Speaking Stylist: Haircut Terminology

This week, we are talking all about haircut terminology. This will help you listen for and understand basic terms to describe what you want in your haircut and even allow you to use them yourself in a consultation. 

Bulk or Weight :: Any section of the hair that lays too heavy. Most haircuts need a weight line somewhere in the haircut, but if the style doesn’t look proportionate, there is usually too much weight in a section of the cut. Think of the Dorthy Hammil wedge haircut. In the back, you can see the layers were angled at about 40 degrees from the head, which created a very heavy, bulky section at the back of the head. This would be a perfect example of weight. Unfortunately, unintentional weight can also be in a long cut or in bangs if the hair hasn’t been finished properly. Oftentimes, though, where bulk is placed can come down to personal style. Some people like a heavy bang or weight lines and others like a soft look.

Texturize :: When you have too much bulk in a haircut, one way you fix that problem is by adding more texture. There are so many different ways of adding texture to a haircut and that’s something you have to trust your hairstylist to know, but looking at a haircut and seeing where weight needs to be taken out is something you can easily do. If you look at your haircut and feel like your layers are a bit “chunky” as I’ve heard clients say, they probably need some more texture to soften the look. Texturizing is also great to take a look from a very strong, angular look to a softer, more round look. Even if you don’t necessarily want to remove weight, you can texturize just the ends of a section to change the look. The picture to the left shows what bangs look like when they have been heavily texturized. You can tell that the ends are varying lengths and degrees of thickness, making the bangs appear a bit edgier. You can also do this in layers and other sections of the haircut.

Thinning :: Another way to decrease weight is to thin hair out. You’ll see shears that look like the ones to the left used for this and to add texture. As a stylist, I prefer using my 5″ shears to texturize and do basic bulk removal, but I’ll use my “thinning scissors” to remove a lot of bulk if needed. Often times, if you see your hairdresser pull these out, she’s about to take a lot of hair out of the interior of your cut. So, if you have fine hair or thin hair and you see your hairdresser pull these out… it’s safe to assume they are not very skilled in finishing a cut and you can feel free to tell them you’d not like them to thin out your already thin hair. I have very, very fine, thin hair and I’ve had hairdressers use these on my hair to texturize. Big mistake! Although, some clients are very scared of these scissors for no reason.  I had a woman bring her daughter to me last week… and this girl had enough hair on her head for three women. She had headaches frequently from how thick it was and the only way she was capable of styling it was to throw it in a braid. The mother was very scared of me using these scissors on her daughter, but afterwards, her hair was almost unrecognizable… in a good way. She now has about as much hair on her head as a 13 year old should and hopefully she’s having a much easier time styling it. But if you have hair this thick, you probably already know you want it thinned out. For those that don’t know, now you know how to ask for it.

Face Framing :: I think we all know what this means.. the layers that frame your face. They can start at your chin or just be the last two inches of your haircut. A frame can also vary by being either heavy or soft and either disconnected or continuous. If you are one of those ladies that has long hair and layers and wants a change without letting go of the length, adding a face frame would be for you. Another tip about framing is that only the hair from the ear forward should be included in a frame, otherwise you are left with a slight mullet look… which none of us want! So, if you notice your stylist taking more hair than that for the frame, feel free to ask them about it.