CN: When you first chopped, what were your thoughts and feelings? How do you feel now?
When I first chopped, I was scared as all get out (<- the country in me) of looking masculine. I thought I did not have the super feminine face or petite frame required to pull off such a minimalist type of hair style. But I forged on after only 2.5 months of “transitioning”. I was pleasantly surprised afterward of how much I loved my hair. Running my hand over my curly head was exciting to me. I’m nearly at my one year anniversary, but most of my hair is still at the 5” mark (some sections are 6”) and I must say that I still love, love, love it! I do miss the early days when I didn’t have to detangle really, and my routine was a lot quicker, but I love the curls/kinks/coils that come from my head and I think that those skeptical or weary will be pleasantly surprised, if they continue on, with how in love they will be with their hair. But I had to accept my texture and not fight my hair in order to feel this way.
CN: How did you cope with the responses from your family and friends?
My family was very supportive and though my mom and my sister are relaxed, my mom ADORES it and my sister is seriously considering transitioning. And my dad tells me I’m beautiful with any type of hair. He’s a good dad. Most of my friends were all for it and loved it. I got a FEW negative comments, but I kind of just ignored them and still did my thing, rocking my TWA. The comments came from folks who weren’t in my daily circle anyway, so it didn’t matter to me too much what they said. I did have a guy friend (newly ex at the time) that made some sort of offhand remark to his brother about me having an “African” hairstyle, whatever that meant. But one month later, we’re sitting on the couch and he couldn’t keep his hands out of my curlies, pulling them and entwining them around his fingers. And I thought to myself, “yeah, you love it.”
CN: What are your plans for your hair?
Though I’m deeply in love with that tapered TWA fro look that I first saw on Z from leaveinthekinks and sunshine from sunshinelovespeace (*note both have since changed their hairstyles, but you can check their archives for pics of the cuts), I do plan to let mine grow as long as it can. As a relaxed head, I never had hair that grew past the tops of my shoulders and I’d love to see if my hair can grow longer. Besides, I so want to pull off a fly updo and you definitely need a quite a bit of afro-textured natural hair to pull off the ones I want to try!
CN: Do you find it necessary to ‘doll up’ your look to feel more feminine?
Initially, yes. I always like a little mascara and lip gloss. But I found myself paying a little more attention and doing things like never leaving without concealer under my eyes and rouge (<- as my mom likes to call it) on, with ornate earrings and feathered headbands. Some days I felt I needed a full face of makeup including eye shadow from various youtube tutorials. Don’t get me wrong, I still like all that stuff. But I don’t find it IMPERATIVE to my leaving the house anymore like I did for say, the first month or so. I can have my fro, my mascara, and my lip-gloss and have on ripped jeans and a white t and think I’m the flyest thing walking.
CN: If so, what are your favorite accessories, or go to ways to glam up your look?
Besides lip gloss and mascara, I did a lot of feathered headbands. Though as my fro gets more fro-ey, I wear them less. IMHO, the feathered headbands look at lot better on TWA’s than TA’s or medium to large sized fros. And oddly enough, I think small, button sized earrings highlight fros just as well as larger, earrings do. So I have an affinity for both.
CN: How do you keep it moisturized?
I use products from my 3 favorite lines Hydratherma Naturals, Oyin Handmade, and Qhemet, and seal with curl activating gel, or olive oil. I also spritz daily with a homemade mixture of water, coconut oil, and vegetable glycerin.
CN: What products and techniques do you use to style? How often do you style?
I use either Hydratherma naturals daily moisturizing growth lotion, Oyin Handmade whipped pudding, or Quemet Biologic’s alma and olive heavy cream as my moisturizers. I apply any of these to soaking wet, washed and conditioned hair. I top that with my holy grail of gels, Smooth and Shine curl activator gel. On occasion, I skip the gel and just seal with olive oil, but lately, it’s been the gel. The ingredient list on the gel is pretty minimal (in the old formulation. Sadly, it was changed, but I stocked up on older jars) and it leaves my hair softer than it would be without it. I add the moisturizer and the gel/evoo to my hair in small sections, and then two strand twist those sections. I usually try and leave my twists in for 24 hours or so and rock the resulting twist out for at least 4 days. On a good run, I can stretch it a week. I rock my twist out fro as is, or sometimes I’ll pin a side up. I try to stay low manipulation, since I still feel my hair is too short to “protective style” much. So the least I can do is do it once, and leave it alone as much as possible. I try to only style/manipulate my hair once a week, though hand-in-fro disease is a hard thing to beat.
Because I have a slight case of product junky-ism, I have newly acquired kinky curly knot today and miss jessies baby butter cream. I like the KC knot today a lot. The jury is still out on miss jessies.
CN: How do you get your waves or curls popping?
Smooth and shine curl activator gel, baby! I know some folks are anti gel. I myself was for awhile. But once I saw how moisturized my hair seemed to be and researched my gel of choice, I became comfortable with using it in my hair. And nothing beats smooth and shine, in my opinion, for popping curls. Again, sadly, they changed their formula. I have yet to use the new formulations. Once I run out of the old, I’ll have to find a new curl popper.
CN: How do you preserve your curls at night?
I sleep on a satin pillow case. It molds my hair into my desired look (slightly tapered in the back/side area) while letting the top/front stay at maximum poofiness. My satin scarf, while it protected my curls, made them all mashed and mushed. And I can scarcely find a satin cap big enough for the domicidal maniacness that is the size of my head (seriously, my head is on the XL side), but I did find one recently and I didn’t like the affect. So satin pillow case it is!