By using words to describe hair, you can say a lot about a person. The texture of your hair, for example, can indicate where you come from, or your ethnicity.
The color says something about your personality, as well as your age. You can also use words to describe hair to speculate about a person’s health!
In this blog post, we will discuss 40 of the most commonly used words to describe hair based on colors, cuts and textures. Whether you’re looking for a new style to try or just want to find the right words to describe your unique look, this list is sure to help! So, grab a cup of coffee and get ready to explore the world of hair!
18 words to describe hair styles that are common around the world
Chances are, you’ve tried at least 3 of these hairstyles before. With this many options to choose from, you should never be bored with your hair.
Hairstyles come in and out of style every few years, but these are somehow always trendy. Here are 18 words to describe hair styles around the world:
A traditional ponytail is a style where the hair is brushed back and tied towards the back of the head. Low ponytails are tied closer to the nape, while high ponytails are tied at the top of the head.
This is a common style for both the young and old, especially people who prefer to keep their hair out of their face. This hairstyle is so called because it resembles the tail of a pony.
E.g. “I love Ariana’s signature ponytail, but I wish we could see her in different styles.”
Photo by Victoria Chudinova on shutterstock
Some people have naturally curly hair, but this isn’t what we’re talking about. We’re referring to people who create curls using a curling wand, flat iron or any heatless method.
The best way to describe a curl is like a spiral. These spirals can be small and tight, or large and bouncy.
E.g. “I think I’m going to wear curly hair to the prom since it’s always straight at school.”
Photo by Sofia Zhuravetc on shutterstock
Bone-straight hair has no curl pattern. The hair strands are parallel to each other and flow easier from the root to the end than curly hair.
This look is achieved by using a flat or straightening iron, and is most common among women of Asian and Caucasian descent.
E.g. “I take an hour every morning getting my hair straight.”
Photo by Oleksii Shalamov on shutterstock
Wavy hair is similar to curly hair, except the curls are not as well defined, and they are very loose. This type of hairstyle has more of an S-shape and can occur naturally.
Many people choose this hairstyle because they want something low-maintenance that doesn’t look like they’re trying too hard. Beach waves are especially trendy and mimic the way hair looks when wet.
E.g. “I couldn’t choose between curly and straight hair, so I went with wavy.”
Photo by Sofia Zhuravetc on shutterstock
A bun starts as a ponytail; however, the ends are tucked under using pins or secured using the hair itself. Buns can be neat and slicked back, or messy and loose.
People who wear buns are usually in uniformed positions, like women in the army or flight attendants.
E.g. “I usually put my hair into a bun when it needs to be washed.”
Photo by Khosro on shutterstock
A bob can be as short as 8 inches, or go all the way up to 14 inches. It is usually straight, but it can also be styled curly or wavy.
It’s a very powerful hairstyle, showing confidence and femininity at the same time. It’s also a very low-maintenance hairstyle that most people can pull off.
E.g. “She was tired of her long hair, so she finally decided to cut it into a blunt-cut bob.”
Photo by Eugene Partyzan on shutterstock
Cornrows, or cane rows, are traditionally African hairstyles. They are created by plaiting hair flat onto the scalp in various patterns and designs.
This type of hairstyle is generally used as a protective style to prevent breakage and retain moisture. It is worn by both men and women to show ancestral pride, as well as make a fashion statement.
E.g. “My mother used to give me 5 slick-back cornrows every Sunday to wear to school.”
Photo by Unique Dandridge on shutterstock
Twists are also a traditional African hairstyle. They are achieved by twining hair as you would rope to create vertical strands.
Twists are worn by both women and children, as well as men who decide to grow their hair out. Twists can be made with two, three or four strands of hair.
E.g. “She has naturally long hair that creates beautiful twists.”
Photo by PeopleImages.com – Yuri A on shutterstock
A half-up half-down hairstyle is just as the name suggests. One half of the hair is placed in a ponytail or bun, while the other half is let down.
This style can be done in any number of ways and tells us that the person is comfortable with trying out new styles and experimenting.
E.g. “My hairdresser suggested I try this half-up half-down look and let’s just say I’m in love.”
Photo by Alter-ego on shutterstock
People used to look at people with mohawks as degenerates or rebels, but today, it’s safe to say the hairstyle has had a rebrand. Mohawks are usually created by shaving both sides of the head, leaving a patch in the middle that extends from the forehead to the nape.
E.g. “The first thing I thought when I saw him with a mohawk was that he was a bad boy.”
Photo by SOK Studio on shutterstock
Dreadlocks are a style created by twisting hair and allowing it to matte over time. The hairstyle was believed to originate in Jamaica with Rastafarians wearing it for religious purposes, but historical evidence has shown that it is not unique to the culture.
In fact, the Vikings of Scandinavia regularly sported this hairstyle, as did the Masai tribesmen in Kenya. Today, people wear it for fashion instead of non-conformity and religion/culture.
E.g. “I was surprised to see he dyed his dreadlocks blue. It suits him well.”
Photo by ViDI Studio on shutterstock
A shaved head does not necessarily mean bald, but that is considered a hairstyle as well. A full-shaved head can mean someone is experiencing hair loss due to age or illness, or even a mental breakdown.
