1 2a/2b 3a/3b/3c 4a/4b/4c
- A system of typing curl patterns formulated by Oprah Winfrey's personal stylist, Andre Walker. Although it has it's critics, it was the first step in providing a common vocabulary when it comes to talking about curl patterns. See "An Overview of Hair Types" for more information.
African Hair Threading
- Also known as Ghana plaits, this technique uses weaving thread to protectively style natural hair. Can also be done with a weaving needle and flat along the head, with a similar look to flat rope twists, called flat African hair threading.
- Apple Cider Vinegar. Can be used as both a clarifying alternative to shampoo, or after a wash and condition as a cuticle sealer. See "Using Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) to Cleanse Hair."
- Argan oil is strictly the oil, itself, with no other additives. Often used to seal in moisture. See "Moisture, Butters, and Oils: An Overview."
- Using ponytail holders at varying distances on sections of hair to elongate the curl pattern. Often done pre-styling step before curling, trimming, flat-ironing, and/or braiding or flat twisting the hair. See "Banding: Stretching and Lengthening Curls Without Heat."
- Big chop. When someone chops off their chemically straightened hair in order to start growing their natural curls without any processing.
- Beauty supply store, like Sally's or any local stores you have in your area that sell hair products, as well as hair accessories.
Buds (or Budding)
- The name given to beginning locs (also known as dreadlocks), especially when done on short hair.
- To remove mineral and/or chemical deposits that can build up due to hard water and/or chlorinated pools. See "Chelating versus Clarifying."
- Not "corn roll." A type of flat braiding that is done underhanded (rather than overhanded like French braids), often used as a protective hairstyle. See "How To Cornrow" and our Cornrow Styles. These are not tiny French braids, they are done very differently, as outlined in "The Difference Between French Braids, Dutch Braids, and Cornrows."
- Washing your hair with conditioner instead of shampoo. Sometimes also called a "no-poo." See "Co-Washing (or No-Pooing): The Basics."
- Deep condition. When you use a conditioner (or protein treatment) to heavily condition the hair. If you leave it on for an extended period of time (and use heat) it is often called a deep treatment (DT). See "Working a Deep Condition (DC) into Wash Day."
- Dusting the hair is a term used for a type of trimming that only involves spot-trimming areas that need it rather than cutting off a specific amount (like 1/4") all over the head. People dust hair in order to avoid cutting off healthy hair that doesn't need to be trimmed and to maintain overall length. The areas the get trimmed in the dusting process are damaged, either overly porous, spit ends, and/or fairy knots. See "Defining Healthy Hair" to determine whether or not your child's hair is in need of a trim.
- Very similar to cornrows, as they are braided underhand in the same way. However, there is a difference as to when the hair gets added into a Dutch braid that makes it different than cornrows. See "How to Dutch Braid" and"The Difference Between French Braids, Dutch Braids, and Cornrows."
- Essential oils. These are naturally occurring oils that people very often use when mixing their own haircare products. They can include, but are not limited to, lavender oil, peppermint oil, aloe oil, etc.
- Extra virgin coconut oil. See "Why We Are Fans of Coconut Oil (and How We Use It)."
- Extra virgin olive oil. Often used to seal in moisture. See "Moisture, Butters, and Oils: An Overview."
- Tiny knots that appear on a single strand of hair (as opposed to regular knots that are formed of several hairs tangled together). They get their name from being so small that "fairies" must have tied them. Fairy knots are damaging to the hair, as they are actual knots and can cause the hair to break and/or tangle with other hairs around them more easily.
Flat Rope Twist
- A type of protective styling that uses a rope twist to form rows in the hair, similar to cornrows, but with a different look. They are done by pre-twisting single strands of hair before twisting them over each other, and work well for hair that is of varying lengths and/or tightly coiled because this pre-twisting helps tuck the hairs in to the style. See "Flat Rope Twists" and "Flat Rope Twist How-To Video."
- A type of flat braiding that is done overhand (rather than underhand like Dutch braids and cornrows). Can be used as a protective style, but are often done in larger sections, which make them less of a protective style for kinky curly hair. See "How to French Braid" and"The Difference Between French Braids, Dutch Braids, and Cornrows."
