Wake Living Spring 14′ Article dsParada
Learning the Lingo
All that hair jargon leaving you lost? Here’s what your stylist is talking about
By Don Stacy
Throwing around in-house terminology may not be a good idea, but it always pays to know what your stylist is talking about when he or she suggest layers, point-cut ends, or a razor cut. This glossary, courtesy of dsParada Color Salon, includes the most common style terms and what they mean for you. Just remember, a picture is still the easiest way to communicate, so if you read about something you think would work for you, ask your stylist to show you a visual.
Every haircut in the world is some variation of the one-length cut or bob, the layered cut, or the graduated cut.
A bob is considered to be one length. All the hair falls to the same point or stationary line. What matters most is that the hair has a solid perimeter or outside shape. That perimeter line can be totally horizontal for a blunt bob, or in a variation; it can be angled so that it is shorter in the back and longer in the front, or vice versa. Why do you care? Because a blunt bob is best for fine hair, while an angled bob showcases thicker locks.
The layered cut can be any length, but its hallmark is that all the hair does not fall to the same point. After the basic length is created, your stylist cuts some pieces shorter than others. This adds movement, shape, and volume to your look. There are also different types of layers, for instance, uniform layers create a totally rounded cut, because when you pull your hair straight out at a 90 degree angle from your head, each strand is the same length.
Graduated cuts are created by slowly building weight in a specific area, usually the nape or the bottom of a cut. Wedges are a great example because graduated cuts always have a stacked effect. You can’t always tell what kind of cut someone has just by looking, because stylists can combine layering and graduation, or add lots of other details. Also, the way hair is styled can showcase or conceal cutting techniques. Some of the other terms you might hear in the salon relate to how the finished cut looks or behaves when styled at home.
Examples include precision and razor cuts. Precision cuts have straight, strong lines that fall right into place with minimal styling. Usually clients who ask for precision cuts are giving their stylist a hint they don’t want to spend the time fussing with the hair.
Naturally, razor cuts are done with a razor, not scissors. Ask for one if you want soft, sexy edges with tapered ends, or when you need to add more control to unmanageable hair.
Once your stylist creates the basic cut you want, he or she often adds special details, like softer edges, side wisps, or bangs that are not all the same length. The main detailing term you might hear is slide-cutting, in which your stylist uses the scissors as though they were razor, sliding the blades down the hair to connect angles or blend hair that moves from short to longer.
A disconnected piece is one that does not blend into the rest of the hair; usually, it’s longer than the rest. A lot of “punk” styles are disconnected when they’re short on the top and have strong pieces in different lengths at the bottom. If you want softer edges, for instance, to make your hair flip up more easily, your stylist might point-cut into the ends, using the tips of the scissors to snip some ends just a bit shorter than others. This not only enhances movement, it makes a new cut look a little grown-out. It also gives ends a high-style, chipped appearance.
Today, lots of women are asking for “dry” cuts, because they perceive them to be more precise. Dry cutting is really adding details that work with the exact way your hair falls and moves. First, the basic length is created and some layers are added, then the hair is dried so details can be added. So, when you ask for dry cut, don’t expect the entire cut to be done on dry hair.
Finally, you might hear about an under cut or undercutting. The result of undercutting is almost like you have two haircuts in one. Hair below a certain point is usually a lot shorter than the longer hair that falls over the top. Under-cutting is done to flatten out the slim the haircut, so if your hair is bulky, it might be right for you.