A shaved side can mean the person is punk, gothic or just experimenting. Some women shave their heads as a sign of their strength and what they’ve overcome.
E.g. “It doesn’t matter if she has a shaved head, or a head full of hair. I still love her.”
Photo by oneinchpunch on shutterstock
This hairstyle can only be achieved by people with Type 4 hair, most commonly people of African descent (that is where the name comes from). It is widely seen in places like Fiji. Some Caucasian people can have afro type hairstyles too. It is a gravity-defying style, where the hair is left loose, or expanded with an afro pick to form a dome around the head.
E.g. “I’ve become way more confident with my natural hair and have even been sporting my afro!”
Photo by javi_indy on shutterstock
14Braids (e.g., French/Dutch/fishtail etc.)
We can’t say exactly where this style of braiding originated as there’s evidence of it in multiple cultures, including Ancient Greece, South American tribes and Native North Americans. These cultures were not connected, yet for many years, they shared similar hairstyles.
French braids, Dutch braids, fishtails and other styles are popular among people of European descent who wish to ‘control’ their long tresses.
E.g. “My mother could only do French braids for my hair so I wore them all the time”
15Braids with extensions (knotless, box braids, goddess braids, tribal, etc.)
These types of braids with extensions are best suited for people of African descent and are intended primarily as a protective style. This is similar to twists and cornrows, except braiding the hair gives it length and volume, and protects the natural hair.
E.g. “When the weather cools down again , I’ll get some knotless braids.”
Photo by Tatiane Silva on shutterstock
There are many different types of pixie cuts, but the gist of it is cutting the hair into short layers to get different effects. It takes a lot of confidence to wear this type of hairstyle since it emphasizes facial features and commands a lot of attention.
E.g. “If I ever cut my hair again, I’m going with a pixie cut.”
Photo by AnastasiaPash on shutterstock
Bangs can be added to any hairstyle. To create them, cut a section of hair at the front, just above the eyebrows. Some bags are longer, some are shorter, but the traditional length is meant to be functional and cover the forehead (especially if you think you have a big one!)
E.g. “Bangs are my go-to look to hide this large head of mine!”
Photo by Kzenon on shutterstock
18Frontals and closures
If you’re on Instagram, or on pretty much any social media site, you know what frontals and closures are. They’re a new type of wig style where skin-colored lace is added at the front to make it look like it’s growing out of your scalp.
Frontals give you more room to work with and are usually 6 inches of lace from ear to ear. Some wigs are full frontals, meaning the entire wig is made of lace. Closures are more restrictive but much easier to manage. They’re usually the width of your finger, without much parting space.
Many people wear these hairstyles just for the look, but others wear them to boost confidence and cover hair issues such as alopecia or hair loss from treatments like chemotherapy.
E.g. “I want to give my hair a break so I’m going to have a frontal installed.”
Photo by Sixsmith on shutterstock
12 words to describe hair texture or appearance
Hair texture comes in four types: Type 1 is straight, type 2 is wavy, type 3 is curly and type 4 is coily. Each type describes the shape of the strands and how they feel. They are largely influenced by ethnicity.
Type 1 to 2 is generally seen in Caucasian, Asian and Pacific people groups, while type 3 to 4 is generally seen in African and mixed-race groups.
Appearance on the other hand is all about what it looks like, whether kempt or unkempt, moisturized or dry, short or long, etc.
Here are some words to describe hair based on its texture and appearance:
Hair is usually shiny when it’s well-moisturized and healthy. It shows the person takes good care of their hair.
E.g. “Her hair is always shiny, like she just stepped out of the salon.”
Photo by puhhha on shutterstock
Matted is basically the same as knotted. It means the hair is tangled. This happens naturally over time, but it can say the person does not take very good care of their hair, perhaps because they are going through a tough time or are not very hygienic.
E.g. “I’m not going to pressure her about her matted hair since she just lost her father.”
Hair dries out when it’s over-washed or when people don’t use any form of oils or moisturizers in their hair. It can mean the person doesn’t know a lot about hair care or doesn’t care much about their appearance.
E.g. “My boyfriend’s hair is super dry because he uses those useless 3-in-1 soaps.”
Photo by puhhha on shutterstock
Silky is used to describe hair that is shiny and looks smooth. This is a sign of good health and hair care.
E.g. “I wish my hair could look that silky every day.”
Kinky is one of the words to describe hair if it is Type 4C. Usually, this type of hair is very coarse and difficult to detangle.
The curl pattern is zigzag rather than curly.
E.g. “Taking care of kinky hair takes a lot of time.”
Photo by PERO studio on shutterstock
Hair is described as frizzy when it doesn’t conform to the style and sticks out rather than lying flat. This can occur naturally when product isn’t used to tame the frizz, or due to humidity.
E.g. “I hate wearing my hair out in summer because it becomes a frizzy mess.”
Coiled is also among the words to describe hair if it is Type 4. It’s different from curly and wavy hair because instead of S-shaped or spiral strands, the strands appear as coils.
E.g. “My adopted daughter has coiled hair, so I have to buy different products that work for her.”
