Hey! Do you remember when you first began your natural hair journey? If you’re just beginning, do you hear terms like TWA, LOC Method, LCO Method, 4A Hair, 3A hair, Transition hair...should I stop there? Do you wonder what it all means? You start to think, I thought this was going to be simple”. Well, this blog will focus on some of the main natural hair terms and abbreviations all naturalistas should know. However, I am no natural hair guru, I am also learning along the way which is why natural hair care is literally a journey. Which brings us to our first popular phrase, probably the best understood:
This can be interpreted so many ways. Your natural hair journey is the day you decide to make an agreement between you and your hair to give it the best care while eliminating dun dun dun dun…relaxers (relaxers use chemicals to straighten your hair that can lead to serious damage). It does not always have to be eliminating relaxers either. It can be anything damaging to your hair’s natural state. There are two ways you can start your journey. One way is a big chop, and the other is transitioning which brings us to our next two terms.
The Big Chop
A big chop is when you cut your hair down to its natural state. There is no one length to one’s natural state unless you plan to join the beautiful #baldislife gang. The point is to eliminate any processed or damaged hair. Processed hair includes permed, dyed, and relaxed hair. Due to straightening my hair so much over the years, I had heat damage throughout my hair. Personally, I did my big chop to achieve healthy curl patterns and hair. However, chopping majority of your hair is not the only way to start your natural hair journey.
When you decide to transition to natural hair you decide to retain your length and as your new growth comes in you can gradually begin to chop away at the damaged hair. On the other hand, another way would be to let the new the growth grow and cut the damaged hair all at once. Both methods require a lot of patience and protective styling.
In the beginning, I tried transitioning for awhile but, lost patience. I was tired of seeing straight ends while doing my twist outs which resulted in my big chop. It literally would drive me crazy!! Either choice is definitely personal and should be given thought. (Tip: Perm Rods maybe your best friend. )
What is considered to be protective styling, has always been debatable. Naturally, it is any hairstyle that results in…you guessed it, protection. I wouldn’t steer anyone away from trying different protective styles because of everyone?s hair is different and it’s necessary to learn what works for you. Not to mention, what style you feel confident rocking, that part. For instance, I’ve seen amazing results from salons that specialized in healthy hair and retaining length through wearing only weaves. I’ve also, seen girls who’ve worn box braids and had minimal breakage. So, it’s important to know your hair, stylish and do your research before trying new styles.
Some of my favorite protective styles would have to be ones that require some manipulation and just the hair on your head. These styles would include twist outs, two-strand twist, braid outs, buns, finger coils, and perm rod sets. All of these styles allow you to be your personal stylist and learn about your hair the best.
L.O.C Method/ L.C.O Method
Both methods are all about moisture, moisture, moisture! Once you determine which method works best with your hair’s porosity either method can be highly effective. Typically, they keep your hair moisturized for 2-3 days. Each letter signifies the order in which you should apply products, L.O.C Method stands for liquid, oil, cream. L.C.O Method stands for liquid, cream, oil. Liquid aka water will always be the first step in your natural hair routine because it is what hydrates your hair. A water-based leave-in conditioner is always my first option. Next, you want to follow-up with a sealant, oil, to keep your hair hydrated. You’ll have to test which method keeps your hair more moisturized. I would love to hear which method you have found success with!
This term was used above and involves science so I will try to keep it simple. Hair porosity simply put, is how much moisture your hair can retain but, most importantly keep. There are many different ways to determine your specific porosity, you can find online. You’ll either fall under low, normal or high.
Teenie – Weenie – Afro which is the next stage after a big chop. Here is a photo of my TWA seen above. Search TWA to find many beautiful examples if you need some courage to do a chop.
Co-wash or conditioner washing. For instance, instead of washing your hair with a shampoo that can contain harsh stripping components, you can replace it with a cleansing conditioner. After cleansing, you’ll proceed to conditioner your hair and detangle just as you would normally. There are many natural hairlines that provide their own co-wash options such as As I Am, Carol’s Daughter, Deva Curl, and Cantu, to name a few.
(As I Am Coconut Co-Wash, $7.97, Carol’s Daughter Hair Milk Co-Wash, $12.00, DevaCurl No-Poo $22.00, Cantu Co-Wash $4.97)
Natural Hair Types: 2A – 4C
Lastly. Natural hair types will be anything from wavy to kinky. These natural hair types can be defined by numbers, 2-4 and even more in-depth with letters, A-C. Determining your hair type will help you in finding the best products that are going to work for you. Type 2 Hair consists of variations of wavy hair.
Lastly, type 4 hair consist of curly hair and kinky. I could contribute a whole blog solely dedicated to hair types…
In conclusion, again, these were just some of the more common abbreviations and terms you’ll see entering into the natural hair community.
If you made it through this blog, you can make it through your natural hair journey without giving up on your hair. 🙂 I would love to hear experiences and product suggestions that work with your hair type and favorite go-to styles. Thank you for reading!