Abbreviations and Definitions

These are popular acronyms and words/phrases that you may find across the curl world. Hope this helps!

Assy Side- Alyson’s hair stylist came up with the term, Alyson made it popular in the curly community. Everyone has a good curl side and an assy side. It’s just a fact.

Cast– The protective hardshell formed by products on hair as it dries. This cast is generally broken once hair is dry to avoid the “noodle-y” hair appearance.

Clarify– to cleanse your hair with something strong enough to remove buildup from your hair.

Cleanser– Anything used clean your scalp. This is the general word that could be shampoo, low-poo, no-poo/co-wash.

Co-wash- Cleansing your hair with conditioner. This can either be using a silicone free conditioner or using a designated co-wash that has some cleansing agents in it. Can sometimes be called no-poo.

CG– Curly Girl. Generally shorthand for Curly Girl Method.

CGM– Curly Girl Method. The method founded by Lorraine Massey that focuses on treating hair kindly which means no sulphates, no silicones, no waxes that can build up, etc.

Clumps– A section of curls that naturally forms together. Often the sections that people notice when their hair is wet. Some people call these curl families.

Curl Pattern/Type– Short version- a method of classifying how tight or loose your curls are. Long version- found here.

DC- Deep Condition. This can be with either a store bought deep conditioner or by boosting your normal conditioner with some extra “good for your hair” ingredients like oils and humectants.

Density– Short version- how much hair you have per inch of your scalp. Slightly longer version- found here.

Diffusing- Blow drying your hair with an attachment to make air disperse more, rather than using the straight air shot that would come straight out of a hair dryer. This can be done with a proper diffuse attachment or things like a mesh strainer!

Dry Plopping- A way to protect your curls once they are dry. Either when going to bed or as a way to get root lift- same concept applies- that you’re piling your hair on top of your head in an accordion shape.

Finger Coiling– also known as finger twirling. Twisting small sections of your hair to encourage clumps and curls. This is how I do it on my wavy hair.

Low-poo– A cleanser with mild surfactants in it. A crossbreed between a co-wash and a traditional shampoo.

Micro Plopping– Term coined by Lora. Rather than wrapping your hair up in a full plop, it is using your t-shirt/towel to gentle accordion your hair up to your head and hold it there for a short period before moving onto the next section. Helps dry hair without risking wonky curls from holding it in a specific position for too long.

No-Poo– See co-wash.

Pineapple– Wearing your hair at the very top of your head or almost to your forehead like a unicorn horn. Often done to preserve curls so that it can be worn down again after either sleep or just needing your hair out of your face for a while.

Plopping- A method used to help curls form while drying. Using a dry towel or t-shirt to accordion your curls onto your head to partially dry them without disturbing your curl pattern. Think of it as the CG way of doing the traditional towel turban that would stretch out your curls. (For variations see: Dry Plopping, Micro Plopping, and Wet Plopping.)

Porosity- Short version- how porous your hair is. Long version can be found here.

Praying Hands– applying product by smoothing your hands down the shaft of your hair using flat palms. This method can also be used to “smooth out the crunch” instead of scrunching it out.

Pre-Poo– a pre-wash treatment. This can be dirty deep conditioning, oiling, homemade mask, etc. It helps protect your hair from damage. See more info on my IG post about it.

Pulsing– Similar to scrunching, but you pause at the root to squeeze (or pulse) a few times. This allows for the curls to form and product to penetrate without disrupting the curls as much as repeated scrunching.

Raking– Applying products by combing it through your strands with your fingers. Popular methods that use this technique are Ouidad’s Rake and Shake and Daysie’s Rake, Wet, Scrunch. Warning: looser curl patterns, this may not work for you.

Refresh- Doing things to make your curls look better without washing your hair. Refreshes can be full wet refreshes where you entirely re-style to fixing a few curls that got piece-y or loose.

Roping– Made popular by Dominique. A method of applying product by squeezing down the shaft of your hair rather. Allows for more even product distribution that traditional scrunching. Micro-roping is the same thing, but with smaller sections of hair.

Scrunching– The act of coiling your curls in your palms by moving your hands from the tips of your hair towards the roots. This can be done to apply condition, apply product, and to SOTC.

Sleep Out the Crunch– Going to sleep with a gel cast still intact and letting it break over the course of the night rather than SOTC.

Smasters– Original person to post about it had Smasters as a part of their username on a website. It’s a method of applying a little more styling product to hair using wet hands once your hair is already halfway dry to encourage curl and reduce frizz.

SOTC– Scrunch Out The Crunch. Breaking the cast of styling products once hair has fully dried to reveal the soft curls underneath.

STC- Squish to Condish, founded by stylist Melissa Stites. A method of pushing conditioner (or product) into hair to get hair properly hydrated from the inside out.

Texture– Short version- how thin or thick individual strands are. Long version- found here.

Wet Plopping– Coined by Felicia. Wet plopping is putting a shower cap back on your hair after you’ve applied your stylers, but before taking a t-shirt/towel to your hair. This allows you to wash your face, get dressed, etc while your product absorbs into your hair a little more without the water weight stretching your curls out too much.

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