Frequently Asked Questions

  • Q: Who runs
  • A: Gretchen and Michelle started the site in 1998 because there was no place curlyheads could turn to for help and advice. See more info about them here.
  • Q: Where can I buy hair care products made specifically for curly hair?
  • A: Our CurlMart is a select boutique featuring only the best products available for curly hair.We've done the work for you -- tried everything out there and narrowed it down to the best of the best.
  • Q: How do I become a member of
  • A: Click here to become a member to become a more active participant in our community, to submit product and salon reviews, to engage on CurlTalk and more!.
  • Q: What’s this “hair type” stuff everyone’s talking about? Is that realated to this number and letter combos I see people using? What is that about?
  • A: It’s a system for labeling your hair according to its curl pattern and texture. Read more here.
  • Q: I don’t fit into one exact curl category. What am I — a 2B, 3A, or a 3B?
  • A: Don’t worry; that’s not uncommon. Many heads proudly flaunt more than one type of curl.
  • Q: What is this “No Poo” routine I keep reading about?
  • A: “No poo” means no shampoo. It’s a term coined by Lorraine Massey, author of "Curly Girl: The Handbook." members have developed several variations on Massey’s ideas; you can go to CurlTalk and do a search to find more information. Read a wonderful article here to learn more about this philosophy.
  • Q: What is "CG"?
  • A: "CG" refers both to the "Curly Girl" book by Massey and a the "no poo" method of caring for curls, as mentioned above.
  • Q: What is the difference between “No Poo” and “Conditioner Rinse”?
  • A: There is no difference. No Poo and Conditioner Rinse are one in the same.
  • Q: What are cones?
  • A: Cones (short for silicones) are ingredients in some hair products that are not water soluble. They must be washed out using shampoo. Some people do not use shampoo and therefore should not use products with silicones, as they will build up if not properly washed out.
  • Q: What is the “No Oil” routine?
  • A: This is a hair care routine where oils (jojoba, olive, almond, etc.) or products with oils are eliminated from hair routine. Some types of hair do not absorb oils well and other products — such as aloe vera or glycerin — are used to moisturize the hair.
  • Q: What is thermal reconditioning?
  • A: Thermal reconditioning is a process to relax, or straighten, the hair. A thioglysolate (Thio) based solution is put on hair and then a ceramic flat iron is used to straighten the hair. Supposedly hair is smoother, shinier after the process. Straightening can last up to six months before it has to be redone. Price ranges anywhere from $500 to $1,000. More here.
  • Q: What does “applying in sections” mean?
  • A: Parting the hair and applying product(s) to one section at a time to ensure complete saturation.
  • Q: What does “transition/transitioning” and the “big chop” mean?
  • A: To transition means to go from relaxed hair to natural hair either by gradually cutting perm off, cutting perm off all at once (big chop) or waiting to grow out permed hair until all hair is natural.
  • Q: What is silkening?
  • A: Silkening is a mild lye-based chemical (sodium hydroxide) or perm that is put on hair for 5-9 minutes to loosen the curl.
  • Q: What is the strawset hair style?
  • A: A popular African American hairstyle where setting lotion is used on the hair then rolled up and set on straws, secured with a hairpin or clip under dryer. Gives a spirally, curly look.
  • Q: I have suggestions/comments who can I talk to? 
  • A: Well, you can either e-mail the owners of the site directly or there is always the feedback forum of CurlTalk that is checked regularly. If you would like to pitch a story for, or apply to become a writer for the site, email [email protected] 
  • Q: I'm trying to grow my hair out, get it longer. Will support me in that endeavor?
  • A: Absolutely. The site features related articles, and you'll find close to 15,000 supportive curlies on CurlTalk, our very active bulletin board. We are here to support you, whatever you're trying to do with your hair.
  • Q: What is "plopping"?
  • A: Plopping is a method of enhancing your curls.
  • Q: What is Devachan? Some sort of salon?
  • A: Devachan is Lorraine Massey's salon in New York that specializes in cutting and processing curly hair.

