41 Hair Terms You're Hearing Everywhere, Decoded

Now you'll be able to tell your stylist exactly what you want.

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Designed by Dana Tepper

Getting your hair cut can be an exciting experience, but it can also be totally mystifying if you don't know the latest styling jargon. Ahead, we've rounded up the basic hair terms you need to know, including "asymmetrical" and "chignon" and beyond.

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1 Asymmetrical Cut
Hair Glossary
Designed by Dana Tepper

An asymmetrical cut is a style where one side is cut shorter than the other — sometimes, two lengths are better than one. For more hairstyles that are popular this year, .

2 Balayage
Hair Glossary
Designed by Dana Tepper

This beloved technique involves onto the hair for a natural look. Many people prefer this to traditional foil or cap highlights, which can look overdone and more obvious, particularly when your hair is growing out.

3 Beehive
Hair Glossary
Designed by Dana Tepper

This classic 1960s trend saw women teasing their hair into a super tall, conical look. Popularized by pop stars like The Ronettes, this style is one of the most iconic of the decade—and it's now.

4 Beveled Hair
Hair Glossary
Designed by Dana Tepper

"A bevel is a slight curve which gives the hair a softer look," explains DreamDry senior stylist . This is perfect for when you want your locks styled straight, but not pin straight.

5 Bob
Hair Glossary
Designed by Dana Tepper

This chin-length style originally became , after stars like Louise Brooks and Colleen Moore donned it on the silver screen. There are tons of variations you can try, whether it's a shaggy texture on the ends or a crisp A-line cut.

6 Bouffant
Hair Glossary
Designed by Dana Tepper

This rounded, poofy style gained popularity in the United States , when Jackie Kennedy rocked it as First Lady. It's a little quieter than the beehive, but it still packs a lot of volume.

7 Chignon
Hair Glossary
Designed by Dana Tepper

Simply put, "This hairstyle involves pinning your hair into a knot," says Pantene celebrity stylist . It's an elegant look for any occasion, whether it's a friend's wedding or your own date night.

8 Co-washing
Hair Glossary
Designed by Dana Tepper

A combination of conditioning and washing, this is a technique many women with opt for in the shower. "This method not only helps you cleanse you hair, but it's gentler on your scalp and preserves natural oils," explains Bradford.

9 Conditioning Treatment
Hair Glossary
Designed by Dana Tepper

A deep conditioning treatment offers moisture and vitamins in order to restore weakened strands and improve shine. It can be performed at your salon by a stylist, or you can try a drugstore deep conditioning treatment for an at-home session.

10 Cortex
Hair Glossary
Designed by Dana Tepper

This layer is the thickest part of your hair, and it's what gives your hair its color, which is why Bradford insists that preserving it is so integral to .

11 Curl Pattern
Hair Glossary
Designed by Dana Tepper

Your curl pattern is the shape of your hair's spiral. To uncover yours, Bradford says: "Once you've washed and conditioned your hair in the shower, use a wide tooth comb to gently brush your hair; determine if your pattern is a soft 'S,' spiral, zig-zag, kinky, or loose curl." Knowing this can help you determine which products you should be using, how to care for your curls, and even which style tutorials you can best emulate, should you be a fan of YouTube beauty bloggers.

12 Cuticles
Hair Glossary
Designed by Dana Tepper

You've likely heard this term in the context of your nail beds, but your hair strands have cuticles, too! "The cuticle is the outside layer of the hair shaft that protects hair from damage," explains , senior colorist and educator at Eva Scrivo Salons.

13 Demi-Permanent Hair Color
Hair Glossary
Designed by Dana Tepper

If you're looking to add shine or switch up the tone of your hair color, go demi-permanent. "It uses a low-volume developer to add color to the hair, so it lasts approximately 24 shampoos," says O'Connor. Plus, it "grows out softer than permanent color."

14 Diffuser
Hair Glossary
Ben Ritter/Designed by Dana Tepper

"A diffuser is a blowdryer attachment that minimizes a lot of the frizz that comes when curly hair is naturally air dried," explains hairstylist . "It also gives a boost to the curls that may lay flat because of your hair's weight and length." To learn how to use one, watch our .

15 Fade
Hair Glossary
Designed by Dana Tepper

This popular style is perfect for men (and women!) who are looking for a simple, trendy cut. "A fade is a close cut on the edges of a man's haircut, typically at the sideburns or temple region and the back hairline, that gradually transitions into longer hair toward the middle and top areas of the head," says Bradford. "A fade on the sides and edges makes the haircut look softer when it's growing back."

16 Feathering
Hair Glossary
Designed by Dana Tepper

Popularized by one of our favorite ladies of the '70s (Farrah Fawcett!), this technique features finely textured layering. "Feathering offers a softer look for women who want layers in their hair without the layers being obvious," says Bradford, who adds that when done well, this style can be simultaneously chic and low-maintenance.

17 Follicles
Hair Glossary
Designed by Dana Tepper

You know how stylists are always talking about maintaining the integrity of your hair follicles? That's because this is where your hair is produced, making it critical to keep 'em healthy.

18 Fringe
Hair Glossary
Designed by Dana Tepper

Fringe, a.k.a. bangs, is one of the easiest ways to change up a cut. "This involves cutting the front part of the hair so that it lies over the forehead," explains Samra. While bangs are often , you can change 'em up by making them ruffled, choppy, gelled, super short, or even spiky.

19 Graduated Hair
Hair Glossary
Designed by Dana Tepper

This style features hair in layers that angle upward. "Graduation in a cut gives hair striking shape and can be used for both men's and women's haircuts, as well as on curly or straight hair," says Bradford. For more short hair ideas, .

