Industry Terms

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Do you ever wonder what exactly your hairstylist/makeup artist/esthetician is saying to you when they use certain words? It seems people in this industry have a language all their own and cracking the code can be tough. Sometimes they’re just being politically correct, like when they tell you your skin is very emollient…what they really mean is, “wow, that’s a lot of oil.” And sometimes there are terms that are only known to industry insiders and clients are left feeling like outsiders. Here are some common terms and phrases used by people in the beauty industry, and here’s what they really mean.

A little goes a long way…Translation: “this is very expensive, but since you use such a small amount of it, I can totally help you justify making that purchase.” I say this one all the time. I’m not lying when I tell people that less is more with certain products, but I generally use this phrase when someone is looking at me like I’m crazy to think they should spend $25 on a styling product, or even more on skin care.

This is very nourishing for your hair/skin…Most people think that if a product is advertising that it’s “nourishing” it must mean it’s moisturizing. Not always. When a product is designed to nourish your hair, or skin, it means that it’s going to give you a good boost from all the vitamins and other yummy ingredients the product has to offer. Yes, a product that is designed to nourish can offer moisture, but many times an extra step will be needed to add skin cream to your face, or conditioner for your hair.

You have a lot of congestion…Translation: “your pores are clogged and I’m going to make your life hell while I get them un-clogged.” This can also be summed up in one word:Extraction…as in removing stuff. As in OUCH!! Your lovely esthetician, who speaks with a calm voice and has very competent hands, will tell you this in a soft tone while she’s examining your pores with her magnifying glass/light. If you hear these words, brace yourself. But, hang in there. As painful as I think extractions are, the end result is totally worth it.

The ends of your hair are very dry…Translation: “your hair is beyond repair with damage. Please, please, PLEASE let me cut off more than a centimeter…you will thank me.” I’ve uttered this phrase so much, and it’s my nice way of telling people they’ve fried their hair and the only way to help them is to cut off the damage. So many people hold on to the length of their hair for some reason. Cutting your hair will NOT make it grow, but cutting the damage off will result in a very healthy look. Get over it, and get the frizzies off!

You’ll feel a tingle…Translation: “this is going to sting like a son-of-a-*****” This is said most often with skin care products that contain acids to help slough off that top layer of skin. It’s also said when you get a chemical peel. Once you can get past the stinging, the end results, much like extractions, are totally worth it. Those darn estheticians and their sweet little voices! I think they have to be calm by nature, so they can deal with the drama from the client when they apply the hard stuff.

I’m just going to take a little off the top/a little off the length…Translation: “I’m going to cut off much more than you requested, and you’re going to deal with it.” This doesn’t always happen when you get your hair cut, but it is a common complaint I get from people when they tell me about a bad experience with a hairstylist. Make sure you communicate with your stylist exactly what you are looking for and how much hair you are willing lose. communication truly is key, for both of you.

These are just a few common terms that are widely used in the industry. I know there are many more, and I’m thinking there will probably be a part two, and a part three on this subject. So, tell me: what are some terms you hear commonly used in the beauty industry that you would like to have clearly translated?

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