CN: When you first chopped, what were your thoughts and feelings? How do you feel now?
K: I chopped on an impulse. I was at my college in Ohio, and it was the middle of finals. I finally got frustrated with trying to wrangle my six months of new growth into a ponytail, so I went to the barber shop after my first exam. The barber was afraid of cutting my hair, and neglected to cut a lot of the straight hair. I only hated it at first because it took me about a week and a half to cut all of the straight hair out myself. It’s been about three weeks now, and I really love it. Every morning I’m amazed at how defined my curls are. I can’t keep my hands out of my hair!
How did you cope with the responses from your family and friends?
Most of the black women at my school (including the teachers) have natural hair, so I got lots and lots of compliments and congratulations right after I got it cut. Those comments really boosted my confidence, especially since I wasn’t crazy about my hair at the time. Most of my family has reacted very positively, and their support has made it easier for me to tune out the negative comments. I’ve asked the TWA haters to adopt a Bambi policy: If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.
What are your plans for your hair?
I do want to grow it out, but I’m more concerned about it being as healthy as possible. I’m really excited to experiment with two-strand twist (out)s and up-dos.
Do you find it necessary to ‘doll up’ your look to feel more feminine?
To be honest, yes. I don’t mind it though. I’ve used my big chop as an excuse to buy lots of headbands and big earrings that I was unsure about trying before.
How do you keep it moisturized?
I wet my hair and apply olive oil at night. I also wear a satin scarf to bed every night.
What products and techniques do you use to style? How often do you style?
I haven’t really tried anything but wash and go’s yet. I co-wash every other day with Herbal Essences Hello Hydration, and follow with Cantu Shea Butter Leave-In, Carol’s Daughter Hair Milk (great for moisturizing), and Curls Goddess Curl Gel (medium hold and definition without crunch). If my hair gets dry in the middle of the day, I refresh it with Shea Moisture Coconut and Hibiscus Hold and Shine Spray (no hold, all shine and moisture). Every other week I shampoo with Trader Joe’s Tea Tree Tingle. My routine is still under construction, but it seems to be working well so far.