Meet Isabel… 2nd time Big Chopper and not feeding into any negativity.
CN: When you first chopped, what were your thoughts and feelings? How do you feel now?
I did my first Big Chop in 2004, but my most recent chop was on April 23, 2010. I was pretty anxious about the big chop this time because I never had my hair so short. When I did my first chop in 2004, I transitioned for a painstaking 7 months. It was horrible and when I finally cut it, I kept saying to myself, “what took you so long?” This time I intended to transition for the same amount of time, but after reading through various blogs, I was reminded of how I felt after I did the big chop the first time. This time I didn’t take too long. I chopped it off after 3 months of transitioning. I feel free now. I know that’s a classic response but I mean it. Now when I look in the mirror I see me. I love it.
CN: How did you cope with the responses from your family and friends?
I wasn’t too concerned about anyone’s reaction but my husband’s. I’m a newlywed and I didn’t want him feeling like I was changing too much so soon after we got married. He loves my hair so things turned out well there. For everyone else, I refuse to feed into their negativity. I know that some of them will make their comments about how they don’t like it, some will rave about how much they love it, and others will say nothing at all. Now, it has no effect on me. Initially when people questioned me about why I cut my hair, I kept stressing the fact that it’s just hair and it will grow back. I felt like I was just making excuses and trying to make them comfortable with a decision that I made about MY hair. So I changed my attitude. They can say what they want, but when they see me walking around with confidence most don’t have the heart to say something negative about it. I love my hair and I know it’s beautiful.
CN: What are your plans for your hair?
I plan to grow my hair out. I am notorious for growing my hair out and chopping it back off in a TWA but for now the plan is to grow it for as long as I can.
CN: Do you find it necessary to ‘doll up’ your look to feel more feminine?
I do find it necessary to ‘doll up’ my look. My hair is so short. I don’t want people thinking that I am a guy.
CN: If so, what are your favorite accessories, or go to ways to glam up your look?
My personal style has always been pretty simple. If I could wear jeans and a t-shirt every day I would. So when it comes to accessories I keep it sweet and simple. With the TWA, I’ve gone crazy with earrings. They are easy and for most part they don’t get in the way. I have also started experimenting with make-up. I only wear it on the weekends when I go out, but I don’t think I’ve gone a day without mascara since I big chopped. Before I only wore mascara for special events.
CN: How do you keep it moisturized?
I keep my TWA moisturized with conditioner washes and a leave-in conditioner, and I try to shampoo no more than once a week. I also make sure that I sleep with a satin bonnet. This is not something I did when I went natural the first time. I thought that one of the benefits of being natural was that you didn’t have to wrap your hair up at night. lol. This time around I am sleeping with that satin bonnet every night, and I’m noticing a real difference in how well my hair is retaining moisture.
CN: What products and techniques do you use to style? How often do you style?
I use Aussie Moist conditioner to do my conditioner washes and Kinky Curly’s Knot Today as a leave-in conditioner. To shampoo right now, I am using Aveda’s Be Curly. I am just using up the rest of what I have now, but I don’t think I will be repurchasing this shampoo. When I want my curls really tight, I will use Fantasia IC gel. I basically apply the Knot Today to soaking wet hair, and the apply the Fantasia IC gel on top of that. I only have about 1.5 to 2 inches of hair so the extent of my styling is a wash n go, and I wear that every day. 🙂
CN: How do you get your waves or curls popping?
After I apply the Knot Today (or Fantasia IC if I’m looking for tight curls), I run my fingers through my hair in a circular motion to clump my curls better. Then I take any stubborn pieces that won’t curl and twist them around my finger. This usually get the curls to pop right back in place but occasionally there are a few stubborn pieces that I just tuck under another curl.
CN: How do you preserve your curls at night?
A night I wear a satin bonnet to reduce friction on my hair. It also helps retain moisture by providing a barrier between my hair and my cotton pillowcases that would absorb the moisture from my hair.