Before we go any further, I must introduce you to natural hair lingo! It'll save us tons of time!
10 Natural Hair Terms You Should Know:
1. Natural Hair: Hair without a relaxer, texturizer, i.e., anything chemically influenced!
2. Transitioning: Process of growing out any chemical treatments (length of time varies with each person).
3. Relaxing/Straightening: Allowing relaxer/perm to relax the hair so that it becomes as straight as possible (white people use perms to curl hair, black people use perms to straighten hair)
4. Hair Type: 2a, 2b, 2c: loose curls, 3a, 3b, 3c: thicker, coily curls (Alicia Keys), 4a, 4b: kinky, coily hair (Erykah Badu)
5. BC: Big Chop. Often, the big chop results when the trasitioning from relaxed to natural becomes too difficult. Some people do the BC when their hair has been extremerly damaged from chemicals or heat (perms, highlights, flat ironing, etc.) and the hair just needs a fresh start. The BC doesn't mean one has to cut off ALL of your hair. Some people opt to go near bald, while other just cut off the relaxed hair (straight hair).
6.Prepoo: preparing hair before shampooing. This is done by adding moisturizing conditioners or natural oils into the hair. This helps lock in moisture that can sometimes escape while shampooing.
7. Cowashing: Often, when people have done their BC, they begin to shampoo once a week, once every two weeks, or not at all (to avoid sulfate). Cowashing is the result of choosing to wash one's hair with conditioner instead of shampoo. This is not usual and may seem a bit odd at first; however cowashing helps put moisture back into the hair without stripping the hair of natural oils.
8. Protective Styling: Often done during transitioning and once the hair has undergone the BC. When using protective style (braids of all sorts) the goal is to wear the hair in a style that won't put strain on the edges/nape of hair.
9. Low Maniuplation: The idea of combing the hair 100 brushstrokes a day does not work for African American hair (probably any hair) because it results in too much shedding. Leave your hair be! The less one plays with the hair, the less hair there is to be lost! The result: healthier, more beautiful hair.
10. Cornrow: An on the scalp braid. Cornrowing is an art! These braids come in all shapes and sizes and can be used on adults (men and women) and children. Cornrows make great protective styles!
Now, the BC, as promised!