The natural hair community goes hard sometimes lol and they sometimes speak their own language. Here’s a handy dandy list of frequently used acronyms and terms that you may find around my site and in the natural hair world. If you have a term to add or want to know what something means, feel free to ask!

Updated 4/1/2012

  • ACV = Apple Cider Vinegar
  • BC = Big Chop; the first time you cut your permed hair off
  • Clarify = Washing your hair to remove product build up, dirt, oil (sebum) or anything clogging the hair follicles in your scalp
  • Co-Wash = Conditioner Washing; “Washing” hair with only conditioner. Some folks like this because shampooing often can be too drying for some. It’s always good to clarify with some type of cleanser at least once a month
  • DC = Deep Conditioner
  • Dusting = A light trim, usually about 1/4″ or less of the ends of your hair
  • EO = Essential Oils
  • EVOO = Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • HG = Holy grail; a product your hair absolutely LOVES; the product you can’t survive without
  • Humectants = Ingredients or type of products that draw moisture from the air and into the hair shaft. Most naturals don’t like to use humectants in dry weather because the products will draw moisture from your hair (since there’s no moisture in the air) and dry it out
  • Manipulation = The amount of time you spend touching or doing anything to your hair on a frequent basis i.e. brushing, combing, detangling, twirling, etc.. The less you manipulate your hair, the less breakage you will have
  • Porosity = Your hair’s ability to soak up moisture. The more porous a strand is, the more quickly moisture will be absorbed into the cuticle
  • Protective Styling = Any hair style that protects the ends of your hair from breaking and exposure to elements such as the weather, clothing and porous material. Protective styles can be worn for days at a time so that there is low manipulation to your hair (i.e. twists, flat twists, up-dos, cornrows, braids, weaves, etc.)
  • Sealing = Sealing moisture into your hair. This is done after a moisturizer has been applied and usually done with a heavier type of oil or butter. (think oil and water separate. So the moisture {water} will be underneath the oil)
  • SM = Shea Moisture
  • Shrinkage = When your curls tighten and “shrink” making the length of your hair appear shorter than it actually is. You’ll see this when your hair is wet or in a wash-n-go style (the opposite of stretching)
  • Slip = How well a product allows your fingers/hands to “slip” or glide through your hair; the measure of how “slippery” a product makes your hair. The more slip, the easier it is to detangle
  • Stretching = When your hair is in a style that will elongate shrunken curls and allow the true length of your hair to be seen i.e. twist outs, bantu knots, braids, etc.
  • TWA = Teeny Weeny Afro; The style you have after you BC. It’s a cute lil fro!
  • Twist Out = Type of hair style where two strand twists are done in hair, dried completely, untwisted and gently separated to create fullness. Can be done on wet or dry hair
  • Wash- N-Go = Type of styling method where you literally wash and “go” about your day. Wash hair and apply gel or styler and let your hair air dry or with a diffuser
  • 2nd Day Hair = Your hair style the day after your wash day and after you’ve slept on it and is still presentable without having to wash it or restyle (precedes 3rd day hair, 4th day, etc.).




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