Curlsmith Glossary

Curlsmith Glossary

Find definitions for all relevant terms in our Glossary below:





An ingredient used in hair care products.


A balm is a type of hair styler which helps hold curls in place.


Hair bonds are what makes up your hair’s structure and texture. They also determine the strength of your hair, helping locks stay strong and manageable.


A braid or braiding is a hairstyle which requires the interlacing of multiple hair strands. It is sometimes referred to as a plait. 

Build Up

Hair or scalp build-up can be the result of natural or product causes. A natural cause would be sweat, whereas a product cause would be cream.

Clarifying Shampoo

Clarifying shampoo is a deep cleanser suitable for all hair types. Unlike generic shampoo, a clarifier will cut through oils and build up easily, leaving curls feeling fresh.


Hair cleansers are designed to remove dirt & product build-up from the scalp. Cleansers are typically gentle on hair as they do not contain sulfates.

Coconut OIl

Coconut oil is derived from the 'meat' of a coconut & has key benefits for our hair & curls.


Conditioner is a moisturizing product that helps to smooth the cuticles and add shine to the hair. It also helps to improve the manageability of the hair, and assist with detangling. 


A co-wash is a 2 in1 shampoo that has a conditioning base with a small amount of cleansing agents. It is ideal for frequent gentle cleanses, and suitable for all hair types.


The cortex is the area of the hair that contains the hair pigment; melanin. This is what gives the hair its color


A cream is a type of hairstyle that helps add hold and definition to curls.

Cruelty Free

Cruelty free haircare refers to products that have not been tested on animals at any stage in their development process.

Curl Pattern/ Curl Type

Curl pattern is the shape of your hair. For example, type 2 is wavy, type 3 curly, and type 4 coily, all of which have differently shaped curls.

Curly Girl Approved

All ingredients used in our products are kind to, and benefit curly hair


Cuticles are the outer layer of the the hair made up of scales that overlap to protect the hair shaft  


Dandruff is a scalp condition that causes the skin on the scalp to flake, resulting in what is also known as a flaky scalp. 

Dry Scalp

Dry scalp occurs when the skin on the scalp does not have enough oil or moisture. It can cause the scalp to itch or even flake.

Dry Shampoo

Dry shampoo is applied to dry hair. It does not need to be washed out and is often used in between washes. 


A lightweight hair serum or oil


The removal of old, dead skin cells for the skin's surface. Scalp exfoliation therefore is the removal of these skin cells from the scalp.

Finger Curling

Styling method that defines and enhances your curl by wrapping the hair around your finger to form a curl

Flakey Scalp

Flaky scalp is the result of the skin flaking from the scalp. It is a sign of dandruff. 


A foam is a type of styling product.


Hair follicles live on the outer layer of our skin and hair growth starts at the bottom of the follicle.


Frizzy hair occurs when your hair and curls are lacking moisture. Hair can become unruly and may be caused by genetics, damage or humidity.


A gel is a type of styling product that provides varying levels of hold.


Hair Make-up

Hair makeup is a type of temporary wash out hair color that can easily be rinsed out. 

Hair Mask

A hair mask is an intense deep conditioning treatment that can help repair and nourish your curls. 

Hair Porosity

Hair porosity is the hair’s ability to absorb and retain water. The 3 main types of porosity are low, medium, and high. Your type is often dictated by your genetics.

Hair Protein

Hair protein refers to the collection of proteins that make up our hair strands. Hair is made of 91% proteins and these are what gives it its strength and structure. The most prominent protein in hair is keratin.

Hair Shaft

The hair shaft is the part of your hair that is visible above your scalp

Hair Typing System

Originated by Andre Walker to differentiate between hair types this ranges from 1-4. 

1- straight hair

2- wavy hair

3- curly hair

4- coily/kinky


A hydrophilic ingredient that attracts moisture from the environment

Itchy Scalp

Itchy scalp is one of the more common scalp conditions and is often caused by dandruff, as well as seasonal or hormonal changes. 

Leave-In Conditioner

A leave-in conditioner is a conditioning treatment that is left in the hair and does not need to be washed or rinsed out. 

Low Porosity

Low porosity hair is one of the three main porosity types. It is characterized by a very tight cuticle structure, which means the hair is not too dry and can maintain moisture quite easily.

