Naturalistas, yep, that’s you over there with the unprocessed kinky and coily hair. Have you recently gone natural or are you planning to and have no idea of how to describe your hair or its needs? We’ve got you covered with this handy glossary of terms that will help you to transition to (and maintain) your natural hair.
1. Process: You’ve heard this one many times but in case you’re doubting what all the relaxers, straighteners and perms were doing to your hair, it’s called processing. Say goodbye to thin limp hair, chemical burns and bald patches.
2. BC – Big Chop: This is your (sometimes) terrifying and exciting fresh new start. Depending on how long you’ve been growing out your natural hair and how long your processed hair is, you might have a drastic cut to make to get rid of damaged ends.
3. TWA – Teeny Weeny Afro: After your big chop, your hair is likely to be a short afro. It’s the perfect length to test new products that work for your new hair texture without too much maintenance.
4. Hair Type: This system determines the type of curl of your hair. It’s a number and letter classification that includes type 3 curly wavy to type 4 kinky coily and variations within those types. A 4A hair type would have a springier coil than a 4B type with a more tightly kinked coil. Hair typing is important to help you understand how to care for your hair, how your hair will respond to certain products and which styles are best for you.
5. Doobie: This is a nighttime protective style for your hair. Brush your hair, wrap it around your head and cover it with a scarf to keep it straight. It’s a great way of temporarily straightening your afro without applying any heat.
6. Sisterlocks: These are thinner, finer locs that are uniform and have been trademarked by Dr JoAnne Cornwall so only trained professionals can use the specialized technique.
8. Shrinkage: When your hair dries after a wash, the length of hair can appear up to 95 per cent shorter.
9. Heat Stretching: To counteract shrinkage, blow dry hair to minimise knots and tangles and make it easier to style. Make sure to use some heat protection as it can be quite damaging if heat is applied too often.
10. Pineappling: This style involves loosely tying hair up in a ponytail at night so your curls don’t get messed up while you sleep. It keeps curls tame, in tact and easy to maintain.