Even though I have been natural for over two years, it wasn’t until recently that I learned there were set a terms naturalistas used. When I joined a natural hair group online, I was bombarded with different terms that sounded like Greek to me. So I asked questions and am now familiar with many of the basic terms used within the natural hair community. If you are in the dark like I once was, then this short glossary may help.
ACV stands for Apple Cider Vinegar. This is a cleansing treatment used often by those who wear locs, braided extensions (not weave) or those who choose not to use — or rarely use — shampoo. Depending on length, the hair is either rinsed or soaked with this treatment. The most common ACV Rinse is made from distilled water and Apple Cider Vinegar. It is supposed to remove buildup, increase manageability, smooth hair and enhance shine.
No, not the time before Common Era! This BC stands for Big Chop. The Big Chop is when a person who is transitioning from relaxed to their natural hair texture cuts off the relaxed portion of hair. What should be left is the natural hair texture only.
Co-Wash or Co-Washing
This is something I have written about many times but never knew there was a hair care term for it. Conditioner Wash or Conditioner Washing is when one washes their hair using a conditioner. Remember there is a difference between washing and shampooing the hair. A co-wash is preferred by those with very dry, frizzy hair and those who feel shampoo strips the hair of too much moisture.
Now the name may cause you to giggle a bit but has nothing to do with that poo. Pre-Poo stands for Pre-Shampoo. A Pre-poo is any conditioning treatment applied to the hair before shampooing to prevent excessive moisture loss. The most common pre-poo treatment is a hot oil treatment; others include deep conditioning treatments, protein treatments and overnight hair masks.
Protective Style or PS
A protective style is a hairstyle that does not require daily styling. This style also is used to protect the ends and keep them from forming knots which would need to be cut off. These can be twists, braids, a bun, French roll, bouffant or any style that protects the ends of the hair.
This is the process of sealing in moisture using a carrier oil or hair serum. The oil or serum helps to smooth the hair cuticle flat, trapping moisture in the hair shaft.
This is a styling method used to bring out curl definition. A curl defining product like a hair pudding is applied to small sections of hair and combed through from root to tip in order to stretch the hair. The curl defining product helps to “wet” the hair and hold the elongated or looser curl pattern so that kinky curls look more controlled and defined. This method can also be used to work in a deep conditioner on dense or thick hair.
I have to admit when I first saw this mentioned I thought the person was talking about taking flight. Then as I read the discussion further I realized TWA is simply the acronym for Teeny Weenie Afro. Don’t knock the TWA; it is the easiest natural style to care for.
These eight terms you may see quite often as a newbie to natural hair. Now you don’t have to be out of the loop during discussions. There are many more terms used within natural hair circles, however, I have found these to be the eight most common terms used.
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Hair Care Tips for Natural Afro Hair