Salon Slang: Terms you need to know before your next appointment

For the uninitiated, a trip to the salon can be disorienting. The jargon is confusing–so much so you think you might need a translating app.


Communicating with your stylist is integral to a great visit. If you‘re on the same page, you’re leaving with a hairstyle that puts your confidence at 100. If your wires are crossed, you’re stuck with a hairstyle that leaves you in tears.


Get to know the terms below before your next visit. And pictures! Always bring pictures!


Chemical haircut: The worst thing to hear from your stylist. Your hair is too damaged by colour and too compromised. A haircut borne of necessity, often quite short. To recover from a chemical haircut, give your hair a break for a few weeks to a few months. Use gentle tools and accessories while you strengthen and repair your hair.


Double-process: A two-step colour done in one visit. If you are going from dark to light, you’re getting a lift before your desired colour.



Dusting: Ask for this if you’d like to keep your length but need to trim your split ends.


Gloss: Hair treatment to increase shine and enhance colour. A salon procedure and can last a few weeks. At-home gloss products are also available.


Glaze: Hair treatment to increase shine and enhance colour. A glaze fades quicker than hair gloss.


Levels: The hierarchy of hair colour. By looking at a hair level chart you can determine your colouring options. It can tell you if you need a multiple-process versus single-process or if you can opt for a high lift colour over bleach.


Lift: A process that lifts, or lightens, hair colour. It’s often a subtle change. High lift colour is a process which lightens the hair colour dramatically. This is an alternative to bleaching, however you can only go up so many shades–or levels–with this option.


Texturize: Hair techniques to create movement in hair–including slithering, point cutting, chipping, smooth cutting and twist cutting.


Undercut: A way to cut the bulk out of your hair or a styling point. Undercuts can be worn short (shown off with a pixie) or long (visible with updos). Bonus: undercuts are a great summer option!


Underlights: Peekaboo hair. This is a colouring option if you want to dye your hair but you work in a conservative environment–or don’t want anyone to know. A stylist will keep the top layers of your hair untouched and only dye hidden layers of your hair. Underlights will only appear with updos or some vigorous head shaking.


(Cut the) weight: Ask your stylist to cut the weight if you’d like to lighten up your look without losing length. Your stylist can take out the bulk in your hair in a few ways–razoring, thinning shears or with an undercut.


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Today was great and the Lunata was such a great addition to my kit!! It was the perfect size and the zero cord was the best!!

— Clariss Rubenstein, Celebrity Stylist