The decision to go natural can be a very exciting time in a Black woman’s life. It can also be very confusing. With all the how-to-videos, blogs and books on natural hair it can be hard to know what advice to take and what advice to toss out the window. Below is a glossary of terms for beginning Naturalistas that will hopefully help to weed out what information is useful to achieve the natural hair regimen.
Washing & Conditioning Terms:
- Co-Wash: a method of shampooing hair in which conditioner is used as a substitute for shampoo to promote moisture retention.
- Deep Conditioning: a method of revitalizing dry hair by conditioning for extended periods of time (usually with a plastic shower cap for 30 minutes minimum).
- Hot Oil Treatment: to apply hot oil to hair and scalp before shampooing that helps treat damaged, dry hair.
- Pre-Poo: to apply oils and/or conditioners to hair before shampooing as a moisturizing treatment.
Hair Length Terms:
- Armpit Length (APL)– term defining length, hair is considered armpit length if it can be stretched to the armpits without breakage.
- Bra Strap Length (BSL)– term defining length, hair is considered bra strap length if it can be stretched to the top of your bra strap without breakage.
- Collarbone Length (CBL)– term defining length, hair is considered collarbone length if it can be stretched out to your collarbone without breakage.
- Mid-back Length (MBL)– term defining length, hair is considered mid-back length if it can be stretched to your mid-back without breakage.
Styling & Maintenance Terms:
- Big Chop– the removal of all chemically relaxed portions of the hair to grow natural hair.
- Braid Out– a protective style in which hair is braided into cornrows or single braid and allowed to dry (if styled wet) and unraveled to produce a wavy hair texture.
- Low Manipulation– to prevent hair breakage by maintaining hair in styles that require infrequent styles that protect ends.
- Protective Styling– to style hair in a low manipulation design that protects ends by tucking them away and allows for frequent moisturizing.
- Retention– growing hair by preventing hair breakage, achieved by reducing or eliminating split ends.
- Sealing– the process of retaining moisture by applying oil to hair after using a water-based conditioner.
- Sisterlocks– a type of dreadlocks that are smaller in size and achieve by a weaving technique.
- Slip– a term describing how slippery a product (conditioner or oil) is which aids in detangling.
- Transitioning– the amount of time between your last relaxer and “big chop” in which women prepare for natural hair care.
- Twist Out– a protective style in which hair is styled into twists and allowed to dry (if styled wet) and unraveled to produce a curly hair texture.
Author: Mia Brumfield