If you’ve ever landed on a curly hair article or forum then you will have quickly realized that this community speaks its own language, some of which was started here in our CurlTalk forum. If you’re new to caring for your curls then the terms can feel overwhelming, so we created this comprehensive curly hair glossary as a tool you can use to look up commonly used ingredients, techniques, and abbreviations. You can find part one of the hair glossary here!


The anniversary of the day one decided to “go natural” and to refrain from applying chemical straighteners (relaxers”> to the hair.

No-Poo Method

No-poo method includes removing shampoo, products formulated with water-insoluble silicones, and products that require sulfates for proper cleansing from your regimen.

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No-poo products

Oil Rinsing

To rinse your hair with an oil after cleansing and before conditioning. To oil rinse you add your favorite oil to wet strands and leave on for about 5 minutes. This step helps to detangle and seal in extra moisture for the hair.

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Parabens are preservatives commonly used in cosmetic products. They have been associated with cancer, but researched linking them to causing cancer has been inconclusive.

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Paraben-free products


Phthalates are plasticizer (dispersant”> ingredients in products that reduce brittleness/cracking/stiffness in hair and skin products like hair spray, soaps, and shampoos, allowing them to form a flexible film. The most common phthalates used are dibutylphthalate (DBP”>, dimethylphthalate (DMP”>, and diethylphthalate (DEP”>.


To gently gathering the hair atop the crown with a hair tie to preserve curls for second day hair.

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This method includes wrapping wet hair in t-shirt or microfiber towel in order to quickly to gently absorb excessive water that would drip otherwise.

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Polyquaternium polymers are ingredients commonly found in styling products. Polyquats (polyquaternium”> are polymers frequently used in hair care products to provide conditioning benefits to the hair.

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Porosity is how easily your hair is able to absorb and hold moisture and chemicals. There are varying degrees of porosity that we commonly use: high porosity, medium porosity, and low porosity.

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This includes applying an oil or conditioner prior to shampooing to help the hair maintain necessary moisture during the drying shampoo process.

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Propylene Glycol

This is a humectant found in many personal care products including shampoos, conditioners, and leave-in conditioners, and styling products. It is known to be a very effective humectant.

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Protective Style

This is a type of style that does not expose the ends of the hair and is typically left un-manipulated for 2-4 weeks. Protective styling is primarily used to retain length.

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Protein Treatment

A protein treatment deposits protein structures on the hair’s cuticle in order to replace the protein that was lost through manipulation, chemical processing, and aging. Everyone’s protein sensitivity is different, but usually it is advised to incorporate this into your regimen only once a month. Some proteins include hydrolyzed wheat, hydrolyzed keratin, and hydrolyzed quinoa.

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Protein treatment products


PVP is a water-soluble polymer found in most gels. It is an excellent film-former and relatively inexpensive. The water solubility is extremely attractive to companies who wish to sell products to consumers who do not use shampoo or who use very mild shampoos, as it makes the gel easy to rinse.