Natural Hair Glossary

There are a ton of abbreviations and terms used in the natural hair care world. Trust me, I know It can become overwhelming. So for your convenience, I created a list of commonly used terms

~So now, if someone asks how much slip does your current conditioner provide, you will know it means how easily can a detangling tool glide through the hair!

Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) rinse – Washing hair with vinegar (usually diluted with water) to cleanse, condition, and remove bacteria from the hair. Seals and tightens the cuticle layer for improved shine and smoothness.

Argan Oil– Oil rich in vitamin E and essential fatty acids produced from the kernels of the argan tree grown organically in Morocco. It is famous for its ability to help hydrate the hair in a natural way and can heal and condition cuticles and split ends. Also known as Moroccan Oil.

Baggy Method– a hair care method used to promote hair growth by locking in moisture with a plastic cap or bag. It is done by applying a moisturizer to your hair, and then covering your hair with plastic cap. It is recommended for those who have constant dry hair.

Big Chop (BC) – Cutting off relaxed and or chemical processed ends to expose your natural textured hair.

Bantu Knots – A hairstyle created by carefully and precisely parting hair in small-to-medium sections, and then twisting the sections either using two strand twists or twisting the section of hair in one direction until it wraps into neat knots. The knots are secured by tucking the ends into the knot or by using bobby or hair pins. Can be done on wet or dry hair.
Bantu Knot Out– Hairstyle created by sectioning the hair into Bantu Knots on damp or dry hair. Once the hair has dried, the knots are taken out to achieve defined curly hair.

Braid Out– Hairstyle achieved by braiding damp hair in cornrows or singles. Once the hair is dried unravel the braids to create a more defined curl pattern.

Braid-n-Curl – A style created by plaiting or braiding the hair while damop, and then curling the ends with rollers, perm rods, or flexi rods. After the hair is dry, the braids and rollers are removed to reveal a wavy and curly hair texture.
Breakage – Broken pieces of hair without the white bulb. This can be caused by too much moisture or protein. It can also be the cause of poor hair care or even stress.

Carrier Oils– Natural oils known as a base oil or vegetable oil used to dilute essential oils. Carrier Oils include Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Coconut Oil, Castor Oil, Jojoba Oil, etc…These oils is often used to seal/trap moisture in the hair.

Co-Washing – Washing your hair with conditioner instead of shampoo. This method cleanses your hair while helping you to maintain moisture. Shampoos that contain sulfates is known to strip the hair of its natural oils.

Deep Conditioning (DC)-the process of strengthening the hair with moisture or protein. Deep Conditioning is typically done for 15-45 minutes, or even overnight for some. DC should be done once a week to give your hair a boost of moisture and to prevent breakage.

Detangling– A process in which you reduce the amount of knots and tangles in your natural hair for manageability and to avoid hair breakage. The most effective way to detangle is on wet sectioned hair. Most naturals use water and conditioners, leave-in or deep conditioners to wet the hair.

DIY– Do It Yourself.

Essential Oils- Natural oils such as Peppermint Oil, Rosemary Oil, Lavender, etc… Essential oils should be used with carrier oil.

Extra Virgin Coconut Oil (EVCO) – A natural conditioner that promotes hair growth, strong healthy hair, prevents dandruff, and makes the hair shiny and soft.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) – A natural sealant used to seal and lock in the moisture from your moisturizer. Some use this oil for a Pre-Shampoo Treatment (Pre-Poo).

Flat Twist– twisting the hair flat to the head. A two strand twist braiding technique similar to cornrows.

Hair Lengths– the length of your natural hair. Some abbreviations are as follows:

BSL-Bra Strap Length

CBL Collar Bone Length

EL- Ear Length

SL- Shoulder Length

APL- Arm pit Length

MBL- Mid back Length

TWA – Teeny Weeny Afro

WL- Waist Length

Henna– A plant-derived powder, when mixed with water to make a paste, is applied to hair, processed and rinsed out. It is used as a natural hair color-enhancer, strengthener and conditioner.

Humectants – used on hair care to attract and retain moisture from the air i.e Glycerin and Honey. Ideal for dry hair.

Jamaican Black Castor Oil (JBCO) – Castor oil that has been manufactured in Jamaica. It is often used to strengthen, thicken, and increase hair growth.

Leave-in Conditioner – a conditioner that is used to add moisture back into the hair after shampooing/conditioning. It also helps to detangle the hair leaving it soft and manageable.

Moisturizing – Applying a water based moisturizing product to dry hair without washing it out. In order to prevent breakage you should moisturize your hair then seal it with oil to trap moisture in.

Nappyversary– Also known as Nattyversary. This is the Anniversary date of when your hair became fully natural (hair free of relaxed or chemical.

Pre-Poo- Coating the hair with a conditioner and/or oils prior to shampooing in an effort to keep moisture in the hair. This can be done 30-40 minutes before shampooing or overnight.

Product Junky-A person who buys a lot of different products and brands in the quest of finding ones suitable for her hair type.

Protective style – Any hairstyle which allows your natural hair to rest from over manipulation which sometimes causes breakage. Wearing your hair in a protective style prevents your ends from being exposed to damaging agents such as clothing, sun, and drying winter weather. The purpose and benefits of this hairstyle is to grow healthier, longer hair and reduce split ends and damage. Protective styles can include anything from sew-ins, wigs, buns, braids, bantu knots, etc.

Regimen – Your day to day, weekly hair routine done continuously to maintain healthy hair.

Sealing – Method used to “seal” moisture in the hair. After applying a water based moisturizer, seal the ends of your hair with an oil or butter to trap moisture in the hair. This method is crucial in hair retention.

Second Day Hair – The state of one’s hair on the day after it is cleansed, conditioned and styled.

Shrinkage-A term used to describe the reduction of the visual length of hair. It is a process that occurs as wet hair dries and re-coils into its natural texture pattern.

Slip – how easily a detangling tool can glide through the hair.

TWA– Teeny Weeny Afro.

Transitioning – Process in which you stop relaxing your hair in an effort to grow your natural hair while still maintaining the chemically processed ends.

Twist Out– A hairstyle achieved by two strand twisting the hair (can be done on wet, damp or drty hair and then unraveling the twist to reveal a crinkly wavy hair texture.

Twist-n-Curl – A styling technique whereby wet or damp hair is two-strand twisted and then rolled on perm rods, rollers or flexirods. Once dry, the curlers are removed and the hair untwisted.

Two Strand Twist– Also known as double strand twists, or just twists This hairstyle technique can be performed on dry wet or damp hair. Take a section of hair and divide into two even pieces and twist each section of hair around the other. You continue until your hair is twisted all the way to the end.

Virgin Hair – Hair that is natural from the roots and have not been chemically processed or altered.

Wash and Go – Also abbreviated as WnG or W&G. Method of co-washing the hair, adding a styling gel or cream and then go start your day. The hair air drys or you can dry it with a diffuser.

Do you use other hair care abbreviations not listed? Now its your turn to provide your favorite natural hair  term!  Please comment in the box below.

If you have any questions please contact me at

~Stay Curly My Friends!~


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