Scroll down to enjoy exceprts, then click here to buy.

We hope you enjoyed our Levenger Press book, Spoken Like a Pro.
Haven’t read it yet? Click here.

Here are some expressions that hairdressers use. Your hairdresser (or barber) may have more.

Once upon a time they were beauty parlors. Now they're where you go to get blown out. Women used to go to a beautician. Now they go to a hairdresser or stylist. And while it may be just a haircut to you, for the person wielding those scissors (and sometimes a razor), that tonsure is all about technique.

Warning: just because you'll pick up some of the coinage of coiffeurs by reading this, who knows what hair-raising havoc you could wreak if you tried these techniques at home? Best to leave your mane events to the pros. Just because you can talk like 'em doesn't mean you can walk like 'em.

Walking & talking. A good hairdresser, on the other hand, is adept at walking and talking at the same time. It's the action of the scissors' opening and closing as they move down the hair shaft.

Shifts, stacks and feathers. These are all techniques for taming tresses. Shifting is complicated, as it involves switching the way you cut different sides of each section of hair. Stacking is a way of layering hair so that you end up with a level edge. Feathering is another way of layering. Look at how the wings of a bird settle in so nicely when the bird is still: that’s how your feathers should look, too.

Ripped, torn & tattered. Yikes! They do this to your hair? Yes indeed, if you want the spiked effect that comes from using a razor.

Muffy. When your hair puffs out around your ears, like earmuffs. Tell your hairdresser to start feathering.

Hairdresser’s inch. The equivalent of a baker's dozen. So be careful when you say, "Just take an inch off"—it can often be about twice as much. Try, instead, requesting a dusting. That should get you about a quarter of an inch and no more.

Fried. Hair that's been damaged from too much coloring or hot irons. It’s technically known as distressed hair, and distressed is usually how its owner feels.

Regrowth. A more polite way of explaining that your roots have grown out and their color isn't anywhere near the color on the rest of your head.

"She's got a hot head." A reference to a client who's exhibiting root glow, or hot roots. It happens when the color at the scalp comes out brighter than the colors on the ends. The scalp gives off more heat than the rest of your hair, which is known as the cold shaft. Applying the same volume of peroxide (the catalyst that gets the color to "take") to both scalp and shaft results in the color at the scalp being brighter. There are ways to cool a hot head. Using a higher volume of peroxide on the shaft than on the scalp is one; applying the color to the shaft first is another. The best remedy? A hairdresser who knows color.

Spoken Like a Pro by Mim Harrison. © 2006 The Levenger Company

Join our online community of readers at wellreadlife.com. Enjoy our exclusive interviews with leading authors such as Malcolm Gladwell and Simon Winchester, and be part of the reader's conversation that Steve encourages in his Well-Read Life columns. Click here.

We can also make you a member of our Preferred-Customer E-list. You'll be the first to hear of new selections, including our Levenger Press books. Click here.

We will never share your email address.

Also by Levenger Press