Hair care: popular terms and hair lingo

  Hello everyone. I decided to do a quick post on popular hair lingo for anyone who wants to get serious about hair care and is still trying to understand the meanings of some acronyms or hair terms used on most relaxed hair websites.


Prepoo – This is preparing your hair prior to shampooing by using a moisturizing conditioner or oils e.g extra virgin olive oil for at least 20-30 minutes on your hair. Prepooing helps keep reduce the loss of moisture from your hair when you shampoo or clarify. If you’re serious about hair care, you should consider doing a prepoo. There’s no harm in trying.

Carrier oils – Are known as base oils or vegetable oils and are used to dilute essential oils .Examples include avocado oil, jojoba oil, extra virgin coconut oil, castor oil, coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, etc.

Essential oils: Are usually extracted from plants that can be used for medicinal and aromatherapy purposes. They are usually diluted with a carrier oil which help to increase the absorption of essential oils.

Deep conditioning –This is leaving a deep conditioner and/or oils (I love adding extra virgin olive oil to my conditioners) on your hair for at least 20-30 minutes, usually with heat. You can use a heating cap, steamer or blow dryer. Or you could warm the oil before applying to your hair. The heat helps the product to penetrate the hair cuticle. Regular deep conditioning results in healthy hair. You should deep condition at least once a week if you’re serious about hair care.

Cowashing – Washing your hair with a regular conditioner instead of shampoo to replace moisture in your hair without stripping it of its natural oils.

Leave-in Conditioner – After shampooing and conditioning your hair, it is important to apply a leave-in conditioner to your wet hair to restore moisture to your hair. Leave-ins help to detangle and soften your hair. In addition, they keep your hair from being frizzy when it dries.

Moisturizing – This is applying a moisture-based product to dry hair WITHOUT washing it out. Black hair needs more moisture than other hair types so it’s important to do this hair care step regularly to prevent breakage and increase elasticity in the hair. You can moisturize once or twice a day OR every other day, depending on your moisture needs.

Sealing – This is using oil or a butter to lock in the moisture after moisturizing your hair. Sealing in your moisturizer helps keep your hair moisturized for a longer time. Examples of oils include extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, castor oil, safflower oil Shea butter, mango nut butter, etc.

Humectants – They are ingredients found in hair products that attract and retain moisture from the air examples include glycerin, propylene glycol, honey, sorbitol, etc.

Protective Styling – Wearing your hair in a style that keeps your ends off of your back & protected from outside elements e.g. pony tails, buns etc.

Low Manipulation – These are styles that allow you to handle your hair less leading to less shedding and breakage. Examples are weaveons, braids, twistouts, braidouts, etc.

Braid-Out – This is a form of styling your hair by braiding it while it is still damp. It can either be done by doing ‘cornrows’ or single plaits. The braids are air dried and unraveled when completely dry. If you do it well, you can keep this style for up to a week without redoing it.

Baggying – Putting on your moisturizer and then applying a plastic bag over the hair to trap the moisture in. You can do a full head baggy with a plastic shower cap or just the ends using a small sandwich bag. If you have dry damaged hair and/or dry ends, this might be good for you.

Dusting – This is doing a very light trim on your hair by cutting only 1/8 to 1/4 of an inch.

Line of Demarcation – is the point where the natural hair and relaxed hair meet. Since it is extremely delicate, you have to be very gentle when handling your hair when you stretch between relaxers.

Over-lapping – Applying relaxer to already relaxed hair in addition to the new growth. It can lead to damaged, over-processed hair. Stretching helps to prevent over-lapping. 

Stretching – This is prolonging the time between relaxers applications. The minimum time between your relaxers should be at least 8 -12 wks.

Texturizing – This is loosening the curl pattern slightly and the hair doesn’t get straight at all.

Texlaxing/Relaxurizing – This is basically under processing your hair on purpose by not letting the relaxer letting your hair not to get to the point of being straight. It helps make your hair easier to comb and also gives your hair some thickness.

Relaxing Bone Straight – This is allowing the relaxer to process the hair to its straightest possible state.

Relaxing Straight– This is allowing the hair to a point that it is JUST straight but not bone straight.

Shedding – This occurs when you see strands of hair with white bulbs on the root. Hair goes through a natural shedding period, so if you’re taking care of your hair and it suddenly starts shedding a bit, don’t be alarmed. If you are worried, try using garlic or a black tea rinse to stop the shedding OR seeing a dermatologist.

Hair Breakage – These are broken pieces of hair without the white bulb. This can be caused by too much moisture or protein, over processing, etc.

Slip: When a comb glides effortlessly through the hair. Some conditioners might not give you slip even though they are moisturizing.

Hair Serums – Protect the hair from the damage from heat and sunlight by forming a thin protective layer on the hair strands. They make the hair ‘shinier’ and prevent tangling. They usually contain silicones. 

 – Leaving the relaxer on too long, resulting in a bone straight/limp appearance.

 – Your hair still has waves, curls and kinks after a relaxer because the relaxer did not process/penetrate the hair enough. It can be intentional or by poor application techniques.

Hair lengths

EL – Ear Length

NL – Neck Length

SL – Shoulder Length

APL – Arm Pit Length

BSL – Bra Strap Length

MBL – Mid back Length

WSL – Waist Length Hair

Hair Types

– 2a, 2b, 2c
Loose curls
– 3a, 3b, 3c
Thicker, coily curls. Tracee Ellis Ross and Alicia Keys are in hair type 3 category.
– 4a, 4b
Kinky, coily hair. 4b is the thickest hair type. Lauryn Hill and Erykah Badu fall into this 4a/b category.


More acronyms/hair lingo

ACV Apple cider vinegar

ALS – Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate, Ammonium Laureth Sulfate

BC – Big Chop

BHM – Black Hair Media

BSS – Beauty Supply Store

Cones – Silicones

CW– Co-wash

DC – Deep Condition

HHG – Happy Hair Growing

EO – Essential Oil

EVCO – Extra Virgin Coconut Oil

EVOO – Extra Virgin Olive Oil

JBCO – Jamaican Black Castor Oil

LHCF – Long Hair Care Forum

NG – New Growth

PJ – Product Junkie

SAA – Silk Amino Acid

Slip – When the comb easily glides through the hair

SLS – Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Sodium Laureth Sulfate

I hope this hair lingo explanation has been helpful. Take care. 

About the author
Dr Fomsky

Nigerian-born Dr Fomsky is a God-lover, a wife, a mom of three, a medical doctor by day. Plus she owns a Nigerian-based online hair product store called Sizzelle.
Dr Fomsky is very passionate about hair, skin and weight management. Since she's had her babies, she's been struggling to keep her weight and her tummy down!
At night, she likes to read books, write blog posts and leave comments on other blogs. She lives in Alberta, Canada and is also the author of Solving your relaxed hair breakage book .
LAST RELAXER DAY: December 15th, 2016
BIG CHOP: January 14th, 2017
Natural Hair, Unknown Porosity, Fine Hair strands, Low to Moderate Density

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