I chopped my hair off on September 30th. Like…all of it. I had maybe half an inch of hair and I wish I’d taken the photo with my hand in it so you could see how there was NO WAY to put my hands IN my hair. I wrote about this and I’ve been getting messages from natural hair enthusiasts congratulating me and validating my decision. I chuckle because I’ve been completely chemical/relaxer free for 4 years now..
In any case here we are two months later and I’ve posted virtually NO updates about my hair growth. Well…last month was a bit anticlimactic. I also nearly forgot and the only picture I have is one I snapped at work one random day when trying to get my webcam set up. I’m not smiling and I look mean…but whatever its supposed to be about the hair, right? Anyway, so here I am bare-faced with lipgloss (my usz) and completely confused about what to do with my hair, so what I was doing was washing it at night, brushing it back and tying it down. I was essentially giving myself a fro-y helmet. Awesome. I started going back to natural hair blogging sites to read what other BC-ers did and were doing to not get bored with their looks. I eventually ended up going back to wigs when I got bored because, well…there’s not much that can happen when your hair is an inch or so long.
But then *bells and whistles* IT GREW! I seriously feel like this happened over night. I was sitting on my couch watching TV when I started twirling my hair around my finger mindlessly. It was then that I realized I was twirling my hair around my finger! I twisted my hair up in two strand twists and actually wore the twists out one day! Then the next day decided I hated how I looked with the twists and deleted all ocular evidence. In any case, its growing. My mom remarked that my hair has always grown pretty fast. The thing that excites me, well the three things are:
wash and go (before BC)
1. My hair is growing back straight up 4C hair. This is fine with me–because last time it was such a mixture of curl patterns (3C in back and 4C in crown) and honestly even if its 4c, I’ll take it because it seems to be much more uniform this year than it ever has been before.
2. It is certainly not thin or “whispy”. One of the reasons I hated twists before was because my hair was SO thin and when I did twists they were always scalpy and awful looking. This time, I did twists and I didn’t hate it (until the day after) mostly because it looked full! The thing that I really loved about the twist was the day after twistOUT! It was amazeballs, but my hair was dirty and needed to be washed. That hasn’t changed. My hair still requires washing 2x/week at LEAST or it is not happy.
3. I love that I BC’d after already being natural because I know how much heat-damage sucks so I’m staying away from it.
Me in a lace front
When I want straight hair, I’ll throw a wig on. Furthermore, I know what products work best for me. I know not to spend a ton of money on all the things other people say works for them, etc. I have coconut oil, and some KCKT. I shampoo/condition with Organix coconut milk and that is IT. I do want to get some honey and ACV because my hair loves those when the air is dry, but I am content. It works and since I’ve already done the mid-length thing I’ll know what to do when I get there. I have to say, I love where it is right now though. Short is so easy, but I do miss my big curly fro. I’ll be happy when I get back there…but no rush. No rush.
About three weeks after I chopped all of my hair I had a new lacefront wig. It was not because I hated my short hair, it was because I was going to Denver and thought it would be fun to have “Kim Kardashian” hair. Then when I returned I needed long(er) bone straight with bangs, affectionally and pragmatically named, “post-Denver” hair.
The truth of the matter is that I just love playing dress up. I believe whole-heartedly in the words of Kate Spade when she said, “Playing dress up begins at age 5 and never really ends.” I love waking up and deciding what look I’m going to master. I guess that’s why I love hair and make-up shoes and clothes. I love the theatrical nature to it.
I think about my mom, she said “why did you chop all your hair off just to cover it up?” But I guess I do not see it that way. I see it as me expressing myself as I feel in that moment. Its fun! Sometimes I feel girly and prim, other times I feel like jeans and an oversized hoodie with boots and aviators. You just never know. I do laugh because often people don’t know what to do with me or how to take me because I change my hair so much. However, I don’t even worry about it. I can’t worry about it. I don’t change, just the wrapping paper.
I’ll likely never forget Zachary’s reaction to my big chop. That he could really see me now. Quite honestly, since the chop whether I’ve worn wigs or my fro I’ve felt the same freedom and ease. I feel lighter. Even though I had a knotty stomach when it came to money last week, in general I have remained at peace. At peace and in laughter. Happy.
