Hair Lingo


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ACV Rinse: ACV stands for apple cider vinegar. It is a concoction of one part apple cider vinegar and 3 parts water. The acidity of the rinse lowers the hair’s pH which closes the cuticle, seals in moisture, increases shine and smoothness.
Alcohol-Free: hair products that are free of drying alcohols. May contain fatty alcohols like cetyl and cetearyl alcohol which aren’t drying.
All-Natural: a product in which the ingredients are derived from plant and/or animal sources.
Anti-Humectant: humidity/moisture blocker.
APL (Arm Pit Length): when hair length reaches one’s arm pit.


Baggy Method: covering entire head or ends with a plastic bag/cover to create and trap moisture.
Bantu Knot Out: aka Zulu Knots and China Bumps. Hair is set in winding knots and unraveled to achieve spirals.
Big Chop: cutting all of the relaxed hair off to fully wear textured tresses.
Braid Out: plaiting hair in braids or cornrows and unraveling to reveal a textured style.
BSL (Bra Strap Length): when one’s hair length reaches the top of their bra strap.


Carrier Oil: base or plant oil used to dilute essential oils and seal in moisture.
Chelate: using a cleanser to remove mineral deposits from hair brought on by hard water and/or no lye relaxers.
Clarify(ing): using a cleanser to remove build up from hair completely.
Classic Length: when hair length reaches beyond one’s tailbone.
Cleanser: refers to a product that cleanses the hair and scalp.
Cleansing Conditioner: a non-lathering conditioner that contains cleansing ingredients.
Condition: refers to the state of one’s hair. Also refers to utilizing a product, most often a conditioner, to return hair back to its original pH after washing it.
Conditioner: a product used to bring down hair’s pH and smooth the cuticle. Also used to impart moisture and/or protein.
Cortex: the layer located between the medulla and cuticle layers of the hair shaft. It makes up about 80 to 90% of the hair’s diameter and contains the hair’s natural color.
Co-Wash: to cleanse hair with a cleansing or light-weight conditioner.
Curly Girl Method: a hair regimen created by Lorraine Massey for naturally textured tresses.
Cuticle: the colorless outer 6 to 10 layers of the hair shaft which protects the cortex. It also gives the hair shine/sheen and elasticity.


Deep Conditioner: a conditioner that penetrates the cuticle and replenishes the cortex.
Dusting: a slight trim.


Edges: the temple and nape area of the scalp.
EL (Ear Length): when one’s hair length reaches the top of their ears.
Essential Oils: heavily concentrated oils that contain stimulating and/or anti-microbial properties.


Greenhouse Effect: see Baggy Method.


Hair Density: the amount of hair strands in 1 square inch on one’s scalp: low, normal, and high.
Hair Regimen: a hair care system and schedule that is consistently followed.
Hair Type: refers to one’s hair pattern: straight, wavy, curly, coily, and kinky.
Hair Texture: refers to a hair strand’s thickness: fine, medium, and coarse.
Hair Journey: an endeavor to learn more about one’s own hair and achieve healthier and/or longer hair by incorporating healthy hair practices overtime.
Healthy Hair Journey (HHJ): a hair regimen done over an extended period of time that aids in healthy hair and length retention.
Holy Grail: a product that one swears by or is their favorite.
Hot Oil Treatment: an oil treatment that replenishes the cuticle structure with fatty acids, lipids, and cholesterol.
Hygral Fatigue: the result of the hair shaft swelling while absorbing water during the wash process and contracting as it dries. Too much water and/or drying the hair shaft to quickly with heat tools can cause the hair strand/cuticle layer to become weaker. Overtime, this can cause breakage. Pre-pooing with coconut oil and air drying can help to minimize this.
Humectant: an ingredient that attracts water from the atmosphere.


Inversion Method: used to increase hair growth which involves one to invert their upper body to increase blood flow to hair follicles.


