Use this salon glossary–a compilation of cuts, services, and styling terms–to let your stylist know what you want in language they get.
Balayage: A French word meaning “to paint," or "to sweep.” The stylist paints the hair vertically with the tip of a brush, primarily on the front of the hair to create a sun kissed look.
Brassy: A term used when a shade is too orange or gold. Brassy usually happens when an attempt is made to lift the color of hair and it pulls up to a shade that is lighter, but requires toning to look more natural. A toner or undertone that would cancel the brassiness is usually the opposite on the color spectrum for instance, violet or blue will usually, at least temporarily cancel out some of the brassy or orange tones that are present.
Cool: Cool shades are those that are ash and violet based in the lighter shades with red or mahogany tones in the red spectrum and deep chocolate in the browns. They are colors that compliment a cool skin tone which is one that has pink undertones or a true olive with blue, gray, dark brown or black eyes. A person with a cool complexion is usually attracted to primary colors and crisp white as well as primarily silver jewelry.
Demi-permanent: Hair color that is deposited only into the inside of the cuticle layer of the hair. Lasts longer than semi-permanent hair color, around 20 shampoos. Uses a small amount of peroxide in a developer to open the cuticle layer, but makes no changes to structure of the hair. Can be used to make the hair darker, but cannot lighten the hair.
Double process: A hair coloring technique. Usually done with bleach. The hair will be bleached/highlighted, allowed to process, and rinsed out. Another color is then used for a variable amount of time to add tone, and then rinsed out again.
Filler: Used to even out the porosity of the hair by actually filling in the parts of the cuticle that are open as with a protein filler. There are also color fillers that not only fill up the gaps in the cuticle but add color back into the hair as well.
Foiling: A coloring technique, also known as highlighting, achieved by picking up certain strands of hair and separating them from the rest of the hair by placing them in foil to let them process.
Glaze: A semi-permanent hair treatment that coats the shaft of the hair with shine and semi-permanent color. It is much like adding a polish to your hair. It can be clear of color or tone and lasts about two plus weeks. This is different than a gloss, which does penetrate the shaft of the hair and lasts about four plus weeks.
Highlights: A technique by which the hair is lightened by taking sections of hair and weaving in lighter colors or bleach and processing in foils. Highlights can be very subtle or very heavy depending on the desired result.
Lift: “lift” is a term used to describe the lightening process. If you are attempting to “lift” hair, you are usually taking it at least a level lighter or removing unwanted color or tone.
Lowlights: The opposite of highlights and are used to add depth to hair weaving in a darker color using the same technique as highlights where small, woven sections of hair are painted with color and processed in foils. They can also be used to “ween” a client off highlights and back to their natural color by slowly weaving darker color into the hair until the desired results are achieved.
Neutral: Neutral shades are those that have a neutral undertone in their base which is neither cool nor warm. The neutral tones are excellent for canceling unwanted undertones such as brassy reds and golds as well as providing gray coverage.
Ombre: Another French term which means “shaded like a gradient” and features darker, more natural hues at the roots with gradually colored lightening starting mid-shaft and through to the ends.
Oxidation: The chemical reaction that occurs when color and developer are mixed together and then exposed to oxygen.
Porosity: It refers to how well your hair is able to hold and retain moisture. It is affected by the condition of the cuticle, the outer layer of your hair, and determines how easily moisture and oils pass in and out of the hair shaft. Porosity is important to consider in coloring as it affects how much your hair will literally “soak up” the color. Learn more about how porosity affects coloring.
Semi-permanent: Hair color that is deposited only onto the outside of the cuticle layer of the hair. It rinses out in a few washes and makes no change to the actual structure of the hair. Usually used to add tone to hair.
Single process: A hair coloring technique. The hair will have color applied to it, allowed to process, and then rinsed out.
Tint: A word used to describe an all over coloring technique.
Virgin Hair: Hair that has not been colored or chemically treated.
Warm: Warm shades are those with a gold base with copper being prevalent in the red spectrum, and cinnamon and gold tones in the browns. These colors compliment a warm skin tone which is one that has yellow and green undertones with amber, golden brown or hazel eyes. A person with a warm complexion is usually attracted to earth tones and off-white as well as primarily gold and bronze jewelry.