Hair Color Terminology

If you’re thinking of getting something new done to your hair, be sure to get familiar with the terminology before you go to the salon. There are many great techniques for adding color to your tresses. Learn the difference between ombre and dip-dyed, or you may be disappointed in the results.


To create an ombre effect in your hair color Westchester County NY, your stylist will use the balayage technique of painting tint or bleach on the outside surface of your hair. In other words, the stylist chooses the hair randomly and does not dye every strand, so it looks natural. To create the ombre look, the stylist keeps the roots darker (by applying more color) or the ends lighter (by applying more bleach). A slightly different dying or bleaching process will be used depending on your natural hair color. The effect is one of summer-lightened hair in the process of growing out.


Highlights are a standard of the hair salon world. Most often achieved with foil, select sections of your hair are chosen all over your head to receive the lighter color. The highlighted hair is blended in with your natural hair to achieve a sun-kissed look.


Lowlights create a great optical illusion of volume in your hair. It is often favored by people whose hair appears a bit flat. Lowlights are generally 2-3 shades darker than your normal hair color.  People sometimes choose lowlights to add depth to thinner hair.


A trendy look in hair color is the opposite of natural. To those willing to rock a festive look, dip-dyed hair might be the way to go. Unlike the above techniques, dip-dying doesn’t create any transition or blend between colors. A common dip-dyed look would be natural color until about three inches from the ends and then a straight line of bright red, blue or purple taken all the way down.

Whether you’re looking to make a subtle or startling change, know your hair color terminology. Stylists want to give you exactly what you want, so it’s important to know what to ask for.

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Roger Walker

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