What Do These Common Beauty Terms Mean?

 In Tips & Tricks

Beauty Terms Dictionary 

Some of the most common words in the beauty world are like speaking Greek to someone. So here is a quick dictionary of common beauty terms and what they mean!

Elwynn + Cass Beauty Concierge / Beauty Terms Decoded

Common Beauty Terms Decoded

Trial or Preview: A scheduled time in which a client or bride to be can “test out” an artist and see if they can do the hair and/or makeup looks and style they are wanting for their event. 

HMU: Simply an acronym for hair and makeup 

Coverage: The level of makeup one wears or is looking for. 

  • Light coverage: very light wearing, and almost can’t feel it. Can be too little for professional photos and can make one look washed out or pale. 
  • Medium coverage: perfect for a soft glam look, so there is enough foundation makeup to look good in photos and in person. Not too heavy or feels cakey. 
  • Full coverage: the level of coverage that comes with a glam makeup look. It can look heavy in person, but looks flawless in photos. Not idea for anyone who doesn’t wear a lot of makeup or isn’t used to it (i.e. it will feel cakey and freak them out).

Makeup styles:

  • Natural makeup look: Light coverage makeup look that is like an elevated version of an everyday makeup look. Typically no eyeliner, contour or bold lip. 
  • Soft glam makeup look: Medium coverage makeup with some bronzer, highlight and eyeliner. The 2.0 version of an everyday makeup look. Perfect for going to events or a wedding day. 
  • Full glam makeup look: Full coverage makeup, with eyeliner, full false lashes, contour, highlight, bold eyeshadow and a bold lip color. Great for red-carpet or an Old Hollywood glam look. 

Airbrush: A style of makeup that is applied using a machine that uses air and pressure to “brush” on foundation. Imagine a spray can, but lighter and with more control. Typically good for clients with sensitive or oily skin. 

Pros vs. cons of Airbrush makeup

Smokey Eye: The use of darker eyeshadows (browns and black most often) to bring attention to the eyes and make them the focal point of a look. 

Dramatic Eye: Typically involves a smokey eye with darker shades for eyeshadow and the use of eyeliner (black or brown). Most often includes false lashes as well to give the eyes a pop of definition.

Contour / Contouring: A technique used by makeup artists to give more definition to one’s face. This is typically done using a powdered or liquid bronzer along the defined points of one’s face (sides and tip of the nose, cheeks, jawline, and forehead) that is then blended to make one’s face look more defined and slimmer.

Highlight: This is usually done in conjunction with contouring, as a highlight brings attention to the high points of your face and where adds further definition to your face, as well as attracting the lighting from photography. Highlight is typically done to the high points of one’s cheek bones, the nose, chin and nose / T-zone).

Glowy makeup look: This is usually a soft glam look that utilizes contouring and highlight to give one’s skin a dewy look.

Beauty Terms Decoded / Elwynn + Cass

Natural makeup look: A softer version of a glowy makeup look, with little to no highlight and minimal bronzer / contouring. This look is usually lighter in foundation (light coverage) and utilizes blush to give one a soft and rosy look that looks very natural and like one’s skin is naturally flawless. 


Chignon: A low bun, often at the nape of one’s neck and relatively sleek in nature (i.e. no loose pieces from the bun itself).

The Frick Collection Wedding / Elwynn and Cass Beauty Concierge

Romantic updo: A style of updo that is often softer in style and resembles a chignon, but has some loose pieces / tendrils to soften the overall look, so it’s not too structured.

Sleek updo: An updo that has no loose pieces and is slicked back into a low bun or high bun (similar to a ballerina bun). This is often a form of a chignon.

Messy updo: A looser version of a romantic updo, with lots of loose pieces from the bun itself and doesn’t have much structure. Typically found in very bohemian weddings, so it looks like one did it themselves. 

Beauty Terms Decoded

Beach waves vs. curled

  • Beach waves: curls that have been brushed out to the point, where it looks like one went into the ocean and when their hair dried it was effortless waves that don’t have much structure. 
  • Curled waves: structured curls that have shape and definition to the hair itself. It looks deliberate and often over time can result in beach style waves (once they fall). 

Hair extensions (clip in vs. sewn in)

  • Clip in hair extensions: real human hair extensions that can be placed in and styled by a hairstylist (or individual who owns them) depending on the occasion. Often the best choice for weddings or events, where one wants to add extra volume or length to achieve a particular hairstyle 
  • Sewn-in hair extensions: real human hair extensions that are for those that want the length or volume for long term / everyday life and are physically sewn in to little knots within your own hair so that they are sturdy and blend easily. 

Texture spray: A texture spray is a type of hair spray that is used by hairstylists to create some texture and definition to one’s hair. Most often used with beach waves or a messy updo, to give it that “I did it myself” look.

Recommended Posts

Leave a Comment

Let's Chat!

Have a question or ready to book your event? We'd love to help any way that we can!

Not readable? Change text. captcha txt
Wedding Beauty Trends / Elwynn + CassElwynn and Cass Beauty Concierge Postpone A Wedding