Terminology

I was able to glean a lot of information from hair sites since beginning my natural journey. In order to really understand any advice you receive, it’s good to know the lingo. Here are a few terms that are frequently tossed around on the hair sites that you may want to add to your vocabulary. I am not an expert and therefore have made these simple and straight to the point. I don’t like to get too scientific.

Alcohols

  • Not all alcohols are bad. See this post for more info.

BC (Big Chop)

  • Cutting off relaxed ends to reveal the natural texture of the hair. This can be done shortly after the last relaxer or years after.

Baggy

  • Applying a moisturizing agent to hair and then covering with plastic cap (or shower cap, saran wrap, etc). This is done for moisture, obviously.

Caramel Treatment

  • A hair treatment that can be bought or homemade that is essential for moisture. Main ingredients are usually bananas, molasses, and honey. Other ingredients are personal preference. The mixture usually takes on a caramel colored appearance. It gives the hair softness and sometimes is said to loosed curl pattern. Though this has not been my personal experience.

Co-Wash (Conditioner Wash)

  • Washing hair with conditioner. No shampoo necessary! Just rinse the hair with water and then wash hair with a conditioner. This method is used by many women who find that there hair is prone to being dry.

DC/DT

  • Deep Conditioning or Deep Treatment. This is typically done for 20 minutes to overnight, depending on personal preference.  If hair is very dry, this should be done once or twice a week to combat brittle hair.

Hair Types

  • Classification systems for hair based on how the hair looks and feels. There are two that are commonly used. Most people use Andre Walker’s system. You can see that here. Another less popular system is the LOIS system and you can view that here.

Hair Lengths

  • Hair lengths usually have abbreviations and if you’re new to the game, they can be very confusing.
  1. EL- Ear Length
  2. NL-Nape Length
  3. SL- Shoulder Length
  4. APL- Arm pit Length (this one had me stumped for a long time as a newbie)
  5. MBL- Mid back Length
  6. WL- Waist Length (this is as far as I’ll go)

Henna, Cassia, Indigo

  • Henna is a plant used to make a mixture that essentially conditions the hair. It is said (I say that because not everyone enjoys the effects of henna) to fortify and condition the hair. Henna also adds a reddish tint to the hair.
  • Cassia and Indigo are both called henna, the former called neutral henna and the latter called black henna. Neither are henna, however, but totally separate plants. Cassia does condition and strengthen the hair, but does not add any color (unless you have gray or blond hair). Indigo adds a blackish-blue color. Certain mixes can be done to create colors.

HG (Holy Grail)

  • A product or ingredient you can’t live without, or rather your hair can’t live without. For me, this is a product that does something for my hair that I have not found in another product

K.I.S.S

  • Acronym for Keep It Simple Stupid. It pretty much means doing minimal hair care for maximum results.  This doesn’t mean you let your hair grow wild, you just take care of it without a lot of hassle and products.

LC (Little Chop)

  • Cutting off a portion of relaxed ends. This is often done in preperation for the BC.

Leave In

  • Leave in conditioner. These are usually lighter than a rinse out conditioner and provide added moisture to hair. They are a good idea if you plan to use gels.

Oil Rinse

Pre-Poo

  • Applying a hair treatment before a shampoo to help combat the moisture stripping effects of most shampoos

Poo

  • Shampoo

Protective style (PS)

  • A hair style that allows the hair to rest, so to speak, so that it won’t rub against clothes, have the fragile ends exposed, and protect it from over manipulation (which can cause breakage). For me, they also help retain moisture. Protective styles include twists, braids and buns, just to name a few.

Regimen (aka Reggie)

  • A product/hair routine done continuously to create and maintain your lovely hair

Scab Hair

  • Natural hair that grows in a different texture that normal. The hair is essentially a result of a damage from the relaxer and is not a reflection of true texture. Scab hair is often dry and brittle.

Sealing

  • Sealing is essentially “sealing” in moisture. Following the application of a moisturizer, moisture is sealed in typically with an oil or serum.

Silicones

  • Ingredients in hair products (as well as many other products) that keeps moisture from entering the hair shaft. That sounds like a bad effect, but the reason people use it is because by limiting moisture, frizz is kept down. Some people love cones, some people (like me) can’t really tolerate them.  Again, personal preference.
  • Most cones have to be washed out with a sulfate shampoo, which can be drying to hair, especially if done often.

TWA

  • Teeny Weeny Afro

Water Soluble Silicones

  • Silicone that can be removed from the hair without the use of sulfate shampoos.

ZSC

  • Zizyphus Spina Christi is a desert plant.  The leaves were powdered and used to wash hair before shampoo was available.  It leaves hair clean, shiny, healthy and well conditioned. It does not leave any color in the hair.
  • Zizyphus Spina Christi is ideal for:
  • people who have light colored hair and would like the conditioning of henna, but with no color change
  • people who can’t use any soap or detergent to wash their hair.
  • people who have fine, limp hair and would like more thickness and texturepeople whose hair needs extra protection from water, sun and dust
  • See my experiments with ZSC here

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