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Curly Hair Care

A to Z of Natural Hair- An Easy Guide to Curly Hair Terms

September 11, 2018
CURLY HAIR TERMS

There are so many new words, terms and lingo that you get introduced to when you enter the curly girl world. So much so that it can get overwhelming and confusing. To help you navigate the world of natural hair care world better, I’ve compiled a list of curly hair terms that you often see on Instagram, Youtube and curly hair blogs.

I’ve also taken care to explain them as simply as I can and I will add links to video tutorials, articles and bloggers who each are experts in that topic or method. If you find any word that’s missing, please comment below and I’ll be happy to add it to the list.

If you’ve just starting on your natural hair journey, I would recommend you read this first- Curly Hair Tips For Beginners

As for everyone else., let’s begin!

Ps – If you’re looking for a particular term, check the index below and jump straight to that or do a Contol/Command + F and look it up. The words are arranged in alphabetical order anyway.

Table of Contents

ACV Rinse/Apple Cider Vinegar Hair Rinse

ACV Rinse is a simple mix of Apple Cider Vinegar (with the ‘Mother’) and filtered water. It is great to apply this once or twice a month, ideally after shampooing as it removes build-up of previous products, dirt & other gunk. It’s also great to treat dandruff, dry flakes and scalp infections as it cleans the scalp well without being as drying as a shampoo. (It can’t replace a shampoo though).

The best thing about the ACV rinse is that it leaves hair so shiny! Since our hair is acidic and most hair products are alkaline, after washing, the cuticle of our hair strands rise up and hair begins to absorb light instead of reflecting it, leading to dull hair. With the acv rinse, the strand lay flat again and reflect light back. All hair types can benefit from this! Read more about this in this Easy Guide to ACV Rinse by Honest Liz or watch the video below!

APL/ Arm Pit Length

Hair length that reaches your arm pit.

Accordion Technique

A styling technique where you flip your hair over and apply products from root to tip, like how you play an accordion. It was introduced in the Curly Girl Handbook by Lorraine Massey. It’s basically just scrunching up!

Air Dry

After you’re done styling, you let your hair down and let it dry naturally without any hair dryer or diffuser.

BC/ Big Chop

The hair cut you get when you are ready to go ‘Natural’ and chop off all the heat damaged or chemically straightened hair and start afresh! new hair, who dis?

BSL

When your hair is long enough to touch your bra strap.

Baddies

No, not a badass female. In the hair care world, this word is used for bad, harmful ingredients that dry out naturally curly hair and are not allowed in CG Method.

Baggy Method

Baggy method, very similar to Greenhouse method is a way to maximise moisture retention in naturally, chronically dry curly hair. In this, you apply a leave in conditioner/curl cream/butter on dry/damp hair and cover it with a plastic shower cap, plastic bag, saran wrap – anything that can help trap heat that your body generates and leave it overnight! This helps to keep hair soft and moisturised longer but is generally recommended and preferred by Type 4 curlies, ie, people with very kinky, coily, tight curly hair!

Be careful when you do this as it can lead to over moisturised hair, also called as Hydral Fatigue. Not recommended for wavy, loose curlies unless it is very damaged or you have coloured it, for eg, fellow Indian curly hair blogger Liz loves this on her thirsty hair!

Read more- THE BAGGY METHOD: TRIED & TESTED RESULTS

Baking Soda

Also called sodium bicarbonate, this became quite popular in natural hair care as a way to replace shampoo but soon racked up a negative reputation. Baking soda rinse, which is basically a mixture of bicarb and water can lead to severe damage over time and also relax your curls, that is, it can make them straighter but in an unhealthy way. The mixture of this and water is also very abrasive and will also lead to a very dry scalp.

Why does this happen? Our hair is slightly acidic (PH 4-5) whereas Bicarb is highly alkaline (PH 9) and using this will make the scales in your hair strand rise up an the cuticle will get rough. You can learn more from the video below!

Banding

Banding is a technique to stretch very curly, kinky coily hair (Type 4) and consequently reduce shrinkage. It makes hair look longer with looser curls. To do this, after you’re done styling your hair with a leave in conditioner, curl cream, butter or gel, make 2-3 sections of your hair and add multiple rubber bands to each section. Each band is separated by equal intervals! Check out the video below to understand better!

Bantu Knots

This is a styling technique where small sections are coiled into curly buns. Bantu is a blanket term for many ethnic groups in Africa, who wear their natural hair in this manner. It is considered highly disrespectful if you try this technique if you are not black so I suggest, my Indian readers please be culturally appropriate. You can read more about this here-  Everything you need to know about Bantu Knots

If you want to watch how this beautiful hair style is done, check the video below!

