The Natural Hair Glossary

To help you better understand some of the terminology used on this site (and in the natural hair and loc world in general) below is a list of definitions of commonly used terms:

ACV - see Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple Cider Vinegar - an inexpensive, natural remedy used for clarifying, treating dandruff, and soothing itchy, flaky scalp by balancing the pH of the scalp. Used in apple cider vinegar rinses in diluted form.

Baby Locs - new locs that are from approximately 0 to 4 months old. The locs have not yet begin to tangle and are still in their original twisted/braided form.

Bantu Knots - method use to curl loose natural hair and locs by twisting sections of hair around itself to form knots on the head.

BC - see Big Chop

Big Chop - a method of transitioning to natural hair by cutting off all of the relaxed hair, leaving a short afro (or TWA). Also known as the Cold Turkey Method.

Braidlocks - a method of starting locs using small individual braids. Good for people who do not want to BC or whose hair unravels easily.

Braid Out - method used to achieve a wave/curl pattern in loose natural hair and locs. Hair is braided in sections or corn rowed while damp, then unbraided when dry.

Buds/Budding - small masses of tangled hair resembling plant buds that begin to form about 1"-3" from the root on new locs, occurring toward the end of the Baby Loc phase. This is the first sign that locking is beginning.

Carrier Oil - an oil used as a base for hair and skin treatments used to dilute essential oils. Common carrier oils are safflower, almond, coconut, almond, grape seed, and jojoba.

Cold Turkey Method - see Big Chop

Comb Coils - see Single Strand Twists

Cultivated Locs - locs started by the single strand, double strand, braidlock or Sisterlocks method whereby the hair is parted evenly and uniformly and a definitive pattern of individual locs is formed.

EO - see Essential Oils

Essential Oils - a highly concentrated liquid that is distilled from the leaves, stems, flowers, bark, roots, or other elements of a plant. They are added to various hair and skin treatments based on the beneficial qualities of each type of EO.

EVOO - see Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Extra Virgin Olive Oil - an oil commonly used in hair and skin treatments as a moisturizer.

Freeform Locs - locs that are formed by simply ceasing to comb the hair and letting the locs for naturally. These locs tend to be larger and less uniform.

Latch Hooking - a method of maintaining locs whereby the loc is threaded through its unlocked root and repeated in a crisscrossing pattern until the entire root is tightened.

Loose Natural - natural hair that is not locked.

Locs/Locks - another term for dreadlocks, often used by those who are not fond of the negative connotation that comes with the prefix "dread".

Loctician - a hairstylist who specializes in starting and maintaining locs.

Mature Locs - locs that are > 1-1.5 years old and are in the final stages of locking . The locs are fairly uniform and solid throughout the length of the entire loc.

No Poo - a cleansing method where shampoo is not used and the hair is cleansed using only conditioner.

Palm Rolling - a loc maintenance technique for retwisting roots whereby the locs are rolled in a single direction (usually clockwise) between the palms.

Single-Strand Twists - a method to start locs or can be worn as a natural hair style. A fine tooth comb is used to form the hair into hollow cylinders. Also called Comb Coils.

Sisterlocks - a trademarked method of starting locs done by certified Sisterlock consultants. These locs tend to be thinner than locs started by other methods. Can be done without doing a BC.

Teenage Locs - the middle stage of the locking process that occurs from about the 4 month to 1 year point. The locs are starting to solidify but are fuzzy and can be unruly and uncooperative (like a real teenager).

Teenie Weenie Afro - a short afro, usually the result of a BC.

Twist-Out - method used to achieve a wave/twist pattern in hair and locs. Hair is two-strand twisted in sections while damp, then untwisted when dry.

Two-Strand Twists - natural hairstyle or method of starting locs whereby two small sections of hair are twisted around each other to form a twist. Can be worn as twists or used in the Twist Out method. Also used as a method of transitioning.

TWA - see Teenie Weenie Afro