Speaking in Color

Hairstyling has its own language and unfortunately most people aren't fluent. This can make it tough to articulate to your stylist exactly what you want, especially when you're talking about color. You can walk into your salon and tell them you want hair that looks like an autumn sunset off the coast of New England, and you probably deserve hair that looks like an autumn sunset off the coast of New England. But that doesn't help them figure out if you need block colors or subtle highlights. So we thought we'd lend a hand by posting some consumer friendly definitions for the hair-c0loring terms you're most likely to encounter in the salon. Hope this helps!

(*Note: The elegant and helpful first definitions were originally posted by Dino Laudati on Aflluentmagazine.com. You can find them here. The second and completely unhelpful second definitions are only there for our own amusement-Salon401)

Per•ma•nent•Co•lor /noun                                                                                 1. A product that can lift color (make hair lighter) or deposit color (make hair darker). It contains a small percentage of ammonia and is mixed with varying strengths of hydrogen peroxide. 2. Sometimes known as the Sharpie pen of the color world.

Demiperma•nent or SemipermanentColor /noun                           1. Products that deposit color to darken or change hair to a cooler or warmer shade. Because there is no ammonia, they cannot lighten color. 2. Not to be confused with the Demiperm, or Semiperm, which is a hairstyle best exemplified by The Eagles circa 1978.

Bleaching or DeColorizing /verb                                                                    1. Bleach is used to lift (lighten) color three or more shades. A toner is usually used afterward to achieve the desired cool or warm tone. 2. Used to remove guacamole stains from a white linen, monogramed bathrobe. Don't ask. Just don't ask.

Toner /noun
1. A gentle color that is applied to damp, bleached hair for 3 or more minutes to add or cancel warm or cool tones. Can also be used to refresh dull highlights. 2. v. Phrase often used by musicians during sound-check. Hey Franky, my guitar's a little hot. Can you tone 'er down a little?

Highlights or Streaks /noun, pl. 
1. Selected strands of hair are woven out and placed on foil, then brushed with bleach to lighten them in contrast with the rest of the hair. Gives a more natural, dimensional look to color. 2. Shown endlessly on ESPN's Sportscenter to keep sports fans up to date 24/7, and ruin their relationships.

Lowlights /noun, pl. 
1. The same technique as highlights, but color or a glaze is used instead of bleach to darken select strands of hair. Great for hair that has become too blonde and one dimensional from frequent bleaching or highlighting. 2. Phrase used to describe the end of any Los Angeles Dodgers playoff run taking place within the last 30 years.

Glaze /noun
1. Translucent, hydrating color that can only deposit color, as it is ammonia free. Helps replenish amino acids lost during other color processes. A glaze is long lasting, repairs damage, and intensifies shine. A great add-on after any color service. 2. v. Used to describe what happens to the eyes of anyone under the age of 30 when you start talking about how much better music used to be in the 80's. Timmy's eyes started to glaze over as Uncle Bob continued his epic rant about The Clash...

Stains /noun
1. Special effects dyes used to achieve bold colors of the rainbow and pastel shadows. Hair must be bleached before a stain can be used. 2. The hypothetical name of the hypothetical boyfriend from the nightmares of every parent who's daughter just turned 16. "Mom, Dad, this is Stains, he's in a band", Patty said as her parents tried not to scream in horror. 

Repigmentation /noun
1. When hair is overbleached and damaged, it needs to be repigmented with warm tones before a new color can be introduced. 2. The obscure, highly controversial procedure sometimes undergone by porcine animals to regain their youthful vigor.

Baliage /noun
1. The art of painting hair, freehanded, with color or bleach to add dimension. 2. A small town in southern France where even the most elderly grandmother has thick, vibrant hair cascading down to her shoulders without a speck of grey anywhere to be found.

BlockColor /noun
1. A foiling technique where the entire head is separated into large sections and 3 or more different colors and/or lighteners are used on select "blocks" which process simultaneously. Results are beautiful and dramatic. 2. Alternate name for the TV screen test which used to appear on televisions before televisions were rendered obsolete.

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