I’ve “gone natural” twice in my life, but I’ve only had one “big-chop.”
Around the time I got pregnant in 2009, I was not sure how perms would affect my pregnancy so I decided to stop getting them but I was still stroking my tresses with a flatiron every single week. Because my hair would still grow longer and thick, I often mistook that for healthy. I never realized how my dry my hair was and how easily my ends would break off.
This was my same routine for 3 years.
In 2011, after enduring a break-up of a long overdue relationship, I pulled a Bernadine.
Y’all know the scene in Waiting to Exhale when Bernadine (Angela Basset) went to her friend’s salon after finding out her husband was leaving her and was ready to let all that long & beautiful hair go. Glorida didn’t want to until Bernadine grabbed them scissors and hit her with the “Fine I’ll do it my damn self!” (or she said something along those lines)
*This soundtrack got me thru some thangs btw….anywho…….
My situation wasn’t as dramatic as Bernadine’s, but I literally picked a weekend to see my beautician for her to cut off all my hair. She said, “Alana, I’ma turn these clippers on so you can hear them and I’ll see if you still wanna do this.” I told her to proceed cuz if she let me change my mind I just might have done that.
Needless to say, I fell in love with my inner Nia Long/Halle Berry.
I was a college student 90 minutes outside of St. Louis and unfortunately, I couldn’t pack my beautician with me so maintaining it was hard but I kept it up for a year. Now that I knew I was bold enough to be creative with my hair, I got even more creative and let my sides go.
I loved this. The mow-hawk, box braids, press, etc. This worked for a while, but I was really beginning to miss my full head of hair.
Summer 2013, BIG CHOP TIME!!!!!!!!!!
In all actuality, going natural for me was me wanting to know my true curl pattern. I wasn’t on a search for my true Black identity (which was what people often times think). I wanted to see if I really took good care of my hair and if I could remain disciplined in that.
Water, olive oil, EDEN BodyWorks Coconut Shea All Natural Leave-In Conditioner were my best friends during my transition. My hair inventory has grown since, but these were staple items in 2013.
To be completely honest, I hated this phase. I was enduring what naturals like to call the “ugly phase” and I felt every bit of it. My face would break out a lot and this time I didn’t have my hair to take the attention away. I rarely went out with my hair like this. AS SOON AS the hair on my sides were long enough to grip, protective styles became my life.
Quick-weave until them sides were grippable.
Then off to the box-braids. Actually, this is my favorite go-to protective style thus far. I was constantly going to the gym so this was most convenient. Just made sure I kept my scalp oiled and lots of scalp massages.
The hair in the middle of my head got a little length to it. I started to like the shape of it and how my products defined my curls. 6 months into my natural journey and I was beginning to get the hang of this.
Baaaaaybe look. That first press in the Winter of 2013 had your girl lookin/feelin right!!! This was still 6 months post-chop and growing my sides out.I was so proud of how disciplined and patient I was. Being this concerned about hair may seem vain but it meant more to me than just hair. I had just started a new job, I had been natural before but heat damage was all over my head, and I just wanted to do this right. I finally took responsibility and pride in my hair and made sure that it was well taken care of.
I kept my same regimen (wash or co-wash every 2 weeks, deep condition or protein treatment with Shea Moisture Superfruit Complex 10-in-1 Renewal System Hair Masque & EDEN BodyWorks All Natural Hair Masque), water, EDEN Body Works Coconut Shea All Natural Leave-In Conditioner, olive oil, and coconut oil.
October of 2015, I am amazed how healthy and how long my hair has grown to be. Don’t get me wrong. I have my days where I’m ready to get my scissors and go back to my Nia Long days. The longer my hair gets, the thicker my hair gets, and the more tender-headed I get. My eyes water every time I put a comb through it lol.
I’ve experienced so much and learned so much about myself over these past two years (including my hair), my discipline level, my confidence level, my creativity, my level of patience….etc. It’s so much more than just hair. If I would’ve let the discomfort of my “ugly phase” consume me, I wouldn’t be where I am now.
Considering a big chop? DO IT! If anything, do some research on products that you would like to try, wait for a sale, and stock up.I wish I would’ve done more research early on, but it all worked out. Look up tutorials on YouTube and follow some natural hair inspiration pages on social media like:
There are so many more, but this is definitely a good start!
Enjoy the journey. Be patient. Keep your eyes on your own plate (your hair is your hair and can only be your hair…no one else’s). Test out products. See what works and give away what doesn’t to someone else. Ultimately, LOVE yourself all the way through 🙂