Last time, we took you through a crash course on extensions, weaves, and wigs. If you missed that, you can catch it here. Today, we have prepared your very own handy hair glossary.
Consider this your handy online hair dictionary that you can always refer to whenever you come across terms you can’t really understand when trying to buy or install a new weave or extension. Rest assured, if it’s a term used in the hair space, you’ll find its meaning here.
Because this is just a glossary, we will only be giving you a definition of the terms. However, we will also link you to articles where we give you exhaustive details on these terms where possible.
Table of Contents
Extensions are pieces of hair added to your natural hair to give it extended length or fuller volume.
These are types of extensions usually installed by sewing directly onto flat cornrows on the natural head. Weaves can also be made into custom wigs. For more on the difference between extensions and weaves, check out our crash course on extensions, weaves, and wigs.
3. Virgin Hair
Virgin hair refers to human hair that has not been altered at all by any kind of chemicals like dyes, bleach, or acids. Cuticles are, therefore, usually undamaged and all travel in the same direction. For the most part, virgin hairs are sourced from donor women living in rural villages around the world who part with their hairs for small amounts of money. Click here to learn more about virgin hair.
4. Remy Hair
Remy hair is very similar to virgin hair. It is collected from one donor and the cuticles are intact to a very large degree. The cuticles are also aligned in one direction as well. However, Remy hair usually has encountered chemicals to some degree. They also contain short hairs which give the hair its natural taper at the end and give you a natural-looking hairstyle when installed.
Now, although we said cuticles are intact to a very large degree with Remy hair, there are cases where Remy hair has the cuticles damaged. In such cases, if the hair is high quality and does not tangle, it can still be referred to as Remy hair. All the same, it’s best to get Remy hair with all its cuticles still intact.
Usually, you can tell from the hair grade if a particular Remy hair has all or most of its cuticles still intact. For instance, 10A Remy hair would have most of its cuticles intact, while 6A hair will only have a few intact. Click here to learn more about human hair grading.
5. Non-Remy Hair
Non-remy hair is also human hair. However, it’s sourced from multiple donors. Some people sell non-remy hair in its raw state but most sell as finished products.
Raw non-remy hair has its cuticles intact and undamaged but they run in different directions. If it is not properly processed, then you will have issues with tangling in a short time when using non-remy hair.
For finished non-remy hair, the cuticles are descaled and the hairs typically have the same length.
6. Synthetic Hair
Synthetic hair is not human hair. It looks like hair but it is actually made of thin plastic fibers made to resemble real hair but differing in quality. Of course, as a result, you can’t heat-style synthetic hair. That’s why it is typically reserved for protective styles such as Marley twists and box braids. Usually, synthetic hair is mass-produced and you can easily find them at beauty supply stores. As you can guess, they are very affordable when compared to human hair of any type or grade.
7. Weft Hair:
Weft hair refers to hair where the collection of strands have been attached to a fine strip of cloth at one end. Depending on how long weft hair is, it usually comes in different weights but is still typically referred to by weight. So, you could see weft hair described as 120 grams, for instance. There are several ways of installing weft hair from sewing, clipping, taping, fusion (also known as pre-bonded or bonding), and microlinking.
Bundles refer to a collection of quality weft hair tied up together to form a bunch and sold as weaves. The number of bundles you’ll need for your hair would depend on the size of your head and how long the hair is. If the hair is 18 inches or shorter, then you’d need about three bundles. But if you’re going for longer than 18 inches, you should be thinking of longer than 18 inches. Learn more about hair bundles by clicking this link.
9. Bulk Hair
Bulk hair refers to a bundle of hair that does not come with a weft. So, the strands are loose and they are typically used for protective styles such as box braids.
This refers to the portion of your hair in the front (and sometimes at the back) of your head that’s purposely left out in a partial sew-in. When blended with the weave, it gives you a flawless finish.
This style can quickly become sloppy, though, if the texture of the hair you’re sewing in and your own natural hair are far apart. It doesn’t matter if it looks good the day you fix it. Someday, it’s going to get less blended and look really tacky. So, always choose something that’s as close to the texture of your own natural hair as possible. If you can’t get one hair that does it, it’s okay to get two different hairs of different textures.
You’ve heard of closure before, definitely. It refers to a hairpiece that’s made of lace or silk and has hair extensions attached to it. So, you fix your closure at the crown of your head to mimic your natural scalp. This helps to make your weave look very natural. If you’re making the transition from a relaxed to your natural hair, and you’re trying to avoid heat damage on your hair, closures are probably your best bet.