Tonight I was taking a shower after a day of doing all the things. You know, the getting ready for the week things: laundry, sorting clothes, packing my work bag, getting groceries, etc. I was shampooing and I thought quite literally, “I’m chopping this shit off.” I didn’t even bother to detangle it I just showered as normal and when I got out, I found the scissors and I chopped. I didn’t think about how short I would go. I didn’t think about how it would look, I just didn’t want it anymore.
I sent the picture of a pile of hair on my sink to J. She panicked and as I explained to her that I just needed something new she asked what she’d missed in my life. While its been mostly spelled out here…what I feel today is not anger or hurt or resentment–its joy.
Maya said, when you know better, you do better. Today I am better. I was holding on to so much. Holding on to what-ifs in a lot of areas in my life. A few months ago, NCS asked me ARE YOU FEARLESS ENOUGH TO OPEN UP TO HAPPINESS? And while I wanted to answer yes! I wanted to believe that I was and I did not want to acknowledge that I was contributing to my own misery in any way. But I was, and I was tired of it. I was tired and I felt heavy, and burdened. I had to put it down, let it go, and reset.
When I showed LT she asked if I was going through a crisis. I chuckled to myself and considered the question. Am I? If it is a crisis then its the best kind of crisis. Its one where I feel completely liberated. I was so tired of wanting to do things, considering them, writing about them, mulling over them, fantasizing about them…I was ready to GO after them. I was ready to DO them. So, I did. I am starting over and how fitting (J brought to my attention) that I am doing so at the beginning of the quintessential Autumnal month. Big chop #1–October 1, 2012.
It is just hair–it will grow back. Honestly, I am not worried about it. I love the way I look with less than an inch of hair. I love the way I look, period. I feel good. Wonderful actually. I feel like I could do anything I put my mind to. I mean, and can’t I?
Some of you know last November I chopped my hair (again) and vowed to straighten it minimally and not to cut it for an entire year ( I tend to be very scissor happy). Here’s some documentation:
November 28, 2010 after the big snip!
Aug 28, 2011 just shy of the one year mark and check the growth!
Good hair right? So then yesterday I got fed up with my tangling ends and though I was gun shy about cutting I knew I needed to not hold on to those ends and that it was best for my hair to cut a bit (a bit) so here are those results:
I washed my hair the night before and pulled it back in a ponytail so that it dried semi straight. I woke the next morning and this was the result (I did this to avoid blow drying and thus extra heat). Definite before!
This was after! Bone straight just so I could check the length and see absolutely NO frizzy brittle ends sticking out. Not this is w/ no product (save heat protectant) and my hair was shiny. I was very pleased.
After I curled it a bit. By this time my arms were tired LOL, but I managed to curl some of the layers I cut. I think I did a pretty good job considering I can't see the back of my head!!! I've gotten better with scissors just because of my affinity for using them. #JFZ
You can't see as much of the color from the front (which I'm okay with--I can't believe its still so blonde!). Happy hair, happy Jess.
Anyway check out my adventures in twist outs:
Towel dried hair...note how much courser the front is than the back!
Rushed blow dry...as you can see I need a trim, but I'm going to wait til summer bc I also want it colored!
Twisted it up using Organics smooth and hold pudding and Eco Styler gel, just a dollop of each!
I rolled the ends with perm rods and the next morning unrolled and separated twist (I rub coconut oil on the ends of my fingertips as I separate!)
Day one hair after I fully separated and fluffed it out
Now…it was breezy and the air was most yesterday so by the time 10pm rolled around I looked like a cotton ball because of course my hair grows during the day. Last night to go to bed all I did was retwist it up with a lil Smooth and Hold pudding, and this morning untwisted it with a little coconut oil. Alas, we have 2nd day hair (which in general is usually my favorite day hair)
Second Day hair profile
This is such a silly face but for some reason when I'm taking pictures it just feels so right...
Love my kinks.
I’ve realized something about myself, I’m a bit of a natural enthusiast. I really don’t mind relaxed women until they start trying to go hard for haircare, then I get high and mighty. I don’t even feel the need to change that flaw lol; is that sad? Yesterday I was trolling a haircare site and I kept coming across women talking about their “goal length” and “growth challenges” this is when I came to a few more realizations about myself:
- women that harp on long hair annoy me.
- men that harp on long hair annoy me. Honestly men that harp on hair period, because THEY don’t have to do it, so stfu.
