Natural is beautiful. It took me a long while to finally accept my natural hair as beautiful. I was always trying to conform to society's standards of what beautiful was; the black girl with the straightest and longest hair. I had to overcome my low self-esteem if I wanted to dive into the natural hair world. I was always so self-conscious about whether it would be too nappy or too big. After watching numerous videos about naturally curly hair, I never realized how much I was damaging my hair until recently. I was empowered by watching the naturalistas embrace their big, beautiful hair and decided that it was time for a change and that I was ready to really "embrace" my curls!
My natural hair journey has been a long one. Fact or fiction: I had relaxers in my hair to keep it straight and manageable; FICTION. My mother and I trained my hair to be straight by constantly blow-drying it and flat-ironing it. Once I was old enough to take care of my own hair, at that moment... I knew... I f*cked up.
Nah, I'm kidding! Haha! I just didn't know how to appropriately take care of it.
My first (and biggest) mistake was CONSTANTLY putting heat on my hair with no heat protectant. Everyone in the natural hair world knows that heat is a no-go, but I didn't care. Every time my hair would sweat out or it would get wet, I would resort to the flat iron to fix my problem... with no heat protectant. I can't tell you how many times I did that my freshman year of college. My hair was fried after that little number.
My second mistake was never washing it as often as I needed to. Yes, I know it's disgusting. Wash day was an all-day process for me so I washed it about once a month...
I'm really ashamed to even type this out.
With wash day being once a month, I had problematic dandruff and let me tell you, that was a different ballgame. It made my hair really disgusting looking and itchy 24/7. My mom thought I had a scalp condition at some point. Come to find out all I needed to do was wash it more often.
Shaking my bald head.
One day, I was in the process of washing my hair and noticed how popping my curls were when they were wet. I was ecstatic about them, but I also noticed straight pieces in the middle of my hair strands (Nothing worse than a heat damaged wash-n-go). My mom assessed my hair, it is her fourth year into her natural hair journey, and decided that we could still work with it. I was so happy because I decided to finally "embrace" my curls, and for a few months, it looked great! After a while, I really wanted a change in my hair. I was so frustrated with the heat damage being in the middle of my strands so it wasn't like I could just cut it out.
I had the idea to cut it all off.
Now, people thought I was crazy because I've had long hair all my life, why cut it off? At this point in my journey, I was more concerned about the health of my hair, not the length. I desperately needed for my hair to grow new, curly strands and just keeping those damaged ones in my head was not cutting it... Pun intended ;)
SO THEN I CUT IT!
Cutting my hair has been the best decision of my life. I started over, my hair is healthy, my little curls are poppin'! I absolutely love it! I'll be honest, there were some things that I wasn't told before I cut my hair. I just went and did it (oops!).
Here are some things that no one told me before the big chop.
1. Make sure you're ready to actually cut it.
I know it doesn't make sense to cut your hair before you're ready, but some people have done it and they hate their hair! I won't lie, once I heard that first slice of my hair I shed a little tear. I don't regret it but generally speaking, it'll be a shock once you first start cutting.
2. You'll start to miss your long hair.
Yes ma'am, you sure will. Many people have had long hair all of their life. In the beginning, you'll love the short look; then slowly you'll kind of wish your hair was brushing your neck again. Here's a secret to suppress those feelings: braids!
3. Texture Shock!
Once you cut your hair, you're most definitely gonna have a different texture. Meaning it's going to be more defined. Remember to pay attention to what your hair needs because we tend to get caught up in the length and growth of our hair (Trust me, it's not a bad thing!).
4. You'll get bored with your hair.
You're definitely going to get bored with your short hair because there's nothing much that you can do with it. It's the same old thing: wash, condition, moisturize, gel, and go. You're probably gonna end up dying it or buying a wig (guilty as charged!).
5. Remember to embrace your new style!
Be confident in your new style! You might have your doubts in the beginning, but it is also the start of new and healthy hair. If you're thinking about the big chop, I encourage it 100 percent! It is definitely a confidence booster because it's a new you!