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Hair Care Glossary

When you do the homework on your hair, passing the test is easy.

Length Retention - Refers to how much new growth is actually retained after growing from root to tip. Methods that focus on the length retention usually aid in damaged ends and excessive breakage.

Medulla - The innermost part of hair structure. It may be absent in some people and its purpose is unknown.

Melanin - The natural pigment of hair. 

Moisturizing Oil - Lighter oils that are able to penetrate the hair shaft and moisturize the strands, (ex. coconut oil, olive oil, grapeseed oil).

Nape - The lower part of the back of the head, below the occipital bone.

Neutralizer - Neutralizer is applied to hair after it has been broken down by the perming solution. The purpose of neutralizer is to rebuild the hair back in the newly formed curls.

Oxidation - The chemical reaction caused by mixing hair color and developer together. Oxidation lifts the cuticle, allowing the hair color to work inside the hair shaft.

Papilla - The small area at the base of the root that provides nutrients for the hair.

Paraben - Common preservative used in many cosmetic products that can be extremely damaging to the hair and scalp. 

Patch Test - A patch test is performed prior to a chemical service to check for any adverse allergic reactions to the chemical. 

Pigment - Refers to the hair’s color

Porosity - the hair’s natural ability to absorb moisture, divided into three levels: low, normal, or high

Low Porosity - Refers to tighter-closed cuticles, making it difficult for moisture to be absorbed and retained. 

Normal Porosity - Refers to cuticles that aren’t closed tight, but not open too wide. Hair with normal porosity easily absorbs moisture, thus, retaining moisture for longer periods of time. 

High Porosity - Refers to cuticles that are opened wide, usually due to gaps and holes in the cuticle allowing too much moisture to be absorbed, leaving it prone to frizz and tangles.

Relaxer - Chemical lotion or cream used to straighten curlier hair textures.

Sebaceous Gland - Oil-secreting glands on the scalp.

Sebum - The oily secretion on the scalp composed of keratin and fat.

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate - A common cleaning agent used in many soaps, facial washes, and cleaning products; This is irritating to the skin and can be very hazardous to the overall moisture of natural hair.

Split Ends - When the ends of the hair split into two as a result of being dry, brittle, or frayed (can be caused by extreme weather conditions, heat styling, and chemical styling).

Telogen - The resting phase of the hair cycle.

Transitioning - Refers to the period where someone with relaxed hair converts to natural hair either growing the relaxed ends out naturally or cutting the straight ends off.

Volume - Hair that has a lot of volume is hair that is lifted further from the scalp, so that it appears bigger, and can also mean thicker, fuller hair.

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