Let me just say that I do not have a professional background in hair care, nor am I an expert in the science of chemicals in hair products. Everything stated here is a result of my own research and personal preference of product choices.
When you start you natural hair journey, you’ll notice a lot of talk about chemicals in hair care products and a whole list of terms for how to use them. With phrases and abbreviations like “pre-poo, carrier oils and APL”, just sorting out the natural hair dictionary is a daunting task in itself. Trying to sift through all of this jargon in my opinion is a waste of time. It’s okay to know the lingo to communicate better with your fellow naturalista’s but it isn’t a life saving requirement in life. Below is a list of terms that I’ve found useful in daily hair management and also because I think that they sound cool.
Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV): A mixture of apple cider vinegar and water made to the strength of your choice used to clear product build up and dirt from the scalp and hair. Also an excellent method for frizz reduction.
Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate (ASL): This is a common ingredient in most shampoos and is responsible for the stripped and dry feeling of hair after washing. If possible, avoid products with this ingredient!
Clarifying: This process ensures that all product build up is safely removed from your scalp and hair. This can be done with either a clarifying shampoo or a ACV rinse.
Co-Wash: The use of conditioner to cleanse the hair rather than shampoo.
Leave In Conditioner: Used to help repair and reduce damage to hair between washes by providing vital moisture.
Pre-poo: Sounds gross but it’s not what you’re thinking. Basically, this is a treatment for you hair that is done before you begin your wash regime. It is a concoction of oils, conditioner, and water used to detangle and retain moisture in your hair to prepare for the “stripping” effects of the shampoo. This can be done the night before or right before washing using a mixture of your choice.
Sealing: This is the process of applying either a butter or oil to your hair after moisturizing with water and applying a leave in conditioner of your choice. I like using a butter (Shea) during the winter and oil (Castor) when it gets warmer outside. You can adjust the sealant according to the needs, such as dryness or frizziness, of your hair.
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS): This chemical ingredient causes suds in shampoos and is also a stripping agent to avoid if possible.
These are just a few terms that I have found useful so far in my hair care regimen. A quick Google search can get you more answers or you can visit one of these trusted sites for more information: