De-coding salon speak: How to get your best color yet

Balayage? Single process? We lay out what it all means

Go on any salon website and you’re likely to find a “menu” of services, the majority of which are various coloring techniques and styles. With dozens of color types available to try, how do you know which one matches the look you’re going for? Here, we provide a run-down of common terms so you know exactly what you’re getting into and come out of the salon looking flawless.

Single Process:

This is precisely what it sounds like: a single coat of color applied to all your hair, creating a uniform shade. This is the most straight-forward type of color service and usually one of the cheapest, since it involves the least technique.

Double Process:

While double process also involves applying a new color to your hair, the first step requires bleaching your hair to remove color. Once your hair is lightened, the new shade is applied and appears more prominently. Use this technique if you’d like to dye your hair a lighter color than it is currently.


Commonly used to describe the most standard type of highlights, foils will lighten your hair in pieces, starting at your roots. If you like your base color and just want to brighten it up, foil highlights are a great option. Foils will require fairly regular maintenance, however, as your hair grows out and the beginning of the highlights becomes visible at your roots.


Another type of highlights, balayage refers to a “painting” technique in which the stylist paints bleach onto hair in smaller, more deliberately placed sections. Here, the focus is on the ends with small strips blending upward, not quite reaching the roots. Balayage highlights require less maintenance than foils because they appear more naturally integrated into the base hair color.

Demi Permanent vs Permanent:

These terms refer not to a technique, but to a type of hair color. Demi-permanent dye applies color to the exterior of hair strands, leaving your base color as is, and lasts for 4-6 weeks before washing out. Permanent dye, on the other hand, penetrates hair, stripping it of existing color and then depositing the new shade. You might be tempted to get permanent coloring, given how much you’re likely paying for a treatment, but it’s not the right choice for everyone, as it is more damaging. Consider permanent color if you’re going for a bright, vibrant shade or if you are covering gray hair.

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by Insider Envy Staff

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