A-Z : Hairdressing Terms Explained

Hairdressing Terms Explained at Wisteria Avenue Hair Salon in Abingdon

Most hairdressing terms are considered confusing, misleading or generally unheard of. In order to receive a better hair salon experience, a Hair Stylist will work better with photos and terminology they can work with.

Clearly describing your desired look is really important. These words and phrases are designed to help you to work better with your Hair Stylist to achieve everything you seek from your next appointment!



ASH TONES – Ashy refers to a cool hair colour. These are great when complimenting cooler skin tones. Rather an ash hue to enhance hair complexion is recommended.


BABY LIGHTS – Similar to highlights, baby lights are delicate highlighting technique used to lighten the hair to create subtlety.

BASE COLOUR – The colour of the hair, normally from the root area.

BALAYAGE – A technique for highlighting hair from roughly the top of the ear. A highly effective and maintainable type of hair colouring process requiring both bleach and toner.

BOB – A type of short-medium length hair cut. Traditionally cut in such a way that it remains one length.

BLOW DRY – A method for drying the hair and in some cases styling following a wash or a cut.

BLUNT – All the hair falls to the same length all around. A blunt cut is perfect for people with fine hair. This creates the illusion of both density and volume. 


CHIGNON – A type of ‘hair up’. The name of the hairstyle, ‘chignon’ comes from the French phrase ‘chignon du cou’ which translates to ‘nape of the neck’. In essence a type of hairstyle consisting of pinning the hair to a knot.

CHOPPY – A type of haircut. ‘Choppy’ refers to when you request more texture. Normally this sort of style is suited to shorter length hair down to roughly shoulder length.

COLOUR CORRECTION – A process of rectifying hair colour that is unwanted, damaged hair consisting of bleach and colour, or severely grown up/discoloured hair which requires extensive work (potentially requiring multiple appointments).


DEMI-PERMANENT – A type of hair colour. It sits between semi-permanent and permanent. It’s neither one nor the other. Demi-permanent colour lasts longer than semi-permanent colour but not for the lifespan of a permanent colour. This is traditionally for blending grey, toners, refreshing colour or for use on damaged hair.

DENSITY – Hair density refers to the number of strands of hair on your head. I.e. how thin of thick is your hair?


FULL HEAD HIGHLIGHTS – A full head of highlights (also known as foils) is a highlighting technique covering all of your head. On occasion people with short hair can get away with a half head of highlights.

FEATHERING – A form of cutting to reduce the volume of hair. This is particularly effective with thick hair.

FLAT – A common complaint for people with hair that hasn’t been styled. Often people who have not had a form of hair colour suffer from flat hair. The impact is less and thus this creates a limp appearance.


GRADUATED HAIR – A type of haircut. The hair is cut shorter at the back and progressively gets longer towards the front.


HALF HEAD HIGHLIGHTS – A type of hair colouring. An efficient method for lightening the hair without booking a full head of highlights. This is generally a shorter appointment.


KERATIN – A type of naturally occurring protein found in your hair, skin and nails. To ensure healthy hair, keratin is a necessary component.


LAYERS – A type of hair cutting technique designed to add movement and body to finer hair, thus reducing weight.

LOWLIGHTS – The opposite to highlighting hair. Highlights require bleach to achieve lighter hair whereas lowlights require darker pieces through the hair.


OMBRÉ – Similar to a balayage, Ombré means ‘shading’ in French. The root colour cannot be seen at the ends of the hair. Lighter hair colour is introduced (roughly) around the top of the ear, blended before all of the remaining hair is lightened.


PERM – A hairstyle created using a formula to set a permanent curl or waves in the hair.

POROSITY – Your hair’s ability to absorb moisture. This can affect the hair colouring process.


SEMI-PERMANENT – A mild form of hair colour. Traditionally ‘create colours’ are semi-permanent and less damaging to the hair. These have a much shorter lifespan than permanent colours. At Wisteria Avenue Hair Salon in Abingdon, our range of JOICO semi-permanent colours have a lifespan of roughly 15-20 washes.

SERUM – A type of liquid to help dry hair. It offers a shine finish and it’s great for styling.

SKIN FADE – A type of gents hair cut. The hair gradually becomes shorter and shorter along the sides until the skin can be seen with no hair present.


TEXTURE – Hair texture describes the type of hair. Fine, medium or thick.

THINNING SCISSORS – Scissors that have ‘teeth’ on one side to support a more technical haircut. Not all Hair Stylists will use these. Commonly some hairdressers will avoid these entirely.

TONER – A form of hair colour, used following the application of bleach to give the hair a tone.

TINT – The equivalent of a full head of colour (all over colour). One hair colour from root to the ends of the hair.

T-SECTION – A form of highlighting. Less hair highlighted than a half head of highlights, a t-section will address the roots/regrowth.


UNDERCUT – A type of hair cut where one of both sides are disconnected to the hair on the top.


VOLUME – A method for creating ‘extra’ hair. Products can be used to help the hair attract moisture, giving the impression it’s greater than it is.


WARM TONES – Warmer/medium hair colours.

Ready to book?

Follow us on social media

Book Last Minute
Scroll to Top