The Hair Handbook: Definitions and Descriptions

Niloo is a passionate cosmetologist at Elegante Hair Studio with a flair for creating stunning looks. She specializes in Hair, Extensions, Facial and Makeup. She is also a cosmetology school instructor.
The Hair Handbook: Definitions and Descriptions

Welcome to the world of hair, where the strands become the canvas and the scissors wield their magic. As a hairstylist and cosmetology school instructor, I delve into the captivating realm of hair words and descriptions, exploring the intricacies of texture, color, and style. Whether you’re a seasoned stylist seeking inspiration or an eager reader hungry for knowledge, prepare to embark on a visual and textual feast, celebrating the poetry of strands that adorn our heads.


Hair Terminology

1. Hair Follicle: A small, tunnel-shaped structure located in the dermis of the skin from which hair grows. It contains the root of the hair and provides nourishment to support hair growth.

2. Scalp: The skin on the top of the head that covers the cranial bones. It provides the foundation for hair growth and contains numerous sebaceous glands and blood vessels.

3. Hair Shaft: The visible part of the hair that extends above the scalp. It is composed of three layers: the medulla (innermost layer), the cortex (middle layer), and the cuticle (outermost layer).

4. Cortex: The middle layer of the hair shaft, responsible for providing strength, elasticity, and color. It contains long protein chains called keratin that determine the hair’s texture.

5. Cuticle: The outermost layer of the hair shaft, consisting of overlapping cells that form a protective barrier. It helps retain moisture within the hair and protects it from damage.

6. Medulla: The innermost layer of the hair shaft, which consists of loosely packed cells and is sometimes absent in fine or light-colored hair. Its function is not yet fully understood.

7. Hair Root: The part of the hair that is anchored within the hair follicle beneath the scalp. It contains the matrix, a group of cells responsible for hair growth.

8. Hair Bulb: The enlarged base of the hair root, situated at the lower end of the hair follicle. It contains the papilla, which supplies nutrients to the growing hair.

9. Papilla: A small, nipple-like structure at the base of the hair bulb. It contains blood vessels that deliver oxygen and nutrients to the hair root, supporting hair growth.

10. Sebaceous Glands: Small glands located near the hair follicles that secrete sebum, an oily substance that lubricates and moisturizes the hair and scalp.

11. Arrector Pili Muscle: A tiny, involuntary muscle connected to the hair follicle. When stimulated, it contracts and causes the hair to stand up, resulting in “goosebumps.”

12. Hair Matrix: The actively dividing area at the base of the hair root, responsible for the production of new hair cells. It plays a vital role in hair growth.

13. Hair Cuticle Cells: Overlapping, transparent cells forming the outermost layer of the hair shaft. They provide protection and give the hair its smoothness and shine.

14. Hair Bulge: A region in the outer root sheath of the hair follicle where stem cells are located. It plays a role in the regeneration of hair follicles during the hair growth cycle.

15. Anagen Phase: The active growth phase of the hair cycle, during which the hair root is producing new cells and the hair shaft is lengthening. This phase can last for several years.

16. Catagen Phase: A transitional phase in the hair growth cycle where hair growth stops, and the hair follicle shrinks. It lasts for a few weeks and marks the end of the active growth phase.

17. Telogen Phase: The resting phase of the hair growth cycle when the hair follicle remains dormant. The old hair is shed, and the follicle prepares for the next anagen phase. This phase lasts for a few months.

18. Hair Growth Cycle: The continuous process of hair growth, rest, and shedding. It consists of the anagen, catagen, and telogen phases and varies in duration depending on genetic factors.

19. Hair Density: The number of hair follicles per square inch on the scalp. It determines the thickness and fullness of the hair.

20. Hair Texture: Refers to the thickness or diameter of individual hair strands, which can be categorized as fine, medium, or coarse. It is determined by genetic factors.

21. Hair Porosity: The hair’s ability to absorb and retain moisture. It is influenced by the condition of the cuticle and can be classified as low, normal, or high.

22. Hair Elasticity: The hair’s ability to stretch and return to its original length without breaking. It is a measure of hair health and is influenced by the condition of the cortex.

23. Hair Diameter: The width or thickness of an individual hair strand. It can vary among individuals and affects the overall appearance and styling options.

24. Hair Growth Rate: The speed at which hair grows, typically measured in inches per month. It can vary based on genetics, age, health, and other factors.

