symmetrical, with gentle layering and soft lightening.
Ecaille, also known as "tortoiseshell," is a fusion of ombre and sombre techniques. This style features a mix of rich colours, creating dimension and a natural gradation of colour that differs from traditional ombre.
6. Freehand Painting
Freehand painting is a hair colouring technique in which the colour is applied directly to the hair with a brush. This method allows for more strategic placement and a softer, more natural result.
7. Highlights and Lowlights
Highlights are sections of hair coloured lighter than the natural shade, while lowlights are sections coloured darker. These techniques can be used to add depth, dimension, and contrast to the hair.
Babylights are delicate, white-blonde highlights created using a fine colour technique to mimic the sun-kissed hue of naturally lightened hair. This subtle, natural-looking effect is achieved through the use of micro-foils.
Hair contouring is a colouring technique that strategically positions different tones and depths around the face to highlight and shadow targeted areas. Darker tones create shadows to shorten or narrow the face, while lighter tones elongate and lengthen by reflecting light. This method can enhance facial features and create a more defined appearance.
10. Colour Blocking
Colour blocking is a hair colouring technique that uses lighter shades to create large bands or sections of colour, typically in the mid-section of the hair. This can result in a bold or subtle effect, depending on the chosen colour combination and pattern.
Tones and Colouring Techniques
1. Ash Tone
Ash tones are cool colours with a blue, green, or purple base. These shades are often used to neutralize red or bronze tones in the hair and can be particularly flattering on those with fair skin.
2. Golden Tone
Golden tones are warm shades with gold or copper undertones. These colours can add richness and warmth to the hair and often complement those with warm skin tones.
3. Beige Tone
Beige tones are a combination of ash, golden, or neutral tones and are often found in blonde hair colours. These shades can be particularly flattering on those with hazel or green eyes.
4. Neutral Tone
A neutral tone is a balanced shade without any noticeable highlights or lowlights. Choosing the right neutral tone for your hair requires consulting with your stylist to determine the best shade for your skin tone and colouring.
5. Warm and Cool Tones
Warm tones are characterized by red, yellow, or orange undertones, while cool tones have blue, green, or violet undertones. The choice between warm and cool tones depends on your skin tone, eye colour, and personal preference.
Brassy hair refers to unwanted golden or orange tones that can appear in coloured hair, particularly in blonde shades. These tones can be neutralized with toners or ash-based hair colours.
1. Deep Conditioner
A deep conditioner is a powerful hair treatment that provides intense moisture, protein, and vitamins to repair dry, damaged hair. Deep conditioners should be used periodically to maintain hair health and prevent breakage.
2. Clarifying Shampoo
Clarifying shampoos are stronger than regular shampoos and are designed to remove product build-up, excess oil, and impurities from the hair. They should be used sparingly, as overuse can strip the hair of its natural oils.
3. Essential Fatty Acids
Essential fatty acids are ingredients found in hair products that help maintain the hair's resilience and strength. These nourishing compounds can be particularly beneficial for damaged or chemically treated hair.
4. Finishing Spray
A finishing spray is a medium-hold hairspray used to set a hairstyle in place after it has been styled. This product can help maintain the desired look and prevent flyaways and frizz.
Ionic hair tools emit negative ions, which help to disperse water quickly and dry the hair faster. This can result in less heat damage and smoother, shinier hair.
6. Protein Treatment
A protein treatment is a type of deep conditioning treatment that adds protein to the hair cortex, strengthening the hair and improving its elasticity. This can help prevent breakage and promote healthier hair growth.
Co-washing, or conditioner-only washing, is a method of cleansing the hair that relies solely on using a cleansing conditioner instead of shampoo. This technique can help preserve the hair's natural oils and is particularly popular among those with curly or textured hair.
8. Low-Poo and No-Poo
Low-poo refers to shampoos that are free of sulphates and silicones, while no-poo (or no-shampoo) refers to methods of washing hair without commercial shampoo. These alternative cleansing methods can be gentler on the hair and scalp, promoting healthier hair growth and reduced frizz.
In conclusion, understanding the language of hairdressing can significantly improve your salon experience and help you achieve the perfect look. By familiarizing yourself with these hairdressing terms and techniques, you'll be better equipped to communicate your desires to your stylist and enjoy a more satisfying and personalized hair care experience.