Haircut Terminology: 10 Terms You Need to Know Before Your Next Cut

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It’s important to know what to tell your stylist and how to describe the hairstyle you want, but haircut terminology and style names can be complicated. Sometimes, it may even seem like your stylist is speaking a different language. To help you brush up on your hair lingo, we’ve compiled 10 terms you need to know before your next cut so you’re not left stumped in the stylist’s chair.

No.1:  Blunt cut

A blunt cut is lopped horizontally, straight-across leaving ends all one length and in a perfectly straight line. With this cut, all of the weight falls on the bottom of the hair, leaving a stark edge. This technique is perfect for creating the illusion of density and volume for those with thin, fine or fragile hair.

No.2: Bob

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A bob is a short to medium length style where the hair is typically blunt cut straight around the head at chin or ear level. This style is a winner regardless of your hair type or face shape and is equally flattering with or without fringe (more on the fringe in a minute). The bob is anything but boring and can take on a variety of different styles, so you’re sure to find the perfect match for your personality and lifestyle.

No.3:  Choppy

If you find blunt boring and are looking to kick it up a notch, give a choppy cut a try. A choppy cut gets its texture from layers cut into large pieces at different lengths in defined yet uneven proportions to create an edgy look.  This bold cut can be used to create volume, definition and movement.

No.4:  Dusting

Commit this term to memory if you only want the bare minimum trimmed. The stylist will literally cut only the ends of the hairs that are split or broken, without making it look freshly cut. With so little hair cut the clippings resemble, you guessed it – dust.

No.5:  Fringe/Bangs

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Fringe (a.k.a. bangs) refers to the face-framing layer of hair over the eyes. Adding bangs is an easy way to change up any cut and they’re super versatile. Fringe can be long or short and cut blunt and heavy, straight-across, choppy, angled or light and wispy, blended into layers with the rest of your hair. If you want to learn more, here’s everything you need to know about the fringe look.

No.6:  Graduation

Graduation refers to a cut where the hair gradually progresses in length from short to long, ultimately creating a layered effect. This technique can be used in several ways like face-framing, at the nape or side swept bangs to give movement and structure to your cut.

No.7:  Layers

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Layers are shorter strands that blend into the length of your hair to lessen density and add volume, dimension and movement. If you have long hair and want a beachy, undone look, ask your stylist for long flowing layers that blend seamlessly. If a more dramatic look is what you crave, ask your stylist for distinct layers in varying lengths that do not cascade smooth (i.e., a choppy look).

No.8: Lob

A lob or long bob is a lengthier variation of a bob where the hair is cut about shoulder level. If you have long hair and you’re considering a chop but want to keep some length, give a lob a try. It’s the perfect balance between short and long, and like the bob, flatters all types of hair.

No.9:  Pixie

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Pixie cuts vary widely in length and style, but for the most part, they’re extremely short (1/2 inch to 3 inches). A pixie is typically considered a boyish cut, but wispy edges give it a feminine feel. This cut is super easy to style and thanks to its many variations, can work with any face shape. We love this cut so much that we made it our Fantastic Sams June haircut of the month.

No.10:  Thinning out

If you have extra thick, bushy hair that’s becoming cumbersome to style, having some of the bulk removed by thinning it out could be your best bet. Although the thinning shears used to reduce the weight do leave some strands shorter, thinning doesn’t affect the overall appearance of the length of your hair.

Long or short, classic or cutting edge, the best way to score the style you want is to bring a photo and know the lingo. Communicating well with your stylist is a must so they can nail your dream ‘do.  

Fantastic Sams Cut & Color is a full-service, "no-appointment-needed," hair salon with over 900 convenient locations.  Find a Fantastic Sams Cut and Color Hair Salon near you. Real. Fantastic.

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