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The Complete Curly Hair Dictionary

The Complete Curly Hair Dictionary

Words Every Curly Girl Needs to Know!

Welcome to the Curly Girl World, where curly hair has its own hair care routine, its own styling techniques, and also its very own glossary. Yup, you heard that right!

Once you start with the curly hair method, you’ll hear a lot of juicy buzzwords such as “Scrunch & Plump”, “Finger Coiling”, “Big Chop”, or our personal favorite, “The Curly Cocktail.” We won’t lie, it can get overwhelming or confusing, especially when you’re a newbie who’s just learning to love her curls.

But fear not! We’re here to help you navigate the curly girl world a little better and give you all the right reasons to embrace your curls. Presenting the complete curly hair glossary: from “Accordion Technique” to “Z-curls,” we’ve got you covered!

The Curly Girl World Glossary 


ACV Rinse – Rinsing hair with Apple Cider Vinegar and filtered water. Known to remove the build-up of previous products, dirt & other gunk.

Accordion Technique - A styling technique that produces well-formed, defined coils by flipping your hair over and applying products from root to tip, like how you play the accordion!

Air Dry – post-wash drying method that involves letting your hair down and letting it dry naturally without any hair dryer or diffuser.


Big Chop – Getting a major haircut that transforms your look and makes way for new healthy hair!

Breakage - Any damage done to the hair/strands that causes them to break or snap off into two strands. Often caused due to extreme dryness, tangles, and chemical treatments.

Buff – A tube of lightweight, stretchy material that’s meant to securely protect your curls while you sleep.

Build Up - Product build-up is the accumulation of residues from hair care products that have not been thoroughly rinsed from the hair. 



Curl Cast - When you use a gel to style hair, it usually forms a coating/cast around the hair strands, stiffening it almost. This is normal and called a cast or gel cast. 

Clipping – Using duckbill/prong/jaw clips during the drying process to add volume to the hair.

Clumps – Thick fat curls are mostly obtained with the application of conditioner in the shower.

Cleanse & Nourish Trio - Ashba Botanic’s three-step curly hair care regimen that hydrates, nourishes, and moisturizes your curls.

Coils – Kinky hair that is tightly curled or coiled together.

Conditioner – A moisturizing and smoothening hair care product used after shampoo.

Co-Wash – Cleansing your hair with a conditioner or cleansing conditioner instead of a shampoo. Co-washing requires more manual labor where you scrub out the dirt with your fingertips and a conditioner instead of a shampoo. This protects the hair from getting really dry and frizzy.

Curl Defining Gel – Ashba Botanics curl-defining gel that provides definition and frizz control. It enhances your natural curls while maintaining natural movement.

Crown - The crown is the highest point of your scalp, toward the rear of your head. It’s also known as the vertex.

Crunch - When hair becomes stiff and crunchy after you apply a gel and the cast is not broken yet. 

Curly Cocktail - A mixture of conditioners, oils, and other hair ingredients that you can make yourself use on your curls.

Curly Girl Method - An approach to hair care for natural hair (coils, waves, and curls) that has not been chemically relaxed.

Curling Custard - Ashba Botanic's natural styling gel infused with flaxseed and chia seeds extract, avocado, and argan oil to provide moisture, shine, and long-lasting curls.


Deep Condition – A conditioning treatment that is applied to the hair and left in for an extended period of time, typically 15-30 minutes or more. Sometimes heat and a plastic cap are used to encourage penetration of the product into the hair strands. Deep Conditioning leaves here ultra-moisturized, hydrated, and protected.

Density - The number of hairs that grow per square inch on your scalp. 

Detangle - Separating tangles and hair knots without damaging or breaking the strands.

Diffuser – A bow drying tool with a flat round head with tiny spokes. It disperses the air to reduce frizz and keep from disrupting the natural wave pattern.

Dry Shampoo - A type of shampoo that is designed to be used on dry hair to refresh and revitalize the scalp and hair.


Elongation - Products or styling procedures are used to loosen the curl pattern, creating length in hair.


Fine Texture – Hair strands that are thin or delicate are known to have a fine texture.

Finger Coiling - A styling method where the hair is coiled around the fingers to create defined ringlets.

Finger Rolling – The act of grabbing the tip of the hair between two fingers of both hands and rolling it upwards near the roots, before gently releasing the hair into its curled form.

Fluff - A technique used to add volume and fullness to the hair.

Frizz - Uncontrollable, wispy, flyaway hair strands that are usually the result of dryness or lack of moisture.



Gel - A styling product that forms a protective cast around hair strands to make definition last longer and hold the hair in place for long hours.

Glycerin – a type of humectant commonly found in hair care products.


Hard Hold Gel – Hair gels that promise definition and hold for long hours.

Halo Frizz – A term for frizzy hair on the top section of your hair, something like a hair halo around your head! 

Hair Masque – Ashba Botanic’s deep treatment masque with a vegan superfood blend of plant butter, oils, and protein to fortify and replenish dry hair.

Hard Water - Water that contains a high mineral content, such as calcium and magnesium. Not the ideal water composition for healthy hair.

Heat Damage - Damage caused due to frequent use of high heat to dry, style or straighten hair.

Heat Protectant - Damage caused due to frequent use of high heat to dry, style or straighten hair.

Hydrate & Style – Ashba Botanic’s three-step hair care regimen to hydrate, fortify and define all curl types. 

Hydrating Shampoo – Ashba Botanic’s curly hair shampoo with a luxurious hydrating formula softly cleanses hair and scalp without stripping natural oils.