25. Hair Loss: The condition characterized by the excessive shedding or thinning of hair. It can result from various factors, including genetics, hormonal changes, and certain medical conditions.

26. Alopecia: The medical term for hair loss or baldness, which can occur in different patterns and severities. It can be caused by factors such as genetics, autoimmune diseases, or hormonal imbalances.

27. Androgenetic Alopecia: The most common form of hair loss, also known as male or female pattern baldness. It is characterized by a gradual thinning of hair on the scalp and is influenced by genetics and hormones.

28. Trichology: The branch of dermatology that focuses on the study of hair and scalp disorders. Trichologists diagnose and treat various conditions related to hair and scalp health.

29. Hair Pigmentation: The natural color of the hair, determined by the amount and type of melanin present in the cortex. It can range from black to various shades of brown, red, and blonde.

30. Melanin: The pigment responsible for the color of the hair, skin, and eyes. It is produced by specialized cells called melanocytes and determines the hair’s natural color.

31. Gray Hair: Hair that has lost its natural pigmentation and appears white or gray. It occurs as a result of decreased melanin production with age.

32. Hair Parting: The division or separation of the hair into sections, often done for styling purposes. It can be a middle part, side part, or zigzag part, depending on personal preference.

33. Hairline: The outline or edge of the hair on the forehead and temples. It can be classified as high, low, or receding and varies among individuals.

34. Bangs: Also known as fringe, it refers to a section of hair that is cut and styled to fall over the forehead. Bangs can be straight, side-swept, or layered, adding versatility to hairstyles.

35. Layers: A technique in which the hair is cut at different lengths, creating varied lengths and adding volume, movement, and texture to the hairstyle.

36. Hair Extensions: Artificial or natural hair strands that are attached to the existing hair to add length, volume, or color. They can be applied using various methods, such as bonding, clipping, or sewing.

37. Hair Styling Products: Products used to enhance, control, or alter the appearance of the hair. They include gels, mousses, waxes, serums, and hairsprays, among others.

38. Heat Styling: The use of heated tools such as flat irons, curling irons, and hairdryers to change the hair’s texture or style. It is important to use heat protectant products to minimize damage.

39. Haircut: The act of cutting the hair to achieve a desired style or shape. Different techniques and tools are used to create various haircut styles, such as bob, pixie, or layers.

40. Hairstyle: The overall appearance and arrangement of the hair, including its length, texture, and shape. Hairstyles can be tailored to personal preferences and fashion trends.

41. Updo: A hairstyle in which the hair is arranged and secured high on the head, often for formal occasions or events. Updos can be intricate, such as buns or chignons, or simpler styles like ponytails.

42. Braiding: The technique of weaving three or more strands of hair together to create a braided hairstyle. There are various types of braids, including French braids, Dutch braids, and fishtail braids.

43. Perm: Short for “permanent wave,” it is a chemical process that alters the hair’s structure to create curls or waves. Perms can be done using different methods, such as cold waves or hot rollers.

44. Hair Color: The artificial alteration of the hair’s natural color using hair dyes or color treatments. It can be used to cover gray hair, change the hair’s shade, or create bold fashion statements.

45. Hair Highlights: Streaks or strands of hair that are lightened or colored to create contrast and dimension. Highlights can be applied using various techniques, such as foiling or balayage.

46. Hair Gloss: A semi-permanent hair treatment that adds shine, smoothness, and color vibrancy. It can be clear or tinted and helps improve the hair’s overall appearance and manageability.

47. Hair Mask: A deep-conditioning treatment applied to the hair to provide intense moisture, nourishment, and repair. Hair masks are typically left on for a longer period to maximize their benefits.

48. Split Ends: The splitting or fraying of the hair shaft’s end due to damage or lack of proper care. Regular trims and moisturizing treatments can help prevent and minimize split ends.

49. Hair Loss Treatment: Products or procedures designed to slow down or reverse hair loss. They can include medications, laser therapy, scalp massages, and specialized shampoos or serums.

50. Hair Transplantation: A surgical procedure that involves transferring hair follicles from a donor area to areas experiencing hair loss. It is a common treatment for permanent hair loss and baldness.


These terms cover a wide range of hair anatomy and related concepts. Feel free to explore further or ask more specific questions about any of these topics! Book your appointment today!



Niloo is a passionate cosmetologist at Elegante Hair Studio with a flair for creating stunning looks. She specializes in Hair, Extensions, Skincare and Makeup. She believes beauty fashion is a powerful medium for self-love and self-expression.