How Much Do You Know? ANSWERS!


As promised, here are the answers to the Natural Hair Trivia Quiz I posted Monday!! How well did you do :)?

At the Meet-Up on Saturday, I wanted to get everyone actively involved in the giveaway for the Grand Prize, a Sofistafunk Skirt and Jessicurl Sampler Kit. So, I came up with a Natural Hair Trivia Game. I thought that this would be a great way to find out what our attendees knew about hair, hair products and natural hair lingo and to provide a platform for discussion and the sharing of information. In my opinion, it is very important to understand some of the science behind hair and hair products in order to make informed choices. So, I thought about all of the information that I’ve accumulated over the last two years and have found useful in helping me understand hair in general, my own hair, techniques and products. I used that information to come up with some questions.

Now, I want to share the “quiz” here for the same reasons we played it at the meet-up!! How much do you know about hair, hair products, techniques and natural hair lingo? How many questions can you answer correctly? What things are completely new to you? I’ll post the answers to all of the questions later this week!


1. Translate the following abbreviations (1 pt. for each):

SSK: Single Strand Knots
WnG: Wash and Go
TnC: Twist and Curl
BC: Big Chop
EVOO: Extra Virgin Olive Oil
VCO: Virgin Coconut Oil
ACV: Apple Cider Vinegar
HIH: Hand in Hair (syndrome)
HG: Holy Grail
SLS: Sodium Laurel Sulfate
TWA: Teeny Weeny Afro
BAA: Big A@#$ Afro

Check out the Lexicon under the home tab for more abbreviations and mini-definitions.

2. Name three cones (1 pt for each).

Cones = Silicones

Non-water soluble
Cetearyl Methicone
Cetyl Dimethicone
Stearyl Dimethicone

Non-water soluble but repel build-up/further deposit

Trimethyl silylamodimethicone
Bis-aminopropyl Dimethicone

Slightly soluble in water
Behenoxy Dimethicone
Stearoxy Dimethicone

Soluble in water
Dimethicone Copolyol

Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein Hydroxypropyl Polysiloxane
Lauryl Methicone Copolyol
Cones listed with PEG or PPG in front of them


  • This is an extensive list, but not comprehensive.
  • Not all silicones end in “cone.” They can also end in “xane” and “conol.”
  • Not all ingredients ending in “cone” are silicones. Methylchloroisothiazolinone and Methylisothiazolinone are two preservatives that can be mistaken as cones. They usually appear together at the end of ingredient lists.

Bonus: Why is it important to understand cones when following a co-wash only regimen?

It is important to understand cones when co-washing only as non-water soluble cones can build up on hair with repeated use, blocking out moisture and defeating the purpose of a co-washing regimen, which is to maintain moisturized hair.

Check out this article for a detailed explanation on silicones: The Real Scoop on Silicones.

3. What is pineappleing?

Pineappling is wearing the hair in a high ponytail at night/for bedtime to preserve curls.

Tip: Shorter haired curlies can use multiple “pineapples” to preserve curls as demonstrated by Quest for the Perfect Curl and Chy’s Curlz.

4. What is the “greenhouse effect” as a natural hair technique?

Many use the terms “greenhouse effect” and “baggying” interchangeably to describe applying a water-based moisturizer to the ends of the hair, which are the oldest and driest, and then placing a plastic cap (i.e. baggie) over it for many hours (overnight or through the day) to promote moisture, softness and moisture retention.

However, there is a difference between the “greenhouse effect” and “baggying,” which I just learned as I was looking for a link to share on the technique!!! Different from baggying, which is intended to promote moisture to the ends/length of hair, the “greenhouse effect” is actually a technique to stimulate the scalp and promote growth! Who knew?!?

Want to learn more? Check out this post by Care4Curls for detailed explanations on baggying and the greenhouse effect and how to do both: Differences Between Baggying and the Greenhouse Effect.

5. What is the main ingredient in Vatika Oil?

Coconut oil

Learn why coconut oil based Vatika oil is one of my Staples here.

6. Generally speaking, what three layers form the structure of a strand of hair?

Cortex, medulla, cuticle

Bonus: Which layer may be missing in some hair?


7. What do anagen, catagen and telogen describe?

The three phases of hair growth.

Bonus: Briefly define them.

  • ANAGEN: Growth phase;
  • CATAGEN: Transitional phase (hair follicle shrinks, lower part is destroyed and the dermal papilla begins to break away);
  • TELOGEN: Resting/shedding phase (hair does not grow, but stays attached to the follicle. Hair will either shed or on its own – through mechanical means, i.e. manipulation, brushing, combing, washing, styling etc. – or new hair in anagen phase will push the old one out).

