Recently, my mom has discovered the joys of having her hair colored professionally in a salon. She has been dying her hair for years herself at home, but there are some things best left to the professionals – namely, anything involving bleach, especially if you aren’t just bleaching all of your hair. My mom and myself both have beautiful highlights now! But when my mom first started going, she would insist I go with her. I finally got to the bottom of why – she wanted me to translate the “hair jargon” to make sure she and her stylist were on the same page.
Being a beauty product junkie and having a best friend who is a stylist, it had never occurred to me that there are probably a lot of you out there like my mom, who might like to have certain services done to your hair but are intimidated by all of the terms we toss around all the time. If that sounds like you, keep reading! I’m about to drop some hair knowledge on you.
Basic Hair Coloring Terminology
Single Process Color – One color, all over your head. Creates a new base.
Base – The “main” color of your hair.
Highlights – Select strands of your hair are lightened for a multi-tonal effect
Lowlights – Select strands of your hair are darkened (this makes the lightened areas pop even more, and adds more depth and warmth to your overall look).
More Hair Coloring Terms
Foils – This refers usually to highlights but can also refer to lowlights. They’re referring to the foil that wraps the hair being colored while it is processing. Some salons charge for highlights by the foil, which is convenient if you only want a couple well-placed streaks.
Color Weave (Partial Weave, Full Weave) – This refers to the method of highlighting/lowlighting hair where stylists use a comb to weave out sections of hair to be wrapped in foil (and colored or lightened).
There’s some basic info to get you hair coloring novices started. Remember though, that when in doubt you are always best off bringing a photo to your stylist. Even if it’s not exactly what you want, you can point out things you like about the photo and start the discussion that way. Another idea too is to also bring a picture of something you hate, so you can point out why you like one vs. why you can’t stand the other. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, voice concerns, or give your opinion! Trust me, your stylist would much rather change something or fix something than have you leave the salon unhappy!
Excellent advice! It is always nice to dispell beauty jargon for clients. Anytime you do not understand what your stylist is talking about, just ask! There are many terms that are recirculated through the years that just basically mean highlights. If you don’t have your own pcitures, ask the stylist to show your a picture of what she means so you are on the same page.