I have been toying with the idea of reverting to my natural hair for a while now. Whilst relaxed hair is easy to style, after years of straightening, I found that my hair was beginning to lose its texture, colour and resilience. With thinning hair, breaking edges and brittle ends, I knew I needed to do something imminently if I was to regain a healthy head of hair. I always assumed that I would transition to natural hair gradually i.e. that I would trim off the relaxed hair over time, covering up my natural re-growth with weaves or braids, until it was long enough to style on its own. However, on my last visit to the salon I looked at my limp hair and immediately knew that this would be my last chemical relaxer. Something clicked. On that day, I vowed that at my next salon visit, it would be THE BIG CHOP!
Some of the thoughts that initially delayed this decision were:
- Will my natural hair be difficult to manage and more time consuming?
- Will short hair suit me? Would I look boyish or unattractive?
- Will a short cut reveal a funny scull shape that I didn’t know about?
- With my hair thinning – will it look even more patchy when short?
- Will my head feel cold in the winter?
- How long will it take to grow back, and will it become hard to manage as it grows?
I pondered over these things for a while, but once my decision was made, the only question was – when and where? I had a family wedding coming up so decided to do it after that. My first instinct was to have a barber cut my hair. They shave heads all the time so should do good job, and be cheaper. However, I decided to go to a salon in the end. I wasn’t sure if I would feel emotional on the day, so thought it best to be around females, who could be more sympathetic. Also, barbers are used to shaving and shaping to suit a male face, and tend to do harder edges. I wanted a softer look and some TLC on this occasion.
I took some time to look at a few photos of shorter natural hairstyles and finally decided on a teeny-weeny afro (TWA). It felt like the right choice.
Today is the day of The Big Chop. My salon of choice was Natural Gloe (who specialise in styling natural afro hair). I was a bit apprehensive when I sat in the chair. My stylist, Marlene, assured me that I was doing the right thing. As I watched my hair fall to the ground, a part of me felt a loss, but mostly, I felt a sense of relief. I went for a very low cut – short back and sides. I kept a little height at the front to frame my small face (and a side parting). Marlene did a good job! Once complete I felt quite liberated and refreshed. I kept looking in the mirror at this stripped back version of me. I didn’t quite recognise the person looking back at me, but instead began to noticing features (good and bad) that I wasn’t aware of (gotta hide those grays!). I now feel the need to wear more make-up and adorn myself with jewellery, to enhance my femininity. I know this will pass.
Now that I’ve done the cut. I have answers to some of my initial questions:
- My shorter hair will definitely be quicker and easier to wash and style. Short hair does suit me!
- Phew! I have a nicely shaped scull. My hair is a little patchy in some places, but it’s now easier to identify and treat the problem areas. A good chop and no chemical processing is a major step to healthier hair.
- I can confirm that my head felt very cold today as it poured down with rain as I left the salon. I am hoping the hot weather returns soon!
- I will gradually learn how to manage my hair as it grows
I have no regrets so far. In fact I found the experience quite liberating. I’ve purchased some natural hair products and styling utensils and am looking forward to experimenting with my hair and tweaking the style as it grows. I will share more about the products and styling techniques I’ve learned. But for now, I’m embracing the natural me.