ACCORDIAN TECHNIQUE- Scrunching product into the hair as if playing the accordion. A Wash n' Go styling technique that produces well-formed,highly-defined coils/curls. While soaking wet, a styling curl cream or curl gel is applied to cleansed and conditioned hair. As the head is tilted in various angles, the hair (now weighted with water and styling product), is lowered into an open palm and gently pressed to the scalp repeatedly
ALOE VERA GEL- The mucilaginous material obtained from the aloe vera plant. The benefits of the gel to your hair include improved detangling, increased moisture, scalp healing, remediation of dandruff, restoration of pH levels, decreased frizz, enhanced cellular regeneration, anti-inflammatory action for the scalp and stimulation of hair growth.
APPLE CIDER VINEGAR/ACV - When diluted with water ACV can be used to restore pH balance of the hair; works to close the hair’s cuticles, making it less frizzy and increase shine; ACV rinse: mix ¼ cup ACV and 2 cups water
AYURVEDIC REGIMEN- This regimen uses all natural Indian products to grow healthy, thick, long hair. Some of the products include but are not limited to the following: amla oil or powder, henna, neem, Vatika, brahmi, shikakai, and marshmallow root.
BABY HAIRS - Small hairs that can be sculpted and designed into an art piece to frame the face.
BANDING- Banding is a styling technique used to inhibit hair shrinkage and show more of the hair's actual length. Which can also be described as stretching. Gathering the hair into one ponytail or several smaller ones, covered elastic bands are affixed snugly from the scalp area, one after the other, all the way down to the ends, of the hair. Bands are left in for a period of time or until the hair is dry (if banded while damp or wet).BANTU KNOTS- A hairstyle created by carefully parting hair in small-to-medium sections, and then twisting the sections in one direction until they wrap into neat knots, can be secured with bobby or hair pin.
BIG CHOP- A haircut to remove chemically straightened or otherwise permanently damaged ends to transition to your natural curly hair. The Big chop allows healthy new hair growth.
BONNET- A bonnet is also referred to as a cap or a sleep cap. They are made of satin or silk and protect your hair while sleeping. Bonnets are great for retaining curls and hair moisture overnight. A bonnet can prevent hair breakage caused by friction whilst sleeping they also prevent frizz. It’s a good investment so give one a try. Your curls will thank you. View our bonnet selection.
BRAID OUT- A hairstyle created by three strand braiding on wet, damp or dry hair. Keep the braids in until the hair is dry, the braids are carefully released and styled. The longer you leave, even a day the greater the definition.
BREAKAGE- Is when the hair breaks due to manipulation and/or excessive dryness. Not to be confused with shedding, the evidence of breakage is when the end of the hair strand does not contain a bulb the way a naturally shed hair would. Breakage can be reduced by limiting manipulation with heat tools, styling, washing, chemical processing, and increasing your moisturizing frequency.
CANEROWS/CORNROWS-Hair that’s braided flat on the scalp.
CLARIFYING SHAMPOO - Cleansing process to thoroughly remove build up of oils, styling products, environmental elements and chlorine; can be done using clarifying shampoos.
COWASH- To co-wash is to use a conditioner to lightly cleanse and moisturize the hair in between clarifying. The term is short for "conditioner wash." Co-washes are used by curly-haired women who choose not to use shampoo as part of the Curly Girl Method or the No Poo Method. Shop our co-wash products.
CLUMPING- Happens when strands of hair gather (“clump”) to form bigger, chunkier curls or coils
COCKTAILING- Mixing and matching of several different product and/or raw ingredients to create a specific style or achieve the ideal curly hair goal.
CURL TYPE- A curls classification system created by Oprah Winfrey’s hair stylist, Andre Walker. The typing has a numerical order of 1-2-3-4 and then by an A-B-C suffix. If you have straight hair, you’re a type 1 (ABC). If you have wavy hair, you’re a type 2 (ABC). Type 3 is curly (ABC) and type 4 is kinky (ABC) Hair typing is a system that classifies hair texture based on curl pattern, density, width, and porosity, which helps to determine how she will care and style her hair. Loose-wavy hair is type 2, curly hair is type 3 and coily hair is type 4. Some people like this classification and some don’t. Most of us have more than one curl pattern or curl type e.g. 3c, 4a and 4c. Read more about curly typing.
