Natural Hair Tips

natural hair glossary

A natural hair glossary which contains terms, words, and phrases that are used for natural hair care and styling. If your are a newbie and or transitioning into the natural hair journey, this dictionary will be a great start to discovering your natural “thirsty roots”.

Natural Hair Terminology

2nd Day Hair
Naturally curly hair that stays curly and looks good the next day and do not turn frizzy.
Classification numbers for naturally loose curly hair. This hair system was created by Andre Walker.
Classification numbers for naturally tight kinky curly hair. This hair system was created by Andre Walker.
Accordion Technique
A method, from the book [Curly Girl] by Lorainne Massey, to help define curls by scrunching your hair in the formation of an accordion.
ACV | Apple Cider Vinegar
The acidity is close to that of natural hair, so it is used as a final rinse after shampooing and before conditioning, to promote healthy hair by tightening and sealing the cuticle.
hairstyle that is rounded in shape and naturally curly coiled hair
AO | Aubrey Organics
Hair care product line that contains natural and organic ingredients.
APL | Arm Pit Length
A guide to the length of your hair growth in reference to when the hair reaches your arm pit.
Argan Oil
Oil rich in vitamin E and essential fatty acids produced from the kernels of the argan tree grown organically in Morocco. Can be used as a fast absorbing daily moisturizer or to heal and condition cuticles and split ends. Also known as Moroccan Oil.
BAA | Big Ass Afro
A really large Afro which is obtained with long naturally curly and or kinky hair.
A method to help reduce breakage, split ends, and dryness. After moisturizing your hair and sealing it at night, put a plastic cap or shower cap on overnight to help your hair retain the moisture it needs for maximum growth retention.
Bantu Knot
Hairstyle created when the hair is sectioned off in diamond, triangle or square shapes and twisted into knots. Also known as Zulu knots.
Bantu Knot Out
Hairstyle created by sectioning the hair into Bantu Knots on damp wet hair and then after it dries, the knots are taking out to achieve defined curly hair.
BC | Big Chop
Cutting relaxed or chemically treated hair completely off to leave only natural textured hair.
BKT | Brazilian Keratin Treatment
A temporary hair straighten treatment that does not use harsh chemicals.
BNC | Braid n Curl
Hairstyle achieved by plaiting or braiding damp or moist hair and curling the ends with rollers or flexi rods. Air dry overnight or use a hair dryer. Then take out the rods and braids to reveal deep wavy and curly hair.
Also seen as Braidlocs or Braidlocks. A method of locking the hair with small braids and maintained by either latching or palm-rolling (twisting). This technique does not require a Big Chop (BC). The Bradelocz e-book was written by Cherie King.
Braid Out
Hairstyle achieved by braiding damp or moist hair in cornrows or single braids and after it drys the hair is unraveled to reveal a more defined curly hair.
BSL | Bra Strap Length
A guide to the length of your hair growth in reference to when the hair reaches where your bra strap is positioned on your back.
BSS | Beauty Supply Store
Buds (Budding)
First stage of dreadlocks and locking your hair, when a knot is formed as the nucleus of each lock.
CBL | Collar Bone Length
A guide to the length of your hair growth in reference to when the hair reaches your collar bone.
CG | Curly Girl
A method, [Say no to shampoo, unplug the dryer, and find your inner curl!], designed to achieve your best natural curls based on the book [Curly Girl] written by Lorraine Massey.
A method of washing your hair with conditioner only. This type of washing avoids harsh results from frequent washing with shampoos that contain detergents like sodium lauryl sulfate and sodium laureth sulfate, and helps to keep natural black hair soft and manageable.
Comb coils
A hairstyle technique achieved by placing the tail of a rattail comb at the root of small sections of the hair and turning it clockwise to create a coil. A great style for shorter length hair.
Cones (Silicones)
Ingredients in some hair care products that are not water soluble and has to be washed out well unless it will cause a heavy build-up on your hair.
Type of braiding style where the hair is braided very closely to the scalp in an underhand, upward motion to create a continuous, raised row. The styles are endless that can be achieved with cornrow designs.
Creamy crack
A term created by women who found it hard to stop relaxing their hair while transitioning, used to describe permanent relaxers.

