Black Hair Info and Definitions
The mystery of Black hair prevails in an era where braids and extensions are now widely used by all races. This is because understanding how black hair really works is somewhat of a heritage, passed on from parent to child. Therefore, although some elements of black hair has surfaced to the top of commercial waters, beneath still lies a myriad of styling techniques to keep spectators fascinated. Spectate no more, itzcaribbean black hair glossary unlocks the mysteries of black hair and will introduce you to the latest techniques to take the black hair world by storm!
Black Hair Definitions
Common terms, techniques and products.
A hair style made popular in the 1960’s, where the natural hair is picked and moulded into a large, rounded shape. Growing an authentic afro can be surprisingly challenging with many people never reaching the lengths they desire, mainly due to breakage. There are a number of rules out there on how to prevent natural hair breakage and maintain an Afro, so taking the best from the old and new skool here are some rules.
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Bonding is a great way to add volume or vibrant streaks of colour to your natural hair. It is an approach to hair weave that lasts for a shorter period of time in comparison to sew-in weave, but many people prefer the bonding technique as it has a more natural appearance, blending the weave into the natural hair. Bonding is also pain free and unlike a full head sew-in weave can be fitted very quickly.
Bonding involves the application of a latex, acrylic or silicon type adhesive onto a section of wefted hair which is then placed onto the root of the wearer’s natural hair. This technique is commonly known as soft bonding and does not cause damage to the hair unless taken out without proper directions from a professional. Soft bond adhesives are always water based making the bond flexible and comfortable to wear, unlike hard bonds, which use super glue and can last two to three times longer than soft bonds.
Braiding is one of the most common, versatile, economical and easy to manage hairstyles on the market. It allows air to circulate to the scalp and helps to keep the wearer cool. It offers an instant change of look, from either dramatic to suttle and visa versa depending on the type of braid. It can also act as a retreat, for those wishing to give their locks a break from the harshness of everyday washing, styling and relaxers, or even to have one less thing to worry about during a relaxing holiday.
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Bulk hair is a loose bundle of commercial hair, mainly used for strand bonding and braiding. This hair is used for creating wefts or for services like fusion. Bulk hair comes in a variety of qualities, from synthetic to human hair. Presently in vogue in human bulk hair is the Brazilian, Cambodian and Peruvian hair types, offering wearer’s years of reusable, tangle free, tresses.
A clarifying shampoo is slightly stronger than everyday shampoos and is designed to remove products, hard water or chlorine residue that have built-up over time. These types of shampoos usually have a higher pH level or surfactant-to-water ratio to deep cleanse the hair and therefore should not be used regularly as they may dry out the hair and scalp. However, clarifying shampoo should form part of everyone’s hair maintenance regime.
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Cornrows are flat braids or tracks that lay very close to the scalp. Cornrows can be used to create many different styles and can also can have hair extensions added in.
Dreadlocks, also called locks or dreads are most closely associated with the Rastafari Movement, but people from many ethnic groups in history have also worn them, including many ancient Semitic and Indo-Aryan peoples of the Near East and Asia Minor, the Maori people of New Zealand and the Maasai and Oromo of East Africa. Over time there has been discussions arise of the negative connotation attached to the word dreadlocks and for that reason in this article we refer to it as locks.
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The unique selling point of fusion hair is to provide the wearer with free movement of the hair extension than that of a weave or bonding. The fusion method uses smaller blocks of hair between the natural hair providing more flexibility therefore, having a more natural look. There are two fusion techniques. The heated method, also known as fusion bond attaches small pieces of human hair with a special adhesive and a thermal gun. It is the most widely used and long-lasting method that won’t damage your natural hair. This is because the natural resin used is keratin based, which is a natural protein that protects the hair shaft, unlike silicon based adhesives that are hard to remove.
The cold technique also known as micro-rings/links, is the latest breakthrough in the fusion method, is neat, clean and one of the easiest hair extension systems available on the market. The lightweight almost undetectable metal rings are applied to your own hair; the hair extension is then clamped tightly inside the ring holding it securely to your natural hair. The rings clamp securely in place and will not slip out even during the most challenging of activities. The cold method uses no heat, glues or chemicals of any sort. Removal is very quick, easy and simply involves clamping the rings with a pair of pliers to squeeze them open.
This fusion in particular the micro links technique is highly recommended for natural hair that is too fine or soft to hold other weave techniques.
Hair Weft Clips
To attach hair wefts by clips. Clips are placed in the hair and snapped close. Wefts are held securely in place.
A heat gun that is used to seal synthetic hair. Used for creating warlocks and other styles.
Interlocking is a method in which hair is maintained or tightened using a tool, mainly used to tighten locks, refer to dreadlocks for more information.
A trademark for a Japanese-made synthetic fiber which is used extensively in the manufacture of wigs and hairpieces. There are different qualities of Kanekalon fiber; they all fall under the Synthetic hair umbrella, such as monofilament, polypropylene and toyokalon.
Its popularity is due to its ability to retain its shape after washing, and also to the fine texture of the fiber, making it a desirable choice for simulating the texture of human hair. Kanekalon also stands out from its peers because it acts and looks similar to natural hair for a fraction of the cost. It can be styled with heating implements such as steam, hair dryers and curling irons, unlike others synthetic hair.
