Deciding to go natural may seem like a challenge, especially when popular hair sites and forums use code words that are impossible to understand. Gain respect from your hair sorority curl-friends with these curly cliff notes… ➫
Natural – hair that has not been manipulated by relaxers, texturizers, hair dyes or hair weaves. Basically the hair that grows out of the scalp
Transitioning - the period of time since a last relaxer.
Short Term Transitioning – a method used to grow out natural hair for small period of time before a BC.
Long Term Transitioning – a method used to grow out natural hair for an extended period of time while trimming off relaxed hair in stages. This is usually done by CG’s who want to retain length.
BC – Big Chop (cutting off all of your chemically treated hair)
CG – Curly Girl
1 – Straight hair is classified as a 1. There is absolutely no curl pattern in the hair. It is completely straight.
2 – Wavy hair is classified as a 2 and is categorized as 2A/2B or 2C. Basically, 2A hair is fine, while 2B hair is medium textured. 2C hair is thick and coarse with a frizzier look. This hair type has a natural “S” curl pattern as it hangs.
3 – Type 3 hair has a tighter curl pattern, and can be categorized at 3A/3B and 3C hair. 3A hair types have a looser curl pattern, while type 3B hair has a tighter curl pattern and type 3C hair has a tightly curly look and may look slightly kinky. When wet, type 3 hair easily absorbs the water and shrinks quite a bit, but it is not as shiny as straight hair because the hair cannot reflect the light as easily. Type 3 hair is very springy. If you pull on it, it bounces back into its original curly state. This type of hair can sometimes be a challenge to straighten, especially 3C hair. However, if you blow-dry and use a hot comb or straightener, the hair will have a smoother sleeker finish.
4 – Type 4 hair is tightly coiled and a lot kinkier than type 2 and 3 hair types. Although this hair type is much coarser and appears thicker than other curly hair, it is actually quite fine. Type 4A hair has an “S” pattern to it, while type 4B/C hair is more wiry with a zig-zag pattern. Type 4 hair is hard to grow since it has fewer cuticle layers than the other hair types. Once brushed or combed it’s common for hair to break, leaving it shorter and easily susceptible to damage. (Note: Never brush dry curly hair as this creates frizz and can lead to breakage.) An easy way to rid yourself of this damage is through proper conditioning, hot oil treatments and not putting tension on the hair daily with pony tails or styles that pull on the hair and add tension. If you do these things there is no limit to how long your hair can grow.
Pre-poo – a pre shampoo treatment, which usually consists of nourishing strands with hair oil and conditioner the night before the shampoo or immediately prior, with a heat source to help penetrate. This is usually performed to help retain the hair’s necessary moisture during the drying shampoo process.
No-poo – a routine that eliminates the use of shampoo. Curly girls who don’t use cones or other heavy/oily products that may need shampoo to remove use this method. Instead of pooing, many ladies co-wash.
Co-wash – use conditioner in place of shampoo to cleanse the scalp.
ACV – Apple Cider Vinegar is normally mixed with water to seal the cuticle during the final rinse (after conditioning). The most common recipe is 2 tablespoons of ACV mixed with 3 cups of spring water.
DC – a Deep Condition is a moisturizing (or protein based) conditioner distributed through the hair for an extended period of time. A heat source is also used to aid in penetration.
DT – Deep Treatment (same as above)
Baggy – a plastic cap (or shower cap) used to deep condition or moisturize the hair.
Sealing – “Is essentially sealing moisture in the hair, specifically the ends. For sealing to be effective, you must first use a water-based moisturizer (a conditioner or cream that has water as its first ingredient), and then seal with a butter or oil. The molecules in most butters/oils are too large to pass into the hair, so they stick to the outside of the shaft, trapping in the rich goodness of the moisturizer. Reversing those 2 steps will lead to dry hair.” – Curly Nikki
Plopping - A quick drying method using a t-shirt, terry cloth towel, or paper towel to dry your hair instead of rubbing a towel on it. This method drastically decreases drying times.
Search and Destroy (S&Ds) – “I go on S&Ds once a month. I find good lighting, usually in the bathroom, and examine my ends…whenever I see a split, a crooked end or a single strand knot, I snip it out. I only use hair scissors for this task (purchase from Sally’s or Walmart)m this is key. Buy a decent pair of hair scissors and ONLY USE THEM FOR HAIR TRIMS. Dull scissors will do more damage. Every now and then (when my hair is excessively tangly), I’ll do a Micro Trim, which is snipping off the last 1/4 of an inch of my ends…I do this while my hair is in twists for ease.” – Curly Nikki
Dusting- a light trim using resulting in cutting 1/4 inch or less of hair. This method is also referred to as dusting because the amount of hair removed is so little that it looks like dust on the floor.
EO – Essential Oil
EVCO – Extra Virgin Coconut Oil (used in conditioning treatments)
EVOO – Extra Virgin Olive Oil (used in conditioning treatments)
Cones – Are ’silicones’, or ingredients found in hair care products that are not water soluble (i.e. you need shampoo to remove). Failure to wash out cones may lead to build-up, which may result in dry hair and breakage (due to suffocation of the strands).
Slip – Used to describe how slippery a product is (usually a conditioner or detangler)… the more slip it has, the more effectively it will coat the hair to aid in detangling.
SLS – Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (found in the harsher shampoos- the main reason that CG’ers avoid poo).
HG – Holy Grail (Products that are tried, tested, and loved)
PJ – a Product Junky is someone who buys any, and all, hair care products in sight… forever on a mission to find the next best thing.
Wash and Go (WnG or W&G) – a style often done in the summertime after a co-wash. Add a styler (leave-in conditioner, gel, cream) and GO. The hair is left to air dry (or partially dried with a diffuser). Although this style is cute and easy, my ends couldn’t handle it. This is also seen as .
Twist Out – two strand twisted hair that is air dried or set using a hooded dryer. Once dry, the twists are taken apart with a sealing oil and styled.
TNC - a Twist-n-Curl is usually the style of choice for long-term transitioners. The hair is twisted (like in a twist out) and the ends of the hair are set using rollers or flexi-rods.
BNC – a Braid-n-Curl is similar to a TNC, instead of twisting, the hair is simply plaited or braided and the ends are rolled.
Shingling – a method used by short-haired CG’s where a nourishing hair pudding or gel is distributed throughout the hair (section by section), hair is finger styled and then dried under a hooded dryer. This method allows you to wear my wash ‘n’ gos during the winter without re-wetting daily.
TWA – Teeny Weeny Afro
BAA – Big ass afro
Pineappleing- a sleeping technique that CG’s with long hair use to preserve/protect their curls overnight. The hair is gathered into a high, but loose pony tail at the top of the head and a satin cap or pillowcase is used to prevent hair breakage. In the morning, the hair is taken down and shaked out gently to reveal great curls. To learn more about Pineappling and how the method can be modified for working out (CLICK HERE).
2nd day hair - Hair that looks good enough to be seen by the public after you wake up the next morning. Some CG’s are lucky enough to get 3rd and 4th day hair! Long-haired CG’s usually extend the life of their hairstyle using the pineapple method.
BSS – Beauty Supply Store
Nappyversary/Nattyversary – The anniversary of the day you became a natural
Curlversary – we are not huge fans of the term used below so we like to use this one instead.
HIH – Hand in Hair is a disease that causes a CG to always be manipulating their tresses.