There are several different kinds of closures. Lace closures are typically thinner and tend to expose the scalp underneath. Silk closures, on the other hand, are much thicker and typically cover the skin entirely.
Frontals refer to wigs that cover the front of your hairline so the wig looks like your own hair. Many people love frontals because they allow you to wear your hair up into a ponytail. Plus, you also get the freedom to part your hair different ways: side, middle, anything you want, really.
13. Lace-Front Wigs
Lace-front wigs are great because they practically last forever. They come with a sheer lace panel into which the wig maker hand-knots the hair through the mesh. It’s more versatile than the regular wigs and once you wear them properly, it makes it look like the hair on the wig is growing directly from your scalp. Click here to learn what type of lace wig is best for you.
14. U-Part Wig
As the name suggests, this is a wig that comes with an opening in the front in the shape of a “U.” With this unique design, you get to blend in your front hair with the wig so it gives you the illusion of a natural hairline. If you don’t like your wig looking too “wiggy,” then a U-part wig is the best wig you can get.
15. Temple Hair:
This is the rarest form of human hair extension, even rarer than virgin hair. It is shaved directly from the donor’s scalp, usually in a temple in India. In this special ceremony, the woman offers her hair to get a special blessing. These hairs are then handpicked and sorted, after which they are then bundled, washed, and sun-dried. However, no chemical is involved in the process and the hair gets to the customer in its most natural form.
Ombre is a dye technique used to color hair such that the hair color melts from dark to light as you go down the hair. There are different ombre shades you can pick from to give you a stylish look that turns heads.
17. Chemical Treatment
Chemical treatment refers to different processes that hair can pass through. These processes could include bleaching, coloring, straightening, or perming. These treatment processes usually damage or, at least, weaken the hair structure.
18. Single Drawn
Single-drawn hair comprises 50% of full-length hair with the other 50% at varied lengths. This means that if you have single-drawn hair at 16 inches, half of the hair would be 16 inches in length. The other half, though, would be made of hairs of varying lengths from 12 to 14 inches. Usually, single draw hair typically looks more natural since each strand of natural hair growing from your scalp does not grow at the same rate. Single-drawn hair typically starts out full and then tapers at the end.
19. Double Drawn
Double-drawn hair is more voluminous and has 70% to 80% of the hair strands at full length. So, most of the hair strands would be at the specified length on the packaging.
20. Micro-link Hair Extensions
These are also referred to as loop hair extensions or micro-bead hair extensions. So, the stylist installs this onto your hair by looping the extensions through your natural hair. They then clamp down the extension to your hair strands using a pair of pliers as well as a metal bead.
21. Tape-in Hair Extensions
Tape-in hair extensions are classified under the semi-permanent hair extensions category. They come pre-taped and are installed onto your hair by sandwiching the natural hair into the extension.
22. Pre-bonded Extensions
You might also hear the term “fusion hair extensions.” This is another name for pre-bonded extensions. These are usually installed using keratin and glue.
23. Clip-in Extensions
These are the quickest, the easiest, and about the least damaging to the hair to install. As the name suggests, clip-in extensions are installed by clipping the extensions to the hair.
Clip-in hair extensions are best if what you’re going for is just to add a little length and volume.
24. Net Weaving Extensions
This is also quite easy to guess, right? Here, the stylist sews a net onto the base of cornrows. After that, the weave wefts are then sewn onto the net. It’s one way to prevent putting too much stress on your natural hair.
25. Crochet Extensions
Crochet extensions are pretty much like weft hair and also follow a similar technique to install. The only difference here is that the extensions are not sewn into the hair. Instead, they are installed using a latch hook needle.
26. Sew-in Hair Extensions
We will dwell on this for a bit because it is the most common method of installing weaves for black women. It’s also probably the best method for installing weaves for black women as well. However, you need to be real careful about constantly sewing in weaves. Tight braids strain your scalp and can cause hair damage especially if you have thin hair. Plus, there’s the hygiene part of this as well. It’s difficult to wash your hair when it’s completely covered in cornrows. So, be sure to take the time to give your hair the needed space to breathe.
27. Hair Cuticles
Hair cuticles refer to the scales that run through the entire length of the individual strands of hair. Cuticles to hair are like pores to skin. They protect the hair from damage and, thereby, make them last longer.
The presence of cuticles on the hair also affects porosity, although hairs with cuticles could be porous or non-porous.
28. 360 Frontal
29. Bond Protective Shield
If you’re going to bond your weaves to your scalp, then it’s a great idea to apply a bond protective shield to keep your hair from damage.
There you have it! All the weave- and extension-related words you need to know to sort your way through the knotted mess that is the “hairtmosphere.” Pun definitely intended.