Lace Front wigs
A lace wig, also called a lace ‘unit’, ‘hair system’ or ‘cranial hair prosthetic’, are hair extensions that create the illusion that hair is growing out of one’s scalp, and therefore is one of the most natural looking extensions on the market.
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A chemical straightening treatment commonly used to relax hair. The active ingredient is sodium hydroxide; there are many No Lye products also available.
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Micro Linking Technique
The process of attaching hair wefts without braids. The links are sewn on to the wefted hair. The user’s natural hair is pulled through and locked secure. This system is highly recommended for natural hair that is too fine or soft to hold other weave techniques.
Monofilament wig is constructed with hairs that are more evenly dispersed on the cap than they are with a standard wig. It is a fine, transparent nylon or silk mesh with hairs individually hand-knotted into the mesh. Allowing the hair to fall naturally and gives more versatility in styling. This wig is suitable for persons with extensive hair loss, as the colour of the scalp underneath shows through, creating the illusion of hair growing out of your scalp. Monofilament wigs are more expensive because the construction process makes them more costly to make.
A technique used to smooth out the shaft of a lock by rolling it, with or without product, between the palms of the hands, refer to dreadlocks for more information.
A chemical process by which the hair is permanently straightened. New-growth areas have to be maintained via “touch-ups” to continue the straightened pattern. A relaxer penetrates the cortex and breaking the hairs’ natural chemical bonds which originally caused it to be curly. Once these chemical bonds are broken, they cannot be repaired so the hair is unable to return to its natural state, refer to lye for more information.
Remy or Remi is not a brand name the term refers to the characteristics in the collection of the hair. It refers to human hair (usually Indian in origin) which has been cut from a single donor, from root to end, with the entire cuticle going in the same direction. It is different from Virgin hair as it may be coloured or permed, but has not had the cuticle removed. It is generally soft and silky, and is used in making higher quality wigs, extensions, and hair systems. Today if you want real hair extensions then you know to look for 100% Remy hair. This is because it behaves like normal scalp hair. 100% Remy human hair although expensive, is a worthwhile investment.
Strand Bond Weaves
This technique uses strands of hair attached to existing hair with specially formulated hair adhesives. This is a good method for for those who want long lasting wear, from 3 to 6 months.
The process by which most synthetic fiber is curled at the factory. The curl pattern in a synthetic wig or hairpiece may be changed by setting it in rollers or clips, and using an ordinary hand-held clothing steamer on them. After steaming the curls, let the fiber get completely cool before removing the pins or rollers.
A texturizer is a mild relaxing treatment. Instead of causing the hair to be “bone straight,” this chemical treatment is left on for a shorter period of time. The idea is to slightly relax the natural curl in African hair so that it’s more manageable and with proper maintenance, one can mimic curly styles.
Temporarily straightening the hair with a heated iron.
Parting or a cornrow that establishes the placement pattern of wefts or strand additions.
This term refers to human hair which is still in its original state as harvested from the donor, and which has not been permed, coloured, or chemically processed in any way. The colour of virgin hair is called natural because it is not processed for colour. The natural hair colour for virgin hair ranges from dark to light. The texture of virgin hair is generally straight, wavy or curly in texture.
Any hair that has been chemically processed for texture, for example yaki, body wave or curls is no longer virgin. Sometimes, virgin hair texture may be altered to make curls and waves using a high pressure and heat method. The hair is still considered as virgin because no chemical processing is used. If Remy hair has been altered in colour, it is chemically processed and no longer considered virgin.
Virgin Remy hair last longer and is much less likely to tangle than non-virgin Remy hair The hair is carefully cut from the donor with the cuticle going in the same direction and preserved to maximize its special quality. Harvesting the hair in this manner takes more time, which contributes to the premium price.
Virgin hair can be of any ethnic origin, but the best quality used in making wigs today is of Russian, Ukrainian, Belgian, and Turkish origin. This is the most expensive hair of all because it is not as plentiful as lesser quality hair. In spite of the high cost, top-quality Virgin European hair wigs are in high demand by those who wish to wear only the finest.
The term used to describe any hairpiece with a full cap which covers the hair on the head, or the entire area where hair normally grows, as a substitute for hair. The purpose of a wig is to create your ideal look. There are so many different types of wigs on the market today, to mention a few:
A weft is a track of several inches long on which the hair is already attached (a curtain of hair attached at the top and free flowing at the bottom). Wefted hairs for extensions are held together with fine threads, either machine wefted or hand tied. Most hair used for extensions is machine wefted in fine, medium or heavy wefts. Medium wefts being the most commonly used. Hand tied wefted hair is generally more expensive but is better quality and can be more durable. The extensions are then applied by using one row (track) at the time instead of strand by strand.
The process of forming a base (or track) along the scalp to attach wefted hair. This process is not limited to the cornrow method. Several other popular methods are the Euro lock, Micro linking, and Bonding. Weave is a smart way to transition from short to long hair or if your hair is fine because not only will it add volume, but the natural hair grows whilst the weave is in. Weaves are threaded in, which can take a couple of hours, it can last anything from six to eight weeks, even longer depending on how fast your natural hair grows and maintenance. To remove a weave requires no chemicals and is much quicker than fitting.
Find a Salon – Whether its natural Afro, braids, weaves or treatments make everyday a great hair day!