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Natural Hair Lingo- Translation

Now I know I’m not alone when watching YouTube or reading on the world wide web (yes I know I could’ve just wrote www but I like world wide web better) and I come across words like TWA, LOC method, BAA, Co-wash all that good stuff. And I’m just like wahhh are they saying?! I’m talking just completely lost in the sauce because folks want to just create a whole new language & not inform the rest of us, tuh! Then we have no choice but to start googling every term (rolls eyes). But not to worry I’ve complied a mini natural hair vocab below.

So “hol’ on hol’ up let me break it down so it can be forever & consistently be BUH-ROKE!” (gotta watch Love Jones scene to understand that reference haha)  Here’s the

Love Jones Link for that scene I just quoted, go to 6:18 mark pure awesomeness! Ahh how I love that movie!

Anywho here are some pix to match a couple of the naturals terms. The mini vocab is under the pix.

*None of these pictures are mine*

TWA = Teeny Weeny Afro

BAA = Big Ass Afro


Beautiful Healthy Afro

Afro Jack
Big Afro

This is the mother of all afros!!!

Natural Hair Vocab

2nd day hair: Hair that looks good (at least decent) when you wake up the next morning and you don’t have to do much before walking out of the house.

3c/4a/4b/4c etc: A hair type classification system, for further clarification, see THIS LINK or THIS ONE

ACV (Apple Cider Vinegar): Washing/rinsing hair with ACV to cleanse, condition, and remove bacteria or restorer the hair’s natural PH.

APL: Refers to length- arm pit length.

Alopecia: Medical condition where you loss hair in bald spots (can google for more info)

BAA (Big A$$ afro): A large afro hairstyle; sometimes curly, round, or both.

Baggy: After you moisturize your hair at night, you put a shower cap over the entire head or on each plait overnight.

BC/ TBC aka (The) Big Chop – cutting off all your chemically treated hair

BNC (Braid-n-Curl):  simply plait or braid the hair and roll the ends on rods or flexis. Similar to TNC (Twist-N-Curl)

Box braids: Plats or simple braids where the root is parted into small boxes and braided.

Braid out: Individual braids or cornrows left in then taken out for a crinkly pattern and stretching benefits Similar to the twist out.

BSL: Refers to length- bra strap length.

BSS: Beauty Supply Store

CG (curly girl): A method/book made by Lorraine Massey that many naturals follow.

Coily: The hair texture of many women of the African diaspora with natural hair. It is a hair texture resembling a spring or slinky, and is most often visible when hair is wet

Co-Wash: Using conditioner to wash the hair instead of shampoo

Cones: Are ‘silicones’, or ingredients found in hair care products that are not water soluble (i.e. you need shampoo to remove). Failure to wash out cones may lead to build-up, which may result in dry hair and breakage.

Cornrows: Hair that is braided against the head to make patterns

Creamy crack: Used to refer to perms (relaxers) to straighten hair every 6-8 weeks. It’s a nickname was given by those who found it hard to stop getting relaxers before they transitioned to natural hair

Denman:  refers to a the Denman (a company) series of brushes; a brush that is used widely among the natural hair community to help define curls

DC or DT: Is a deep conditioner or treatment. A DC is when you leave a moisturizing (or protein based, depending on your needs) conditioner on your hair for an extended period of time, along with an optional heat source to aid in penetration.

Dusting: Dusting is trimming about a quarter inch off your ends. It’s less than a usual professional trim…it’s just enough to get the split ends off. It is so little hair, that it just looks like dust on the floor.

EO (Essential Oils): refers to a large group of naturally occurring oils (For example: lemon oil, peppermint oil, rosemary oil, lavender oil, etc.)

EVCO:  Extra Virgin Coconut Oil (used in conditioning treatments)

EVOO: Extra Virgin Olive Oil (used in conditioning treatments)

HG: Holy Grail (Products that are tried and true)

HIH: Hand in Hair. It’s a disease that causes you to always be manipulating your tresses.

Kinky: Tightly Curled Hair

LOC MethodThe Liquid Oil Cream Method or L.O.C method is a technique for moisturizing hair. It consist of hydrating the hair with water or a water-based product which is your liquid, sealing in the moisture with oil and then applying a cream product to close the hair cuticle which prevents moisture loss

Line of Demarcation: The point between the relaxed and natural hair where the hair is weakest and needs extra moisture and care.

Lye: A chemical straightening treatment commonly used to relax hair. Just as bad as No-lye relaxers and “kiddy perms”

MBL: Refers to length- mid back length.

Natural Hair: Free from Chemicals; the hair you were born with

No-poo: Washing method that does not involve the use of shampoo; co-washing is a type of no-poo method.  Often done between washes to bring back the coily/ curly hair texture.

Pineapple-ing: a type of sleeping technique use to preserve/protect curls overnight so that they have great 2nd day hair. You gather all of your hair in a high, but loose pony tail at the top of your head and go to sleep on a satin pillowcase. In the morning you take it down and shake it out gently and all of your curls will have been preserved.

PJ (Product Junkie): A person who consistently purchases product after product to try on their hair.  A shopping habit that is very common in the early stages of becoming natural, hoping to discover the product of all products.

Plopping: A quick dry method. You use a t-shirt or a curl friendly material (terry cloth or microfiber towel) to dry your hair instead of rubbing a towel on your hair to dry it. It drastically decreases drying times.

Pre-pooing: A treatment applied prior to shampooing. It usually consists of oils and/or conditioners applied the night before the shampoo or immediately prior, with a heat source to help penetrate. This is usually performed to help the hair maintain necessary moisture during the drying shampoo process.

Protective Styling:  Styles that hide the ends and protects hair ends rubbing against clothing, rough texture material etc.  Two strand twists, braids, etc are a few choice protective options.

Scab hair: The hard new growth that feels dry, brittle and fuzzy because the hair follicles are so damaged.  Some believe this to be their hair’s texture, and it’s the reason many people stop transitioning. The good news is, most people stop growing scab hair 3-6 months after starting their transition.

Sealing:  Sealing “locking in” moisture in the hair, specifically the ends. For sealing to be effective, you must first use a water-based moisturizer (a conditioner or cream that has water as its first ingredient), and then seal with a butter (usually shea) and oil(coconut, olive oil). 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. Reversing those 2 steps will lead to dry hair.

Search and Destroy (S&Ds): Every so often hunt for spilit ends or knots and destroy on sight. Go to a salon or DIY with good hair scissors but  ONLY USE THEM FOR HAIR TRIMS. Dull scissors will do more damage.

Shealoe: Shea butter and aloe blend

Slip: Used to describe how slippery a product is (usually a conditioner or detangler). The more slip it has, the more effectively it will coat the hair to aid in detangling.

SLS: Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (found in the harsher shampoos)

Sulfates: Detergent in most shampoo that can strip hair of natural oils.

TNC (Twist-n-Curl): Twist the hair all over and roll the ends with flexirods or rollers.

Transitioning: Going from relaxed to natural.  This can be long or short period. Long Transition consists of letting natural hair grow out as you take care of relaxed ends. A short transition consists of cutting hair short to avoid having the 2 texture situation.

TWA (Teeny Weeny Afro): A small afro often worn after cutting off the remainder of a relaxer. Usually worn after doing the big chop.

Twist Out: Two strand twist the hair, allow to dry either by air drying or sitting under a dryer, take the twists apart, and style.

Wash and Go: After conditioning your hair, add a styler (gel, cream) and GO You leave the hair to air dry or dry with a diffuser. A simple and cute style. Make sure your ends are good.

The list continues to grow as new words are created and added so if you know some please feel free to write them below.

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