Coloured hair care glossary

The world of hair colours, hair dyes and coloured hair care products can be filled with strange terms, weird words and jargon! These are all the hair definitions you need to know to work out your ombre from your sombre.

Ammonia – the strong smelling solution that opens up your hair cuticle to let the hair dye pigment in.

Babylights – diddy highlights that are thinner and closer together than normal highlights.

Balayagebalayage is a hair colouring technique that uses freehand to paint highlights into your hair as opposed to a more structured technique like using foils.

Bleachhair bleach contains hydrogen peroxide to lift and lighten hair colour

Blending– the process of blending one colour into another without a defnitive line or banding.

Brassy– unwanted yellow or orange tones in your hair.

Bronde – a blend of brown and blonde hair that you’ll usually find with highlights or balayage technique.

Clarifying Shampoo– a shampoo with a strong pH level that should be used to strip hair of grease and grime before hair dyeing.

Cortex – this is the thickest part of your hair and most important bit to look after!

Cuticles – your hair cuticle is the outside layer of your hair that protects it from damage.

Demi-Permanent – hair dye that lasts longer than semi-permanent but not as long as permanent hair dye.

Developer – also known as an activator or peroxide, is a formula that contains hydrogen peroxide to lighten your hair and strip it of colour pigments.

Diffuser – a hair dryer attachment that helps to minimise frizz for curly hair when drying.

Dimensions– when hair has more than colour to it, such as with highlights and lowlights.

Fly-Away Hair– annoying, thin bits of hair that stick out from your head and will not lay flat no matter how much brushing you do!

Foils– foils are used to colour specific, targeted sections of the hair without colouring hte hair around it. Most commonly used for highlights.

Follicles–  hair starts growing at the bottom of a hair follicle.

Painting– Painting hair colour directly on your hair with a brush such as balayage styles

Heat Protectant – a protective spray applied to dry or wet hair to protect it from heat styling and hot tools.

Henna Dye– A reddy-brown, plant-based hair dye that’s very hard to remove!

Highlightshighlights are the process of lightening certain sections of your hair, typically with with bleach.

Ionic–  ionic hair dryers disperse water quickly,  drying your hair faster and causing less damage.

Keratin Treatment – a keratin treatment restores the bonds of your hair back to health and makes it appear smooth and revitalised.

Lightener– lightener is another name for hair bleach that lifts your hair colour.

Lowlights– the opposite to highlights where the hair is darkened in sections.

Ombreombre hair is a two-tone style where a darker hair colour blends into lighter at the ends, creating a soft, band-like effect.

Patch Test– a patch test is a test for allergies. It’s usually carried out 24 hours before the hair colouring process by dabbing a bit of dye behind your ear and keeping a close eye on for any reactions. Different from a strand test.

Permanent – Permanent hair dye changes your hair colour for the long-term and is the best at all-over grey hair coverage.

Pigment– hair colour.

Porosity– your hair’s ability to absorb moisture. The more porous it is, the more hair dye will take to your hair.

Protein Treatment– a type of deep conditioning treatment that adds protein to the hair cortex to strengthen it.

Sea salt spray – a texturising styling spray used to give hair volume and lift.

Sectioning– the act of separating your hair into sections using clips so you can have more control over dyeing and styling.

Semi-permanent–  semi-permanent hair dye colours the outside of the hair and will wash off eventually. It contains no developer so doesn’t alter the true colour of your hair.

Silicones – synthetic material that coats your hair to smooth it and minimise frizz.

Sombre– a softer version of ombre where the two colours used are only a shade or two apart.

Split Ends– when the tip of your hair strand splits into two due to dryness or damage.

Strand test – the strand test is a test you do to check the colour of the hair dye on a small section of your hair, usually at the nape of your neck.

Sulphates – chemicals you’ll find in strong shampoos that are not suitable for coloured hair.

Temporary colour– temporary hair colours wash out on the first wash and are great for experimenting with!

Texture– hair that isn’t the same length and appears fuller and thicker.

Toner – products that neutralise and cool down brassy colours in your hair.

Virgin hair–  hair that has never been dyed.

Volume–  hair that appears bigger, thicker, fuller either.