Glossary of terms in detail

Second-degree Burns

A second-degree burn causes notable pain and/or visual effect during treatment. It affects both the epidermis and the underlying dermis. It manifests as blistering, redness and loss of serous fluid as the blisters burst. It is very painful. This skin will dry from such a burn, form scabs, which will heal and drop off within 2-3 weeks, leaving temporary bald patches in hair-bearing areas.


Is the alteration of the responsiveness of the body to the presence of foreign substances. In the development of an allergy, an individual becomes sensitised to a particular allergen and reaches a state of hypersensitivity.

Serous Fluid

Clear fluid which exudes from a wound.

Skin Tests

Skin tests show whether a product can be used safely to the manufacturers' specifications. A sample of the reagent to be used should be applied as near as is possible to the site at which the chemical process will take place. If the skin does not develop a rash, show erythema, inflammation or become itchy,then it is ok to proceed with the chosen procedure.


Hair straightening is a highly skilled process. The chemicals used are much stronger than permanent waving solutions and great care has to be taken against damaging the hair. They have properties, which enable them to swell the hair shaft and break down certain chemical bonds within it. The stronger, more alkaline, the solution and the longer it is left in contact with the hair, the more bonds will be broken. Its action is progressive. The longer it is in contact with the hair, the more of the hairs internal structure will be broken down. Total destruction of the hair shaft can take place. Neutralising fixes the broken bonds within the hair shaft, setting them in their new configuration. Straightening solutions are made viscous to allow them to stick and hold the hair to implements such as straightening planks.

Strand Tests

Strand tests are used to ascertain colour suitability, chemical compatibility, porosity and tensile strength. They are used to determine whether previously chemically treated hair can safely have more chemicals applied. Prior to the full-head treatment, the intended reagent is applied to a few strands of hair in the same manner as the intended treatment. The results are noted and adjustments can be made as necessary prior to full-head application.


Refers to the resting phase of the hair growth cycle.

Telogen Effluvium

Excessive, temporary, diffuse hair loss of the telogen hair of the scalp. Generally as a response to high fever, child birth, stress, drugs etc.

Test Curl

A test curl reveals the effect the perm will have on a given head of hair. It helps the stylist to choose the correct strength of perming lotion to use and how long development time should be. Bleached, tinted, porous hair would require a special weaker perming lotion whilst resistant hair would require a stronger lotion. Using too strong a reagent or leaving on the hair too long would leave the hair in poor condition and could cause breakage.

Traction Alopecia

Traction Alopecia is a form of Traumatic Alopecia. The term is used to identify hair loss, caused through prolonged tension on the hair shafts. Prolonged tension will cause the hairs to be stretched and pulled out slowly. The weaker hairs will often break. Traction Alopecia causes substantial hair loss at the site of the trauma. In the early stages of Traction Alopecia, there is often a significant amount of breakage. However, sufficient force, sustained over a long period of time may result in redness, oedema, folliculitis, pustules, crusts and scaling, eventually leading to Cicatricial Alopecia.

Traumatic Alopecia

Is the term applied to alopecia induced by physical trauma.

Trichorrhexis Nodosa

This is a term used for fracturing along the hair shaft in response to trauma. When viewed under the microscope it has the appearance of 2 paintbrush heads having been pushed together. It is at these points that the hair will break away and fall off.


A very small blister in the skin about the size of a pin head, that contains serous fluid.

Virgin Hair

Is natural hair, which is chemically untreated.