- I don’t really look for hairspirations because nobody’s curls are like mine, and that’s the beauty of it!
- long term transitioners that complain about their ends ANNOY ME, cut the shit off and s.t.f.u.
- I hate the phrase “going natural”. No, you are BORN natural, you GO-get-a-relaxer. This is not about learning to do your natural hair, its about unlearning how to do unnatural hair. That’s what it is, so lets call a spade a mfn spade.
Moving on from the harping, my hair has been hella dry and frizzy lately so I took to the streets!
Smooth and Hold pudding, Eco Styler gel, KCKT, KCCC, EVOO, Coconut Oil, HEHH, ACV, Honey
I did a pre-poo wash with honey, KCCC, and ACV ( I used to do this with Oyin Handmade’s Honey wash but I’m out!). Then I did a deep condition with KCKT, EVOO, HEHH and Coconut oil and left it in for about four hours
Deep Conditioning with a shower cap
Hair all coated before I rinsed
Next I rinsed it out and twisted it up with the S+Hpudding and the EcoStyler gel (I’m trying this again bc it left my hair dry last time I tried but maybe I just needed a d/c). I haven’t yet untwisted bc my hair is still wet but we’ll see how it looks tomorrow. I want big textured hair!!!
I have 0 patience and untwisted it almost immediately posting this blog, here are the results:
I was recently approached with the question, “what does being natural mean to me?” Present tense. I hadn’t really thought about it to be honest, but it was a loaded question that I knew I wanted to think about before I answered. I knew past reasons…but what about right this very moment?
I must say though, for me it is about acceptance and patience. You can watch all the YouTube videos and read all the product reviews, but at the end of the day your hair may not take to anything. My friend called me crazy when I told her you have to listen to your hair. It is as it is with all things. Your stomach growls when you’re hungry, groans when its full, right? Your hair also has behaviors to communicate with you. Listen.
The day that you wake up and the style you were so excited to try turns out to be a big flop–wet your mop and go. That is a challenge! I used to be a natural who didn’t wear my natural curl pattern until I realized what nonsense that made. How can I be proud to be a natural “accepting what God gave me,” and manipulating it into curls kinks and twists at every chance I got? Luckily I work in a counseling office where it is very much encouraged to embrace yourself. It really encouraged me to say the hell with it–and try out wash and gos. Acceptance.
My hair was not growing. Or rather, it was growing but very thin on the ends. I’d promised myself (and my boyfriend) I’d stop being so scissor happy and see how long I could get my hair but long and thin wasn’t what I had in mind. So what did I do? I chopped off about 4″ of my hair. That was around October of last year and I am pretty sure its grown back. I started drinking more water, eating more fruits and vegetables, and taking my vitamins. As a result, my hair grew back thicker and healthier. I’ve made detangling routine, I’ve embraced that heat on my hair just sets me back and have to remember not to reach for that flat iron ((my hair is very susceptible to heat damage)). I don’t have a goal in mind for my hair besides health. I am patiently letting it grow out, owning that I’m now back where I started from. Wherever I am right now today is all that I’m concerned about. Patience.
I had no idea I even felt all this until posed with the question. I think natural hair is beautiful. Yes, more beautiful than long, flowing weave or a fresh swinging relaxer. I have always shown an affinity for simplicity, and grace. I see natural hair as both of those. The women that wear other hair styles don’t bother me. I’m not a “witness” for natural hair, I encourage everyone to do whatever it is they want.
As much as we want to minimalize it, I do not believe its “just hair”. It is an expression. A form of communication from you to the world around you. As is anything that we say, do, and wear. To deny that is to choose to ignore a very honest reality; that you control the messages you send about yourself. Some people don’t want to hear that, its easier to say people get it wrong or misunderstand, or mischaracterize them. Try taking responsibility for part of it. A misread signal is still a signal, what were you *trying* to say to the world that got misconstrued?
Lastly, I had a few friends who claim they hadn’t thought about it (at all) or don’t feel any sort of way about being natural. I challenge that. You must, because you are and everyday that you are it is a choice. I would encourage them to get to know themselves better. Not because they’re natural, but because they seem to be disconnected from the choices they make, and often times how you do anything is how you do everything. Self included.
Just a little nappy girls opinion. What is yours?
