BY: Blair Smith

Beauty Glossary: Hair Care From A to Z

Here’s every haircare term you should know

It’s amazing how much terminology exists in the haircare world. Allow us to translate. Whether you’re at the salon or simply reading an ingredient list on the back of your shampoo bottle, we’re here to break down the most common lingo you might encounter when dealing with your hair.


Chemical ingredient added to bleach to help speed up the lightening process.

Amino Acid

Most frequently found in shampoos and conditioners, this protein is the key structural component for healthy nails and hair.


Chemical used at hair salons to clean hair-cutting tools and brushes.

Boar Bristles

Used in natural hair brushes; great for evenly distributing natural oils throughout strands.


Style of colored hair that gradually fades from one (typically lighter) color to a different color at the roots.


Fancy, scientific word for “gray hairs.”


Process that removes residue from hair prior to chemical treatment; this can also be called “clarifying.”


Middle layer of the hair shaft.


A section of your hair that grows in a different direction from your other hair.


Peroxide added to permanent hair color or bleach.

Double Process

A two-step coloring technique to lighten and then color hair.


Connective tissue surrounding the hair root.

Henna Dye

A reddish-brown, plant-based dye that’s extremely permanent and less likely to damage your hair than regular hair color


Fibrous protein naturally found in hair.


Chemical found naturally in the body, gives hair (and skin) its color.


Chemical reaction caused by mixing developer and hair color together.


A lotion or cream used to permanently straighten curly or coily hair.


Derived from sulfuric acid and used in some shampoos to create a lathering effect.


Natural protective oil that can be found on the scalp and serves to protect the skin.


The process of sewing hair extensions into braids or cornrows.

…that’s a lot!

We get that this is a lot of information to absorb, but we believe that knowledge truly is power, and this information will help you select the proper beauty products for your hair type. Now your hair can effortlessly look its best all the time!

Blair Smith is a lifestyle and beauty writer who currently resides (and will likely stay forever) in Brooklyn, New York.

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