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If you’re considering adding a little color to your hairstyle, you’re no doubt a little confused by the seemingly endless hair color terms out there. Well, now is as good a time as ever to untangle the mystery behind all those words you always hear your stylist tossing around.

Whether you’re looking to shake things up with a new shade or make a full-blown statement, a little hair color know-how goes a long way in getting exactly the look you want. Who knows, maybe you’ll even pick up some fresh ideas for your next appointment?

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1. Highlights

What it is: Highlights are simply isolated strands of hair that have been lightened a few shades from your natural color. If you’re happy with your base color but want to add a little brightness and dimension to your ‘do, highlights are the way to go.

Good to know: Your stylist will want to know how much hair to highlight. Here are the options.

  • Partial highlights: Color is only applied to the hair around the face, and only on the top layer of the hair.
  • Full highlights: Color is applied to the entire head, from the hairline to the nape of the neck, including all the layers underneath.
  • Babylights: Delicate highlights are added sparingly to mimic the subtle, sunkissed color seen on children’s hair.
Highlights CoffeeAndMilk / Getty Images
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