Hair Care Jargon

Hair care jargon buster

From balayage to bouffant, hair care and styling has never been more confusing.

The hair industry is bigger than ever and with London Fashion Week just around the corner, certain styles are getting people talking – but do they know what they are talking about?

The hair care experts at online hair and beauty retailer Hairtrade.com have put together the ultimate jargon buster to help women decide what’s right for them.

The mysteries behind the most confusing terms have been revealed, including a explanation between different hair oils and which ones are worth the hype.

The jargon buster also identifies what you should and shouldn’t ask for at the salon to avoid any hair disasters.

Laura Meredith from Hairtrade.com said: “There are so many different words in hair care that a lot of the time are just describing the same thing. The trick is to spot the beauty hypes from the actual essentials.

“Lots of women are going into the salon and being bombarded with buzzwords that they don’t understand and so agree to things without knowing what they are.

“Also, just like anti-wrinkle creams, some hair care products will include an unknown ingredient in their advertising that makes it seem new and innovative.

“For example when a shampoo is advertised as being ‘detoxing’ it really is no different from regular shampoo. It’s all about knowing the good buzzwords from the bad ones.”

Here is her ultimate hair care jargon buster:

1. Argan oil

Cited as ‘liquid gold’ for skin, hair and nails, the rare argan oil is extracted from the seeds of the argan tree’s fruit, which only grows in small area of the southwest region of Morocco.

The extraction process is very labour intensive hence the expensive price tags but there are lots of benefits for hair, especially if it is dry or damaged.

It moisturises, softens, and protects hair without leaving greasy build-up, as well as helping growth.

Celeb fans include Kim Kardashian, Eva Mendes and Madonna.

2. Balayage

No, this isn’t a type of French dessert but a new hair colouring trend hitting the catwalks.

Literally translated, balayage means to sweep or paint, meaning a sun-kissed natural looking hair colour that is applied freehand with no foils. It can be totally bespoke as a good balayage expert can tailor colours and highlights to suit every unique skin tone.

It’s suitable for most shades and lengths, apart from very cropped hair. It’s a timeless way of colouring your hair that is low maintenance so definitely worth investing in. Just make sure you go to a good salon who are experienced in balayage and definitely do not try at home.

A-list balayage converts include Rihanna, Rosie Huntingdon-Whitley and Olivia Palmero.

3. Bouffant

Fans of Brigitte Bardot rejoice as the sixties hairstyle has had a recent revival on the red carpet this awards season.

A bouffant can be any type of big, voluminous hair so that it stands out from the head in a rounded shape. This kind of volume work best on unwashed hair and can only be achieved by plenty of backcombing. 

Famous bouffant babes include Paloma Faith, Cheryl Fernandez-Versini and Lana Del Rey.

4. Chignon

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Another celebrity favourite of late, a chignon is a sophisticated, elegant up style, where long hair is twisted (either in a roll or knot) and pinned from the nape of neck.

This style screams Hollywood glamour and needs to be precise so make sure you have a trustworthy hairspray so not a single strand of hair is out of place. Think Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s.

Chignon chic has been popular recently with Selena Gomez, Zooey Deschanel and Kate Hudson.

5. Coconut oil

First it was coconut water but now coconut oil is the latest craze developing from this exotic fruit.

Coconut oil helps reduce protein loss in damaged hair as well as locking in moisture without the use of petroleum-based ingredients or other chemicals.

This fruity oil is a cheaper alternative to argan oil and possesses many of the same properties as well having that just-been-on-holiday scent.

Celeb fans include Lauren Conrad, Miranda Kerr and the Olsen twins. 

6. Cuticles

Well maintained cuticles doesn’t just mean having a manicure. Hair cuticles form a protective layer that covers the shaft of hair.

If hair is coloured or bleached, they can spread out, split or become bloated due to over-processing. Special care needs to be taken with processed hair and help its condition by using intensive products.

7. Glaze

This is a new colour treatment in which mild, ammonia-free shades are applied after highlights to provide the ultimate shine boost.

The semi-permanent glazes can give you amazing results as opposed to the lackluster sprays and serums on the shelves. The glazes can come in sheer or colour. 

Glazes are a good way of introducing colour to newbies who want to add subtle shine to their original shade.

Celebrity fans include Blake Lively and Victoria Beckham.

8. Keratin


Keratin is the protein your hair is made up of and there have been many products cropping up on the market, but what do they actually do?

Keratin treatments provide semi-permanent hair straightening that can softens curls as opposed to flattening them out completely.

The natural volume of the hair is maintained and the end result is much silkier, smoother and easier-to-manage than before.

9. ‘Lob’/‘Wob’/‘Pob’

So we know they are all different variations on the classic bob style but which one is which?

‘Lob’ is the long bob, which is extremely versatile to style. Celebrity fans include Taylor Swift, Emma Roberts and Alexa Chung.

‘Wob’ is a wavy bob, conventionally cut to chin length but with extra bounce and volume. This style has been seen on Jennifer Lawrence and Beyonce.

Finally ‘Pob’ will always be the iconic bob worn by Posh Spice herself, Victoria Beckham. It is similar to a regular bob but with asymmetric sides that finish just below the jawline.


Wefts are hair extension alternatives that give great looking long locks at the fraction of the price.

Wefts can be applied by many methods such as sew in, cold bonding glue in, micro link in, clip in and much more. As it is real human hair, you can style it in whatever way you desire.

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Efsun Saunders


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