CURLY GIRL METHOD -The Curly Girl Method, created by curly hair expert Lorraine Massey, includes discontinuing the use of shampoo, products with silicones, brushes, combs, and towels. t’s a process that requires patience and an investment in the health of your hair; everybody’s hair is different so CGM doesn’t work for everyone, and some people like it in theory but need to adjust parts of it to suit their hair or lifestyle.
COILY- A term used to describe natural, textured hair type 4
CORNROWS- Hair that’s braided flat on the scalp.CROWN- The crown is the centre region of the scalp atop of the head. It tends to be sensitive, especially for those who are tender headed.
CUTICLE- The outermost protective layer of the hair, the cuticle resembles overlapping shingles on a roof and helps to seal moisture inside of the hair shaft.
CRUNCH- Crunch is the hard, crunchy feeling left by some gels when they dry, which can sometimes be scrunched out. Also know as cast.
DEEP CONDITION- Thick products formulated with ingredients that moisturize, strengthen and/or provide damage-repair to hair; applied right after cleansing, penetrating the hair for 15-30 mins using with mild heat. Product formulated to penetrate the hair shaft so it can provide nutrients to the cuticle. Ideally left on for 30+ minutes, lather your entire head, pull your hair into a loose bun or leave it loose in a bonnet or shower cap. I have found the best results occur when a moderate amount of heat is applied in order to open the cuticles further, so I use a thermal care heat cap, but I’ve also seen women who blow dry or just let it sit.
DENSITY- The measure of how closely individual strands of hair are packed together on your scalp; ranges from low to high.
EDGES- Hair around hairline, including “baby hairs”, which are sometimes styled into elaborate designs; women take extra care around their edges as they tend to break off easily causing hair loss on the hairline
ELASTICITY- This is the ability of the hair to be pulled or stretched out and returns to its regular shape without breaking or snapping.
ELONGATE- Stretching your curl patter. Using specific products and styling methods to stretch curls that are prone to shrinkage.
FLATWISTS - A technique whereby the hair is two-strand twisted flat to the scalp, in cornrow fashion.
FINGERCOILING- A method of training your curl pattern by wrapping it around your finger, pushing the coil towards your scalp, before releasing it back down. This is great for people transitioning who want a way to fix stubborn curls and to enhance definition.
FRIZZ- The aura of radiance that surrounds curls and coils; hair reverberation of a divine frequency; a ripple of coils and curls that begins at the crown and echoes into the wind
GEL CAST AKA CAST- The stiff outer layer that styling gel creates as it dries. With high-quality gels, this cast can be broken by smoothing closed palms over the hair to leave soft, flake-free curls.
HAIR GOALS- A phrase used when one sees another with absolutely amazing hair/hair style
HAIR TYPING- See curl typing
HIGH POROSITY- The more porous a strand is, the more damaged it has undertaken. Also, water will be quickly absorbed and quickly loss by the hair strand; rendering a dry brittle strand. Typically, the ends of the hair are more porous because they are the oldest part of the hair.
HUMECTANT- Another word used for moisturizer; product that adds moisture to the hair; humectants in hair products help draw moisture from air into hair shaft This is an ingredient used in moisturizing products to draw moisture from the air to retain it for your hair. Some of the most commonly used humectants are honey, aloe vera, and glycerin.
J.B.C.O. Jamaican Black Castor Oil. This thick oil is great for sealing or trapping in moisture. It is best applied to the ends of the hair to avoid causing build up on the upper hair strands.
KINKY CURLY ALSO KNOWN AS 4C -An angular, “Z” type zig-zag from roots to end. The Z pattern is so tightly coiled that it can cause kinky curls to shrink up to 75% of the hair’s actual length.