20 Hair Extensions
Hair Glossary
Designed by Dana Tepper

If you've ever lusted for but can't quite seem to grow it out, you may want to give extensions a go. They add instant length, can be made from real or synthetic hair, and are available in every color of the rainbow. For more info, read our for all sorts of fun facts, including pricing and variations.

21 Hair Texture
Hair Glossary
Designed by Dana Tepper

Your hair texture is determined by the circumference of an individual strand of hair, with fine hair having a small measure around the strand and coarse hair having a large circumference.

22 Heat Protectant
Hair Glossary
Designed by Dana Tepper

Before you flat iron, curl, or blow dry your hair, pros recommend using a heat protectant to defend the strands from getting fried or dulled.

23 Heat Styling
Hair Glossary
Designed by Dana Tepper

When you hear a stylist referring to heat styling, she's talking about the to do your hair. Curling irons, blow dryers, flat irons — anything that requires, you guessed it, heat!

24 Keratin Treatment
Hair Glossary
Designed by Dana Tepper

"A Keratin treatment is a protein-based coating that targets the cuticle and smooths out your hair," says O'Connor. It's a popular treatment for celebs with wavy or curly hair.

25 Layering
Hair Glossary
Designed by Dana Tepper

One of the most popular techniques at salons today, layering arranges hair into shorter and longer lengths. These layers can be blended for a more subtle look, or cut into totally different lengths for a more dramatic feel. Need inspiration? Try one of these for long hair.

26 Lipid Layer
Hair Glossary
Designed by Dana Tepper

Once your hair has grown out of its roots, it cannot repair itself — and that's why the lipid layer is so important. "The lipid layer of the hair helps protect and preserve the strand, specifically to guard it from blow drying, brushing, and the overuse of products," says Bradford.

27 Lob
Hair Glossary
Designed by Dana Tepper

Meet one of the . If your or you're just craving a more versatile style, consider the lob, a.k.a. a long bob. It usually starts around the shoulders and can go slightly past the collarbone. If you want some inspiration for the salon, one should do the trick.

28 Ombre
Hair Glossary
Designed by Dana Tepper

, still trendy as of this year, is simply hair color that transitions from one hue to another. This switch can be subtle (a.k.a. sombre hair), dramatic, natural, or totally unnatural. It's a very youthful look, and if you want more where that came from, try one of these .

29 Perm
Hair Glossary
Designed by Dana Tepper

Perms take your hair from one texture to another by putting it into waves or curls, then using chemicals to set it permanently. And guess what? They're finally !

30 Permanent Hair Color
Hair Glossary
Designed by Dana Tepper

If you're going for a dramatic 'do or a more long-term change, opt for permanent color. "This permanently alters the color of your hair and covers gray one hundred percent," explains O'Connor.

31 Pixie
Hair Glossary
Designed by Dana Tepper

The pixie cut is super-short but often flattering hairstyle that has seen such iconic wearers as Twiggy, Mia Farrow, and . We've got , so pick your favorite and take it to the salon with you!

32 Pompadour
Hair Glossary
Designed by Dana Tepper

This effortlessly cool style features hair combed upward and rounded, sans part.

33 Razored Hair
Hair Glossary
Designed by Dana Tepper

"Razoring is one of the most effective ways to layer, remove bulk, and add texture to your hair," says Bradford, who adds that your hair should be wet when it's being razored — and that stylists need to use a sharp razor.

34 Regular Trims
Hair Glossary
Designed by Dana Tepper

Everyone knows that is a core way to keep your hair healthy, but what exactly does "regular" mean? "You should get your hair cut every six to eight weeks," recommends O'Connor. This way, you wind up with fewer split ends, less breakage, and a smoother 'do overall.

35 Rough Dry
Hair Glossary
Designed by Dana Tepper

Blowing out your hair to a smooth finish takes time, but rough drying means juuust enough to get the water out — and styling it with your hands, rather than a brush. (Pssst...if you like the snooze button as much as we do, .)

36 Scrunch Dry
Hair Glossary
Designed by Dana Tepper

While many women prefer to get curly locks nice and shiny, Bradford says scrunch drying is just as effective. "Once you've cleansed your hair and removed any excess water, flip your head upside down and gather sections of hair in your hands, then scrunch it to accentuate any natural curl," she explains. It's best to do this when your hair is about 50 percent dry — and spritz on a sea salt spray beforehand.

37 Sectioning
Hair Glossary
Designed by Dana Tepper

You know how your stylist often separates your hair and puts it into clips as they cut it or blow it out? This is called sectioning, and it allows the stylist to segment your hair in order to hit every...single...strand.

38 Semi-Permanent Hair Color
Hair Glossary
Designed by Dana Tepper

If you want change without commitment, "Semi-permanent dye is a non-ammonia based hair color that is not permanent and lasts up to 10 shampoos," says O'Connor. Perfect for a or a special occasion!

39 Shag
Hair Glossary
Designed by Dana Tepper

Oh, the shag. It's so close to the mullet, yet (thankfully) so far away. by celebs like Jane Fonda, Joan Jett, and Florence Henderson, this crop features shorter locks on top that graduate to longer layers toward the back.

40 Thinning
Hair Glossary
Designed by Dana Tepper

If your hair is becoming cumbersome to style, you may want to talk to your stylist about thinning it during your next appointment. "This technique is used to take the bulk or weight out of hair during a haircut," says O'Connor.

41 Undercut
Hair Glossary
Designed by Dana Tepper

An undercut features long hair on top and buzzed hair on the bottom, often with the front slicked away from the forehead. While this cut is most commonly seen on men, women have been known to rock this edgy look as well.

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