CN: When you first chopped, what were your thoughts and feelings? How do you feel now?
JD: I literally chopped at 2:00AM this March with my roommate in our room because it was annoying to manage two textures with different lengths of hair. I’d had it cut into an asymmetrical short hairdo in October. I actually grabbed the scissors, looked at my roommate, and chopped off my long bang. She took care of the rest. So I had a “morning after” experience. I woke up thinking, “I look like a boy. I don’t know about this.” However, after co-washing it in the shower, I saw my hair, and loved it!
CN: How did you cope with the responses from your family and friends?
JD: My roommates have been trying to get me to cut my hair again since I cut it short in October. Previously it had been shoulder blade length. They’d love to see me bald next! My dad likes that I’m trying new things. I thought my mom would have the worst reaction. I was a bald baby, and she prayed for my hair. The thought of my cutting it made her shudder, but she went from shaking her head at the idea to suggesting I try locs next! My extended family, however, doesn’t like it as much. I’ve been called all kinds of names and jokes have been made both because I’m natural and because of assumptions made about my major which is Black Studies and Dance. I’ve only seen them once since I cut it. So at the end of the day, it doesn’t get to me too much.
CN: What are your plans for your hair?
JD: I want to grow it out for a bit. I’m studying abroad next semester in Ghana. We’ll see how my hair does while I’m away. I don’t want to cut it because I want to see how it looks that way. I also want it longer and wilder by the time I graduate, and apply for a job.
CN: Do you find it necessary to ‘doll up’ your look to feel more feminine?
JD: I specifically spent these first few weeks trying not to “doll up” my look past that first morning. I felt like I had to confront that first feeling about my looking like a boy head on. I want to figure out what to do with my hair without either having to put too many accessories in it to feel good, or having to manipulate it with twists, styling, or certain products to get a certain curl. As I’m writing this, I’m actually trying out double-strand twists for the first time. I bought my first hair flower about 2 weeks ago. Now that I love my hair the way it is, I’m experimenting!
CN: If so, what are your favorite accessories, or go to ways to glam up your look?
JD: Definitely my white hair flower and my big butterfly.
CN: How do you keep it moisturized?
JD: My hair generally doesn’t complain about anything I put in it. My problem has always been my dry scalp. The solution was talking to my mom about what she did with my hair when I was a kid! I went back to shampooing my hair about once every 2 weeks using clarifying shampoo and water in a spray bottle, and co-washing when I feel icky from dance class. She recommended Virgin Hair Fertilizer, which she used to grease my scalp with ingredients such as herbal extract, petroleum jelly, peppermint oil, lanolin, and fragrance. It’s actually been the only thing so far that has worked! Other than that, my hair loves my deep conditioners which are cholesterol, conditioner, EVOO, honey, and a little bit of whatever leave-in I put in during the week. This ranges from shea butter to whatever product I grab from my shelf or my roommate’s shelf as I rush off to class.
CN: What products and techniques do you use to style? How often do you style?
JD: Normally I shampoo every 2 weeks and co-wash whenever I feel like it. I deep condition every time I wash, and fall asleep with it on my head. I’ll wake up, rinse, let it dry a little, and massage my scalp with the virgin. I’ll put whatever leave-in conditioner is around, usually Pantene Relaxed and Natural, some EVOO, shea butter or coconut oil, and a little cream gel by Garnier Fructis. I work it through my hair in a circular motion. The days in between, I wet my hands and run them through my hair. Then, I add some Urban Therapy Twisted Sista Curl Revitalizing Spray which works great with this random frizzy/straight texture that I have in between my curls. Then, I run off to class! I’m not a big fan of trying to get my hair to curl a certain way. Other than the regimen above, I’m trying to avoid defining my hair too much with products or styles for another couple of months. We’ll see how I feel after I let these twists down though!
CN: How do you preserve your curls at night?
JD: Normally I sleep with my bonnet/scarf, but that does not preserve curls as far as I can see. The only way I see curls instead of frizz in the morning is when I leave my deep conditioner in overnight. So, I re-wet it in the morning, and play with it before running out of the door.