**Note…I heard there were technically difficulties with this post so I’ve reuploaded and reposted! Enjoy!!**
Ok so I didn’t wanna do two separate posts just for a few pix so I’ma jumble them all up lol…so the first pix are my 1st attempt at CurlyNikki’s twist-n-curl, now this is a wet attempt and I just moisturized with coconut oil and twisted then rolled it up over night here are my results:
This is obviously after I took rollers out and hadn't yet untwisted the twists
The results of a WET twist and Curl
This is me retwisting and doing a DRY twist and curl
The results equal bigger hair lol
I always like to take a pic of how I "go out" so you see finished looks
This was the result of a "cold wave rod" set...didn't have before because I forgot lol next time I do it I'll post! I didn't like this style...too big.
Out of all the styles I’ve tried so far the twist and curl felt the most like rockin natural hair…I’m pretty amped to go out with this look and be the *natural girl* and not just a curly head. Next up are my beautiful flowers that I got for Valentine’s day
Left bouquet of roses and carnations pre-oral surgery and Right bouquet of roses and white lilies for Valentine's day
My beautiful lilies...I can't figure out whats going on with that one rose but whatever
Then...here's my *perfect* rose that incites me to chorus lol
The card simply reads the name that I first started calling him in the beginning of our friendship…completely sweet and made me smile…Love him. Love flowers, I’ll take them over “gifts” anyday…unless theres Elsa Peretti involved lol. (no hints)
So a few of my friends have jumped on the natural hair train (choo choo!) Most notably, EC and TR. TR seems to be having some issues lol, I keep telling her to just stick it out but she’s in her transitioning phase. EC just had her BC (big chop) and I’m kinda envious of her because she BC’d and actually kept it curly. You guys may remember that I did my chop in December of 08 but I blew it ouuuut at a Dominican/Aveda salon lol..I wasn’t ready to embrace my natural hair texture just yet…I really don’t think curly hair looks good on me…anyway here’s my hair after 10 months of transitioning and the chop (below) This is pretty much the shortest my hair had been in a loooooong time. I think I look older with short hair. To me…I look 25 in this pic. Tho I wasn’t lol…perhaps let me back up a bit? What did my hair look like BEFORE the chop? well…not too bad…lil more length buuut in my opinion it was never full enough. IDK I just wasn’t feeling it lol…what made me go natural was the fact that my hair was so thin. I remember my mom doing my hair when I was younger and her fighting with it because there was so much, and at that time…there was no “so much”. So in Dec I was 100% natural hair, no chemicals. I just continued to have it straightened trimmed and styled until summer…this is when I decided to get a sew in. Not being comfy with my curl, I couldn’t keep exposing my hair to the heat of hell that it took to get straight. (Literally the smoke detector would go off when I did my hair). So here I issss with the sew in. This was actually very curly hair that my stylist blew straight, so it had ALL the body-I loved it. It was funny because when I would wash it and go, people would think it was my natural hair. Anyway, so I kept the sew in til June-Sept, took it down, trimmed my own hair, and got another one THIS time I got straight hair…it was great (sorta) because the hair was always straight which mean less time with the Chi…BUT it meant that my natural hair which was out in the front and along the edges, had to be pressed pressed pressed in order to blend in. Right now my hair looks like this, and I’m thinking that my Chi is going to get a lil rest during Lent. I told my boyfriend, who is all too amped for natural me, that I was going to wear my natural hair natural during Lent. So I’m currently researching ways to define and keep my curls in tact. EC turned me on to CurlyNikki.com and I’ve been reading that this morning, as well as asking other natural beauties what they do. I’m hearing a lot about coconut oil for moisture (I currently use rosemary oil) apparently, though:
Rosemary oil has a number of properties that promote healthy hair growth. One of the important rosemary oil properties is its stimulating effect. The use of rosemary oil on the hair and scalp helps stimulate blood circulation in the scalp and thus promotes healthy hair growth. It is light in texture and therefore, does not clog the pores in the scalp that may retard hair growth………Coconut oil also helps your hair look vibrant by protecting it. It maintains the hair’s protein as it gets absorbed into the hair shaft. For deep conditioning massage 2 to 3 tablespoons of coconut oil into hair and scalp. Leave in on overnight.
Friend also mentioned the KinkyCurly hair products maybe I’ll try the curling custard. I have exactly one week to get it all sorted out before the chi gets packed away until Easter…so if anybody has any Natural Curly Hair tips, send them on in