Curl Sponge

A spongy product used to produce a textured curl on natural hair resulting in twist. Popular with African American men, boy and TWA haircuts.

A company that produces a curl defining brush that many natural haired women use.
Type of hair conditioner that smooths your hair by coating it, so that the hair tightens up and smooths the scales on the outer surface of the hair or cuticle to prevent tangles.
Process in which you use a Detangler to soften and smooth the hair for manageability.
DIY | Do It Yourself
DT | Deep Treatment
Also known as DC (Deep Conditioning). A treatment to help add moisture back into the hair, by leaving a moisturizing conditioner with a penetrating heat source on your hair for an extended period of time.
Evenly trimming 1/4 in of hair or less in which the name derived from the little hairs that looks like dust on the floor.
EO | Essential Oils
Natural oils (Basil, Rosemary, Sage, Peppermint, Lemon, Lavender, etc.) that promotes healthy hair.
EVCO | Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
A natural conditioner that promotes hair growth, strong healthy hair, prevents dandruff, and makes the hair shiny and soft.
EVOO | Extra Virgin Olive Oil
A natural sealant used to seal and lock in the moisture from your moisturizer, while smoothing the hair cuticle and adding shine. Some use this oil for a Pre-Shampoo Treatment (Pre-Poo).
Flat Twist
A two strand twist braiding technique similar to cornrows, by twisting the hair flat to the head
Finger combing your hair to obtain maximum fullness and volume for your curly hair
FSG | Flax Seed Gel
Homemade recipe for a styling gel made with flax seed that doesn’t weigh your hair down, dry it out, or create flakiness.
A natural colorant or hair dye, and strengthener.
HG | Holy Grail
A statement used for products that you have tried and works perfect for your hair.
HHJ | Healthy Hair Journey
Expression used to describe the journey a woman takes to achieve healthy hair.
HIH | Hand in Hair
Also seen as HIF: Hands in Fro. This a slight bad habit to have to manipulate or play in your hair.
JBCO | Jamaican Black Castor Oil
Castor oil that has been manufactured on Jamaica used to strengthen, thicken, increase hair growth.
KCCC | Kinky Curly Custard
A styling agent made with natural ingredients used to elongate and define naturally curly hair.
Latch Hooking
A method used to maintain dreadlocks by incorporating the new growth into the locks to keep them neat.
MBL | Mid Back Length
A guide to the length of your hair growth in reference to when your hair reaches the middle of your back.
Also known as Nattyversary. This is the Anniversary date of when your hair became fully natural.
A hair regimen of which you do not use shampoos to cleanse your hair. Some use conditioners in place of the shampoo also known as Co-washing.
ORS | Organic Root Stimulator
A hair care product line that is geared towards naturally restoring hair and scalp with herbal ingredients.
Palm rolling
A method used to maintain dreadlocks by helping the knots in the locks tighten and compress. This is done by grabbing a single dreadlock between the base of your palms and rubbing it back and forth vigorously.
A way of preparing your hair and sleeping to preserve your curls to have 2nd Day Hair. This is achieved by placing your hair in a high loose ponytail on top of the head and sleeping on a satin pillowcase. In the morning the curls are intact just by letting the ponytail down and gently shaking the hair.
Also known as Pixie Braids. For naturals, these braids are small individual braids all over the head without weave. Pixie braids are also braids with hair extensions (weave) that are small box braids, cut in layers and sealed with heat. These braids are usually curled or bent at the ends slightly to give them a shape towards the face.
PJ | Product Junky
This is an expression used for a person who buys any and all hair care products they can find to try the next best thing on the market.
A way of drying your hair quickly and help enhance your waves and curls by wrapping your hair in a t-shirt or cotton cloth material.
Coating the hair, for about 30 minutes or more, with a mixture of natural oils or a deep conditioner before you shampoo.
