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Hair Care Glossary

Find Everything About Your Hair from A to Z

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Hair is something so familiar, you think you’d know everything about it. But the world of hair care is vast and there are terms thrown around you won’t be familiar with. Discover more about hair here at All Shampoo Review.

Our Hair Care Glossary defines various terms about hair care including products, methods, routines, trends, and even hairstyles. Here, you will understand more about your hair from roots to tips. If there are terms within our pages that you are not familiar with, check out this glossary to find out. Learn everything about your hair from roots to tips, and from A to Z.

Woman with curly auburn hair

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    A

    Anagen – Anagen is the phase where hair continues to receive nourishment and grow longer. Anagen phase can last from two to seven years. Hair that grows all over the body, called vellus hair, only takes 30-45 days to grow before it rests. Only about 85% of your hair is in anagen phase. The hair is still attached to the blood supply in scalp, which is why it continues to grow.

    B

    Blonde – Blonde hair has low levels of the dark pigment called eumelanin. There are only 2% of people in the world who have blonde hair. There are many shades of blonde including strawberry, dirty, golden, platinum, and auburn. Blonde hair is finer compared to other hair types. This is why they have more hair on their head.

    C

    Co-wash – Cowash is a method of cleansing hair using a conditioner. Women with curly and kinky hair use this method to avoid the drying and damaging effects of shampoo. This helps detangle hair as well as define the curls. Co-washing works because conditioners contain a small amount of sulfate that can still cleanse hair. It coats hair in moisture to prevent dryness and breakage.

    D

    Dandruff – Dandruff is a scalp condition characterized by having itchy, flaky, and irritated scalp. Dandruff can be due to excessive dryness or oiliness of scalp. There is a fungus called malassezia globosa that feeds on scalp’s oil and speeds up the turnover of skin cells. This causes dead skin cells to pile in layers on scalp, which forms white flakes.

    Hair in rollers

    E

    Elasticity – Elasticity refers to the ability of your hair to snap back to its original form when stretched. This allows hair to stretch without breaking. Elastic hair is more resilient against breakage. Lack of elasticity makes hair brittle.

    F

    Frizz – Frizz happens when your hair becomes messy and causes knots, tangles, and tight curls. Hair becomes frizzy when cuticles raise from the shaft, allowing moisture to swell the shaft. This makes hair appear rough.

    G

    Glycerin – Glycerin is an ingredient used in many skin and hair products. It is a humectant, drawing moisture from the environment to increase the water content on hair. There are natural sources of glycerin like palm oil and coconut oil.

    H

    Hair Type – There are four kinds of hair types – straight, wavy, curly, and kinky. There are categories under each hair type. These categories depend on the texture and shape of hair. Below are the four hair types and their differences:

    • Straight Hair – Straight hair is the shiniest and most moisturized hair type. There are no curls in straight hair.
    • Wavy Hair – Wavy hair is drier than shiny hair and more moisturized than curly hair. There are 2A, 2B, and 2C wavy hair types. The curls on 2C wavy hair type are more defined compared to 2A wavy hair type.
    • Curly Hair – Curly hair has more disulfide bonds than wavy hair. It feels rough and dry to the touch. It doesn’t look as shiny as wavy or straight hair too. There are 3A, 3B, and 3C curly hair types, with curls becoming more defined.
    • Kinky Hair – Kinky hair is very dry, rough, and brittle. However, kinky hair has great volume that looks great with proper care. Just like other hair types, there are three categories of kinky hair. The coils become much tighter and drier for each hair type. It is very dry and prone to breakage too.

    Short red hair

    I

    Ingrown Hair – Ingrown hair happens when hair grows back into skin. It might happen when you shave or pluck hair. The strand curls under the skin and continues to grow. This leads to formation of bumps and blisters that may be filled with pus. Anyone can suffer from ingrown hair; however, it is more common for those who have curly and coarse hair.

    J

    Jamaican Black Castor Oil – This is a type of castor oil that has a dark amber color and strong roasted scent. The process of producing black castor oil started in Jamaica. They roast castor beans before they cold-press to bring out the ingredient’s moisturizing properties. This gives the oil a dark color and the roasted scent.

    K

    Keratin – Your hair is made of keratin. It is a tough protein that makes up the internal structure of the strands and cuticle layers. These cuticle layers protect hair shaft. Keratin treatment for hair fortifies the cuticle layers of hair to prevent breakage and reduce brittleness.

    L

    Leave-In Conditioner – This is a type of conditioner that you can leave on hair without washing off. It doesn’t make hair greasy or heavy. Leave-in conditioners are best used on wavy, curly, and kinky hair. It coats hair in moisture to prevent dryness throughout the day.

    Girl with short shiny hair, wearing a flower crown

    M

    Mask/Masque – Hair mask is any kind of thick liquid that may be a mixture of various hair-nourishing ingredients. It conditions hair deeply and strengthens hair from roots to tips. Masks often contain ingredients that help repair hair damage too. Hair masks help improve elasticity and resilience of hair.

    N

    Natural Hair – Natural hair is a wavy, curly, or kinky hair that is not altered chemically in any way. This includes straighteners, relaxers, texturizers, and dyes. Natural hair movement encourages women to wear their natural hair without altering its appearance. This movement accepts and celebrates natural hair.

    O

    Oil Rinse – This is a method that women with curly and kinky hair use to lock in moisture to hair. They use carrier oils that absorb well through the strands to hydrate hair. Oil rinse increases moisture retention and helps remove tangles and knots. You can do oil rinsing while taking a shower or after you cleanse your hair. It helps reinforce the effects of conditioner to prevent cuticles from lifting up.

    P

    Paraben – Paraben is a preservative often present in various hair products. It can extend the shelf life of a formula and prevent contamination. However, paraben is very harmful to your health. There are studies that show paraben may have a role in the development of breast cancer in women. Paraben has the potential to disrupt the hormone system as well.

    Shiny blonde hair

    R

    Relaxer – Relaxer often comes in the form of lotion or cream. It might contain chemicals breaks down the disulfide bonds in hair to straighten it out. Relaxers make hair straighter, but it can cause damage as well by increasing brittleness and porosity.

    S

    SLS – SLS is short for sodium lauryl sulfate. This is a type of surfactant found in shampoos and various hair products. SLS is an irritating and drying ingredient that can remove moisture from hair. Women with curly and kinky hair avoid SLS because it can increase dryness, brittleness, and porosity. It makes hair prone to breakage and damage.

    T

    Texture – Hair texture is not how the surface of hair feels, but rather, its circumference. As hair gets curlier, hair becomes denser. There are three types of hair texture – fine, medium, and coarse or thick hair. Kinky hair is very coarse. Hair appears and feels very coarse due to tightly coiled strands.

    U

    Updo – Updo is a type of hairstyle where tresses are swept away from face and neck. There are various styles of updos. Your hair is usually pointing up to keep it away from face and neck, putting an emphasis on your appearance. Elaborate updos are perfect for special occasions such as weddings.

    Fine blonde hair

    V

    Volume – Hair volume is all about the fullness of your hair. Your hair loses volume when it gets heavier. Limp and oily hair lacks volume. On the other hand, frizzy hair has too much volume, making hair messy.

    Eva Smithson-Green

    I'm a Southern belle through and through. Nobody can make barbecue chicken like I do. :-)

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