CN: When you first chopped, what were your thoughts and feelings? How do you feel now?
I BC’d 6 weeks ago. I was a little stunned that I had actually gone through with it. It was surreal for several weeks to follow. Actually, I still have a moment now and then. I was fortunate enough to have a lot of women in my family wear natural hair. And short hair. I was never raised to be afraid or have “hair-esteem” issues. My first chemical treatment was in third grade but that was because, despite her best efforts (and lots of old wives suggestions, products, tears), my 3a grandmother couldn’t do anything with her half Nigerian granddaughter’s locks. She was outmatched! But I understood it was for practicality and convenience (and SANITY) not because there was anything wrong with my hair. At 34 I’m ready to try again! I don’t think it was the natural part that was the most shocking for me; it was more the length, or, lack there of. But that’s what I wanted, a short, sharp, EASY, sassy cut.
My hair is pretty short so I don’t have a lot to react to. I was a little nervous about what my hair texture would be like. My “natural” experience in college was cool and I remember being pleasantly surprised that my hair, though extremely thick, was manageable enough. With enough water and conditioner and a wide enough comb I could get it looking neat. This time I’m again pleasantly surprised that I’m enjoying my 4B (CAPITAL B) hair. I spend hours twisting around in it and I love the texture.
CN: How did you cope with the responses from your family and friends?
ALL OF MY FEEDBACK WAS POSITIVE!! I was actually a little shocked. In previous convos my boyfriend had alluded to the fact he might like it, but definitely wouldn’t mind it. Even so, I was (and am) still pleasantly surprised by his response. He seems to absolutely love it. My hair, the cut, my head, lol! It really has helped because there are times I’m not as in love with “the new me”. All my friends’ responses were also equally positive. (Facebook=instant feedback!) I do live in a relatively progressive area so aside from people’s personal preferences, I thought I’d have a good chance at finding acceptance of natural hair. I even had an older white woman stop her car in a parking lot to compliment me. Random validation? I’ll take that! I will say it was a little scary to realize how much other peoples’ opinions affected me since they could have gone the other way.
CN: What are your plans for your hair?
I plan to keep it this short for a while. One of my main reasons for the cut was the easy maintenance. I’d like to enjoy that for a while. I really hope to find a signature niche that makes me want to stay at this length.
CN: Do you find it necessary to ‘doll up’ your look to feel more feminine?
YES! I am so afraid of looking like a boy. I knew from jump I was going to have to make sure my eyebrow and earring game was tight. But as far as make-up, I’ve reached a comfortable place with a little extra glossy lipgloss when I’m in a hurry (read: ALWAYS). But playing up my eyes seems to have more of an impact because apparently you can “see” my face better. But I will rarely leave the house without earrings.
CN: Favorite accessories?!
I haven’t gotten into hair accessories yet. But I’ve seen some cute headbands. I don’t know if that’s really my thing though. I’m really not the whimsical type. I like my newest accessory- my hair! I plan to accessorize with color. I’m feeling the most attractive when I’ve just gotten a sharp shapeup.
CN: How do you keep it moisturized?
Initially I went to my old school tried and true: a tube of Sta-sof-fro. It’s a classic and it does soften. The scent isn’t my favorite and it does feel a little weird on my fingers if I play in my hair. I’m sure I will find other natural products soon. But for now, I wash and condition every three days or so with Alterna products. They smell great and make my hair very soft. I’m just getting in to co-washing but my scalp has been miserably itchy. That caused me to start using Neutrogena T-gel, which I imagine is ripping every drop of moisture from my hair. But the itchiness is subsiding so now I alternate. I condition under a cap for about three minutes while I’m in the shower. Each time. Sometimes I condition twice, the second time with some Victoria Secret smell good conditioner I already had just to combat the smell of the T-gel shampoo. It is RANK! I also use special deep conditioning treatments for color because I recently went lighter.
CN: What products and techniques do you use to style? How often do you style?
I let my hair air dry while I’m getting dressed and then add the Sta-sof-fro. Only when they’ve started to grow out, I use a little activator gel with aloe on my edges and in the very front. Finally I seal it with the Creme of Nature Argan oil. The day I wash it I usually have to reapply the Sta-sof-fro before I go to bed. If it’s soft enough in the morning I will only use a bit of the Argan oil for shine. I just bought the Shea Butter Coconut & Hibiscus Enhancing Smoothie because of reviews on the site. I’m hoping I like it. I totally refuse to be a product junkie and am waiting to finish things before I buy new. But it’s hard! The reality is my hair is pretty short so I don’t need to do a ton. Plus, my mission was to save time and money so I don’t want to lose the savings with new product purchases. Yet…
CN: How do you get your waves popping?
I just use my products in the palm of my hand. I rub in a circular motion and twist individual uncooperative pieces. My hair isn’t “curly” per se, I’m 4b, but what I DON’T do is comb or pick it out. Then I have a low fro and that’s not a good look for me.
When I colored I noticed I got a bit more shine. I have a ton of silver strands that looked grown and sexy when my hair was long. But with short hair, they were just overpowering. And they often misbehave. I did a darker semi permanent color first which was a close match to my natural color. My silvers laughed at that. Next I did an auburn/reddish brown permanent. Success!
The other night I was in a hurry and used water, the Sta-sof-fro and the activator gel with water. I don’t know what happened but when I put the Argon oil in it turned white! I was mortified. I tried rubbing and rubbing and it helped a little. Luckily I was going to a dark party so I think I was o.k. I wrapped it up that night and the next morning it was the shiniest it had been. Go figure!