CurlTalk FAQ

  • Q: What does it mean when someone “bumps”?
  • A: Bumping is a way for a post to be up near the top of the page. If you notice, the most recent posts are found at the top. When a poster wants a topic seen, they might bump it to the top.
  • Q: I don’t feel like I fit in when I post; what can I do?
  • A: In all honesty, we all have those days, even weeks. Just stick around; there's always something to strike everyone’s fancy!
  • Q: Hey, why were some of my **** words censored?!
  • A: We try to maintain a friendly and open environment that people of any age can enjoy.
  • Q: Hey, my post disappeared, what's with that?!
  • A: Ahh, the enigmatic internet! there can be a few reasons for this:
      1. Cross-pollination: a silly term for two threads that become one and usually one eats the other and all the ensuing posts!
    1. Hey, sometimes it happens!
  • Q: I posted the same thing twice, what happened?
  • A: Easy on the “reply” button! Click once or you may be posting many, many, many times!
  • Q: I was jumped on for posting something that was already a topic. How can I avoid that?
  • A: A good rule of net etiquette is to read or scan the threads first before posting something that may be a duplicate. It's not a big deal but it may save you some grief!
  • Q: What does it mean to "guano"? Isn't that bat poop?
  • A: To "guano" a thread means to start a new question/topic not necessarily related to the original question/topic of the thread. "Guano" replaced "hijack" after the September 11th attacks. Yes, in the world outside of curly boards, guano is bat poop.
  • Q: Who are these FFT guys?
  • A: It’s a long story but a few stragglers still remain from what was to be a chaotic episode of the fantasy football guys wreaking havoc on Our curlie wiles tamed them within a matter of hours and more of us lept over and took their forums by storm.
  • Q: Who are the SW guys?
  • A: Star Wars guys! It wasn’t as dramatic of a clash as with the FFT guys, but there was a nice mingling of another forum with Some prolific male posters came from this episode that occurred long before the FFT guys ever thought about us curlies!
  • Q: What does "twa" and "BAA" mean?
  • A: These are referred to two popular African-American hairstyles. A twa means teeny weeny afro and is usually the hairstyle referred to after the "big chop". A BAA is a “big ass afro” or hair that has been picked or combed out to the fullest.

Some definitions

’poo = shampoo

Condish = conditioner

pineapple = gathering hair gently on top of head with a scrunchie to preserve curls for 2nd day hair

2nd Day Hair = Hair that looks good enough the day after styling that it can just be misted with water or have a little product added try to revive and refresh its style.\

The Mother Ship = Devachan Salon in NYC (Lorraine Massey's)

Canopy = the top layer of hair, which is exposed to the elements the most, and is prone to frizzing

Scrunch = encourage curl or apply product by gently squeezing/pushing hair upward from end toward root.

Crunch = the hard, crunchy feeling left by some gels when they dry, which can sometimes be scrunched out.

Clumping = strands of hair clumping together to form bigger, chunkier curls

PJ = Product Junkie (addicted to trying the next new, possibly better hair product)

Shrinkage = shortening of length due to curl tightness

SLS = Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (surfactant found in most shampoos)

PVP = A polymer found in most gels

plop = method of wrapping wet hair in t-shirt/microfiber towel

‘quats = polyquaternium polymers found in styling products

clarify = remove build-up from the hair via ACV, lemon juice, or shampooing

Sallys = Sally Beauty Supply

Some abbreviations

ACV: Apple cider vinegar.

B&A: Batia & Aleeza

BAA: Big-ass afro

BTW: By the way.

CCSS: Jessicurl Confident Coils Styling Solution

CG: Curly Girl routine or "Curly Girl," the book by Lorraine Massey

CK: CHS (Curly Hair Solutions) Curl Keeper

CO: conditioner or "conditioner-only" as in not using shampoo

CON: Cream of Nature

DH: Dear or darling husband

DT: deep (conditioning) treatment

EOs: essential oils

Elucence MBC: Moisture Balancing Conditioner

ETA: Edited to add

EVOO: extra virgin olive oil

FOTE: Fruit of the Earth (aloe vera gel)

HCC: Jessicurl Hair Cleansing Cream

HE: Herbal Essences

HG: holy grail

HTH: Hope that helps

HO: Humble opinion

ITA: In total agreement or I totally agree

IMHO: In my humble opinion

KWIM: Know what I mean?

LOL: Laughing out loud

LOTD = Lily of the Desert (aloe vera gel)

M&H = Milk & Honey (as in Suave Milk & Honey conditioner)

MO: My opinion.

Nexxus POTAR = Phyto Organics The Arts Emphasis Redefining Gel

ORS = Organic Root Stimulator

Ouidad CC = Climate Control Gel

Ouidad CQ = Curl Quencher

PHHB: Panyhose head band

PM: Paul Mitchell or private message

RR = Jessicurl Rocking Ringlets Styling Potion

SAO: Sweet almond oil

SO = significant other

TIA = thanks in advance

TR: Thermal reconditioning

TS = Jessicurl Too Shea conditioner

TTO = tea tree oil

TWA: Teeny weeny afro