Natural Hair Terms

Yes, it's true.  Us Afro Heads are a subculture of folks that has it's own language.  It always tickles me to hear kinky, curly, coily haired celebs name drop, rattling off the terms to show off the fact that they TOO are part of this special crew.

Non-naturals, the afro-hair curious, and transitioners are sometimes thrown off by this unique terminology, so to erase some of the mistery, I dropped a few of them here: 

Transitioning: The period in which you're growing out your relaxed or heat-damaged hair, so that it returns to it's natural state. 

Big Chop:  You're in transition, but decide to cut off the remainder of the damaged hair.

TWA:  Teeny Weeny Afro.

BAA:  Big A$$ Afro.

Co-Wash:  Cleansing the hair with a conditioner (with a lot of slip), in place of using shampoo.  This is done to help retain moisture and to avoid stripping the hair of it's natural oils.

No Poo: See Co-Wash.

Pre-Poo: Process of moisturizing/conditioning and detangling the hair prior to co-washing.

Slip:  Term used to describe the loose viscosity, that some conditioners have.   Conditioners with a lot of "slip" are the best to use for co-washing, versus those with a creamier thickness.

EVOO:  Extra Virgin Olive Oil.  One of the many oils used in the natural haircare regimen.

Holy Grail:  Must have products that one remains loyal to, based on great results.

Shrinkage:  The visual reduction of length as Afro-textured hair dries into it's natural coil/curl pattern.

Stretching:  The act of manipulating the hair from shrinking into it's natural pattern.  Several techniques can be used to stretch the hair so that more length is revealed. 

Banding:  Technique used to stretch the hair, by putting hair bands down the length of two or more ponytails. 

Pineappleing:  A bedtime routine technique where your curls are pulled into a high ponytail.  This helps maintain the curl/coil pattern by keeping them from being crushed, and out of the way while sleeping

Dust(ing): A process used to quick-trim/maintain your ends.  Usually done between regular trims.

Product Junky (PJ):  The person who buys lots of products on a quest for the PERFECT product for the hair.

Length Retention:  The process in which you care for the hair in order to keep its length.

Length Check:  When you take a measurement of your hair to see its progress.

Length Check T-Shirt:  A t-shirt that has lines on the back so that length retention progress (hair) can be measured. 

Below are terms associated with hair length:

BSL:  Bra Strap Length
MBL:  Mid Back Length
APL:  Arm Pit Length
TBL:  Tailbone Length

WL:  Waist Length

L.O.C. Method:  Liquid, Oil, Cream.  The formula used to lock moisture into the hair. 

Protective Styles:  Hairstyles worn for an extended period of time (usually 2 to 4 weeks), to avoid natural hair manipulation.  These styles are often selected to help retain length and include keeping the ends (of the hair) tucked away from the elements.  Ex: Braids, cornrows, twists, updo's, crochet braids, etc.  

Low Manipulation Styles:  Hairstyles worn for an extended period of time (usually 3 to 4 days), to reduce natural hair manipulation. These styles are selected to help retain length, but ends of hair aren't necessarily tucked away. Ex: Wash & Go, Twistouts, Braidouts, Buns, etc.

Cocktail (ing) (ed):  Mixture of 2 hair products/ingredients.

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