Have you ever gone to your stylist prepared with multiple pics of your desired cut, only to wind up with a look that’s just a little…off? Chances are, some important aspect of the style was lost in communication—or lack thereof.
Whether you need to tweak an existing cut or want to ensure that you and your stylist are both on the same page before making a change, it helps to know some shop lingo used describe different looks.
Why not just stick to pics? Think of your haircut as a collaborative project that will take both you and your stylist mutually understanding what you want and what will work best with your hair. This means, not only looking at the cut and style that you want but being able to discuss the hair that you have.
Useful for styles that are long, short, or everything in between, here are some of the most important phrases you can say to your stylist:
Layers will give your hair volume and dimension.
Layers are different from the length of your overall hair. Instead, these are shorter pieces that should seamlessly fall together, giving your hair volume and dimension. It’s important to understand the “seamless” part can be changed for a choppier look (see the next section). But, what your stylist can’t do is just put a layer here or there.
How to ask for layers?
First, know where you want them to start. Use a reference spot for the shortest layer—this can be either a feature that you want to highlight, such as your cheekbones, or a length required for how you like to style your hair, such as chin, or collarbone. Then, everything else will fall from that spot down to the end of your hair.
Next, be sure to specify the spacing between layers. If you have longer hair and want an effortless, beachy look, use the words “flowing, blended, and seamless” when talking to your stylist. What if you want something that looks a little edgier?
Disconnected layers can add choppy texture to your style.
Unlike the flowing, seamless layers that suit longer lengths, those with shorter styles might want the aforementioned texture of a choppy cut—this is called disconnection.
Similar disconnected layers cut underneath your lengths can also be used to remove bulk and weight from thick hair. This is called “under layering,” and it’s great trick for removing bulk in order to save blow drying time while still keeping the length.
Graduation is a term for styles that go from longer to shorter.
Great for fine hair that gets flat when it grows past a certain length, think of graduation like steps, taking the silhouette of a style from long to short. It can also relate to graduating the back of a bob into an A-line shape, or ‘forward grad,’ which refers to layering around the front of the hairstyle to frame your face.
The reason to ask for graduation is to build “weight,” so it’s also a great term to use if you have fine curls that would benefit from a little added volume. And, don’t forget that bangs can be incorporated into the hairstyle if you want additional wave to come out.
Just be warned that, the shorter you cut wavy hair, obviously the lighter it gets, so you’re going to see more volume from adding bangs. Just be sure that’s what you want!
Blunt cuts are the opposite of layers. These are styles with sharp, graphic lines.
A blunt cut can be applied to any length, from bob to waist-grazing, but with one thing in common: a complete absence of layers causing the style to have a thick bottom edge.
Because blunt cuts are known as “solid” or “heavy” cuts, they’re best for hair that is thin, fine, or fragile. Ask for this if you like to wear your hair straight (curls can cause a blunt cut to poof into a triangle) and when you want to make your thin hair look thicker, or you want a haircut that preserves the density and overall integrity of your hair.
If there are any adjustments you want your stylist to make as she begins to wrap up your cut, be sure to speak up! After all, you’ve done your homework and deserve a great cut.