Bentonite Clay

Also called as Aztec Indian Healing clay, is a sun-dried mud that is mixed with apple cider vinegar or water and applied on hair to cleanse hair and skin deeply of dirt, toxins and impurities. Think of this as a natural power detox mask that you can do for your curls. The best thing is that while cleansing, it also leaves hair soft and moisturised!

You need to be careful of the utensils you use and the steps after you apply this treatment. I would highly recommend you read this by Liz (hats off to her for having in-depth articles about many of these terms on her blog!) on how to do this correctly- How to Use Bentonite Clay Mask to Shampoo & Detox Your Hair Naturally!

Blow Out

‘Getting a blow out’ is a method of getting a desired hair style (mostly straight or wavy) with the use of a blow dryer and certain types of brushes. It is usually done in salons.

Botanical

Botanical ingredients are substances obtained from a plant and used typically in medicinal or cosmetic products. Also called plant extracts or plant-derived.

Braids

Braids are made of 2-3 sections of hair interlaced together.

Braid-Out

In this, naturally curly hair is styled with a leave in conditioner/butter/mousse and then tied into braids. Once the hair is fully dry, the braids are opened and this reduces shrinkage and gives a different curl pattern.

Brazillian

Commonly known as smoothening treatment, Keratin treatment or Brazillian blow-out, this lasts only 2-3 months (with full efficacy) and basically smoothens your curls into wavier or straighter (if your hair is wavier to begin with) strands. Since it permanently changes the bonds of your hair, this will not make your hair straight forever or stop frizz – it will actually damage your hair. Find out how I got my natural hair back (pic below) from this chemical treatment here.

How To Get Back Curly Hair After Chemical Straightening

Breakage

When hair snaps off into two strands due to extreme dryness, force of brushing, tangles or having too much protein. If it’s dry hair, learn how to reduce it in this post.

Buff

A hair buff is a tubular head gear that is used to protect curls at night so they remain more defined! It is considered as an alternative to Pineappling and using a satin cap and works really well even for short curly hair. Satin buffs work the best to reduce frizz and tangles. @susanasrizos has a quick video to show how she does it!

Build-Up

It’s very easy to suffer from build-up when you use curly hair products, that is, over time your hair strand gets loaded with conditioners, creams trapping the hair strand in a way that new moisture can’t get in. Build-up can happen with even the most natural products so definitely clarify now and then to remove it and start afresh! Frizz that refuses to go away even with moisturising products is a dead giveaway that you need to deep cleanse your hair.  ACV rinse is also a great way to remove build-up.

Butters

Butters are styling products made from rich, heavy natural butters like Shea, Tucuma, Mango, Kokum, Murumuru, Cocoa & more! They’re rich with fatty acids and are great to really soften natural hair. Sheabutter is a very common butter used in many curly hair products but some find that it can build -up over time so it’s recommended you clarify often if you use any products with it.

Also, since butters are heavy, low porosity hair or fine, wavy curly hair should be careful while trying butter rich products. Either experiment with amount, mix with water before applying or opt for lighter leave in conditioners, milks and mousse’s!

Sometimes, some companies use Butters as a term for hair masks like The Bodyshop Rainforest Moisture Hair Butter which is actually used for deep conditoning. Normal styling butters can also be used to deep condition hair before shampooing.

Cast

When you use a gel to style hair, it usually forms a coating/cast around the hair strands, stiffening it almost. This is normal and called cast or gel cast. Harder the cast, longer the waves or curls will last against humidity.

CBL

Collar bone length hair!

CG Friendly/CG Approved

CG Friendly or CG Approved are products that are allowed in CGM or CG Method (read below). They do not contain any ingredients that can dry our curly hair or cause build-up and block moisture.

CG Method

CGM or CG Method was created by Lorraine Massey to help curly girls across the world! In this method, you avoid all products with harsh, drying sulphates (shampoos), plastic silicones (conditioners), drying alcohols (gels) and heavy hydraphobic ingredients like Mineral oils, beeswax, petrolatum etc. This method allows hair to soak in moisture easily. You can read more about this here.

Canopy

It is just the top layer of the hair. Canopy frizz, is very common in curly girls especially when you’ve just started to go ‘Natural.’ To reduce this, make sure you condition all your hair completely and use a leave in conditioner or a frizz fighting gel.

