Thursday, January 16, 2014

Websters- The Hair Edition

Hair Lingo 101!

Ever just get overwhelmingly confused sitting in the chair at the salon?  You're stylist may be great and informative, but it’s like they're speaking a secret code language that you're somehow supposed to know.  And I'm not talking about the new reality TV show gossip!  

Back when I cut hair and managed a salon (oh yeah, I did that) I recall how confused how some of the lingo would make clients and all the stylists would go back and re-explain everything.  I can only imagine how many salons out there don't do that.  I mean- how are you supposed to know (besides by reading my amazing blog)!?  You didn't go to Cosmetology school, they did!  Well- some of you probably have but- you know what I mean...  

I want to help you better understand what they're talking about and what's going on with your hair!  Yay!  Let’s get to the lingo...   

The Crown/Mohawk section

It's just another way of referring to the top section of your hair it's a U-shaped section that starts around the corners of your forehead.  Think- if you are wearing your princess tiara (that I'm sure you have somewhere), the spot on your head that it would sit is the crown section!  Makes sense, right!?  If a stylist is going to do partial highlights, this usually means highlighting only the crown section.  

The Cuticle

They aren't talking about your nails and trying to tack on a manicure to your service ticket.  They're talking about the outside layer of a strand of hair.  Each individual strand of hair typically has three layers (fine haired. natural blondes are the only exception, they only have two layers), the cuticle is the outer most one.  A stylist will refer to the condition of the cuticle to determine how healthy your hair is, or how well it might or might not respond to hair color. 

Porous Hair

Hair porosity refers to the cuticle's ability to absorb moisture.  Hair that is damaged is usually very porous and will soak up everything that's put on it because it needs moisture.  This is why coloring damaged hair can be super difficult.  If it's porous, it can soak up the color and turn out a few shades darker then you planned.  Or in some cases, the cuticle is so open that the color won't stick and it will turn out too light.  If you want to make a drastic change to your hair color, I recommend getting it in as good condition as you can before you do.  Otherwise- be flexible!  


This one is pretty straight forward. Roots are talking about the hair closest to your scalp.  Ends are the ends of your hair (genius!!!).  Mid-shaft is just everything in between.


The level of your hair is about how light or dark it is.  All hair color brands are different, but most are on a number system - level 1 being black and level 11 being platinum blonde, then every shade in between.  This is helpful to know in a color consultation if you plan to go lighter or darker.


How your hair "pulls" is another way of saying how well it responds or takes to the hair color.  Based on your hair texture and condition, every hair type takes hair color differently.  Some hair always pulls ashy, some hair pulls warm, and some hair pulls true to the color swatch.  Be patient with a hair colorist if it's their first time coloring your hair because they won't really know what your hair pulls until they color it and see what happens or if you already know and inform them.  Good news- It's an easy fix if it pulls a less than desirable undertone- so don't freak, you know, the holding-your-breath, stressed panic face you make (you know you do that)!    


Going from a darker shade to a lighter shade.  A general rule of thumb is that if you have colored hair and you put a lighter color on top of it, it won't do anything.  Hair color won't lift hair color to a lighter level.  If your hair is colored you can only go lighter with bleach or color remover.  Most people are terrified of bleach, but this isn't as scary as it sounds.  If you do it gradually, and if your stylist is careful, your hair will be fine. 


Going from a lighter shade to a darker shade.  When you color your hair darker, you are "depositing" color into your hair shaft.

Color filler

A color filler is something you may have to get if you are a blonde wanting to go dark.  I'm sure you've seen blondes who decide to go dark, but it just ends up looking muddy, and grey-ish, rather than rich and pretty.  This is what happens when you go from blonde to dark without a color filler.  A color filler is when you add extra warmth to your color formula that is missing in blonde hair, but you need it to make dark hair look rich and vibrant.  The bonus is that it'll usually help quite a bit with keeping your new color from fading.  A lot of stylists like to do two separate color services - the color filler followed by the dark color.  Other stylists mix the added warm colors into their original formula so they only have to color the hair once.  Either way works. 

Razor cutting

It is basically just cutting the hair with a straight razor instead of scissors.  Razor cuts have a lot more texture than scissor cuts.  Razors are used quite a bit for thinning and texturing because they remove extra hair without creating straight lines.  Ladies with curls-- STAY AWAY!  Razor cuts tend to cause frizz, and frizz is NOT a curly girl's friend.

Point cutting

Rather than cutting in a straight line, point cutting is when you cut vertically into the ends of the hair. This is done to soften edges or remove excess weight.  It's considered the lightest form of cutting and is typically a stylist’s favorite. 


Texturizing is removing extra hair to add texture and movement to your haircut.  This can be done by point cutting, with a razor, or with texturizing sheers (they look like scissors but with teeth).  It helps with volume, removes excess weight, and helps your haircut lay better (like a shampoo commercial).  

A general tip to keep in mind, whenever you go to the salon and want to do something new whether it's cut or color, pictures always help!  Even if it's a photo of what you don't want, it'll help.  Let me explain- my last "lets do something different" haircut was right before I gave birth to Josiah.  I went from hair down to the middle of my back to shoulder length.  My hair was so thick and heavy (from all the pre-natal vitamins), which for most gals is a good thing, not for me.  I already have super thick hair and the extra weight was driving me crazy.  Plus, I just knew I was going to need something quicker to style after Jojo was born.  Going shoulder length was heading into scary territory for me because I didn't want what looked like "mom hair" to me. 

So I brought two photos of shoulder length hair, one style I didn't want and the other I did.  This put me and my stylist perfectly on the same page.

These are the exact photos I brought to show my stylist:

This is what I definitely did not want (not at all meaning to offend anyone who has this haircut, it's just not me).

More of what I had in mind!

See what I mean!?  Both cuts fall into the same general category of a longer bob, but lay differently and have (I think) totally different vibes to them...  I waddled out (I was 8 months preggo) a happy girl!

I hope this was helpful and informative!  And I hope your next hair appointment goes swimmingly!

If I missed a term that your stylist uses please comment it below and I'll explain it!  


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