L.O.C. Method: layering products onto hair in the order of liquid/leave-in conditioner, oil, and cream moisturizer. Used to retain moisture levels in the hair longer.
LOCO Method: layering products onto hair in the order of liquid/leave-in conditioner, oil, cream moisturizer, and oil. Used to retain moisture levels in the hair longer.
LCO Method: layering products onto hair in the order of liquid/leave-in conditioner, cream moisturizer, and oil. Used to retain moisture levels in the hair longer.
Low Manipulation Style: a hair style that requires minimal effort.
Low Poo: a low-lathering cleanser.
Lye Relaxer: a straightening chemical process in which the active ingredient is sodium hydroxide. The pH level is usually 12-14.


MBL (Mid-back Length): when one’s hair length reaches middle part of their back.
Medulla: the center layer of the hair shaft. Depending on the hair’s type or texture, the medulla may be partly present or completely absent.
MRPT (Mid-relaxer Protein Treatment): a light protein treatment done after the relaxer is rinsed from one’s head and before applying the neutralizing shampoo.
Moisturizer: a product used to soften hair and enforce hair’s pliability against manipulation.


Naturalversary: anniversary of one’s big chop.
New Growth: refers to the unprocessed or unaltered hair that has recently grown from a person’s scalp.
NL (Neck Length): when one’s hair length reaches their neck.
No-Lye Relaxer: a straightening chemical process in which the active ingredient is calcium hydroxide or guanidine hydroxide. The pH level is usually 9-11.
No Poo: cleanser that does not lather.


Paraben-Free: a product free of synthetic parabens.
Perm: often confused with a relaxer, it is a process that is done by setting hair in waves or curls and then treating it with chemicals so that the style lasts for several months.
Pineapple: to preserve curls or wash and go style by putting hair into a high pony tail.
Porosity: refers to the degree in which one’s hair absorb and retain moisture.
Praying Hand Method: a wash and go technique that involves smoothing product onto hair between your palms from root to tip.
Pre-Poo: a treatment done prior to cleansing to prevent hygral fatigue and/or prevent dryness from the cleanser.
Product Junkie: one that often buys new products without finishing the previously purchased ones.
Protective Style: a hair style in which the ends of the hair are either hidden or off the shoulders.
Protein-Free: a product that is free of proteins and amino acids.
Protein Treatment: a treatment/conditioner that strengthens the hair by adhering to gaps along the hair shaft.


Relaxer: a chemical process that permanently straightens textured hair. See also no-lye relaxer and lye relaxer.
Relaxer Run-off: When one doesn’t protect their previously relaxed ends during a relaxer process. When the relaxer is rinsed off, it rinses down the hair shaft and can mildly relax the hair if not protected. Overtime relaxer run-off can cause thin and split ends.


Sealant: any product, usually an oil, that is used to slow down the escape of moisture from hair strands.
Search and Destroy Method: searching through hair and cutting off split ends individually.
Sebum: an oily substance secreted by the sebaceous glands. It balances the pH of the scalp and hair and retains moisture.
Second Day Hair: a hair style that looks nice two days in a row without restyling it.
Silicone-Free: products that are free of silicones.
Shingling Method: used to get optimal texture definition, one applies and smooths product into each curl or coil one by one.
Slip: a product or ingredient that aids in easier detangling.
Staple Product: refer to Holy Grail.
Styler: usually refers to a product used to aid in creating a hair style.


Texlax: to purposely under-process hair during a relaxer treatment to keep strength and texture in hair.
Texturism:a phrase coined by the Natural Hair Community, it is one’s thought that curly or wavy hair is superior to coily and kinky hair. This term is especially used for the bounteous celebration of curly hair over kinky hair in the mainstream media (e.g., popular bloggers/Youtubers, hair product advertisements).
Texturizer: a mild relaxer that is made to loosen one’s hair texture not make it straight.
Transitioning: when one stops relaxing their hair and grows out their natural hair until they are ready to cut off the relaxed ends.
Trim: to cut ends of hair for aesthetics and/or to prevent breakage.
TWA (Teeny Weeny Afro): a small afro.
Twist Out: setting sections of hair into twists and unravelling after it dries.


Wash and Go: refers to defining one’s hair type and wearing it as a style.

3 Responses

  1. Oh this is neat!!! I thought about doing one and was like whew, that’s a lot BUT it would make it so much easier for readers to follow our book of acronyms and buzz words.

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