Protective Hairstyle
A hairstyle that tucks the ends of your hair away from being exposed to damaging agents such as sun, heat, and constant manipulation. The purpose and benefits of this hairstyle is to grow healthier, longer hair and reduce split ends and damage. Some examples are Buns, Braids, Sew-in Weaves, Wigs, and Drawstring Ponytails.
Your day to day or weekly hair care and styling guide.
S&Ds | Search and Destroy
Process in which you occasionally search your hair for any split ends, crooked ends, or single strand knots and snipping it with a sharp hair styling scissors.
(Seal the Ends) To apply product to the ends of the hair to keep them moisturized and limit breakage. The choice of method is to use a water-based moisturizer (conditioner or cream that has water as its first ingredient), and then seal with a butter or oil.
A styling method, created at Miss Jessie’s salon, used to manually define curls by applying a leave in conditioner or gel with a comb, spreading the product from roots to ends in a downward direction while smoothing and stretching hair. (originally designed to use with Miss Jessie’s CURLY PUDDING™ or Miss Jessie’s Curly Meringue™)
SL | Sisterlocks
Tiny uniform deadlocks. These locks are created by a method of a specialized tool that places the hair into its locking formation and does not require waxes or gels. These locks are very versatile and has hairstyle options as relaxed individuals.
Describes how slippery a product is and how effective it will coat the hair for detangling. Usually in reference to a conditioner or a detangler product.
SLS | Sodium Lauryl Sulfate
A high volume synthetic chemical, that is drying to the hair, used in many shampoos.
TNC | Twist n Curl
Hairstyle achieved by two strand twisting damp or moist hair and curling the ends with rollers or flexi rods. Air dry overnight or use a hair dryer. Then take out the rods and twist to reveal deep wavy and curly hair.
Process in which you take steps to stop relaxing the hair to grow out your natural hair texture.
TWA | Teeny Weeny Afro
A small Afro about 1/2 – 1 inch of hair in length, typically in reference to the first stage after the Big Chop (BC).
Twist Out
A hairstyle achieved by two strand twisting the hair (usually while damp or wet then air drying or use a hair dryer) and then unraveling the twist to reveal a crinkly wavy hair texture.
Two Strand Twist
Also known as double strand twists, twists, or twisties. This hairstyle technique can be performed on dry or wet hair. Take a section of hair and divide into two even pieces and twist each section of hair around the other. You continue until all of your hair is twisted like single braids.
Virgin Hair
Hair that is natural from the roots and have not been chemically processed or altered.
Wet and Go
A hairstyle technique similar to Wash and Go (WNG), but you do not wash your hair. You drench or spray the hair with a leave-in conditioner and water to define the curls and style as desired for a quick hairstyle.
WNG | Wash and Go
Also abbreviated as WnG or W&G. Method of co-washing the hair, adding a styling gel or cream and then go start your day. The hair air drys or you can dry it with a diffuser.

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About the author

thirsty roots®

Our goal is to share the beauty of Afro-textured hair and to have a place where we can come together to get examples, advice, and information of black hair growth and hairstyles. Whether you have permed, pressed, or natural hair it's still black hair and it's beautiful.


  • Thank goodness for this glossary! I’m new to natural hair and all the terms that come with it were making me lost.

  • This glossary explained a lot of things to me. I have been hearing the majority of the terms in black hair care forums and was at a lost. Now I am going to print this out and go over it with a fine tooth comb and write down my questions and then search for the answers. Thanks for the glossary! 🙂

  • Thank you so much on all these things you can do to help your hair. I will be using some of these methods on my hair.I will be sharing this with my family and friends.

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