Are you new to the natural hair community and find yourself confused by words and abbreviations? Or do you get put off and lose patience when you read blogs and online forums without being able to follow the whole conversation? Like any community, the natural hair community has developed it’s own way for speaking in terms of words, expressions and abbreviations. Sometimes it’s easy to figure out what a person is speaking about by the content, but this isn’t always the case. Here’s a list of useful words and phrases to know when you are diving into the natural hair scene:
BC – Big Chop; cutting all your hair off. This is often done when going from relaxed hair to natural but can also be when someone wants to start over their hair journey or just wants to keep their hair in a short style.
Bantu Knots – Hairstyle that is achieved by twisting the hair in small sections until it forms small buns.
Cornrows/canerows – Hairdo where the hair is braided close to the scalp in rows; it looks like the braid lays on top of the hair, opposite to French braid when the braid is “inside” the hair. Both these styles are achieved by adding loose hair to the braid as you go.
Co-Wash – Washing hair with conditioner only instead of shampoo. There are currently an array of co-washing conditioners on the market.
DC – Deep Conditioning, which focuses on adding extra moisture to the hair. There are also protein deep conditioners which focus on adding more protein to the hair.
Flat twist – Hairdo when the hair is twisted (similar to two strand twists) close to the scalp, like cornrows but using a twisting technique instead of braiding.
Leave-In – Conditioner that is left in the hair, instead of rinsing it out with water. The goal of a leave in conditioner is to infuse the hair with more moisture.
Locs/Dread locks – Hairstyle where hair is not combed, thus forming sections of hair that holds together, can be done by not combing hair or by different methods twisting hair into shape.
Naturalista – Woman who leaves her hair in its naturally curly state.
Product Junkie – A person who is addicted to buying and trying new products.
Sister locs – A type of very thin locks (not anyone can do sister locs, you have to take a special course to learn how to make them the correct way).
Transitioning – When letting the hair grow out from relaxer to naturally curly over time instead of going straight to a big chop.
TWA – Teeny Weeny Afro; A very short afro.
Twist out – Hairstyle that is achieved by doing two strand twists and then taking them out – Hairdo that is achieved by twisting two strands of hair around each other