HAIR COLOR GLOSSARY OF TERMS
There is no denying that social media has had a profound impact on the fashion and beauty industry. It may leave some of you confused. Do you know the difference between a balayage and an ombre... or exactly what is a shadow root or color melt? . What does it all mean? Well, here’s a handy guide to terms we use in the beauty industry which may help you understand these trends or even just the basics.
Below are terms worth knowing if you’re considering coloring your hair. Bust these out the next time you’re in our salon and your stylist will be seriously impressed!
Babylights: A very fine version of highlights that mimic the natural look of a child’s hair that’s been kissed by the sun.
Balayage: A hair painting technique that was developed by French colorists. It involves hand painting strands for a natural-looking, easy-to-maintain ‘do. Since it utilizes a free-hand technique balayage can be customized to your lifestyle and ideal maintenance schedule.
Base Color: The color that is applied all over your head as a starting point for your dye job. Typically, highlights and lowlights follow in order to veer away from a monochrome, one-dimensional look.
Color Melt: Melting is a technique that blends the highlights with the base color of the hair so that there are no harsh lines.
Cool: Although you might be the epitome of a “cool girl,” this term actually refers to the tonal value of the dye you select. Cool tones include blues, purples, and greens, while cool colors range from platinum and ash browns to plum reds and blueish blacks. Pro tip: Opposites attract, which means cool hair colors look best on warmer skin tones.
Dimension: The opposite of flat hair. Dimension is the difference between lackluster locks and a head full of movement brought on by highlights and lowlights.
Double Process: When you sit in the salon chair through not one, but two coloring techniques within one hair appointment to achieve optimal dimension. Example: base color + highlights.
Foiling: When a colorist paints your hair inside strips of foil which are then folded around the sections of hair to create highlights and lowlights.
Full Highlights: Highlights everywhere! Who would’ve guessed? No, this doesn’t mean that all your hair is being dyed. Rather, it means that sections of hair will be highlighted all through your hair, instead of just on the topmost layer.
Lowlights: Where highlights use blonde streaks to brighten up tresses, lowlights darken strands to add depth and dimension.
.Ombré: The low maintenance look that’s the result of the beautiful balayage technique. Since strands are only colored from mid-shaft to ends, you won’t need to worry about growth or touch-ups nearly as often with this look.
Partial Highlights: Typically face-framing or top layer lightening to add the illusion of volume and body.
Pastel: The lightened, extra playful colors that span across the rainbow. Lavender locks, anyone? Bleached Hair in the color of your choice and watch as your mermaidy tresses make a splash.
Platinum: The blonde of blonde. Easily one of the most time-consuming, maintenance-requiring hair shades a girl can choose. But if ice cold color is what you’re after, then a platinum ‘do might be in your future.
Shadow Root-:This stunning look means that roots are just a different color from the rest of the hair. Hair is dyed so the color starts in a tapered manner a couple inches down from the scalp. Those roots can then be a natural dark hair color, green, red, blue or any color you want. Typically, fashion color roots are paired with silvery hair for a stunning look.
Single Process: One and done, meaning you can get your desired hue in just one sitting.
Tone: Essentially the adjective that describes a hair color. While there are black, blonde, brunette, and red hair colors, tones break it down even further. Think: soft jet black, platinum blonde, strawberry blonde—you get the idea.
Sombre: Sombre is the subtler softer sister of Ombre. With this method, there’s a lower contrast between the hair at the roots and the hair at the ends, and the dark shade at the roots subtly gradates into the color at the ends for a more seamless blend.
Warm: The other side of the tone spectrum. Where cool refers to blues, purples, and greens, warm tones lean towards yellows, oranges, and reds. The same way cool tones look best on opposing skin tones, warm hair colors look best on cooler skin tones.
Sulfate-Free: Easily one of the most need-to-know terms in this guide. Sulfates are detergents found in everything from household cleansers to shampoos. If you have color-treated hair, consider using sulfate-free shampoo like our All-Nutrient Certified Organic brand. If you’re going to invest in coloring your hair it’s wise and cost effective to invest in products that will help preserve your color.
We know, this is a lot to remember… but once you understand these terms you’ll be able to ask for the look you want without any confusion or misunderstanding. A happy client equals a happy stylist!