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Conversations with my stylist

An ex flat-mate of mine once told me, what she found impressive in me is that I always managed to put myself in another person's shoes.

Some may call it being somewhat empathic, others just being a bit devil's advocate...

But what I really would like to be is telepathic! That would be such an amazing quality to have as a hair stylist, because getting what a client is after is not always as plain sailing as you would like it to be. Which made me think - maybe my flat-mate Eliza was onto something there!

I may be empathic - but the telepathic bit is missing, and perhaps it is because I have not put myself into the client's shoes often enough.

So what could be going wrong in the communication?

You have all been in a salon when suddenly stylists go all Bingo on you... letters are replaced by numbers yet somehow they understand each other (but you are still hearing numbers), and while it has been decided that you are going to become a 7/73 you are still none the wiser!

So today I thought I'd give you a hand to understand what the hell we are talking about when we are talking all our salon Gibberish - sorry Jargon!

Now you are not getting a Hairdressing theory lesson, but let's talk about what sounds like colouring by numbers.

If you are worried about how light or dark your hair is going to be you should pay particular attention to the first number of the formula you hear.

So if it is 7/34 the first number you have is how light or dark the hair is...

So bearing in mind that 1 is black and 12 is super blonde a 7 would be a light brown/dark blonde.

The other two numbers are the tones, the ones that come after the '/'

so we have established your first number is how light or dark the colour is, the major tone is the second colour, while the last tone is a secondary tone so that 4/71 above is a medium warm brown with an ashy undertone... which means that warm and cold tones kill each other for a natural result.

Of course it is not easy to remember all of this, and no hair stylist expects you to either! More importantly do not be afraid to ask an explanation of the colour - most stylists are more than happy to explain the theory behind it.


Well that's your colour lesson done, but what about all the words we love to use but leave you a bit unsure as to what we actually mean?

Here is your personal decoding!


Giving hair texture means not keeping the hair looking like a piece of cardboard but get some separation, some grit - a bit of that bed-head raw sexiness!


No, we are not dancing the Jive together - Anything that is not poker straight has movement, so what we mean here, is a bit of a wave, or soft curls.


If you have had a bob at some point you may heard us explaining we will give it a bit of 'Graduation' - no it's not a prom, it is the layering of the bob that results in the back being a bit shorter.


Oh dear, the dreaded T-word!

A trim is not a cut at milimetrical measures under a microscope - it is still a cut - just a tidy up of what you already have - not a new style... if you want to cut 2mm - don't bother - it's not going to do anything! (and you will expect it to magically turn the tired hair into a red-carpet event)


The hot new trend! - Contouring just like in make up high-lights or low-lights to accent your facial bone structure. (If you have not heard it yet - you will!)


I'm a culprit here - I have asked so many of you - do you prefer warm tones or cold tones?

Warm tones are:

Gold, Mahogany, Chestnut and Copper Tones


Ash, Purple, Blue and Green undertones.

The words are mainly used when putting a gloss or a toner on, when your stylist asks if you prefer warm or cold tones make sure you do UNDERSTAND THE DIFFERENCE as it makes or breaks a colour! - but always fixable ;)


This is the one thing most of you DO understand - and unless it is a noisy salon (or the music is too quiet - I know something about that one!) - volume has nothing to do with decibels - it's non flat hair - it's the only time FAT is great! - Think Kate Middleton hair on steroids! (well that's what we really want)


SO some of you seem to politely (yet reluctantly) agree to the idea, others just nip in the bud and are horrified by the idea and all you can think of is that you are going to have crunchy sculpted cardboard hair.

But what we hair stylists are thinking is: 'I've put a lot of work into this, and I would love it to stay longer than 30 minutes!'

Just remember.....

and don't be afraid to speak to Him/Her/Them ... or any other Gender Fluid possibility ....did I tick all the boxes there?

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