Hairdressing Icon - The Cutting Garden

Hairdressing Services
in Plymouth

Ladies and gentlemens cuts, hair extensions, wedding hair and hair treatments.

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Colour Specialists
in Plymouth

Balayage, highlights, ombre, lowlights, fashion colour and full head tinting.

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Nail Bar
in Plymouth

CND Shellac manicures and pedicures, CND nail enhancement services and express mini manicures.

Our Hair Glossary

Have you ever struggled to describe the kind of haircut you’d like? Have you been left a little confused by something your hairdresser has mentioned? Then we’ve got just the thing for you! To help our clients learn the lingo, we’ve put together a glossary of common hairdressing, colouring and styling terms. 

In simple terms, we’ll explain everything from hair colouring and cutting techniques to hair texture terms and different styles. 

Read on to browse the glossary and learn more!

Glossary: Image of teal hairbrushes on a pink background.

Hairdressing Glossary

Gallery: Image of a woman with layered lilac hair.

Feathering: Feathering is a cutting technique that involves cutting the shorter layers of hair at an angle. This creates a ‘V’ shape at the ends of your hair and gives the hair a soft, feathery appearance. A huge trend in the 1970s, feathering is a great way to add volume and texture to fine hair.

Graduation: Graduation is the term given to any haircut that goes from short to long or vice versa.

Layers: Layering is the name given to any haircut that features sections of hair cut to different lengths. Layers can be long or short and generally give a soft, natural look to the hair.

Blunt Cutting: A blunt cut is where the hair is cut to the same length, all over. This style has a very clean look, with crisp edges and precise shaping.

Hairdressing Glossary


Glossary: Image of a woman with a blonde bob.

Bob: A bob is a type of classic haircut, first popularised in the 1900s by Antoine de Paris that became synonymous with flapper girls in the 1920s. The 1960s saw the style reinvigorated and championed by Vidal Sassoon and Mary Quant. A bob is a short to medium-length cut, with the hair typically falling anywhere between the earlobes and the shoulders.

  • A-Line Bob: Sometimes called a graduated or inverted bob, this term is used to describe a bob haircut that’s longer in the front than it is in the back.
  • French Bob: A French bob is a chin-length bob with an eyebrow length, full fringe. This cut can either be blunt and precise or layered and soft.
  • Long Bob: Often called a lob, a long bob is a collarbone grazing bob.
  • Shaggy Bob: A messy, beachy hairstyle where the hair is heavily layered, usually with a razor.

Hairdressing Glossary

Glossary: Image of a woman with short red hair, in a tapered style.

Point Cutting: This cutting technique removes weight from the hair by softening the ends and adding texture. To do this, the scissors are held at an angle against fanned hair and a vertical motion is used to cut.

Tapering: Short hair cuts are often tapered, so that hard and harsh lines are avoided.

Razor Cutting: This is a method of thinning hair to create a soft, textured look. Razor cutting is often used to create shag cuts.

Shag Cut: A shag is a hairstyle with short layers on top that graduate to longer lengths. Whilst retro in its origins, a modern shag haircut is soft, full of movement and ultra-flattering.

Undercut: An undercut is the term applied to hair that’s long on top and cur or shaved short underneath.

Hair Type Glossary

Glossary: Image of a woman with short afro hair.

Curl Pattern: This term relates to the shape your curls take. There are four common curl patterns, straight (Type 1), wavy (Type 2), curly (Type 3) and kinky (Type 4). Each of these curl patterns can be broken down into three sub-categories, which serve to describe the size and tightness of the curl. A indicates a wide and loose curl, B is for medium-sized, defined curls and C indicates the curls are small and tight.

Texture: Texture refers to the feel of the hair as well as the thickness of each individual strand. Generally, there are three basic hair textures – fine, medium and thick/coarse.

Colouring Glossary

Glossary: Image of a woman with long balayage hair.

Ombre: Ombre is the term given to blending one colour into another, to create a gradually lightened or darkened look. For example, hair could be mid-brown then gradually transition into blonde from mid-length, down to the tips.

Balayage: Balayage is a colouring technique that creates a natural-looking highlight effect by freehand painting dye straight onto the hair. Balayage is a great way to add dimension and depth of colour.

Gloss: A gloss is a treatment that creates a vibrant and shiny hair colour.

Colour Correction: This is the process of getting rid of unwanted colour. Colour correction involves lifting the colour from hair, either through dyeing and bleaching or by using toners to neutralise unwanted undertones.

Colouring Glossary

Gallery: Image of a hairdresser applying colour to a client's hair.

Activator: A developer is an ingredient that’s added to bleach to lift the cuticle and allow colour to permeate the hair strand. Developers come in a variety of ‘volumes’.

  • 10 volume provides a very gentle colour lift, taking hair one shade lighter.
  • 20 volume is the most commonly used developer and can take hair up to two shades lighter.
  • 30 volume developer can take hair up to three shades lighter.
  • 40 volume developer is best used for high-lift colours or on those with very dark hair.

Toner: A toner is used to make hair cooler or warmer in tone. Commonly used for colour correction and to make dyed hair look more natural, toners work using the colour wheel principle. For example, if your blonde hair is looking a little brassy, a purple or blue toner will allow you to achieve a cooler shade by neutralising the orange tones. If your hair is too ashy for your liking, or your colour is looking lacklustre, then you can add some warmth with a red or copper toner.

Colouring Glossary

Gallery: Image of a woman with long wavy ombre hair.

Highlights: Highlights are small strands of hair that are dyed from root to tip a few shades lighter than the person’s natural hair colour. It can give the effect of brighter hair colour without dyeing the whole head. Highlights are typically applied using foils or by painting freehand.

Lowlights: Lowlights are darker sections of colour, woven into the hair to add depth and dimension.

Full Head Tint: Full head tint is the term given to a single colour that’s applied all over the head.

Tint Regrowth: A tint regrowth a technique where just the roots of the hair are coloured, to match the roots with the lengths of the hair.

Colouring Glossary

Glossary: Image of a woman with a pink updo.

Semi-Permanent: Semi-permanent colour is a dye that washes out over time. Typically, semi-permanent colours last anything from 4-28 washes.

Shoeshine: A shoeshine is a technique used in gents colouring. The colour is normally a few shades lighter than the natural hair colour, to act as a highlight. It is applied to foil as opposed to the hair first, the large strip of foil is then brushed across the head to add colour to the tips of the hair.

Fashion Colour: A fashion colour is another way of defining an un-natural hair colour such as pink, blue, green or purple.

Colouring Glossary

Glossary: Image of a woman having her hair washed in a salon.

Olaplex: Olaplex is a hair treatment designed to protect hair from chemical damage. It reduces the damage that bleach and colouring can do to your hair, leaving it healthy and strong.

Brassy: This is the term given to hair that has taken on orange, red or yellow tones through accident, rather than design. Commonly caused by bleaching, chemical treatments or heat damage, these warm tones can be counteracted through the application of a suitable toner.

Contact Us

If you’d like to arrange an appointment for any of our technical or hairdressing services, please get in touch with us by calling the salon on 01752 223233. Alternatively, you can book an appointment online for your convenience.