LEAVE IN CONDITIONER - A leave-in conditioner is a lightweight, watery product that is formulated to add moisturizing properties to the hair without the build up of a regular conditioner. It derives its name from the fact that this conditioner is not rinsed out.
L.C.O. METHOD- LCO is a similar method used by applying the liquid first, cream product second, then the oil-based product as the third step. Several women prefer this method since most creams are water-based products. By using the oil-based product last, some believe this will ensure all of the moisture is locked into the hair. Both the LOC and the LCO method work well. This is more of a personal preference than golden rule. My suggestion: try both to see which method works best for your texture.
L.O.C. METHOD- Method for product application in a specific order: leave-in conditioner, oil, and cream. You’ll see other methods (L.C.O or L.O.C.S. with the “S” standing for “sealant”). The LOC method stands for applying product in the following order: liquid or leave-in conditioner, oil, and cream. Most naturals will either use water or a moisturizer, an oil, and a cream or butter. This ensures long-lasting, moisturized hair in between wash days. The technique was introduced by Founder of Alikay Naturals Rochelle Graham.
LOW POROSITY- If you have low porosity hair, it means that your hair cuticles are tight and are less likely to let in water. As such, substances such as oil won’t do much good and you’re better off using light products. Your hair strands will feel smooth and it may be difficult to add moisture. A weekly deep condition routine is recommended to combat signs of dryness.
MANIPULATION - Ways in which you handle your hair; the less you manipulate your hair, the less likely hood of breakage due to hair manipulation.
MEDIUM POROSITY- If you have medium porosity hair, you have a fairly balanced hair type and most products should work on you. Your hair will respond well to treatments but be careful as it will also easily absorb bad chemicals.
MICROFIBER TOWEL- A microfiber towel is a much faster drying towel which won’t cause friction or damage your hair. This type of towel is recommended on the CGM. You can also use a t-shirt but you cannot use a regular towel.
MOISTURISER- Product that includes humectants to attract and hold water molecules from the environment
NATURALISTA- Someone who wears their natural hair with pride.
PINEAPPLE- Is a hairstyle where you gently gather your hair on the top of your head at the crown with a non-friction hair tie to preserve curls for second day hair. Wear a bonnet which will decrease friction and potential breakage.
PLOPPING- The method includes wrapping wet hair in t-shirt or microfiber towel, while bending at the waist, in order to quickly but gently absorb excessive water that would drip otherwise; performed after cleansing, conditioning and/or applying a liberal amount of styling gel or cream.
PRE- POO- The act of applying oils, conditioners and other treatments to the hair prior to shampooing to enhance moisturization and conditioning during the cleansing process.
POROSITY- Porosity is how easily your hair is able to absorb and hold moisture and chemicals. There are varying degrees of porosity that we commonly use: high porosity, medium porosity, and low porosity.PROTECTIVE STYLE - This is a type of style that does not expose the ends of the hair and is typically left un-manipulated for 2-4 weeks. With a protective style there’s no need for manipulation (combing/brushing) and shielding against the elements (sun/heat/wind/cold).
PROTEIN- Healthy hair needs a good balance of protein and hydration. Some hair types can be sensitive to protein whilst others crave it. You might even find that you need to switch between protein products and hydrating products throughout the year. Avoid coconut products if you are protein sensitive.
PROTEIN TREATMENT- Deposits protein structures on the hair’s cuticles in order to replace the protein that was lost through manipulation, chemical processing and aging; advised to incorporate into regimen only once a month
RAKING- Creates perfectly defined curls by applying liberal amount of product to wet, sectioned hair and then using fingers in a raking motion from root to tip, to detangle and smooth; when fingers reach hair’s end, shake at the wrist to encourage curl formation.
REVERSION- When your straight hair reverts back to its naturally curly state.
SCRUNCHING- To scrunch is to gently squeeze the hair upward from ends toward roots to encourage curl definition and remove gel crunch (aka "scrunch the crunch").
SEBUM- This is a coating of natural oil that protects the hair and gives it sheen or makes it shinier. The straighter your hair is the more easily sebum can travel down the hair strand. Spiralling curls make it difficult for the oil to be distributed evenly down the hair strand and all the way down the shaft to the ends.