Medium Porosity

Medium porosity hair is one of the three hair porosity types. It is one of the easier types to maintain and care for. It is characterized by a looser cuticle structure. In the case of medium porosity hair, cuticles are half-way open, which means moisture can reach inside the hair shaft easily, but also it is not lost too quickly.

Moisture Overload

If you’re experiencing moisture overload, it means you have moisturized your hair too much without providing the necessary proteins to give the hair structure. Hair that’s suffering from moisture overload can become frizzy, limp, and struggle to hold your curls.

Oily Hair

Oily hair may leave curls looking greasy and lifeless. Some common causes include a high frequency of touching and washing, excessive product use, and diet.


Parabens are a chemical often found in cosmetics. At Curlsmith we are proud to say none of our products contain sulfates, silicones, or parabens.

Permanent Hair Color

A permanent hair color requires dye to add to the hair pigment to alter its appearance and ultimately color. Unlike temporary, it does not rinse out after washing the hair.


Plopping is a technique performed by piling your curls in a towel on the top of your head to dry your hair naturally and keep your curls intact.


A pre-poo is a treatment you apply to the hair before shampooing. It helps to moisturize and protect the hair during the shampooing process.

Protein Overload

If you’re in protein overload, you have used too many products with proteins in your routine which have accumulated on your hair making it stiff. Protein overload can cause hair to lose its elasticity, becoming stiff and more prone to breakage.


A method of product application that helps to evenly distribute product, detangle, and encourage natural curls


Roots are where our hair starts the growth period. This initial period is known as the anagen stage.


The scalp consists of layers of skin and subcutaneous tissue that covers the bones of the cranial vault. Scalp health is important for healthy hair.

Scalp Massager

A scalp massager is a tool that massages the top of the scalp which may help stimulate hair follicles.


Scrunching is a styling method which can help add volume and enhance your natural curl. 

This technique can also be used to apply oil when the hair is 100% dry to scrunch the crunch created by a gel.

Semi Permanent Hair Color


A serum is a type of styling product that is designed to coat the surface of the hair to achieve the desired look.


Shampoo is used to clean hair. It is applied on wet hair, massaged into the scalp, and then rinsed out.


A styling method that provides maximum definition by smoothing each individual curl clump with product from roots to tips throughout the whole head.


When the hair dries naturally and appears much shorter than it was when wet


An ingredient used in hair care products to smooth the hair, reduce frizz, and add slip for detangling


The Curlsmith Curl Soufflé is a moisturizer and a styling gel all in one! It provides definition, bounce and medium hold to your curls.

Split Ends

Split ends occur when the ends of our hair become dry and brittle. Often, the fix is a haircut.


Sulfates are the active ingredient in lots of everyday personal care essentials such as body wash, laundry & washing up liquid, & toothpaste. The chemical formula is responsible for the cleansing action.

Temporary Hair Color

A non-permanent hair color that does not use dye or damage hair, & can easily be washed out. 

Twist Out

Styling method used to create an even curl throughout the head with  two-strand twists. Suited to tighter curls and coils; great for elongation

Type 2 Hair

Wavy hair, also known as type 2 hair, is the hair type that sits in between straight and curly, from loose loops to ‘S’ shaped waves.


2A hair is the loosest type of wavy hair. It can be identified as a loose tousled texture.


2B hair sits in the middle of the wavy hair category. It can be identified by 'S-shaped waves in the lengths of the hair.


2C hair is the most defined type of wavy hair. It features 'S-shaped waves that start at the root and continue down the lengths of the hair.

Type 3 Hair

Curly hair, also known as type 3 hair, is described as having either ‘O’ or corkscrew shaped curls. These curls can range anywhere from loose to as tight as a pencil diameter.


3A hair is the first type of curly hair. It can be defined by large, loose curls that are roughly an inch in width.


3B hair sits in the middle of the curly hair category. It features tighter curls that are roughly the width of your little finger.


3C hair has the tightest curls of the curly hair category. These tight curls are roughly the size of  a drinking straw

Type 4 Hair 

Coily hair is the most voluminous of the hair types and is often referred to as type 4 hair. It has either very tight coils that begin at the scalp, or ‘Z’ shaped angles.


4A hair is a coily hair type. It is made up of tight coils, about the size of a crochet needle.


4B hair is a type of coily hair. It consists of a 'Z' shaped curl pattern and is often fine and delicate.


4C hair is a type of coily hair. It has a tight zigzag pattern and can be very fragile. This hair type experiences the most shrinkage.


Vegan hair care refers to products that are completely free of animal derived products.