Colour Glossary

Colour Glossary

Ever wondered what on earth your colourist is on about when it comes to the wonderful world of colour? Fret not, for we have compiled a list of colour terms and techniques to help banish that glazed-eye look for when you’re next in the salon!


Babylights: Tiny subtle highlights that are delicate in appearance due to the very small amounts of dyed hair that are separated and placed in to each foil.

Balayage: Hand-painted highlights without using foil to give a natural sun-kissed colour.

Base Colour: A colour that is applied all over the head as a starting point for your dye job.


Colour/Double Colour Process: Colour is a single colour process with a 'roots only' application. Double colour is a single process that changes the base of your colour plus adds highlights.

Contrast: The shade of your highlights. High-contrast is lighter and more noticeable, whereas low-contrast is more natural looking.

Correction: Colour gone drastically wrong? This is what you need to be asking for!

Crystallizing: Makes hair look like a crystal - it's sparkly, shiny and reflects and deflects light. Crystallizing a colour makes it more light reflective and shinier. Basically, it's a fancy finish rather than just being matte.


Demi/Semi-Permanent Colour: A non-peroxide colour that fades with each wash. Semi-permanent is more translucent, whilst demi-permanent is more opaque.

Dimension: Using highlights and lowlights to add movement and texture.


Fillers: Yes, there are fillers for your hair, and they act in a similar way to the ones you put in your face. They are applied before a colour to help protect and equalise differences in areas of damaged hair to help give you an even colour result. It is also used to help correct and neutralise existing tones.

Flamboyage: For the ultimate natural sun-kissed look, hair strands are carefully selected for highlights to give a natural flowing effect. Different tones are woven throughout the hair for added vibrancy.

Floodlights: The spotlight is on you, literally! Floodlights give the impression of there being a spotlight on your head that adds shine and dimension.

Fluid Hair Painting: Similar to balayage, fluid hair painting is applied by hand with your head leaned back against a table to fan out your hair. With your hair fanned out, the colourist can have better control on where to paint the colour for a more natural effect.

Foiling: Highlights and lowlights created using aluminium foils that are placed on certain pieces of hair around the head. Foils give a uniform look to the colour.

Foilyage: The blending of balayage and foils, with hair being treated to freehand colour, and then wrapped in foil strips to encourage a brighter more defined result.


Glaze: A semi-permanent colour that enhances, enriches, changes and can tone down or intensify natural or colour-treated hair.

Gloss: An ammonia free, semi-permanent hair colour. Applying a gloss to already coloured hair can help maintain your colour, correct brassiness and deepen or tone down a colour.


Lift: A chemical process of lightening the colour of the hair.


Nude Hair: Super natural and super chic.


Ombre: Using the balayage hand-painted technique, Ombre gradually fades your root hair colour into a much lighter hair colour at the ends.


Pintura: Great for curly hair, Pintura is a hand-painted technique that focuses on specific bends of each curl to create a one-of-a-kind dimensional look.

Platinum: The blondest of blondes!


Rebalancing: The process of bringing the hair back into balance using a combination of highlights, lowlights or glazes.

Rooting: Hand-painting a faux shadow on the roots creates a dark to light graduation that looks natural and gives a subtle gloss right at the root.

Ronze: The perfect blend of copper and bronze that gives a striking and vibrant hue.


Silver Blonde: Proving grey is sexy at any age; hair is bleached to a very, very light blonde, almost white-blonde, before a purple toner is applied to remove any yellow. A grey hair dye is then applied to create the perfect sliver blonde.

Soap Cap: A process done at the basin that uses bleach to remove colour build-up.

Sombre: Softer and more subtle than Ombre, Sombre produces a lower contrast between the hair at the roots and the hair at the ends, with the dark shade at the roots gradually blending into the colour at the ends.

Splashlights: With splashlights the colourist will paint a streak of bleach across your hair and then dye the sections above and below in a colour similar to your natural shade. This gives a head turning halo effect to your colour.

Sulphate-Free: Suphates are detergents found in everything from household cleansers to shampoos. To keep your colour fresh and vibrant, opt for sulphate-free products.


Tone: A way to describe hair colour on a deeper level – think soft jet black and strawberry blonde etc.

Toner: Applied after a colour to help deliver the desired shade.

Tortoiseshell/Ecaille: A multi-dimensional hair colour that combines Sombre and Balayage techniques and uses a colour palette of caramels, golden blondes, chestnuts and chocolates. Roots are coloured darker and blending into a lighter shade on the ends, finished with hand-painted tones throughout.

Tri-Colour: Variations in tone of the same colour that transitions seamlessly between shades without any noticeable line of demarcation.