Coloring your hair can be liberating and a bit intimidating. Knowing what a few key terms mean however can really help you take away some of the mystery that surrounds professional hair coloring. Knowing a few different hair color terms means that you can ask for just what you want and know what you are going to be getting.
This is a method in which your colorist will paint color or an overall lightening product over the hair. Unlike foil methods, those colorist that are using balayage will paint the color on freehand which gives the overall look a more piecy, natural look that is not going to look so much like a professional color.
A base color is the main color of your hair upon which your other color options will be laid. This can be your natural color, your artificial all over color, or any other color option it just needs to cover the entire hair.
Highlights and Lowlights
Highlights are lighter pieces of hair that are naturally placed in the hair to look like your natural color. These can be applied with balayage or foils. Lowlights are darker pieces of hair that are woven into the base color to provide more depth to the hair. With highlights and a great base color, your colorist can give you a very natural look.
To lighten your hair means to open the hair cuticle and remove some pigment. This is something that needs to be done professionally as it is very harsh and can damage the hair quite badly if not done correctly. This may be done before you add a base color which is a color upon which your hairdresser will build the rest of your color. This is also a process that is done when you want to add a lighter shade to your hair and you have hair that has already been color treated or that is much darker than the shade you want.
Foil is a technique in which your hairdresser will use foil to separate parts of your hair and keep them apart from the rest of the hair to keep the color true. This is often done with highlights, blondes, and multi-tone hair. Partial foil is a foil that only goes on the top sections of hair and is often used to achieve a darker look underneath with a lighter look on top. Full foil is when foil is added to your entire head, even the under sections, to add highlight and dimension to all of your hair.
A single process is an all over application that requires only one process. This is for those that want all over color and are not looking to add highlights or lowlights.
Block Coloring/ Creative Coloring
This is the use of more than one color in large chunks. Instead of using small highlights and lowlights to appear more natural, block coloring is supposed be chunky, it is supposed to look multitonal, and it is supposed to be creative, hence the alternate term.
Toner is often used to after pre-lightening or pre-bleaching. If you are having your hair colored platinum blonde for instance you will come in contact with a few different toners. With platinum blonde a violet toner is added to cut down on the yellow to give you a cool tone that is just what you want.