Castor Oil

A heavy carrier oil. It is very popular in treating hair loss topically as castor and sesame oil are believed to promote new hair growth. People who purely ‘co wash’ (explained below) are advised to not use this as oil as it doesn’t easily wash off with just water or conditioner!

Clarify

When you clarify your hair, you use a shampoo with cleansing agents like sulphates that completely remove previous build-up of products and silicones. A clarifying shampoo doesn’t have silicones and it is recommended you clarify once or twice a month or often enough to keep hair bouncy, frizz free and clean. You also need to clarify once properly before starting the CG Method.

Clay

Clays help to detoxify hair, prevents breakage, nourishes hair, removes build-up and is great for low porosity hair. Since different clays help to suck out different types of impurities, doing a clay mask now and then will really help products to be absorbed better in your hair. There are 3 common clays found in hair products – Rhassoul, Bentonite and Kaolin (this is found in Rawkyn deep treatment, a mask I love). Watch the video below to learn the difference between the three clays.

Cleanse

Cleanse is to clean. A regular cleanser for curly hair is a shampoo but without harmful, drying sulphates. Since many don’t like or find co-washing suiting their hair, they can use a regular cleansing shampoo. I have many listed in this post – Curly Hair Products in India.

Cleansing Conditioners

You use cleansing conditioners to ‘Co-Wash’ your hair and replace the shampoo. As I am Naturally Co-wash and Eden Bodyworks co wash are popular cleansing conditioners. You can find more cleansing conditioners in this post.

Clipping

A wonderful way to increase volume at the crown and get rid of flat roots. In this you take duckbill clips and pin up sections of hair at a 90* angle and you let your curls dry either naturally or with a diffuser.

Clumping

When sections of hair ‘clump’ or stick together to form fatter curls. There are techniques that encourage clumping, like Squish to Condish, praying method, pulsing whereas denman brush, raking will break the clumps.

Co Wash/Co Washing/Conditioner Wash

It means to cleanse your hair with a conditioner or cleansing conditioner instead of a shampoo. Co washing requires more manual labour where you scrub out the dirt with your finger tips and a conditioner instead of a shampoo. This protects the hair from getting really dry and frizzy. Even if you don’t want to only co-wash, it is a great way to keep hair mosturised longer in between shampoo washes! Many girls who gym regularly love to co-wash. You can find a list of co-washes in India in this post.

Cocktail

A mix of styling products – for eg, I used a cocktail of Mielle Organics Pomegrenate & honey leave in conditioner, Cantu Curl Activator (curl cream) and Bounce Curl gel to style my hair sometimes.

Coconut Oil

You hate it or love it -as Indians, coconut oil has been integral to our hair care since our childhoods. People in the west have recently realized the benefits of this oil, especially women with curly hair. Since it penetrates the hair the most easily as compared to other oils, this makes it a great oil to ‘pre-poo’ or ‘seal’ the hair strand after applying a leave in conditioner/curl cream.

Coils

Very kinky curly hair that have a z pattern. They are tightly coiled together. Learn more about this beautiful, but often overlooked natural hair type here.

Condish/Condition

To apply a conditioner to your hair.

Conditioner

A product that moisturises and smoothens the hair strand, making the scales of the hair strand lie flat. This is essential is reducing dryness in naturally wavy, curly hair and kill frizz. It is also incredibly helpful in making the strands slippery so they are easier to detangle without breakage and tugging. You can get a list of conditioners for curly hair in India here.

Cones

Slang for silicones.

Cornrow

A style of braiding and plaiting hair in narrow strips to form geometric patterns on the scalp. Unless you are of an ethnicity in which cornrows were traditionally done, please do not try this on your hair. It would be considered cultural appropriation.

Crown Frizz

Same as canopy frizz – when hair at the crown is frizzy and poofy.

Crunchy

When hair becomes stiff and crunchy after you apply a gel and the cast is not broken yet. You need to break this gel cast out to get soft curls by a method called SOTC or Scrunch out the crunch.

Curl Cream

A richer hair cream that defines curly hair and makes them last longer. This is extremely important for some hair types that require a cream even after a leave in conditioner. Two very popular curl creams in India are Cantu Curl Activator and Arata Hair Cream, both of which are CG Friendly and I love!

Curl Enhancer

Almost always a light, watery gel, like flaxseed gel, this has low-medium hold but helps define curls really well. It is usually followed with a hard hold gel.

