Quick Guide to "Hairy" Science Terms


As a stylist, I realize sometimes our team may ramble about technical hair words like "cuticle" or "melanin" or a certain color level.   In reality, you are wondering where to put the keratin - is it inside the cuticle or over the melanin?  It's now our intent to confuse you!

To clear the air, we've put a  "Hair Dictionary" of those tough terms your stylist may use.

confusedHairy Science Terms

Cuticle Layer - The outmost layer of your hair, which kind of resembles scales. Most likely, you have seen an image of hair cuticle on a shampoo or conditioner bottle, or even on the television. At it's healthiest point, the cuticle will be shiny and smooth, at its worst - dull and brittle like a palm tree trunk.

Cortex - Located under the cuticle and contains pigment (known as melanin) which gives your hair color.

Hair Follicle - The slant in the scalp where hairs form and are anchored.

Hair Cycle - The phases in which hair growth occur. The first is anagen, in which hair is growing. Generally, this stage lasts between 2-7 years. The next two-week long stage is categen, in which hair detaches from the follicle and falls out. The final stage is telogen, in which new hair will begin to form as cells divide. This phase lasts for 2-4 months.

Keratin - The main component of hair and nails. Results in the health and shininess of hair.

Melanin - Two types exist; eumelanin (brownish black) and pheomelanin (reddish yellow). The combination of the two determine how light or dark one's hair is.

Sebum - A gland in the scalp that produces fat necessary to prevent the scalp from drying out.

Styling Terms

Texturize - This term simply means to add movement and a variety of lengths to a style. Generally, a texturized style is more of a "blunt" cut.

Graduation - Adding weight to the hair cut. Generally, the weight build up is 45 degrees from the head shape and adds a TON of movement to hair.

Dusting - Cutting the least amount of hair off possible. Think of it as a super trim.

Gloss - Finishing product that adds a layer of shine to hair.

Glaze - Adds shine and slows down the hair color fade process. Unlike gloss, a glaze is semipermanent.

Fillers - Even out hair color. In general, fillers are used before hair is dyed.

Oxidation - Change in hair color due to, you guessed it, oxygen in the air. Generally causes a yellowing of hair.

Spot Foil-  Typically for clients that retouch frequently.  Nice set of foils around the face - less than a partial foil.  

Which hair terms have have we missed?  Let us know!

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