- Also known African hair threading, this technique uses weaving thread to protectively style natural hair. See "African Hair Threading (Ghana Plaits)."
- Jamaican black castor oil (the unprocessed, raw version of castor oil). Used to seal in moisture.See "Moisture, Butters, and Oils: An Overview."
- Leave-in conditioner. Often used for detangling, then left in as an additional layer of moisture. Can also be used to weigh down the hair and lengthen the curl pattern.
- Liquid, oil, cream. The order of products that some people use in order to maintain moisture in their hair. Not everyone agrees with the success of this method, nor on what products actually qualify as a "liquid" or "cream" as those are not standard terms. And some even use "lotion" instead of "liquid" for the "L." See "Moisture, Butters, and Oils: An Overview"for more information on moisturizing.
- Moroccan oil usually contains Argan oil, but also other ingredients (usually silicones and perfumes) so read labels if you're avoiding those ingredients.
- With regards to hair that has been previously relaxed or permed, the new growth is referring to the new hair that has grown in since the last chemical process. New growth and new hair are sometimes used interchangeably, but they do not mean the same thing.
- Refers to the hair that is newly growing in on a baby or child's head. This is hair that was not previously on the head, but is growing in for the first time. It is the hair that people are speaking of when they say that their child's hair is "filling in." The texture and curl pattern of the new hair can be very different than the hair that is already on the child's head.
- Washing your hair with conditioner instead of shampoo. Usually called "co-wash." See "Co-Washing (or No-Pooing): The Basics."
- To help preserve a hairstyle while sleeping, the hair is loosely piled atop the head and banded so that you rub on as little of it as possible while sleeping. Using a satin sleep cap and/or pillowcase with pineappling is ideal. See "Pineappling Hair to Help Prevent Breakage."
- A conditioning treatment done prior to shampooing the hair. Used to counter the drying effects of clarifying the hair during the shampoo process. Pre-poo usually occurs before a shampoo wash, not before a co-wash, as co-washing with a pre-poo will likely leave build-up in the hair. See "The Pre-Poo: Conditioning Hair Before Washing."
- Refers to sealing moisture into the hair. In order to effectively seal the hair, you must already have a moisturizer (and water) in the hair, then apply a sealant (usually an oil or cream) afterward to prevent moisture loss.See "Moisture, Butters, and Oils: An Overview"for more information on sealing.
- A term used to describe layering product onto the hair and raking it through in layers, like shingles on a roof. Used for wearing free hair, it's supposed to help better define the curl pattern (especially when used with a good curl definer). See "Shingling: Curl Definition for Naturally Curly Hair."
- Describes how curly hair shrinks up when dry and appears shorter than it's actual length. See "Hair Length and Shrinkage."
- Refers to how slippery a conditioner/detangler is when applied to the hair. The more slip, the easier it is to separate the strands during the detangling process. See "Detangling: What We Do and Why We Do It."
- Sodium lauryl sulfate, the cleansing agent in most regular formula shampoos. See "Co-Washing (or No-Pooing): The Basics" and "Washing Your Child's Natural Hair (An Introduction)."
- A type of permanent hair loss that can come from repeatedly styling and/or braiding hair too tightly, especially around the edges. See "Stress Bumps: Avoiding Traction Alopecia."
- Transracial adoption.
- Teeny weeny afro. Used to describe a little girl's hair that is just growing in or a full grown woman's hair after the big chop. Also, just a regular hair style.
- Hair that has been previously worn in a two-strand twist, that has been removed from the twist but left to be worn with the resulting curl pattern. See "Twist-Out Instructions and How-To Video."
- A type of hair design that uses piggy back braids or twists to form a veil pattern. See "Two Strand Rope Twist Veil with Two Puffs" for instructions as well as our Veil Styles.
- Hair that has never been chemically processed.
- Also "free hair," a wash-n-go refers to wearing curls in their natural state, without styling (e.g., no braids, twists, etc.). A wash-n-go requires moisturizing products to maintain water and protect against drying out and breakage while the curls are free. See "Maintaining Free Hair: Wash-n-Go Preschool Style" and "A Week in the Life of a Preschool Afro."