Curly Hair

From loose curls to tight curls in S shape – this is what I have! A common mistake in India is to confuse wavy hair with curly hair. You can read about different hair types and find out what your hair type is in this post- Why your hair won’t look like mine

Custard

A custard is a pre made mix of two types of styling products, usually a cream and a gel. KCKT gel is a very popular custard in India.

DIY

DIY – Do It Yourself. Usually used to describe DIY Hair Masks.

DT/DC/Deep Conditioning

DT- Deep Treatment & DC  is Deep conditioning. Deep conditioning is basically hair spa for your hair! You keep a store bought mask or a home-made mask on freshly cleansed hair for 30-40 mins or an hour and then wash it off. It’s like an intense hydration method. You can read more about deep conditioning here.

Denman

A type of styling brush that natural world loves! It gives me incredibly defined curls. Read more about it here- Deman Brush Review

Density

The number of hair strands per square inch, commonly confused with thickness.

Detangling

The act of slowly and gently removing knots and tangles in hair.

Diffusing

Using a diffuser (a cup like attachment) with a hair dryer speeds up drying time and gives more defined results without compromising on volume! Read my post on how to diffuse or watch the video below!

Drying Alcohols

Ingreidents commonly used in hair cosmetics, especially gels that increase drying time. In naturally dry and frizzy hair however, using products with drying alcohols in high dosages will cause damage with time. Common drying alcohols are Alcohol denat, Ethanol, SD alcohol 40, Propanol, Isopropyl and Propyl alcohol.

Dusting

Instead of going for a full trim or hair cut, you simply ‘dust’ the ends of your hair to remove damaged sections or split ends yourself at home (usually). It is encouraged when you’re trying to grow your hair long.

EO

Essential Oils.

EVCO

Extra Virgin Coconut Oil

EVOO

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Emollients

Emollients are hydrophobic (repels water) oils that form a film on the surface of the hair. They seal’ the hair strand against losing and drawing in excess moisture but also help in softening and increasing the slip between hair strands, making it glossy and shiny. Commonly found emollients are silicones, fatty alcohols, fruit and vegetable derived oils 7 butters, etc. You can read more about them here.

Essential Oils

Essential oils are highly concentrated forms of natural oils derived from plants with the help of a special distillation process. They are recommended to be used mixed with a carrier oil as they are very potent.

Exfoliating Shampoo

A shampoo that may or may not have ‘exfoliating beads’ but are slightly more abrasive. They will scrub out the dirt from your hair more deeply than normal cleansers, just like face scrubs.

FSG

Acronym or short form for Flax Seed Gel!

Fatty Alcohols

Not all alcohols are drying! Some are long chain, fatty alcohols that help smoothen, soften and moisturise hair. Common fatty alcohols used in hair products are- Cetyl alcohol, Cetearyl alcohol, Stearyl alcohol etc.

Finger Coiling

A styling technique where you take your fingers to coil your hair around it. It’s a great way to train your curls, to make wonky wavier sections curlier. Highly recommended for beginners, this method is wonderfully explained by Liz in this post.

Flaxseed Gel

A DIY, home-made hair gel made from boiling flaxseeds. It is incredibly moisturising, reduces frizz drastically and is really inexpensive. It is slimy and goopy in consistency and wavy-curly girls across the world love it! Learn how to make it from the video below!

Fluff

After hair has finished drying after styling with natural hair products, there is often a crunchy cast formed by gel or a slightly flattened look. To ‘shake’ things up (pun intended), you use your finger tips to fluff out the roots like how I’ve shown in the video below!

Fro

Short form for Afro, An african hairstyle where the curls are brushed out, making it look big and bushy. It is also considered one of the most controversial hairstyles as black women have been discriminated at against work, school and been bullied for ‘rocking their fro’. I would strongly recommend you read up on this here.

Gel

A styling product that forms a protective cast around hair strands to make definition last longer or to slick back hair in place for long hours for a hair style.

Gelatin Treatment

A DIY home-made protein treatment that brings back body, bounce and curls in over moisturised hair. Watch the video below to learn how you can do this at home!

Gelee

Another word for gel.

Glycerine

Also known as a humectant, this ingredient is very commonly found in curly hair products. It has a strong ability to attract and absorb moisture from the environment to keep hair hydrated. Please exercise caution when you use this as glycerine will do more harm than good in hot, dry climates where there is no moisture in the environment to abosrb. Learn more about this tricky ingredient here.

