Behind the Cut: Salon Terms You Should Know


Knowing how to talk to your stylist is one of the keys to getting the look you want. Here are some of the styling and service terms you might what to learn before your next SmartStyle visit:

Balayage (ba-lei-aj)
This is a form of highlighting done without foils. Instead, stylists use a comb or color brush to free-paint the color throughout your hair. This creates a more natural-looking color because there are less noticeable regrowth lines. Color is blended more evenly as it’s distributed across the head, creating lots of dimension.


A coloring technique that creates a blended, natural, dimensional look without foils. Color is only one or two levels lighter than the natural hair color, so highlights look less obvious. This technique produces a more sun-kissed look.  


model with lob haircut
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Foil slice

This technique uses fewer foils to create more prominent, heavy color for a bold look.  


Foil weave

For either lowlights or highlights. A foil weave uses many foils and takes more time. The effect, however, is more diffused, natural-looking color.  


Graduated cut

Also called a wedge cut, a graduated haircut has many different layers that create a stacked look.  



A type of point cutting in which your stylist points the scissors down to cut towards the ends of the hair rather than across the hair. This adds texture and the illusion of thicker hair.


A cutting technique that involves combing the hair in the opposite direction of its natural falling position, then cutting it to create symmetry.  



A measure of how easily your hair can be penetrated, which affects how it absorbs water, product and hair dye. High or low porosity? Ensure your strands are getting the right amount of moisture for beautiful healthy hair with Biolage Hydrasource Mask or Redken Extreme Strength Builder. Ask your stylist which products are best suited for your hair type and texture.  



Sometimes texturizing means adding wave or curl to your hair. Think: getting a perm. But it’s also a cutting technique that produces a piece-y look. If you ask for texture and movement in your hair, your stylist can slice layers and varying lengths. Even if you don’t cut off any length, texturizing can completely transform an existing cut. Ask your stylist what products will enhance your texture such as Paul Mitchell Awaphui Wild Ginger Texturizing Sea Spray or Kenra Texturizing Taffy.  



A technique that uses a razor or shears to make hair more voluminous by getting rid of excess weight. It can also create a choppy look by cutting into layers.


Want to learn more, or think one of these is right for you? SmartStyle stylists are always there to help. Bring it up on your next visit to a SmartStyle salon.

Kenra Texturizing Taffy
Enhance your hair's texture with products like Kenra Texturizing Taffy.
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