Use this salon glossary–a compilation of cuts, services, and styling terms–to let your stylist know what you want in language they understand.
p.s. Look for a follow-up post on colorist-speak coming soon. In the meantime, if you’ve ever wondered what business violet has in blond hair, here’s an illustrated glossary on hair colors.
A-Line: A hair shape that is shorter in the back and gradually longer in front. Usually not layered in back.
Bob: The classic interpretation, think Anna Wintour, is cut straight around the head at jaw-level. Often accompanied by a fringe.
Clarifying Treatment: A degunking process to remove build-up from styling products, color, natural elements, and chemicals like salt and chlorine, to return shine and manageability to your hair
Choppy: A piecey haircut that uses the natural movement of the hair to texturize and shape
Dry Cut: A haircut performed on dry hair, that’s either not been washed or washed and blown-out. Often requested for its precision and WYSIWYG results.
Dusting: A method for removing split ends, in which only the slightest amount of hair is trimmed so that what ends up on the floor resembles specks of dust.
Extensions: Artificial hair pieces made of either real or synthetic hair. Can be attached in various ways for temporary or longer wear. Application techniques include the following:
a. Clip-ins: extensions via clips, the most fleeting variety of extensions
b. Bonding and sealing: extensions via glue using individual strands of natural hair for a truly authentic look. Requires repositioning every two to three months.
c. Micro rings and loops: extensions attached via small metal rings lined with silicone
d. Netting: extensions attached via braiding hair under a thin net that serves as a flat surface to weave in extensions
e. Lace Fronts: The latest innovation in extensions attached via nylon mesh for more natural movement and continuity.
f. Tracking: Similar to netting, natural hair is first braided, sewn horizontally across the head, and extensions are sewn onto braids
Graduated Bob, or the Inverted Bob: A kind of bob with layers, and a tapered side that’s short in back and longer in front for a curtain effect. Strands frame the face and soften the cut’s severe lines. Usually more flattering than the classic bob (see entry above)
Iron Service: An add-on styling service for straightening hair with a flat iron
Jooge: Adding flair with styling techniques. For example, rubbing hair between fingers for texture or extra lift. Usually involves a pomade or finishing product.
Lob: A long bob, recently back in style. Ends usually brush along the clavicles, giving this hair cut the equally trendy name, the “clavicut.”
Mid-Length: One of two things. In regards to color, it’s the section of hair between the roots or outgrowth and the ends. When talking about cuts, it refers to a medium length ranging from just below the ears to the shoulders.
Movement: Hair’s natural texture and growth pattern, including how well the cut works with hair
Plaiting: Another way to say braiding
Point Cut: A technique used to texturize hair, it removes bulk from the ends, allowing the cut’s layers or graduation to blend together more seamlessly.
Overdirecting: Harnessing the volume-lifting powers of the hair flip, this blow-dry technique entails blowdrying hair to one side, then flipping to the opposite side for extra height. Not just reserved for salon appointments, please try this at home!
Permanent Waves: ‘80s phenomenon, the perm. Warning: perms can give off strong ammonia odor and damage fine hair.
Piecey: The use of texturizing techniques combined with product for definition.
Razor Cut: Layers and texture created using a razor. It creates softness and movement for straight hair, but frizz and unflattering wedge shapes for curly hair.
Relaxer: A lye-based process by which hair is straightened chemically. Contains active ingredient sodium hydroxide. Lye-free processes do exist, though they contain other hair-damaging chemicals, potassium hydroxide or calcium hydroxide.
Rolller set: A technique employing the use of a hood dryer, in which hair is put in rollers and in some instances products are applied to help the resulting style last longer.
Texturize: A hair cutting technique used to thin or add layers to hair. Styling products are often used to enhance texture.
Thermal Reconditioning: A multi-step, chemical-laden straightening process. Hair is first shampooed, deep conditioned, and then processed with straightening chemicals. This is followed by a rinse, and sometimes another shampoo and deep conditioner. Hair is then passed through thermal irons at very high temperatures (over 300-degrees) in very small sections. Next a fixative chemical is applied to lock in straightness. There’s one more round of rinsing and conditioning. Finally, hair is blown out and passes once more through a flat iron.
Thin Out: A texturizing, movement-enhancing technique to remove weight from hair
Undercut: Similar to a bowl cut, hair is clipped very close or shaved underneath with a layer hanging over it.
Weave: Either a perm or extensions (see entries above)
Special thanks to Tana from our Color Crew!
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