Greenhouse Effect

Unlike Baggy method, in the Greenhouse effect, you use oils or butters that are 100% natural. So for eh, sheabutter or coconut oil is applied on your hair and then you cover it with a plastic cap. This is done by various type 4 naturals who want to grow their hair longer.

HG/Holy Grail

A product that works so incredibly well for someone that they prefer it over anything else.

HHG – Hard Hold Gel

There are varying degrees of power when using gels. Some give soft hold (hardly any crunch), medium hold (little crunch) and hard hold (crunchy cast that needs to be broken after drying). Hard hold gels are usually the last step in a styling routine and make waves and curls hold their definition longer. Aussie Moist Instant Freeze is a popular HHG,

HHJ- Healthy Hair Journey

After going ‘Natural’, a person embarks on their HHJ. It’s commonly used to introduce themselves in natural hair forums and then following up with either a query or a complaint, for eg, HHJ since 2014.

HIH (Hand in Hair)

I’m guilty of this! When you style and dry your hair, constant touching and playing with it can cause frizz. Some people find themselves addicted to doing this often and is hence named HIH syndrome! 😛

Hair Accessories

Pins, clips, bands, any external item that helps to beautify hair styles.

Hair Botox

Another term for hair smoothening chemical treatments.

Hair Cream

A pre or post shower hair product that smoothens and nourishes the hair strand. All curl creams are hair creams but not all curl creams are hair creams!

Hair Type

A classification system that helps define your hair. You can have varying degrees of waves, curls, coils, lengths, porosity and more. You can find out your hair type in this post- Curly Hair Types -Why Your Hair Won’t Look Like Mine

Halo

Another term for frizz on the top section of your hair. Frizz poofs up and forms a sort of halo around your crown.

Heat Damage

Damage caused due to frequent use of high heat to dry, style or straighten hair. If it is minimal, it can be reversed with a good protein treatment. If you use straighteners also regularly, you burn and damage your hair permanently over time. They will not curl well and remain dry and lifeless. Best thing is to chop off heat damaged hair.

Heat Protectant

A protecting hair cream or serum that can help combat the high temperatures of a blow dryer, straightening iron and more. Highly recommended for naturals looking to straighten their hair now and then.

Henna

An ancient Indian technique of colouring hair where it becomes brown or fiery red.

Hot-Head

A thermal heat cap that you use after deep conditioning or oiling that helps the product to penetrate the hair strand better with the help of body heat/steam.

Humectant

Any ingredient (Glycerine, honey, sorbitol) that absorbs or attracts moisture from the environment around them.

Hydral Fatigue

When your curls or coils are over moisturisied, they show signs of hydral fatigue – limp and mushy lifeless hair that don’t curl up like before, no body and sometimes even frizz! To overcome this, try a protein treatment.

Hydrate

To increase moisture content in hair strands. Often done with the use of Humectants like Glycerine. Learn more about it here.

IPA

Acronym for Isopropyl alcohol, a drying alcohol banned in Curly Girl Method. Some formulations have IPA less than 1% in their hair products and are used by many people following CGM.

JBCO

Acronym for Jamaican Black Castor Oil, a highly nourishing carrier oil.

KCKT

Acronym for another curly girl favourite company across the globe – Kinky Curly Knot Today products.

Keratin

Hair is made up of keratin which is type of protein. It is also used in the phrase Keratin Treatments which are basically smoothening treatments that helps loosen up the curl pattern, making it temporarily more straighter.

Kinky Hair

Wiry, delicate – these are very tightly packed coils and curls. Also known as Type 4 hair. Learn about them here.

LCEG

A styling technique that includes applying products in the following order – Leave in Conditioner (L) to moisturise+ Curl Cream (C) to define + Curl Enhancer (E) to enhance curls + Gel (G) to make curls last longer and protect them from frizz.

LCO

A styling technique that includes applying products in the following order – Leave in Conditioner (L) to moisturise+ Curl Cream (C) to define + Oil (O) to seal the hair strand from loosing moisture.

LOC

A styling technique that includes applying products in the following order – Leave in Conditioner (L) to moisturise+ Oil (O) to seal the hair strand from loosing moisture +Curl Cream (C) to define!

Laura’s Method

This is how @laura_marie_smith styles her hair to get beautiful fat clumps! In this technique, you leave a ton of CG Friendly conditioner in, rake it in, apply a gel and then scrunch and plop. Watch how she does it in this video.

Layers

A type of hair cut where the stylist creates more bounce and volume without making it look like a triangle. Layers is a very popular hair cut style for wavy and curly girls.

