I can remember when I first went natural three years ago and started watching YouTube. As I listened in excitement to learn how to care for my hair, I could have sworn those girls were talking another language.
To remain engaged, I had to learn how to decipher the natural hair codes. There are so many acronyms used, you can literally get lost if you don’t know the basic terminology. Here is a brief list of basic natural terms used in the natural hair community so you too can become bilingual.
This is not an all-inclusive list, yet it will serve as a Curly Talk 101 foundation. This information is extremely helpful for all who are at the beginning phase of their natural hair journey. Enjoy!
ACV — Apple Cider Vinegar has many uses — removing build-up on hair, sealing cuticle, making curls pop.
BC — Big Chop, the process of having relaxed or chemically treated hair cut off
COWASH — using conditioner to wash hair instead of shampoo
CONES — silicones, an ingredient found in hair-care products
CG — typically refers to the Curly Girl Method, which is basically using natural products, no styling tools, no heat, no silicones, no parabans or products that can dry out the hair.
DT — Deep Treatment
DC — Deep Conditioner
DUSTING — trimming your hair off about 1/4 of an inch or less
EC — Essential Oil used to add nutrients into your products to heighten the benefit
EVCO — Extra Virgin Coconut Oil, carrier oil that can mix well with essential oils
EVOO — Extra Virgin Olive Oil, carrier oil that can mix well with essential oils
HG — Holy Grail, your favorite products that you get good results from when using
NO POO — no shampoo; this is done by many Curly Girls washing with a conditioner or mixture.
PJ — Product Junkie
PROTECTIVE STYLING or PS — A protective style is a hairstyle that does not require daily styling. These can be twists, braids, a bun, French roll, bouffant, or any style that protects the ends of the hair.
SEALING — the process of sealing moisture into the hair using a carrier oil or hair serum
SLIP — products that loosen the curl to allow fingers or tools to glide down the hair when detangling hair after a wash
SLS — Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, found in shampoos, creating excessive lather that can dry out the hair
TRANSITIONING — a stage where you have two textures; mostly someone who is relaxed and decides to go natural
TWA — Teeny Weeny Afro
WASH & GO — after washing your hair, adding conditioner and/or gel and/or styling cream and go. Some like hair to air dry and some like to diffuse hair until it’s dry. This method captures your natural curl pattern.
Keep in mind that everybody who is natural is not on a hair-length journey. There are people who are concerned with the health of their hair. I know many sistahs who weekly keep their hair tapered on the sides or have a teeny weeny-shaped afro and so many more styles that don’t think about length, but they do still care for their tresses. However, for all the peeps who are on a hair-length journey, you might appreciate this:
Measuring hair length (milestones)
CBL – collarbone length
APL – armpit length
BSL – bra strap length
MBL – mid-back length
I think it’s more fun than necessary to have the hair language lingo in your vernacular or lexicon. As long as you have a hair regimen that includes keeping your scalp clean, deep conditioning, moisturizing hair, and then sealing the moisture in your hair with oil, butter or cream, you are certainly on your way to healthier hair.
Keep in mind that being pro-natural does not mean you are anti-relaxer. I like mine Fro Real No Lye!
Natural hair coach and enthusiast Kelley Eubanks welcomes reader responses to firstname.lastname@example.org.