Keratin – A protein found in the chemical composition of a hair strand. It is also used in the phrase Keratin Treatments which are basically smoothening treatments that help loosen up the curl pattern, making it temporarily straighter.

Kinky Hair - Wiry, delicate – these are very tightly packed coils and curls. Also known as Type 4 hair. 


Leave-In Conditioner – Ashba Botanic’s ultra-hydrating leave-in conditioner gives you the extra moisture your hair craves.

Low Poo – A low-lathering hair care cleanser or shampoo.


Masque – A conditioning hair mask that leaves hair feeling soft, moisturized, and deeply conditioned after rinse.

Micro Plopping – Squeezing out any excess water and hair products that have been used with a microfiber towel or t-shirt.

Medusa Clipping – Pinning up the sections of your hair to preserve the curls at night. Best suitable for curlies with short hair.

Mouse - A styling product for hair with an airy consistency that helps create volume. 

Moisturizer – An emollient mixture or product that leaves hair feeling soft, lush, protected, and hydrated.


Night Time Routine – Before bedtime hair care steps to protect your curls at night before you sleep.

No Poo – A hair cleaning technique that does not require the use of regular shampoo.

Nourishing Conditioner – Ashba Botanic’s hair care conditioner replenishes lost moisture and melts tangles away with a specially crafted formula for wavy and curly hair. 


O Clipping – A way of clipping hair that brings volume to flat roots and involves clipping sections of your hair with double-prong clips.


Parabens - A type of chemical preservative added to hair products.

Pick - A hair pick or comb meant to ‘pick’ at your flat hair strands and create volume on the crown.

Pineapple - A styling technique that involves forming a large, loose ponytail on top of your head. The method sorts your hair in such a way as to minimize frizz, flattened curls, and knots while you sleep.

Plopping - A technique used to enhance your wet curls and cut down on frizz while they dry.

Porosity - the ability of the hair to absorb and retain moisture.

Praying Hands - A method of application of hair products where you spread the products between two palms and smooth it on your hair with your hands clasped. 

Pre-Poo Oil Treatment – Oiling hair before shampooing in order to help protect the hair from harsh chemicals in shampoo and to add hydration.

Protective Styles - A hairstyle that is worn for an extended period of time in order to protect the hair from daily manipulation and environmental stressors.

Protein Treatment - A hair treatment that temporarily strengthens and repairs hair by adding protein to the hair.

Pulse - An approach of applying products by tightly scrunching near the roots at the top.


Rake - Use your fingers to apply and distribute the product across your hair sections.

Rake & Shake – A styling method that first rakes products into hair from the roots to the ends then stops and holds the ends in your hand before shaking them together.

Refresh - Restyling hair the next day or days later.

Regimen – The routine you use for hair care - steps, products, oils, techniques, etc.

Rice Water Rinse – Wetting or washing your hair with rice water – a potion known to add shine, and softness, and improves the elasticity of hair.


Satin Silk Pillowcase - A pillowcase made from satin/silk that is said to help preserve your hairstyle while you sleep.

Scalp Massager - A hair and scalp care technique or product that involves massaging the scalp to increase blood flow and promote hair growth.

Scrunching - Taking sections of your hair in your palms and squeezing it, while moving upwards in direction.

Scrunch & Plump – A method of scrunching gel in your hair and holding it near the scalp before pumping or squeezing the hair 8 times. You will hear the “squish” sound while squeezing/scrunching. 

SOTC (Scrunch Out the Crunch) - The act of releasing the cast and softening hair, by scrunching hair when it has dried into a crunchy cast. Sometimes oil is used to help with this.

Sealing - The last step of styling before you let your curls dry is to seal off the moisture with an oil. 

Second Hair Day – The state of your hair one day after you cleansed, conditioned and styled it afresh.

Shampoo - A hair product that cleans the scalp and hair of dirt, build-up, and impurities. These can be of different types – chelating, cleansing, conditioning, and more.

Shingling - A styling technique that increases length (type 4 hair) and gives lasting definition. 

Shrinkage - The act of curls shrinking when they are wet or damp. It is the longest gap once hair has dried. The tighter the curl, the greater amount of shrinkage you will experience.

Slip – When a product makes hair feel slippery or glide against each other.

Smasters Technique- A technique of applying a product that involves putting some on during the drying stage.

STC (Squish to Condish) - Popular technique of squishing water and conditioner into the hair. for wavy and loose curls

Styling Cream - Type of curl cream is applied to wet or damp hair to create soft waves and curls.

Styling Serum – Ashba Botanic’s Hyaluronic Acid infused natural and lightweight hair styling serum that defines curls without weighing them down.

Squish - Squeezing the hair upwards while it is coated with a product.

Sun Damage - Discolouration, bleaching, or damage caused by long exposure to harsh sunlight. 


Transitioning – Going back to your natural hair roots by cutting off the heat and chemically damaged hair slowly and working towards keeping your natural hair hydrated and healthy. 

Trimming - Cutting off small lengths of hair that have been damaged.


Virgin Hair - Hair that is in its original natural state and not ‘processed’ with heat or chemical treatments. This term is often used while selling wigs or weaves.

Volumizing - The process of adding volume and body to limp, thin hair.


Wash Day Routine – Ashba Botanic’s four-step wash day routine cleanses, conditions, treats, and styles your curls.

Wavy Hair - Fine, thin hair that forms loose waves in a broad S-shaped pattern to very loose curls.

Weekly Routine – Ashba Botanic’s ultimate weekly hair care regimen to nourish and define all curl types.


Z-Curls – Flat curls that can bend in sharp angles like the letter Z.


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