Leave in Conditioner

A product applied post shower to hnaturally wavy and curly hair. This keeps them from frizzing up immediately and leaves them soft and healthy. Read more about this Curly Girl Essential here.

Leave in Conditioning Spray

A form of leave in conditioner that is thinner and comes in a spray bottle. Since it is lighter, it hydrates hair without weighing them down, making it deal for looser curls or wavy textures. I love the Innersense Leave in Conditioner Spray now, it’s brilliant!

Length

The length of your hair. Can be short, long, medium length or APM, CBL, BSL, MBL (find them in this list!).

Locs

A shortform of the word dreadlocks. Locs look like ropes and involve the hair not being combed, in order to become matted and stuck together. There are more neater ways of creating locs like coiling and braiding.

Low Poo

In CG Method, not using a shampoo at all is called no-poo whereas using a cleanser/shampoo that doesn’t have sulphates is called low-poo.

MBL

Mid Back Length. Hair that reaches mid back.

Medusa Clipping

Since girls with short wavy or curly hair cannot pineapple their hair or tie it into a loose bun. So instead, @fitkatstyle came up with this method were she takes tiny jaw clips and simply pins up the sections to preserve the curls at night. Video below, if you want to learn!

Milk

In hair cosmetic terms, a milk is type of watery, leave in conditioner.

Moisturizer

A moisturiser is something that smoothens the hair strands and usually has emollients or ingredients that repel water. It helps to keep the moisture inside the hair, inside and doesn’t let it escape outside easily.

Mousse

A styling product for hair that foams up into a airy consistency. Usually used to create volume at the roots and used in a technique called sandwhich styling. If your hair is wavy or has loose curls, a mousse is a great product for styling since it won’t weigh your hair down! You can buy mousses for curly hair in India too, just check out this post.

NPF – Neutral Protein Filler

Another way to introduce protein into your hair regularly is to mix this filer into your Flaxseed gel. It works as a protein product and helps bring back bounce and body to your hair. Read up more about it here.

Night-time Routine

A series of steps you take to protect your curls at night before you sleep. Please check ‘Pineappling‘ and Medusa Clipping.

No-Poo

When you follow a pure CGM or Curly Girl Method, you don’t use shampoos at all, you only co-wash. This is called No Poo, i.e, no shampoo.

O Clipping

Another method to bring volume to flat roots and involves clipping sections of your hair with double prong clips.

Oil

A often greasy, viscous liquid derived from plants, seeds, nuts that have been used extensively in hair care since many centuries. It is a big part of Indian culture. My current favourite oil is Righteous Roots that I buy from Honest Products.

PVP

An important ingredient found in gels and styling products, it creates a film over hair strands and bonds adjacent strands together so they stay in place. They are also called as styling polymers. Commonly found PVP’s are PVA, PVP/VA, Polyurethane, Polyquaternium (4,11) etc.

Parabens

A group of compounds used as preservatives. Commonly found in cosmetic products but more and more companies are actively using other preservatives instead of parabens as it was found in some studies that it can cause cancer. The world is divided in this opinion though so using them is at your own personal choice.

Pick

Also called as a hair pick. It is a comb meant to ‘pick’ at your flat hair strands and create volume on the crown.

Pineappling

A method to protect your waves/curls when you sleep at night. Learn more about pineappling in this post. I do this every night to help my curls to remain defined, tangle and frizz free longer and all you need is a hair band!

Plopping

A drying method to discourage gravity and encourage tighter curl patterns. In this, you take a tshirt, collect your freshly wet/styled hair in it and tie it with its sleeves for 5-10 mins before you air dry or diffuse your hair.

Polyquats

Styling, film forming ingredients, also called Polyquaternium. They can however build up on fine, thin hair over time and need to be cleansed out with a sulphate shampoo.

Pomade

A specialised styling product that in previous years usually had beeswax or natural wax. It is highly effective in keeping hair styles in place.

Porosity

The ability of your hair to absorb and release moisture. You can either have low, medium or high porosity hair. Read more about it here- Natural Hair Types.

Praying

A method of application of hair products where you spread the products between two palms and smooth it on your hair with your hands clasped. Basically your palms sandwhich your hair and move from top to bottom.

Pre-Poo

When you oil your scalp and hair lightly few hours or overnight before you shampoo, it is called Pre-Poo in the CG method. Pre-shampoo, get it? Pre-pooing helps to reduce breakage and hair loss in the shower and protects against moisture loss. It also helps to counter the drying effects of a shampoo.

