Ever find yourself Googling a bunch of words before a salon visit? If you have no idea what a diffuser is for, and don’t know the difference between balayage and ombre, then this handy hair glossary is gold. Keep reading for a list of hair terms that are sure to shine up your rusty mane vocabulary.
Asymmetrical cut: A haircut with one side longer than the other.
Backcomb: The opposite of regular combing, backcombing is a technique used to create volume at the root with a comb.
Balayage: (baw-lea-yawj)- A color painting technique where by colorists apply color with horizontal brush strokes, sweeping the brush’s tip to the front of the hair. In French, balayage means “to sweep” or “paint.”
Base color: A color applied at the root area or all-over before any color technique starts.
Blunt cut: A haircut that features straight-cut ends.
Bouffant: From the French word for “swelling,” a bouffant is a hairstyle teased into a puffed out, rounded shape.
Brazilian blowout: A brand of keratin treatment.
Chignon: French for nape of the neck, a chignon is a knotted hairstyle worn at the back of the head. Check out our favorite chignon how-to’s.
Co-washing: Another word for washing your hair with only conditioner. For five ways to get the most from co-washing, read this.
Cuticle:The outer layer of your hair, which needs protection and moisture. Find out what your hair porosity level is to determine the best treatment for your hair.
Diffuser: A blow-dryer attachment that dries (or diffuses) hair while preserving your natural wave and curl pattern. Never used one? Click here to learn how.
Fringe: The British term for bangs, hair that covers the forehead. Micro, wispy, faux—bangs are the fastest pass to transforming your look.
Graduated haircut: A type of haircut that features a gradual progression of hair length, from longer to shorter.
Highlights: Select strands of hair that are colored a few shades lighter than your natural color to create a contrast.
Keratin treatment: A hair smoothing process involving formaldehyde, in which protein attaches to the hair and seals down the cuticle, producing a more manageable mane.
Layers: A type of hair cut that creates varied lengths of hair to create the illusion of volume.
Lob: A longer version of the bob haircut—long bob.
Lowlights: A few shades darker than your natural hair color, lowlights are color on specific pieces to add dimension for a more natural look.
Micro-bangs: Blunt bangs that hang over less than half the area of your forehead.
Ombré: Meaning “shadow” in French, a hair color technique that includes a dark root and seamlessly blends one color into another.
Palm painting: A brush-free version of balayage, where the artist uses her hands to distribute the hair color.
Perm: Aka permanent wave. The perm uses heat and chemical to re-shape the hair structure. We say the perm is definitely making a comeback.
Porosity level: The measure of moisture that can penetrate your strands.
Snatched: An adjective used to describe something that’s awe-inspiringly flawless perfect, or on point. We live for a snatched pony.
Tousled: A laid-back look that usually features loose, wavy hair.