Lately I have been having some interesting times with my hair. Unlike most ladies in the blogosphere, I would really like to share all aspects of being natural. It’s not all great, and it’s not all easy but it is all worth it! I am six years in, and at times you would think I had about 6 minutes in to this experience of natural hair care.
Over the years doing my hair has definitely been a learning experience, but overall it has been somewhat reliable. I often reminisce about the old days, when my hair was easier to deal with. Once upon a time when my hair was short. Really, “short hair don’t care” is a great time in your natural lives. Everyone is so excited to have long hair, but do you realize the work that goes into it? There are so many years of experience that goes in to having long “natural” locks. When your hair is short, you are able to slowly grow into the changes in your hair. I know so many people that wish the hair fairy would come in and drop 16 inches on their scalp. And they truly believe the stars will align and fab hair will immediately be produced. Reality check! If you couldn’t find time to manage those 2 inches of hair, imagine 16 inches of it! Growing into your hair is the best advice I could give anyone. If you don’t have the experience, I would suggest you to keep it short.
A quick word of advice for long transitioners, based on my experience. I was a very long term transitioner. By waiting years to grow your hair out (by hiding your hair), you are losing out on valuable experience. Period. Yes, your afraid of wearing your hair out. You’re not comfortable with the length. And sure, your hair is growing out wonderfully with the weaves, braids and wigs. But guess what? You are inexperienced. So now when you finally decide to wear your hair out, you will have a very large learning curve waiting for you. I call it the curve of quitting. All of your fellow big chop naturalistas have been through several hundreds of hours of one-on-one training learning their hair. And you just have the experience of waiting for your hair to grow. Now instead of learning about your hair in its fun and easy state (while its short), you have to learn the hard way with more hair to screw up! Most likely the hair you waited for over a “2 year period” will be damaged once you start working on it, due to your lack of experience. And your hair retention will probably be minimal. Of course there are many long time transitioners who excel at this point, but many do not. At the end of the day, its best to just get it over with. Chop it off and enjoy it! Really!
5. Time – Short hair means less time caring for your hair. Less time washing, styling, detangling and more time living! Hello!
4. Money – You save money on products. Less hair means less product. Which results in more greenbacks in your pockets.
3. Hairstyles are often consistent – Short styles are easy to recreate again and again. When your hair is longer, your hair prepping may not always give you the exact same look every time.
2. Patience – When you first chop your hair it is in its optimal health and you usually have a ton of energy to deal with your hair. I had all the patience in the world back then and I would style my hair every day. Now you couldn’t pay me to do my hair every day. Okay okay maybe you could, but it would have to be A LOT.
1. Knowledge – You get to learn the in and outs of your hair. What works, what you love, and slowly adapt as your hair changes. Experience is key and will keep you on the right path if you stick with it.
But…. Truth is…
Your hair will change over time.. it has magical powers… so appreciate it! I love the enigma that is my hair, but trust me there are days that I wish I could just cut it already!
I love this post!!! My best friend, who is relaxed, actually encouraged me to to do my big chop early when I was going back and forth between how long I should wait. She said exactly what was said in this post: Cutting my relaxed ends while my hair was short would allow me to grow in learning how to style me hair as my hair grows. And she was so right! I cut my hair at 5 months post relaxer and I loved it! There was no such thing as bad hair days back then lol And yea, I longed for long hair, but I was seeing growth so quickly I didn't get hung up on it. Now today, it's a whole new ball game. I am now 3yrs post relaxer and I love the length of my hair, but things have changed lol It is now a lot harder to retain length and styling my hair often is not working too well at this length so I'm learning to adjust. But yea, anywayz, great post 🙂
I understand Rae, it does make sense to take advantage of the time now. Hopefully all of OUR hair will be long and it will most likely be long for the rest of our lives. So thanks for the encouragement. Will go live in the moment now!! lol
Who said need?
I cant stand when people try to tell you that you NEED to do a big chop or you won't know how to take care of your natural hair. Who are you to say some BS like that? I am 7 months posy relaxer and I am learning my hair just fine thank you. Plenty of woman transition slowly and can take care of their hair just fine. Dont discourage others just because its not something that works for you.