Product Junkie

A person who is addicted to buying and trying new curly hair products. Guilty as charged!

Propylene Glycol

An ingredient used in hair products for various purposes, it is also under the radar by some for being unsafe. Find out more in this post.

Protective Styles

Hair styles that protect natural hair from tangles, environmental damage, sun or chlorine damage etc and help natural hair to grow longer and healthier as keeping it always open can lead to breakage. It is used often while transitioning from chemically damaged hair into natural hair since the texture in the middle of that journey can look weird. Common protective styles are twists and braids.

Protein

Our hair is made up of proteins, namely keratin and they’re responsible for the health of the hair. There are also vegetable (Quinoa) and animal proteins (Gelatin) that are often found in hair care products but remember, they will work only if they are hydrolysed, which means they are small enough to really penetrate the hair. I would advise you to read more on Protein in this post.

Protein- Moisture Balance

Hair needs two things to thrive – lots of moisture and some protein now and then. It is important that you keep them balanced as an excess of either can lead to limp, mush hair, extra frizz, breakage etc. How do you know when you need what? Stay tuned for this post!

But until then, to keep your hair balanced, remember to alternate products in your routine, for eg, if the shampoo has protein, make sure the conditioner is full moisture or low protein or among your styling products, use the leave in that has moisturising ingredients and use a curl cream/gel with low or moderate protein. Remember, the key is to balance little protein with adequate moisture.

Protein Treatment

When your hair is over-moisturised, for eg, it doesn’t curl up as much as earlier, feels too soft and mushy, it’s time for a protein treatment! This could be in the form of a store bought protein mask or a DIY one like the super popular Gelatin mask. Doing this will restore the famed Protein-Moisture balance and get your hair some bounce and build back! Remember to be careful with this, you can go overboard and actually end up with easily breakable hair if you leave a protein treatment on for too long.  You can learn how to do it in this post.

Pulsing Technique

A new wavy hair styling technique that went viral some time last year. In this, after you’re done shampoooing and conditioning, you take your favourite gel and spread it generously between your palms – make sure hands are well coated. Then you take sections of your hair and scrunch up. It definitely works, you only need to check @powerdomi’s videos to see why!

Raking

A method of distributing product through your hair where your fingers act as a comb. It can break up curl clumps so it is up to you to decide whether you like the results of this method or not. I use it since I love smaller, multiple curl clumps.

Refresh

The longer you go between wash days, it is normal for your hair to loose moisture and get frizzier with time. But instead of rewashing your hair completely, on day 2,3, you can also refresh your curls and revive them with some water to gain back definition. This is highly recommended since who doesn’t want great hair days for days? 😉 Washing everyday isn’t good for you as the scalp’s natural oils are constantly being cleansed. You can watch how I refresh my hair below

Regimen

Your hair care routine – steps, products, oils, techniques the works! If you’re ever asking any naturalista on IG for advice, do share your regimen and a few hair pictures with them, always helps!

Rice Water Rinse

Inspired by the incredibly long hair that women in China have who wash their hair with rice water, this method has taken the natural hair world by storm! All it requires is you to rinse your hair with water that has been in kept aside for a while in rice or to drain off the water left after cooking it. It behaves as a mild protein treatment and gives shiny curls that pop! Read more about it in this post or watch the video below or learn why it works. (ps- evidence of this is apparently only anecdotal and not proved in studies).

S&D or Search & Destroy

Another method of cutting/trimming hair where you find only the stringly straggly bits and cut those off instead of a full blown trim.

SLS

Acronym for sulphates, an ingredient mostly used in shampoos that lather and deep clean hair.

SOTC

Acronym for Scrunch Out The Crunch.

Sandwich Styling

A styling technique coined by @honestliz where you ‘sandwich’ a mousse in between your leave in conditioner and gel. This gives better definition for days!

Satin Bonnet

After you pineapple your hair or tie it into a loose bun (or keep it open if its short), you can cover your hair with a cap made of satin. This helps to reduce friction between hair strands, hair and the pillow and keeps them looking fresher and more defined the next day.

Scalp Treatment

Any product that is targeted for bettering the scalp’s health or hygiene. Usually done for dandruff, dryness, itchiness or redness. These can also be used when one has locs and the scalp tends to itch or get red more easily.

Scarf Styles

Hair styles rocking a chic scarf!

Scrunch & Pump

Another name for Pulsing technique but in this, you’re supposed to specifically do this motion 8 times. Why 8, no one knows except that the person who came up with it found the best results with 8! Naturally Curly has an article on this as well as Right Ringlets.