Photo by Inara Prusakova on shutterstock
Photo by Valentina Lev on shutterstock
Hair that is 16 inches or less is considered short. A bald head is not considered “short hair”.
Long hair has been considered a symbol of femininity for a long time. A woman whose hair is short on purpose can mean she’s going against that standard.
Short hair can also serve a practical purpose; for example, if the person lives in a hot climate or if they work in a career where long hair can get in the way, such as in nursing or lab-related fields.
E.g. “I keep my hair short because I hate hair care.”
Spiky hair is straight hair that is held in place using gel and hair spray. It’s meant to resemble spikes and stick out from the scalp, up into the air.
E.g. “My dad used to rock a spiky mohawk in the 80s.”
Photo by NAS CREATIVES on shutterstock
Hair is considered long once it passes 16 inches or midback. Some persons add extensions to their hair to accomplish a long look.
E.g. “Everyone praises me about my long hair, but the truth is, it’s a lot to handle.”
Bouncy is typically used when the person has large, luscious curls in their hair. It means the hair looks good and is healthy.
Since this is a high-maintenance look, either the person is lucky and has nice, naturally curly hair without needing to curl it or you can deduce they care a lot about their appearance and spend a lot of time at the salon or at home curling their hair.
E.g. “I love dryer curls. They’re bouncy and sexy!”
Brittle is best used when you notice someone is experiencing hair breakage. It can also be used to describe dry, thin hair.
E.g. “You should see a dermatologist for your brittle hair. Perhaps you can get a special shampoo to stop it from falling out.”
Photo by andriano.cz on shutterstock
10 words to describe the popular hair colors around the world
Hair dyeing has been around for a very long time, but this is the first time in our short history that we’ve had so many colors and shades to choose from. Dyeing techniques have improved so much that people can have multiple colors in their hair at once!
Use these words to describe a popular hair color:
Warm color tone
Warm color tones are those in the red, yellow and orange family. Red, honey blonde and ginger are some of the most trendy warm hair colors today.
Red hair can say the person has a fiery personality and is unapologetic about who they are. It says the person is not afraid of risk, and won’t shy away from the spotlight.
E.g. “Red is a great hair color to get after a breakup”
Honey blonde is a golden color. It’s not as light as blonde, and has a richer, warmer color. Blond is not necessarily associated with pretty but ditzy girls, so some people choose this color just because that’s the shade they prefer. There are many intelligent blonde women out there!
E.g. “You should try honey blonde if you’re not too crazy about being ginger.”
Photo by progressman on shutterstock
Ginger falls between red and brown, and is a naturally occurring hair color that has become trendy. It says that you are responsible, but not afraid to have fun and be yourself.
E.g. “Ginger would look good on you, especially since you’re a natural brunette.”
Photo by YuriyZhuravov on shutterstock
Cool color tone
Cool color tones are those in the blue, green and indigo/violet family. The most popular cool-toned hair dyes are shades of blue, green and purple.
Blue hair usually means the person is cool, calm and collected. We don’t know about you, but we’d trust someone with blue hair because the color is inviting, sort of like a smurf.
E.g. “Blue hair suits your personality. Great pick!”
Green is the color of nature and represents balance, growth and new life. It’s perfect for someone overcoming mental or physical challenges and shows great confidence and peace.
E.g. “I never thought green hair could look so good, but your stylist did a great job.”
Photo by ginger_polina_bublik on shutterstock
Purple is the color of royalty, wealth and intuition. It can also represent spirituality and creativity.
E.g. “You’re the only person I know with purple hair, but it makes sense since you’re one-of-a-kind.”
Neutral color tone
Neutral tones are those that lack vibrant color and don’t fall into the warm or cool color range. This includes black, brown, white, gray, cream, etc.
Jet black, platinum blonde, brown/brunette and silver are the most popular hair dye colors that fit into this category.
Jet black is much darker than the shade most people with black hair have. It’s more pronounced and has greater depth, and even makes a person look more youthful.
E.g. “Straight, jet-black hair with a middle part is incredibly sexy on women.”
Photo by YuriyZhuravov on shutterstock
They say blondes have more fun, but platinum blonde is on another level. A woman with platinum blonde hair can be viewed as fabulous, confident, high-maintenance and always down for a good time.
E.g. “It takes a lot of work to get to platinum blonde, especially if your hair is naturally dark.”
Photo by iconogenic on shutterstock
Brown hair suggests the person is conservative, relaxed, stable and down to earth.
E.g. “She works a bank job, so brown hair is as far as she can go.”
Silver hair is more whimsical on young people, but it can also say wealthy, wise and confident if the person is middle-aged or older. Some people prefer to call it silver hair instead of gray because the latter feels elderly.
E.g. “I admire her for going fully silver instead of constantly dyeing her hair or plucking out grays like the rest of us.”
The hairstyle you choose can make or break your entire look. It’s always better to choose one that enhances your features rather than drown them out.
But that doesn’t mean you should be afraid to experiment and have fun with it. After all, your hair says a lot about you.
Use these words to describe hair when talking about the different styles, colors, textures and appearances.