• Glossary of Hair Color Terms

    With all the hot hair-color trends popping up, there’s a LOT to talk about with your stylist. To help make the conversations (and getting exactly what you want) a little easier, here’s a list of definitions.




    Babylights are delicate accents added to your natural hair color (like the subtle dimensions it had when you were a child).



    (pronounced bah-lee-AHZGE)

    The balayage highlighting technique paints on a natural, graduated look of being sun-kissed. Also, the regrowth lines are less noticeable than with some other highlighting techniques.


    Base Color

    Base color is the shade applied at the root or all over (what comes before highlights, lowlights or other types of added dimension).



    Contrast is related to how your highlights compare to your base color. The starker the difference, the more dramatic the look.



    “Cool” is about tone. It can apply to any hair color (blond, brunette or red), and what makes it cool is subtle hints of blue, violet or green. Plum reds, ash browns and platinum blonds all fit the bill.



    Coverage is a measure of a color formula’s ability to cover gray hair.



    Dimension is the range of tones in your hair. Highlights or lowlights can add dimension.



    Double-process just refers to when two color services (like base + highlights, or permanent + glaze, etc.) are done in one visit.


    Express Highlights

    “Express highlights” usually frame your face with just a few foils or painted-on sections.



    Glazing uses a semi-permanent color to change, match, enrich, intensify, or tone-down your natural or color-treated hair.


    Hair Painting

    Hair painting (used in the balayage technique) involves free-handing or sweeping color onto your hair, and it adds dimension with a softer, more natural look than some other techniques.



    Highlights add dimension with lighter strands against your base or natural color, and they’re created with foils, a cap, or combs and brushes.



    A lift is the chemical process of lightening your hair.



    Ombre is the dramatic blending of one hair color to another (sombre is a subtler version of this technique).



    Pastel shades can be added to your hair (they’re probably most effective on pale blond)


    Single Process

    Single-process refers a one-step color service (just highlights, just base color, etc.).



    Sombre is a subtle blending of one shade to another (ombre is a more dramatic version of this technique).


    Texture (of Hair)

    Your hair’s texture (fine, medium or coarse) is factored in when your stylist formulates your color.


    Texture Services

    Texture services soften, straighten or add curl to your hair, and they include Keratin smoothing treatments, relaxers, blowouts, permanent waves and more.



    A tone is either warm or cool, and it’s a descriptor for color (“ash” brown, “coppery” red, etc.).



    “Warm” refers to tones with yellow, orange or red. Coppery reds, auburn brunettes and golden blonds fit the bill.



    Major thanks to the fabulous Redken for your inspiration on this list! We at Tranquility Spa Salon are BIG fans of yours. :)