As you all know, or just might be finding out, I will be doing a short series leading up to my 1 year natural hair anniversary. My anniversary is on June 29th and all week long I will be sharing hair related posts. On Saturday I will share my own journey for the first year. I would really love to collaborate with any of my followers in sharing your hair journey or hair care tips on your blog also this Friday. If possible I would love to have 3 other bloggers to collab with, 1 with straight hair, 1 with wavy hair, and one with a loose curl pattern (I have the tighter curls/kinks) just to show that all hair types are beautiful and need to be cared for in some different ways but some similar ways also. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or comment below your email if you are interested!
The natural hair movement first began as a way of encouraging women of color, or with African ancestry to celebrate, learn about, and love the hair that naturally grows from our scalps. Kinky/coily, and even curly hair was not always seen as beautiful or even professional. Some employers would go as far as not hiring you with afro textured hair saying it is not professional in the work environment. That’s like saying someones face (that they can’t do anything about) bothers you so much that they can not be allowed around you to work. Some students in schools have even been targeted because of their hair, having teachers and principals call it a distraction. Again, that’s like saying someone’s face is a distraction. Kinky coily hair has most often been seen as “unkempt,” people think we can’t comb through it or that we don’t wash it, and that it is nappy. The natural hair moment was started to show that straight hair is beautiful, but so is every other texture- and length! But the movement is so much more than texture and there are some terms you should know or may come across and would like to know…
Natural Hair Terms To Know
Hair Typing/Texture System; Created by Andre Walker
It is possible to have more than one texture. I am in the 4 category with probably 4a, 4b, and 4c in different areas or at least 2 of them! Type 1 is straight hair, type 2 is wavy, type 3 curly, type 4 kinky/curly/coily. The hair typing system isn’t as important as knowing something such as your hair porosity (hair’s ability to absorb moisture) which we will talk about another day:)
While there are many terms in the natural hair community, these are the ones I feel are most important to know, or are used most often:
APL– APL stands for arm pit length
BAA– BIG A** AFRO 😉
BSL– Bra strap length
Bantu Knots– A hairstyle created by carefully parting the hair in small to medium sections, then twisting the sections in one direction until they wrap into neat knots.
Big Chop– Cutting off ALL relaxed/damaged portions of hair, leaving only new growth that has not been altered. (this is what I did to return to my natural texture, you can also transition)
Bonnet– Used to protect the hair/hairstyle at night while sleeping, like a scarf. But bonnets and silk/satin scarves are best to use. Cotton can dry out hair and cause breakage.
CBL– Collar bone length
Creamy Crack/Perm/Relaxer– “Creamy Crack” is a term created to describe perms/hair relaxers because of the tendency of being difficult to stop using during the process of returning natural. Perms/hair relaxers are chemical products used to straighten the hair, permanently changing the natural texture. Once you relax your hair (most of us have been relaxed since we were kids) the only way to have the natural texture back is to grow it out not using relaxers anymore and cut the relaxed ends off.
Coily– A term used to reference the texture characteristic of natural type 4 hair, the strand resembles a small diameter ink pin spring. Most evident when the hair is wet and/or defined with a curling custard/gel.
Cowash– This is when you wash your hair with conditioner only. Washing hair with shampoo often can strip hair of its natural oils and be very drying.
Holy Grail– Refers to ones favorite hair products they always use
JBCO– Jamaican Black Castor Oil. Applying castor oil regularly can help moisturize your roots and scalp to prevent dry hair, as well as promote hair growth and thickening.
Loc Method/LCO– Method used for styling and sealing in moisture to hair using a liquid, oil, and a cream product. I do LCO, Liquid (water or leave in conditioner) Cream (a curl definer) Oil (JBCO to seal)
Pineapple-ing– Placing the hair in a high ponytail on top of the head in order to maintain curls/waves from a twist out style or other styles, and taking it down the next morning. Similar way of preserving a style as the bonnet.
Pre-Poo– Using a deep conditioner, damage repair treatment, or oils for a period of time (15 minutes or so) before shampooing.
Product Junkie– Person who buys and tries a lot of hair products, especially new.
Protective Styling– A hairstyle that protects the hair, mainly the ends (oldest part of hair) to minimize manipulation which can lead to breakage. This includes avoiding heat on the hair, avoiding everyday styling, combing/brushing. Examples include no heat, twists left in for a week or longer, weaves, wigs, and braided styles.
Shingling– brushing/raking gel, conditioner, or other product to hair to spread it from roots to end, which also defines the curls.
Shrinkage– Shrinkage refers to natural hair that shrinks usually half or more than half its actual length. It happens when your hair curls or coils up into its tightest state, usually after getting wet and drying. The curls shrivel up as they dry. Many of us try to avoid shrinkage to show off that true length but shrinkage is actually a good sign that your hair is healthy because it means your natural curls have reverted back. Say if you flat iron your hair and later wash it, if it does not revert back… You have experienced heat damage which is not healthy. This also means you can be natural (no chemical alterations) but have been straightening your hair so often that you have lost your natural pattern through heat damage. Below are examples of shrinkage
Transitioning– Transitioning is when you grow out your natural/healthy hair to desired length, gradually clipping away ends instead of jumping right in cutting off all of the relaxed/damaged ends like you would do in a big chop.
TWA– “Teeny Weeny Afro” lol how cute. This is basically a small afro. Which is usually the first stage when you big chop without transitioning.
The 4 stages. I am in between 2 and 3. Stage 2 is often referred to as the “awkward” stage.
That’s all for part 1 of this hair journey series! I hope you could learn something??? Did I forget anything? And remember if anyone is interested in collaborating please leave your email or email me!