“Natural Hair” Community Abbreviations and Definitions by Category

Length Terms (All abbreviations are used as a reference to describe the length of one’s hair)

APL – Armpit length
BSL – Bra Strap Length
CBL – Collarbone length
MBL – Mid-back length
NL- Neck length
SL- Shoulder length
TWA – Teeny Weeny Afro
WL – Waist length

Common Ingredients Used in Natural Hair

ACV – Apple Cider Vinegar/”Apple Cider Vinegar rinse”
Apple Cider Vinegar is usually used as a “rinse” to balance the pH level of hair and to seal the cuticle. It is also used to clarify/cleanse hair.

Aloe Vera Juice/gel- Aloe Vera is used to balance the pH balance of hair and scalp and also used in natural hair products to increase moisture.

Coconut Oil – A light and scent-free oil used as a moisturizer, sealant, pre-poo and much more in natural hair. Coconut oil can also be used on the skin for moisturizing and healing purposes.

EVOO – Extra Virgin Olive Oil
EVOO is used to lock moisture into hair and can also be used as a pre-poo and deep conditioning treatment.

Shea Butter – Made from an oil extracted from the nut of the Shea tree. Shea Butter can be used on skin and hair for moisture.

Going Natural

Line of Demarcation – The point where the natural hair meets the relaxed.

Transitioner – An individual who is transitioning from relaxed to natural hair.

Transitioning Period –  The phase in an individual’s life where they are growing their natural hair out, simultaneously cutting off their relaxed hair.

Natural Hair Journey – The journey one embarks upon once becoming natural. For documentation purposes, the “natural hair journey” includes the decision making process period (to go or not to go natural?) while relaxed, the transitioning period, and the current state of one’s natural hair.

Hair Story – The history of an individual’s hair

New Growth – New growth is natural hair grown in after an individual has had a perm. New growth is the natural hair texture of the individual and the line of demarcation can be seen when an individual has new growth.

Long Term Transitioner – Someone who decides to transition to natural hair over a long period of time while acquiring a comfortable length of natural hair.

Natural Hair – Unprocessed hair. Natural hair usually refers to hair that is kinky/curly and has not been relaxed with chemicals.

Relaxed (Permed) hair – Hair that has been chemically straightened

Hair Maintenance Terms

Baggy Method – A deep conditioning method where hair is moisturized then covered with a plastic bag or shower cap to enhance the effectiveness of the moisturizing agent. Proponents state that this method increases the moisture in hair leading to less breakage and split ends.

DC – Deep Conditioning or Deep Conditioner
Deep conditioners can be home-made or store-bought. Ready-made or store bought deep conditioners include hair softening or strengthening ingredients (Ex: protein or coconut oil) and boasts extreme hair conditioning. Home-made deep conditioners usually contain natural and edible ingredients as a moisturizing treat for dry hair. Deep conditioning treatments can be done on freshly washed or dirty dry hair; the deep conditioner is added to the hair and it is left on for at least 15 minutes to penetrate the hair strand. To increase the effectiveness of deep conditioners some use a mild heat source to further help the conditioner penetrate the hair shaft.

Detangle – To untangle hair by combing through it with a comb or fingers.

Detangling Conditioner – Conditioner with a lot of ‘slip’ made specifically for untangling knotty hair

DT  – Deep Treatment – See DC/Deep Conditioning

Finger detangling – The act of combing through hair with fingers

Leave in (conditioner) – Conditioner that can be left in the hair without being rinsed out.

Leave in mixture – A mixture of natural products (usually in a spray bottle) used as a leave in conditioner.

L.O.C Method – Liquid, Oil, Creme method. A method of moisturizing hair where a liquid is applied first, then an oil, and lastly a creme or daily moisturizer.

Low Maintenance Hairstyle – Style that requires little to no maintenance and doesn’t take very much to put in or take out. Low maintenance styles are often confused with protective style and the terms are often times used interchangeably.

Moisturizer – Homemade or store bought product to moisturize skin or hair; usually an oil, creme, or butter.

Pineapple – Pulling hair to the top of one’s head in a ponytail (high pony) while sleeping to preserve curl definition and prevent frizz.

Pre-poo – Pre-shampoo – Pre-Shampoo treatments are done before shampooing the hair to increase moisture levels on dry hair. Pre-pooing typically includes using an oil and doing the ‘baggy method.’

Protective Style – Hairstyle that protects hair from the elements and unnecessary damage

Satin/Silk scarf, satin bonnet, head tie or tie head – Scarves or hats used to protect natural hair at night

Sealant (oils) – Product used to seal (lock) in moisture, typically an oil.

Shingling –

Stretched hair – Hair that has been lengthened by stretching the natural kinks/curls that usually make natural hair shrink.

Night Time Routine – The nightly routine done to maintain the health of one’s hair

Hair Tools

Perm Rods – Round curlers similar to rollers that have a clasp to close rather than a separate cover.

Flexi Rods – Straight rods that can be rolled in various ways to form a spiral curl.

Denman Brush – Brush made by Denman to detangle and define natural curls.

What are Curlformers? Curlformers are plastic frames you insert your hair into to create curls.

General Terms about hair and styles

Consistency – The texture of a product, how it moves, etc.

Hair types, Hair Typing, and the hair Typing Chart – Hair typing system that categorizes hair from 1 (Straight) – 4 (kinky).

HIHS – Hair in Hair Syndrome – Individuals who have a hard time keeping their hands out of their hair have Hand in Hair Syndrome.

PJ – Product Junkie – Someone obsessed with using and purchasing new hair products.

Slip – Having a level of ‘slipperiness.’ Products with ‘slip’ allow users to easily apply product and comb through their hair.

Staple Hairstyle – The hairstyle you love to do, always wear, and are best known for.

Twist n’Curl – A twist natural hairstyle with curled ends.

Wash and Go – Hair style that entails washing and defining curls