Basic Cosmetology Terms

Basic Cosmetology Terms

When going to cosmetology school, it is important to know some basic terminology. Become familiar with the industry and prepare yourself for an exciting career by learning these basic cosmetology terms.


An allergy is an immune disorder where the body has a negative reaction to a substance or object. In cosmetology, it is important to know if someone has an allergy to a product as mild to severe reactions can occur depending on the level of sensitivity.


Bangs are a layer of hair closer to the forehead that are cut shorter than the rest of the hair. They can be thick or thin, short over the eyebrows or longer down the face.

Blunt Cut 

A blunt cut is a haircut with no layers. It is cut straight-across where the weight falls on the bottom of the hair. If your hair is thin, fine, or fragile, this haircut will preserve the density and overall integrity of your hair,


A bob is a haircut with the weight line at the chin or below the ears. A longer bob, or a lob, is a bob with the weight line grazing the collarbone.


Cosmetic refers to any product, ingredient, substance or teatment that is meant to improve how something looks. These products are usually applied topically and not sold as drugs or medication.


A disconnection is when the main sections of a hairstyle are not connected through seamless layers. There is a clear difference between the front and back of the hair or general sections. 

Dry Cutting 

Dry cutting is normally the second round of hair cutting after the hair is styled and dry. It can also be used as a primary cutting method used for attention to shape and detail. This technique can be used to cut a hairstyle the way the client wears their texture, as opposed to how the hair looks when wet.


Dusting is what people mean when they as for “just a trim.” It’s when you cut the ends of the hairs that are split or broken. 


Esthetics or aesthetics can be loosely defined as the theory of beauty. This is a style, treatment or overall result that enhances a persons looks and brings out their assets.  


A graduation is when the hair cut goes from long to short. For example: A graduated bob will go from shorter in the back, to longer in the front. 


Layers are shorter pieces of hair that fall together to give your hair more volume and dimension. They can be on the surface of the hair or within it. Layers can be short, face-framing or long depending on the look to be achieved.


It is important to know that natural and organic do not mean the same thing, even though they can sometimes be used interchangeably.  Products that are labeled as “natural” are made of all natural ingredients, or ingredients that are minimally processed and do not contain any hormones, antibiotics or artificial flavors. Products that are labeled as “organic” are made up of ingredients that are grown organically. These ingredients are certified organic by one of the numerous certifying institutions that operate worldwide.


A pixie cut is a short haircut close to the scalp. 

Point Cutting 

Point cutting is cutting hair with the scissors positioned vertically. This creates a light texture on the ends of the hair and very light points create a soft edge. 


A razor is a hair-cutting tool used to remove volume by collapsing the cut without adding layers. Razors can also be used to create texture and movement for all hair types.


Undercutting is a technique for cutting hair that keeps layers that are close to the back of the head shorter than the upper layers. This can be anything from half a shaved head to a sliver of hair shaved underneath the top mantle of hair.