SEALANT- A product that seals moisture into the hair shaft; can be different types of oil, and certain alcohol free/silicone free gels
SEALING- Sealing is applying an oil or cream following a water-based moisturizer or leave-in conditioner. Essentially it is sealing moisture in the hair, with most of the focus being on the ends. 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.
SECOND DAY HAIR/TWO DAY HAIR- It refers to the day after wash day. Some have great success in maintaining their curls for two, three or even four days after washing their hair, but a good curl routine is needed. Sleep with a bonnet or buff to avoid friction and retain your curls for longer.
SHRINKAGE- Shrinkage is when the hair retracts after washing or being exposed to moisture. During this state, the hair's true length is not visible. To avoid this, many curlies will stretch their hair through twisting, braiding, and other styling methods. Hair experiences the most shrinkage in a wash and go style.
SHEDDING- Very normal, when hair fills your brush or comb with long strands; one can she up to 200 strands a day, more depending on stress level and health; when hair is not manipulated for a period of time you may experience shedding at a higher number
SHINGLING - This is a styling technique used for Wash n' Gos whereby a curl cream or curl gel is liberally applied to clean, very wet hair. Take small sections and smooth between the thumb and forefinger, in a downward motion from root to tip. Hair is then either air-dried or dried using a hood dryer. Then gently fluff for style.
SILICONE - Silicones are conditioning agents that have been found to deposit at high rates onto the surface of the hair, especially if combined in the product with a cationic (positively-charged) polymer (referred to on labels as polyquaterniums). They are used in rinse-off conditioners, intensive treatment conditioners, and leave-in conditioners where they reduce combing friction and static charge between hair strands, and provide an emollient effects and gloss.
SLIP- Slip refers to how smooth and lubricious the product makes your hair feel. The nickname is derived from the feeling of being "slippery" in your hand. If your fingers, comb, or brush can slip through your strands with ease, then you have found a winner!
SQUISH TO CONDISH- Squish to condish is a technique where you continuously squish water and conditioner into the hair in order to better hydrate it. The squishing technique encourages big clumps to form and gives you less frizz.
SULFATE/SULPHATES- Sulfates are the most commonly used anionic surfactant in the personal-care business. They tend to be extremely harsh on curly hair, so many curlies have decided to forgo products with this ingredient and brands are formulating products without it. A class of foaming cleansers that are typically used in shampoos. There are different types of sulfates, ranging from deeply cleansing (sodium lauryl sulfate) to quite gentle (ammonium laureth sulfate). Sulfates help to remove build up from hair, but sulphate free shampoos can be a good option if you feel like sulfates are too harsh on your curls.
SURFACTANT- A surfactant is a detergent molecule that has one distinct portion of the molecule that is polar and hydrophilic (water-loving), and one portion that is non-polar and hydrophobic (water-fearing), which are used in cleansing and conditioning products to remove buildup.
THE KITCHEN- A phrase used to describe the tangled/knotted hair at the base of a woman’s head the place at the nape of the neck where curls and coils gather
TRANSITIONING - A journey of growth; an opportunity to embrace the change in your curls; a journey back to your natural curls.
TWIST OUT - A twist out is when you intertwine two clusters of hair like a rope, allow it to set or dry, and then release the twists. People wear this style loose and coif it into updos.
WASH DAY- A day of the week that a natural girl washes her hair and is a crucial part of maintaining clean hair, and preventing tangling and matting; this process includes detangling, washing, styling and using products to maximize moisturization and shine
WASH-N-GO- Natural hair styling method; on clean and conditioned hair curls/coils are defined with gel or styling cream and then left to air dry. A wash and go is when you wash your hair, apply moisturizer and/or styling products, and allow the hair to dry naturally or shrink without stretching.WAVY - A description generally referred to if you do not have curly hair. Many CG followers have wavy hair and experience excellent results following the method.
If you have a curl pattern of 2/ABC, then you are a Wavy Girl.