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Hairstyle Dictionary: Basic Hairdresser Lingo Broken Down

Hairstyle Dictionary: Basic Hairdresser Lingo Broken Down

Posted by Team John Paul Mitchell Systems on Mar 6th 2016

When it comes to getting the best haircut of your life, we have a few tried and true tips that won’t come as a surprise to most:

  1. Find a stylist you love and foster that relationship

  2. Bring him/her a photo example of the style or color you desire

  3. Provide honest feedback to help your stylist understand exactly what you love and what you want to improve.

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And alongside these important tips, the key to a great salon experience is being able to explain easily and clearly what you want to your stylist. That’s when understanding some basic hairdresser lingo becomes very helpful. Here we’re breaking down some common hairdressing terms to help you and your hairdresser speak the same language.

Ombre: A gradual change in hair color from root to end generally moving from a darker shade to lighter shade within the same color family. An obmre can be either subtle or bold.    

Balayage: A highlighting technique in which the color is hand painted onto the hair with a gentle sweeping motion. This process is different than the average lightening technique because the colorist paints the color directly onto the hair, placing the color where they see fit and using various shades to achieve a natural look.

Full Highlights: A lightening process in which lightener is applied to pieces of hair all over your head. Thickness of highlights is based on personal preference and can be either subtle and blended or thick and prominent.  

Partial highlights: A lightening process in which lightener is applied to pieces of hair in specific locations, such as around your hairline, on the top layers of hair or hidden underneath layers for a peekaboo effect.  

Baby Lights: Similar to full or partial highlights, baby lights is a lightening process in which baby fine pieces of hair are lightened for a subtle and natural look.  

Piecey Cut: A hair cut defined by separation, movement and a lack of hard lines. To achieve the look, hairdressers will often use the tips of their scissors, pointing into the hair, rather than cutting a perpendicular, straight line. A piecey look can be subtle or dramatic depending on preference.  

Blunt Cut: A haircut in which your hairdresser will cut your hair straight across for one, even length╌the exact opposite of a piecey look. This look can come in the form of blunt layers, blunt bangs or a simple, one-length cut.

Fringe: Also known as bangs! Hairdressers often use the term fringe, while salon guests use the term bangs, but at the end of the day, they are the same thing.

Layers: A cutting technique in which varying lengths of hair are incorporated into one haircut. Layers cascade from the shortest piece on top and eventually meet the longest length of your hair. This technique can be blended, piecey or blunt.

Tapering or face-framing: Much like layers, this cutting technique includes a blending of different hair lengths, specifically around your face. Tapering can start at your jawline and meet the longest length of your hair for a subtle look or continue from your bangs to the longest length of your hair for a serious rocker-chick vibe.

Master these simple definitions (or, at least the ones that pertain to your next hairstyle) and bring them to your local Paul Mitchell stylist to get the haircut you want. Then snap a selfie with #IHeartPM and show us your new "do because we definitely want to see it!

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