Scrunching

Taking sections of your hair in your palms and squeezing it, while moving upwards in direction. This helps curls form faster and is recommended that you scrunch 3-4 mins after applying your styling products. This step is absolutely essential in my curly hair routine.

Scrunch Out The Crunch

When the last step of your styling routine is a hair gel, you are usually left with a gel cast which you need to break with an oil or cream. Watch how I do it below!

Sealing

The last step of styling before you let your curls dry is to seal off the moisture with an oil. This is optional as it can weigh down some hair types but this forms a barrier and helps reduce moisture loss, which is .

Second Day Hair

It denotes hair one day after you cleansed, conditioned and styled it afresh.

Shampoo

A hair product that cleans the scalp and hair of dirt, build-up and impurities. These can be of different types – chelating, cleansing, conditioning and more.

Shingling

A styling technique that increases length (type 4 hair) and gives lasting definition. Read more in this post.

Shrinkage

Naturally wavy and curly hair always appear longer when wet and shrink when they dry. Kinky/coily hair or type 4 hair sees the most shrinkage whereas wavy sees the least. This is important to remember when getting  a hair cut – learn how much your hair shrinks and then direct your stylist accordingly so you don’t end up with very short hair!

Silicone

Ingredients commonly found in shampoos, conditioners, styling products that build up on your hair and are repel water. They’re like plastic that coats the hair. Even though it makes them softer and look tamed – they are terrible for curly hair in the long run as the build-up can only be removed with a sulphate shampoo. Read more about why silicones are bad for you in this post – CG Method

Slip

The ability of a product to make hair strands slippery and glide against each other. A conditioner or cream with good slip helps to reduce and remove tangles more effectively.

Smasters Method

It is a styling technique very popular with the wavy hair community. In this, you apply 50% of a curl enhancer/gel on wet hair and the rest when it is 50% dry. Check out this and more styling techniques in this post.

Squish To Condish

A highly popular technique of conditioning that gives fat clumps. If you have wavy or loose curls, you will love the results with Squish to Condish! Learn how to do it from the video below.

Styling

What you do after you finish shampooing and conditioning, to make it look defined and soft. To style wavy and curly hair, you use products like a leave in conditioner, curl cream, curl enhancer, gels, mousses, etc. Watch how I style my curls below!

Sulphates

Harsh, lather inducing ingredients that are most commonly found in shampoos. Most curly girls learn to avoid using sulphates as much as possible. You can learn why in this post.

Sun Damage

Damaged caused by long exposure to harsh sunlight. Often leads to discoloration or bleaching of hair.

Texture Typing

A hair classification system. Find out more about it and your own hair type in this post!

Texturiser

This chemical treatment creates waves or curls. Like a perm.

Transitioning

In the natural curly hair world, when you transition, you go back to your natural roots, pun intended. You cut off your heat and chemically damaged hair slowly or in one go and work to keeping their natural hair hydrated and healthy. Read more about my transitioning journey here- How I Got My Curls Back From Chemical Treatment

Trimming

To cut off a small length of the hair that has the damage so that most of the length is retained. It is recommended you do this at home, yourself, when you want to grow your hair long fast as a trip to the salon almost always leaves you with significantly shorter hair.

Twist Cream

A cream that helps to keep kinky curly hair defined when one tries to do a twist-out.

Twist Out

A styling method where you twist sections of your hair and then open them when they dry. Watch the video below to learn!

Two Strand Twists

A very popular protective hair style that helps to lessen breakage and damage and consequently helps hair grow longer.  In this, a section of hair is divided into and then wrapped around each other. More on this here.

Virgin Hair

No, it is not the hair of a virgin. This term is often used while selling wigs or weaves. It simply means hair that is natural and not ‘processed’ with heat or chemical treatments.

WHC

Acronym for Wavy Hair Care.

Wash-N-Go

A full wash day routine where you cleanse, condition and style your hair completely.

Wavy Hair

Fine, thin hair that form loose waves in a broad S shaped pattern to very loose curls. Find out how to take care of wavy hair in this post by A Real life Curly Girl

Wet-N-GO

Instead of shampooing or cleansing and conditioning again, you simply rewet your hair completely and restyle your waves and curls. It is a great way to lengthen time between wash-n-go’s.

Width

Width indicates the thickness of each strand in your hair. Knowing your width informs you of how much damage your hair can withstand. Read more here- Natural hair types

 

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