Tuesday, June 25, 2013

A glossary of natural hair terms

By Briana Whiteside 

1. Big Chop (B.C) - cutting off all your chemically treated hair.

2. Box braids - long weave braids using braiding hair (kankelon). The hair is parted into small boxes (Janet Jackson’s hair in Poetic Justice).

3. Braid out - braiding hair to the scalp and leaving for hours or days at a time then taken down and the crinkly look creates a braid out.

4. Co-wash - washing hair with conditioner only.

5. Detangling - combing hair only when wet. Wet detangling is crucial to retaining hair length.

6. Frohawk - resembles a mohawk, but since natural’s hair isn’t straight it is called a frohawk.

7. Hair types - 2a (wavy swavy), 2b (wavy curvy), 2c (wavy whirly), 3a (curly twirly), 3b (curly spirally), 3c (curly coily), 4a (coily springy), 4b (coily crimpy), 4c (coily ziggly).

8. Havana twists/Marley braids - twists that resemble locked hair. This is a protective style using only Havana hair (really soft wavy hair) or Marley braiding hair (coarse wavy hair). They are done in large sections and usually last a couple weeks.

9. Pineappleing - sleeping technique to protect curls overnight. Gathering hair high on the head in a loose ponytail and using a silk scarf or laying directly on a satin pillowcase to preserve hair.

10. Pre-pooing - treatment applied before shampooing, usually consists of applying oils, conditioner and heat to help penetrate hair before shampooing.

11. Product junky - a person who buys all new hair products in sight, constantly on the lookout for the next best thing.

12. Protective styles - hairstyles that tuck the ends of hair away from damaging agents such as sun and heat. These styles help hair grow and reduce split ends.

13. Retain moisture - naturals use this terms when their hair becomes dry after they have moisturized. Retaining moisture is essential because it prevents hair breakage.

14. Sealing - sealing moisture in the hair especially at the ends, using water-based moisturizers, butter and oil.

15. Senegalese twists - are a protective style achieved using kankelon braiding hair creating long two strand individual twists.

16. Teasing - playing with hair to manipulate length and width.

17. Teeny weeny afro (T.W.A) — short natural hair that is too short to manipulate.

18. Transitioning - a period of time since the last relaxer. It is also referred to as the hardest time because there are two textures of hair on the head.

19. Twist out - two strand twisting the hair to the scalp, allowing it to dry then it is taken down and styled.

20. Wash & Go - co-washing hair adding styler cream or gel and go, allowing hair to air dry.

Briana Whiteside is a graduate student in English at SIUE and a contributing writer for the Black Studies site.   

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