When I first became natural, there were terms I didn’t know. I did a LOT of research to figure out what products I should use, which techniques to try and how to combat natural hair dilemmas. I read other naturalistas on various blogs speaking in — what seemed like natural hair code. So, I wanted to put together a glossary for newbies and veteran naturals alike who, like me, are still learning new things (fairy knots?) about their natural hair journey. This glossary is not exhaustive by any means, but intended to be an overview.
1. Accordion Technique: A technique where you scrunch your hair in the palms of your hands from the ends of your hair to the root in an upward motion.
2. Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV): It is diluted with H2O and used as a hair rinse to clarify the scalp and help balance the hair’s PH value.
3. Arm Pit Length (APL): When the length of your hair growth reaches to your arm pit.
4. Ayurvedic Regimen: This regimen uses all natural Indian products to grow healthy natural hair. Products include Amla, Henna, Vatika, etc.
5. Bagging: Deep conditioning with a shower cap or plastic bag.
6. Bantu Knot-Out: A hairstyle achieved when hair is sectioned and twisted into a knot close to the scalp. It’s than unraveled after an extended period of time into a defined curly texture.
7. Big Chop (BC): When the relaxed or chemically-treated hair is cut off from the natural new growth.
8. Braid-Out: A hairstyle achieved when hair is braided in sections on wet or dry hair and is unraveled to reveal a defined curl pattern.
9. Bra Strap Length : When the length of your hair growth reaches to your bra strap.
10. Buds: The first stage of locks when a stub is formed as the beginning of each lock.
11. Carrier Oils: Base oils often used to dilute essential oils when making or mixing hair products. They are thicker, fatty oils that benefit the hair and scalp. They include almond oil, avocado oil, castor oil, jojoba oil, etc.
12. Cones (Silicones): An ingredient in some hair care products that do not dissolve in water and can produce build-up.
13. Co-wash: A method of washing your hair with just conditioner.
14. Deep Conditioning: A treatment used to add moisture back into the hair by leaving a moisturizing conditioner in the hair for an extended period of time.
15. Denman Brush: A detangling brush developed by the Denman Company.
16. Detangling: A process where you use specialized products and/or methods to loosen the hair of tangles and knots.
17. Dusting: Lightly (1/4 inch) trimming the ends of your hair.
18. Fairy Knots: Single-strand knots.
19. Flat Twist: A hairstyle technique where you twist the hair flat to the head.
20. Henna: A natural plant-based hair dye and strengthener.
21. Latch Hooking: A method used to maintain locks by incorporating new growth into existing locks.
22. Pineappling: A technique used to preserve your curls while sleeping. It is achieved by gathering the hair in a high loose ponytail on top of the head.
23. Pre-poo: Any treatment used to moisturize the hair before shampooing.
24. Product Junky: A person that buys an excessive amount of hair products in the hopes of finding the perfect one.
25. Sealing: A technique used by first applying a water based moisturizer and than layering a butter, cream or oil over top to seal in the moisture.
26. Shingling: A technique where a styling gel or curl cream is applied to soaking wet hair and than the hair is smoothen from root to ends by sections between the thumbs in a downward motion to exhibit your curl pattern.
27. Slip: Describes how slippery a product will be when used for a moisturizer or detangler.
28. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate: A drying chemical found in most shampoos in which to avoid.
29. TWA (Teeny Weeny Afro): A very short afro. Typically the first stage after a BC.
30. Twist-Out: A hairstyle achieved by two-strand twisting the hair usually while wet and unraveling the twist to reveal a defined curl pattern.
31. Two-Strand Twist: A hairstyle achieved when a section of hair is divided into two equal sections and twisted around each other in a continuous motion until all the hair is twisted.
32. Wash & Go: A method of washing the hair and adding a styling gel or cream to set the curl pattern and letting it air dry or dry with a diffuser.
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