by Maison Paul
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Hair A-Z

Often times when you aren't happy with your service at a hair salon, it all comes down to a breakdown in communication. Having the right words in you artillery can make a difference.
So we're giving you the A-Z (or rather A-W) in hair terminology, so you can come in armed and leave with what you want.

This is a work in progress, so new words and definitions will be added over time.

ASYMMETRY: A haircut that is not identical on both sides of a centre line and features proportions that are not equal.
BEVEL: A small bend in the hair. A look created using a hair dryer or irons. To bevel the ends of your hair under or out to create a bob or flicks.
CUTICLE: The tough outermost layer of the hair that is visible to the eye. You have to penetrate this layer to get effective results from chemicals processes and hair products. How do you open the cuticle? Heat tools; Warm Water; Alkaline Chemicals.
DIFFUSER: A Diffuser is an attachment put on the end of your hair dryer. Its used to broaden and reduce the speed of airflow of the dryer, creating a gentler drying process.
ESSENTIAL FATTY ACIDS (EFA): EFAs increase the absorption of vitamins and minerals and nourish the skin, hair and nails. Hair products most commonly contain natural or synthetic EFAs like cetyl alcohol. EFAs are the closest thing to natural sebum
FEATHERING: Feathering is a cutting term hairdressers use describe fine-textured layering, and to take hard lines out of the hair. By cutting into the hair softer lines are created, giving a softer look to the finished haircut.
GRADUATION: This technique can be done in different ways; example: face framing, stacked/angled bob, or side swept bangs. When this technique is used, it gives movement and structure to your cut. A graduated hair cut refers to a hair cut with a graduated shape or wedge.
HAIR GROWTH CYCLE: Hair follows a specific growth cycle with three distinct and concurrent phases: anagen (growing phase), catagen (resting phase), and telogen (dormant phase). Each phase has specific characteristics that determine the length of the hair. All three phases occur simultaneously; one strand of hair may be in the anagen phase, while another is in the telogen phase.
IONIC: Negative ions released by ionic hair dryers (as well as ionic hair straighteners) reduce static and frizz. They do this by breaking down the positive water droplets into smaller particles. This dries the hair faster, which reduces heat damage. It also helps to seal the hair strands and lock in moisture.
THE JEKYLL AND HYDE: A nickname for a panelling effect which is a compilation of two styles. The first is a simple understated look that will transform into something totally ‘out there’ if you change the parting and reveal the cut underneath
KERATIN: A family of fibrous structural proteins and the key structural protein found in hair, nails, and skin
LAYERING: Layering is a technique used by hairdressers to gives the illusion of length and volume. Layered hair can help lessen density, create volume and texture, give a fuller appearance, and create movement.
MELANIN: A group of natural pigments found in skin and hair.
NATURAL LEVEL: The natural level system ranks hair color from level 1 (being Black) to level 10 being the lightest blond possible ( just before ‘white’). While not reflective of the tone of the hair (warm, gold, ash etc), the natural level is the starting point of a color application to determine formulation.
OVERDIRECTING: A cutting technique where hair is lifted and cut at an overemphasize angle to create extra body and volume, the end result of which is a ton of exaggerated layers, like Shag cuts and Rocker Mullets.
PERM or "permanent wave": A hairstyle produced by setting the hair in waves or curls and then treating it with chemicals to restructure the hair molecules. Generally a long-lasting or, hence the name "Perm",  permanent change to your hair.
RELAXER: A chemical process used by those with tight or very curly hair by which the hair is chemically "relaxed". A relaxer penetrates the cortex, breaking the hairs natural chemical bonds which caused it to be curly.
SCHIZOTRICHIA: Splitting of hairs at the ends; often called split ends. A split end is when the hair-shaft splits or flays due to excessive heat styling, etc. The only way to "cure" split ends is to have them trimmed.
TOURMALINE: Tourmaline is a crystalline boron silicate mineral compounded with elements such as aluminium, iron, magnesium, sodium, lithium, or potassium.. Tourmaline gem stones come in a wide variety of colours and is classified as a semi-precious stone. Crystals of tourmaline,  when heated,  exhibit electric polarity which in turn helps the ionic effects.
UNDERCUT: Removing the weight from underneath your hair.
VIRGIN HAIR: This term refers to human hair which is still in its original state, and which has not been permed, coloured, or chemically processed in any way.
WEDGE: A wedge haircut is a short and angled style with a triangular shape. It is usually a cut that hangs well above the shoulder, with the hair at the nape of the neck being cut the shortest, and layers radiating out as they reach the crown of the head. This cut can have many different variations, which makes it a highly versatile look for both men and women.