My Big Chop Story
After years of seriously neglecting my relaxed hair, I finally took the plunge and did the big chop back in August. I was originally going to try and transition, however dealing with two competing hair textures was just too much work. So, after yet another stressful wash day, I whipped out my scissors and cut all my relaxed hair off. Despite standing in front of my mirror and being nearly bald, I felt oddly empowered and free.
Going natural was something I had been contemplating and putting off for years. What will I do with my natural hair? How will I style it? These were questions that kept me relaxing my hair for years, even though I wasn’t pleased with the results.
It’s been three months since I started my natural hair journey, and while I am no expert, I have indeed learned a lot about my hair. The first being, I had never actually seen it. That’s right. In my 44 years of being on this planet, I don’t ever recall seeing what my hair looked like in its natural state. Every photo I have ever seen of my younger self shows me with hair that was already being straightened with a hot comb. Imagine my shock when I saw it and discovered it was far superior to the relaxed version I’ve been dealing with for most of my life.
Hot combs and relaxers almost always leave kinky, coily, wavy and nappy hair damaged. There is no two ways around that. Heat damage and chemical damage has left many of us thinking we have bad hair, when we do not. My natural hair texture is nothing like the dry knotted mess I’ve been dealing with the last few years.
My own hair discovery mimics that of many other naturals, who like me, discovered that under the relaxed hair many of us have been walking around with since elementary school, is a far more superior texture of hair that looks glorious in its natural state.
I am now having the time of my life learning about my own hair, and now more than ever, understand why it is such a source of awe for some people. I totally get why they stare at it, want to touch it, and for some, even envy it. Kinky hair is versatile and eye catching. I’d be mad too if I didn’t have it.
If you too are thinking about going natural, I urge you to do it. You won’t regret it. Just know to avoid certain pitfalls, which I have laid out below.
1. Keep your money- Shea butter, olive oil, coconut oil (Parachute) and water should be your staples. Everything you need to have healthy and long hair, if you so desire, can more than likely be found in your kitchen cabinets already. Do not become a product junkie. Nothing will help your hair grow or grow faster. Your hair is growing; it may seem like it’s not because your ends are breaking off. The key to longer hair is keeping those ends moisturized and protected.
2. Leave it alone- I’m pretty sure every ounce of hair I cut off in August has grown back. The key I discovered is simple- I twist it after wash day (every 2 weeks) and let it be. Besides spraying it sporadically with water and coconut oil, I don’t do anything else. Nothing. Low manipulation is key. Not buying various expensive products.
3. Seek information… but not too much- While bloggers and You Tube gurus have been a great source of information and inspiration for me, too much of a good thing can be counterproductive. Every blogger/guru has a product or products they swear by. If you’re not careful, you’ll find yourself spending a lot of money for absolutely no reason. Learn the basics from these gurus- but leave the products.
4. Do it yourself- Learn to create your own products. From shampoo to conditioner, you can create everything you need to care for your natural hair in your home. I learned to make my own conditioner out of bananas, aloe vera gel and coconut oil.
Above: 22nd Century Natural Woman. I love this hair blogger. And even though I dissuade people from becoming product junkies, I purchased a few of her homemade goodies just to show my support. I love the way she doesn’t promote having long hair, but rather healthy hair. She shares her journey on her You Tube channel. Feel free to check her out.