8. How do you differentiate a broken hair from a shed one?

A shed hair will have a white bulb, which is the root, at one end of the strand.

Learn more about the hair growth phases and shedding here: Shedding … Ughhh.

9. Briefly describe porosity.

Simply stated, porosity describes how easily water can move back and forth through the cuticle layer of the hair. Porosity is impacted by how close the “scales” of the cuticle layer are to each other and how lifted they are over the cortex of the hair strand. This characteristic of the structure of the hair dictates its ability to absorb and retain moisture.

Here are a couple of great articles on porosity from An In Depth Look at Porosity and How to Find Your Hair Porosity.

10. What are the three values on the pH scale?

Acid, Neutral, Alkaline

11. Under what value does the natural pH of hair fall?


Bonus: What is the natural pH range of hair?

4.5 to 5.5

For more information on how pH levels affect hair, check out my post, The Power of pH.

12. What old wives cure for wounds and burns mimics the natural pH for hair and is often used in hair products or added to home mixes?

Aloe vera

13. Name 3 types of protein used in hair care products (1 pt. each).

Dimethicone Copolyol
Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein Hydroxypropyl Polysiloxane
Lauryl Methicone Copolyol
Hydrolyzed Collagen Protein
Hydrolyzed Silk Protein
Hydrolyzed Soy Protein
Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein
Keratin Amino Acids
Silk Amino Acids
Silk Protein
Soy Protein
Wheat Amino Acids
Wheat Protein

Please note that this list is not comprehensive and that there are other protein ingredients that can be found in hair products. Check out my article, Moisture & Protein: Finding the Balance for more information on the importance of protein in a natural hair regimen.

14. All alcohols are drying. True or False? False

All alcohols are not created equally.
 There are drying alcohols and fatty alcohols. Fatty alcohols act as conditioning agents and are found in many moisturizing natural hair care products.

Fatty alcohols
Behenyl alcohol

Cetearyl alcohol

Cetyl alcohol

Isocetyl alcohol

Isostearyl alcohol

Lauryl alcohol

Myristyl alcohol

Stearyl alcohol

C30-50 Alcohols

Lanolin alcohol

“Short chain” drying alcohols to avoid
SD alcohol

SD alcohol 40
Alcohol denatured
Propyl alcohol
Isopropyl alcohol

Source: Curls 101 FAQs

15. Briefly describe the action/purpose of a humectant.

A humectant is a substance that promotes moisture retention.

It’s important to note, in a humid environment, a humectant will pull environmental water into the hair. In an arid environment, if there is more water in the hair than in the air, a humectant will pull water outside of the hair and move it into the drier air. A humectant works by attracting moisture to wherever there is less water.

For more information on humectants, check out this article on Humidity, Humectants and Hair.

16. What common food item found in many kitchen cabinets is a humectant?


17. What does the BAQ in “BAQ Henna” abbreviate?

Body Art Quality

BAQ Henna is a pure dye composed of the dry, powdered leaves of the lawsonia inermis plant. It is the henna that is used in Mehandi tattooing and is free of chemicals, metallic salts and synthetic dyes found in many commercial henna dyes sold for hair. Find more information on BAQ Henna here and learn about the benefits of henna, as well as the pros and cons, on I’m a Henna Head.

18. When used after henna, what plant powder produces black results on hair?


19. Of what Hindu traditional/alternative medicine system are henna, shikakai, amla, neem, brahmi, etc. considered a part?


Want to learn a little more about the principles behind Ayurveda and this holistic approach to hair care? Then see this post on, Ayurvedic Hair Care: An Introduction. Check out The Ayurvedic Breakdown for specifics behind some common ayurvedic powders. Still yearning for more? There are tons of informative articles Ayurveda on CurlyNikki’s site under The Basics>Ayurveda.

20. Complete the titles and authors of the following natural hair care books (1 pt. for each):

Chicoro’s Grow It!

The Science of Black Hair by Audrey Davis-Sivasothy

Curly Like Me (aka The Tightly Curly Method) by Terri LaFlesh

The Curly Girl Handbook by Lorraine Massey

(41 Total Points)

What was your final score? How many questions were you able to answer on your own? How many did you have to look-up? By the way, there is no shame in searching the web!! That’s almost the point;). There is so much information at our fingertips, if we just know where to start looking! Did you learn anything new or get inspired to dig deeper into any topic? About which topics would you like to learn more? I’m taking requests ;)!


7 responses »

    • Thanks LIsa and KIm:)!!! I hope everyone else agrees! LOL!! I think my “teacher genes” were showing ;). My mom’s a born teacher and I’m pretty sure I inherited the trait as I have been constantly told that I should have been a teacher. But I had no desire to make that a career. So, the gene manifests in other ways, I think ;)!!


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