Natural Hair Terminology/Dictionary

I know that will all of the abbreviations, slogans and jargon in the natural hair community, its often hard for newbie’s to fully understand it all. At hindsight, it can be very challenging and confusing. Here is a brief run-down of some of the most widely used, popular acronyms, topics, basics and jargon used within the natural hair community. Feel free to email me or comment to let me know if I left anything out.

ACV– Apple Cider Vinegar (used in a variety of regimens, recipes, products, etc.) It is famous for its effectiveness at sealing the cuticle. Often used as a final rinse.


APL– Refers to length– arm pit length.

BAA-Big A@$ Afro(excuse my french…)

Baggy – Refers to the “bagging” of hair with a shopping bag, shower cap or plastic rap, at night, after moisturization.

BC – Big Chop – cutting off all your chemically treated hair

BNC– Braid-n-Curl, simply plait or braid the hair and roll the ends on rods or flexis.

BSL– Refers to length– bra strap length.

BSS– Beauty Supply Store

CBL– Refers to length– collar bone length.

Co-Wash– Using conditioner to wash the hair instead of shampoo.

Caramel Treatment– A hair treatment that can be bought or homemade that is considered to be essential for moisture. Ingredients usually include bananas, molasses, and honey.

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).

CG– Refers to the “Curly Girl” method explained in the book by Lorraine Massey. It is a philosophy for curls that involves, no or low shampoo, cone avoidance, and conditioner washing…among other things. These are just a few of the basic tenants.

DT or DC– Is a deep treatment or conditioner. A DT is when you leave a moisturizing (or protein based, depending on your needs) conditioner on your hair for an extended period of time, along with a heat source to aid in penetration.

Dusting– Dusting your hair is a trim of 1/4 and inch or less. This method is also referred to as dusting because even though your hair is being trimmed evenly, it is so little hair, that it just 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)

HG– Holy Grail (Products that are tried and true)

HIH– Hand in Hair. Its a disease that causes you to always be manipulating your tresses.

K.I.S.S-Acronym for Keep It Simple Stupid=doing minimal hair care for maximum results.

LC (Little Chop)-Cutting off a portion of the relaxed ends or chemically treated hair.Usually done prior to the B.C.(in preparation).

MBL– Refers to length– mid back length.

Nappyversary/Nattyversary – The anniversary of the day you became a natural

No-poo– It’s just that- no shampoo. Ladies who follow this routine are CG’ers and don’t use cones or other heavy/oily products that may need shampoo to remove. Instead of pooing, many ladies conditioner wash, or use conditioner in place of shampoo to cleanse the scalp.

Oil Rinse-a method that usually involves using carrier oils as a final rinse after shampooing and conditioning. This method is used to seal/lock in moisture after shampooing in order to maximize moisture retention.

Pineappleing– a type of sleeping technique that curlies with long hair use to
preserve or protect curls overnight so that they have great 2nd day hair. You gather all of your hair in a high, but loose pony tail at the top of your head and go to sleep on a satin pillowcase. In the morning you take it down and shake it out gently and all of your curls will have been preserved.

PJ– Product Junky or someone that buys any all hair care products in sight…forever on a mission to find the next best thing.

Plopping– A quick dry method. You use a t-shirt or a curl friendly material (terry cloth towel, paper towel) to dry your hair instead of rubbing a towel on your hair to dry it. It drastically decreases drying times.

Pre-pooing– A treatment applied prior to shampooing. It usually consists of oils and/or conditioners applied the night before the shampoo or immediately prior, with a heat source to help penetrate. This is usually performed to help the hair maintain necessary moisture during the drying shampoo process.

Protective style (PS)– A hair style that allows the hair to rest, while protecting the hair’s fragile ends. Being that the ends are not exposed, they are protected from various elements and rubbing against clothing. Also, this protects against “over manipulation” which can lead to breakage. They help retain moisture and various styles include: buns, braids, twists, cornrows and more..

Regimen (aka Reggie)-A product/hair routine done continuously or consistently in order to create and maintain your healthy hair and scalp.

Scab Hair-Natural hair that grows in an abnormally different texture from that which is normal. The hair is essentially a result of a damage from the relaxer and is not a reflection of true texture. This can also be due to heat damage. Scab hair is often dry and brittle.

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. Sealing has saved my hair.

Search and Destroy (S&Ds)– Many natural swear by this method of trimming split ends. The process involves examining the ends of each hair strand, searching for single strand knots, splits or crooked ends and snipping it! Quality hair shears are recommended in order to prevent further splitting or tears of the hair shaft. Dull scissors can do more damage than having split ends:)

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).

TNC– Twist-n-Curl. This is my signature style. I twist the hair and roll the ends.

Transitioning – This is the period of time since one’s last relaxer.

TWA– Teeny Weeny Afro

Twist Out – Two strand twist the hair, allow to dry either by air drying or sitting under a dryer, take the twists apart, and style.

Wash and Go– Simply shampoo or co-wash your hair, add a styler (gel, cream) and GO! You leave the hair to air dry or dry with a diffuser. Although this style is cute and easy, my ends couldn’t handle it. This is also seen as WnG, and W&G.

2nd day hair– Hair that looks good or least decent when you wake up the next morning and it doesn’t require a lot of work before walking out of the house. Some are blessed enough to get 3rd and 4th day hair!(Woo)

3abc/4a/4b/4c– A hair type classification system.

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