Mad about Curls & Waves Dictionary


Big Chop
The process of cutting the major part of the hair that used to be relaxed or straightened, in order to give room for healthy textured hair to grow naturally.


The cuticle of a curly hair has an irregular thickness along the fibre, creating weakness points at torsions where it is thinner. The curlier the hair is, the more prone it is to breakage.


Bungee Bands
An easy and effective way of tying a braid or a ponytail, without breaking the curls. To achieve a perfect grip, the hair band is fitted with hooks.


Co-washing is the shortened version for 'conditioner washing' – using a conditioner with cleansing properties, instead of shampoo. The absence of harsh surfactants cleanses the hair in a gentler and caring way, without stripping hair’s natural oils.


The hard, crunching and unnatural feeling left by some styling products once hair is dry. Sometimes can be scrunched out.


The outer cellular layer of hair and the hair’s protective shield against external aggressions. Prevents structural damage of the inner hair structure.

Deep Conditioning / Deep Treatment
A heat activated conditioning/treatment process to add moisture back into the hair. Leave the moisturising conditioner/treatment with a penetrating heat source on the hair for 20 minutes.


A blow-dryer attachment used to disperse the airflow without disturbing the curl or wave pattern and without causing frizz. With a low-heat setting this item simulates air drying, locking curls in place and keeping them voluminous and defined.


A cutting technique used to mildly layer the hair by keeping the length, but taking off the damaged hair tips.


Curly hair tends to have more frizz than straight hair because of dehydration in the strands, which leaves it more prone to frizzing. Frizz occurs when the cuticle layer of the hair is raised, allowing moisture to pass through and swell the strands.


Hair Pattern
Description of loose, medium or tight hair texture.


Hair Texture
Description of straight, wavy, curly or kinky hair.


A protein and major component of skin, hair and nails. When hair is damaged, the levels of keratin tend to lower.


Kinky Hair
4C curl type, considered to be the tighter coils type and has a torsion twist where the hair strand turns completely around itself.

'Low-poo’ (low shampoo) describes the method of washing the hair with low-surfactant products that only create a low lather, due to the absence of harsh surfactants that would strip away the hair’s natural moisture.


A Moisturiser is a product that includes humectants – these are extremely hydrophilic molecules that use hydrogen bonding to attract and hold water molecules surrounding it. Intense moisturising ingredients include Panthenol or Glycerin.


The ‘No-poo’ (no shampoo) method uses no shampoo at all, the hair is only treated with warm water.


Hair porosity refers to how well your hair can absorb and retain moisture and is directly linked to the quality of the hair.


Coating the hair, for about 30 minutes or more, with a mixture of oils or a deep treatment before cleansing the hair.

Protective Hair Styling
A hairstyle that prevents hair from being openly exposed to damaging agents such as sun, heat, and constant manipulation. The purpose and benefits of this hairstyle is to grow healthier, longer hair and reduce split ends and damage. Some examples of protective hair styles are buns, braids, sew-in weaves and wigs.


A chemical treatment, designed to permanently alter the hair's natural texture into a straightened state.


Styling technique for a more textured look. Gently squeeze the hair upward, from ends towards the roots, to encourage wave and curl definition and remove product crunch.


Shrinkage is when the hair retracts after washing or being exposed to moisture, with the true length of the hair not visible. Hair experiences the most shrinkage immediately after washing and is the reason why so many texture specialists swear by a wet cut.


Silk Pillowcases
A regular cotton pillowcase can pull at your hair and cause frizz, split ends, uneven curling and more. Silk pillowcases are great for textured hair, given its delicate hair structure.


Method to permanently relax curly hair.


Detergents made of sulfur-containing mineral salts. The most common are Sodium Lauryl Sulfate and Sodium Laureth Sulfate.


Process in which steps are taken to stop relaxing the hair and grow back the natural healthy hair texture.