The rubbing or scraping off the surface layer of cells or tissue from an area of the skin. Can bleed mildly and cause partial or complete absence of hair from the area.

A reactive substance combined with a base to start the action of chemical process.

A chemical substance with pH greater that 7 that reacts with and neutralizes acid. Also known as a base. Two common examples are lye and ammonia.

A substance with very few hydrogen ions and a pH over 7. Lye is strongly alkaline.

The medical term for hair loss. Loss of hair as a result of illness, functional disorder, or hereditary disposition.

Amino Acids
The building blocks of protein. A deficiency of amino acids may adversely affect hair growth. The following amino acids are present in hair: Cysteine, Aspartic acid, Serine, Alanine, Glutamic acid, Proline, Threonine, Isoleucine, Glycine, Tyrosine, Leucine, Phenylalanine, Valine, Histidine, Arginine, Methionine.

Ammonium Thioglycolate
Also known as Thio, it’s an active chemical that is used in permanent waving processes. It breaks disulfide bonds and allows reshaping of hair shaft.

A compound in which the essential portion of the molecule has a negative (-) charge.

Basing Cream
A protective oily cream that is applied to the scalp, ears and neck before chemical applications to protect skin from irritation during processing.

Blunt Cutting
A technique used to achieve a style that requires the hair to be cut to one length.

A mineral vital to many physical processes. High amounts of calcium can be found in hard water and result in: feeling dry and weighted down on the scalp causing flaking breakage and reduced new hair growth.

Calcium Hydroxide

A medium strength chemical base found in no-lye relaxers

A compound in which the essential portion of the molecule has a positive (+) charge.

The smallest possible unit of living matter. Skin and hair are made up of various types of cells.

Clarifying Shampoo
Slightly stronger than everyday shampoos, it’s designed to remove impurities and residue that have built-up over time. Clarifiers usually have a higher pH level and, therefore, should not be used regularly as they may dry out the hair and scalp.

Cold wave
A system of permanent waving involving the use of chemicals rather than heat. The entire process takes around 6-8 hours at room temperature.

The main structure of the hair shaft responsible for the overall size and strength of the hair. It also determines the hair’s color and texture.

The outer surface of the hair shaft composed of interlocking keratin proteins. It offers protection from dryness and penetration by impurities, gives hair luster and shine and provides some of its strength.

An amino acid that is a component of the protein keratin. Cysteine is responsible for the hair’s toughness and abrasion resistance. It holds the hair’s fibers together.

A white flaky buildup of dead skin cells found on oily scalp or dry scalp, which means the flakes can be dry or oily.

The sensitive connective tissue layer of the skin located below the epidermis. Contains the hair follicles, sweat and sebaceous glands, nerves, and blood and lymph vessels.

A style where the hair naturally, or through manipulation, forms a cylindrical, rope-like pattern. Dreadlocks may take several months or a few years to form and are considered a permanent style. In order to remove dreadlocks, you must cut them.

The measure of how much the hair will stretch (and return to a normal state.) Elasticity is rated as being low, normal or high. Hair with normal or high elasticity is easily styled, while hair with low elasticity is susceptible to breakage and will be hard to curl or lose its curl quickly.

The basic constituents of molecules of which atoms are the smallest part. Some elements found in the hair include carbon, oxygen, nitrogen and sulfur.

A complex protein that accelerates the rate of chemical reactions.

Outermost layer of skin which protects the dermis.

Essential oils
Highly concentrated aromatic oils extracted from certain species of flowers, grasses, fruits, leaves, roots and trees. They help the skin and hair detoxify, heal and regenerate.

Far Infrared Ray Technology
Far Infrared Rays gently heat the hair from within, reducing drying and frizz. When used with a ceramic surface, these rays reduce static electricity and help make the cuticle lay flat, resulting in smoother, straighter styles. Infrared heat through ceramic plates also protects color and enhances the overall condition of your hair.

A saclike structure just below the surface of your scalp within which hair grows.

Damaged hair that absorbs moisture and expands. Can result from uneven drying, genes, dryness, overexposure to chemicals, or other factors. Broken cuticles and a lack of water (moisture) keep hair from laying smooth.

Hair Density
The amount of hair strands on the head. It is generally measured by counting the number of hair strands in one square inch of scalp. The classifications are thin, medium and thick. High-density hair is thick and well suited for layered styles, while low density hair is thin and better suited for blunt styles with aped curl.

Hair Texture
A measure of the circumference of the hair strand. Classified as coarse, fine or medium. Coarse hair has the largest circumference, and fine hair has the smallest. Course hair is stronger, but can be resistant to straightening and coloring; while fine hair is susceptible to damage from chemical services.

Ingredients in shampoos and conditioners, such as glycerin and panthenol, which help bind water to the hair to reduce dryness. They help attract water from the air and retain moisture in the hair’s cortex.

Hydrolyzed Protein
A protein that has been broken down into its component amino acids .

The primary protein of skin, hair and nails that contains all common amino acids but is distinguished by high cysteine content.

A strong solution of sodium hydroxide with a pH level between 10 and 14 found in lye relaxers. It is the most potentially harmful relaxer and should only be used on course, extremely curly hair.

Pigmenting granules within the keratin fibers of the hair shaft that determine hair color.

The innermost section of hair, composed of several layers of cells.

The back of the neck.

An agent designed to counteract and make chemical solutions inactive. It is used at the end of a curl or relaxer to completely stop the chemical process and return hair to its normal pH.

The measure of acidity or alkalinity of a material when dissolved in water. It is expressed on a scale from 0 to 14, where 7 is neutral, greater than 7 is more alkaline, and less than 7 is more acidic.

The measure of the hair’s ability to absorb moisture. This is determined by the condition of the hair’s cuticle layer and is categorized as low, normal and high. Low porosity means the cuticle is overly compact, moisture cannot be absorbed, and hair may be resistant to chemical processing. Hair with high porosity has open cuticle layers that too-readily absorb moisture and also release moisture too easily, making chemical applications a sensitive process. Normal porosity means the cuticle covering the cortex is intact so that little moisture is lost or gained.

A complex organic compound composed of amino acids. Hair is made up of about 98% protein, which is required for the structure, function and regulation of the body’s cells and tissues. Hair needs protein to stay strong.

A chemical process that permanently rearranges the basic structure of overly curly, kinky or wavy hair so that it is straight.

See Touch-up.

Sebaceous Glands

Fatty glands found in hair follicles that produce and secrete oil (sebum) into the hair and surrounding skin.

An oily secretion produced by sebaceous glands near thee hair follicles that keeps your hair lubricated and shiny.

Setting Lotion
A medium hold product for hair that adds volume, shape and style and controls curls.

Sodium Hydroxide
A strong, highly active alkaline chemical base found in lye relaxers.

The maintenance of coloring or straightening patterns achieved through an application of chemicals to previously untreated new growth.

A precious crystal that is ground down into a fine powder and then infused onto the ceramic plates of a flat iron. Tourmaline plates produce a far greater number of negative ions than do ceramic plates. This charge of negative ions seals in moisture, achieving longer-lasting straightening results and giving hair a silkier, shinier appearance.

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 so that it’s more manageable.

Thermal Styling
Using a heated dryer to absorb water from wet hair or temporarily straightening the hair with a heated iron.

Virgin Hair
Hair that has never been permed, colored, straightened or otherwise chemically treated.