Monday, April 20, 2009


Glossary of Hair Care Terms

Every industry has its own jargon, and the hair care world is no exception! If you are a member of any hair care forums, or visit hair care blogs, then I'm sure you've run across a few terms that are foreign to you. This glossary will serve to help you understand some of the most oft-used terms in the hair care world.

Now divas, please know that I'm still learning too, so this glossary will be updated as new terms arise. I'm going to kick it off with a list of the terms that I use the most, and plan to build on it as time goes on. If you wish to add any to the list, please let me know. Just make sure that it's a term that many ladies use, and not just your tiny circle of friends. Thanks!

Aphogee: A line of hair care products that seek to impart protein back in the hair (For more information, see Protein Treatments).

BC: Abbreviation for "Big Chop." Many women who transition from relaxed to natural hair opt to cut off all or most of their relaxed hair to make room for the natural texture that is growing in. Some go as short as almost bald, and some go as short as necessary to rid themselves of relaxed ends. How big the chop actually is is therefore left open to the interpretation of the individual (See also Mini Chop).

Bronner Bros.: Bronner Bros. products are created primarily for the African American population. Their main product lines include African Royale, BB, and NuExpressions. (My favorite product of course is the Double Strength Super Gro Extra Lite, which you'll often see or hear me refer to as simply Bronner Bros.).

Co-wash: Co-wash is short for conditioner wash, and means that one is only washing their hair with conditioner. No shampoo is involved. This is usually done by ladies who wish to rid their hair of product buildup and sweat without completely stripping the hair of essential oils that serve to keep the hair soft and manageable. (To learn more, see Co-wash After A Workout.

Curly Hair (Definition derived from and Curly hair has a definite loopy "S" pattern. Most people think curly hair is coarse, but actually it is usually baby soft and very fine in texture -- there's just a lot of it. However, at times it can be coarse and ropy, or soft and springy. Because the cuticle layers don't lie as flat, curly hair isn't as shiny as straight or wavy hair. The hair doesn't have a very smooth surface, so light doesn't reflect off of it as much. When curly hair is wet, it usually straightens out. As it dries, it absorbs the water and contracts to its curliest state.

Deep Conditioning: Deep conditioning is the process in which a conditioner is left on the hair for an extended period of time and allowed to fully penetrate before being rinsed out. Most often, heat is applied (either by way of a hooded dryer or by wrapping a warm towel around the head), as it serves to open up the hair shaft. Keeping conditioner in the hair for hours without applying heat can also serve to provide extra conditioning.

Detangle: Detangling is the process in which one removes all the tangles from the hair, allowing for it to be easily combed through. The safest way to detangle the hair is while the hair is being conditioned. Using a wide tooth shower comb, run the conditioner through the hair, starting at the tips and work your way up to the roots until all tangles have been removed.

EVOO: Abbreviation for Extra Virgin Olive Oil. (To learn more about EVOO, click here: Olive Oil As A Conditioning Treatment).

Finger Comb: Using one's fingers to comb through the hair. This usually helps the hair keep its shape and doesn't disrupt the texture in the same way a comb can.


Hot Oil Treatment: A hot oil treatment is when one applies warm oil to the hair, allowing it to sit on the hair for a period of time before rinsing/washing it out. If the oil itself is not warmed up prior to being applied, then one can sit under a hooded dryer and allow the oil to penetrate. Wrapping a warm towel around the head will also do the trick.



Kinky Hair (Definition derived from Kinky hair is tightly coiled with a zig-zag pattern. It can be soft and spongy, coarse and wiry, or thick and fine. It may appear to be resilient and tough, but it is the most fragile texture. Kinky hair requires extreme hydration to keep it soft and pliable so it can form a neat, defined curl pattern.


Mini Chop: This refers to cutting off a few inches of hair as opposed to a lot. It is therefore the opposite of the "BC" or "Big Chop."


ORS: Abbreviation for "Organic Root Stimulator." Organic Root Stimulator has a great line of hair care products for African Americans (When I use the term ORS alone, I'm most likely referring to their Olive Oil Moisturizing Hair Lotion).

PJ: Abbreviation for "Product Junkie." This term is used to describe an individual who is addicted to hair care products. They either own a lot and or are constantly buying and trying new ones.

Pre-Poo: Pre-pooing is a pre-shampoo treatment that is applied to the hair and/or scalp, and left on for a period of time before being shampooed out. Some people like to apply oils (Olive, jojoba, etc.), conditioners, or some combination of the two (My EVOO treatment can be considered a pre-poo. See EVOO for more details).

Protective Styles: A protective style is basically any style that hides the ends of your hair. The concept is based on the perception that if the ends aren't out (i.e. exposed to the elements), then they are less likely to split, and you'll retain much more length because there will be less of a need to trim/cut the hair. Buns and braids are two protective styles that come to mind. Weaves and wigs can also be considered protective styles, as they hide one's natural hair and allow for little to no manipulation, which will also serve to protect the hair from splitting. You have to be careful though, because although weaves, wigs, and braids can serve to protect the hair from certain damage, they can also cause damage such as traction alopecia (braids and weaves) and breakage caused by friction (wigs) if not properly cared for.

Protein Treatment: Protein treatments involve the use of any product that seeks to impart protein back into the hair. The hair is mainly made up of a strong protein called Keratin, and the only thing that can build it up and make it stronger is protein. Although it's important to do protein treatments, one must make sure that they alternate them with conditioning treatments, as protein can make the hair very hard and dry, which can lead to excessive shedding and or breakage. Some ladies use natural products such as eggs or mayonnaise as a protein treatment. There are of course hair care products that are formulated to impart protein back into the hair, such as the Aphogee line of hair care.




Traction Alopecia: Traction Alopecia is baldness that occurs as a result of too much stress being placed on the scalp. Wearing any style repetitively that places tension on the scalp, such as weaves, braids, or tight ponytails can lead to Traction Alopecia (For more details, see Don't Pull That Pony Too Tight).



Wash and Go: This term is used to describe any style that enables an individual to simply wash their hair and step out the door without a lot of fuss (Styling my naturally curly hair would be considered a wash and go style, for it doesn't require any heat or a lot of manipulation and styling).





bluebonnet67 said...

Thank you!

marie said...

very nice! would like to get in touch


Beautifully_human said...

quick question, Do you know what dusting your ends mean? I've been hearing that phrase more and more.