I really cannot relate to the author's viewpoint about "hiding your hair without the experience" because if you're a natural you need to take care of your hair. The experience for me is learning the techniques (washing, detangling, moisturizing, product selection, etc.) for taking care of your natural hair. And it's not just showcasing that you are a natural.
Just because a woman does a BC does not mean she is going to "naturally" invest more time in learning how to care for her hair over the woman who decides to transition long-term or "hide it" with weaves, braids, or wigs. Again it's all about education and technique; and I know of several naturals (myself included) who have been able to grow and take care of their hair quite well and at the same time wear protective styles such as weaves, braids or wigs. But to each her own and in the final analysis that's really what it's all about.
My hair is longer and I do miss my TWA. I do use a lot more conditioner however my washing and styling is basically the same time… before washing and detangling wasn’t time consuming however the actual styling took hours now washing/conditioning and detangling takes most of my time. What I have found interesting about most of the responses is the attachment that we have towards hair. I have always loved short hair! When I was relaxed, the Nia Long look or recently the Rihanna short cuts were always in my style scope. Why do we (women relaxed or natural) have an addiction to the longer the better ideals? Don’t get me wrong I’m enjoying my longer natural hair but I am afraid that it will soon consume me and my face. I am itching for the scissors.
When I saw the title, I laughed because the other day I went to the library with a really cute 'fro. Got out of my car & started walking only to be JERKED BACK b/c my hair got caught on a tree limb lol. I was in the parking lot laughing my butt off b/c it was the funniest thing in the world to me!! And it indicated my hair is getting BIG like I want it to be
My hair was mid-back when I did my BC, so I really missed my hair. I missed ponytails lol. And I just missed having big/long hair. But my hair was SO MUCH easier to take care of! I'd just rinse in the shower, apply some moisturizer and bounce. There was no such thing as a bad hair day even if I didn't fuss with it or laid down on it and hopped up to get out the door.
Now that my hair is longer, I still enjoy it and it's still pretty easy (Thank God & my daddy for strong easy to manage hair) but I do have to put more effort into it. I still want my mid-back length hair b/c w/o the relaxer it's so much fuller and I want a Joan Clayton ponytail dammit! lol
I agree with the point about getting to know your natural hair in its shorter stage. It really is benificial. The hair grows fast and I cut at 4 months of transitioning. When I first BCed I thought I had to wash my hair everyday for it to not be mashed in the morning! (IKR!). Imagine doing that with long tightly coiled 4a hair. It was a constant learning process. My products are changing and I am now 11 months post. Styles look different than they used to look, but I am glad I got a chance to experience styling in every stage and took plenty of pictures and don't have to wonder what my hair WOULD have looked like shorter. I've experienced that. And its great to look back at pictures of where I was and how far I've come.
I agree with the article..however, I completely understand people who decide not to BC. It took me years to decided to do it and I have no regrets. I haven't seen my natural hair in 30 years. I defintely feel that I look better with longer hair….but I feel that everyone should do it once in a lifetime….it is just hair and it does grow back. It has been 7 months and I'm tired of my afro. I can't wait to have long enough hair to puff or bun.
I'm still technically at the TWA phase. I BC'd about 4 months ago and my hair is growing rapidly. I've learned to really appreciate my multiple hair textures by doing a BC. It is relatively easy to manage, so I do appreciate my hair length, although at times I wish it was a little longer. I know that I will get there eventually and that I should appreciate the ease of styling a TWA, while I can. Rocking a short curly fro has helped me to gain a tremendous amount of confidence because for some reason people tend to stare, point, and act generally odd when they see my hair. I guess there aren't too many Black people with natural hair in my area, so my hair is somehow fascinating to some people. At first, it was highly annoying, but I don't let any of that stuff bother me too much anymore. I rock my curly fro with pride and I truly love my natural hair.
i hate my short hair, it's always been long so it's taking quite some time to get used to. well, okay, i don't "Hate" it. but i'm sick of it. grow already! its growing at the fastest pace possible (i got 7 in in a year) but i'm starting from really short, and as a long haired girl that was a drastic change. i know long hair means more work. duh, but who cares! i try to do my hair about 1-2 times a week so an extra 30 minutes ain't gonna kill me. I don't want hair to my butt but only to my bra strap thats it. & being a natural it's going to take a little bit longer to get there than when it was straight. i'm praying for instant gratification.
I think some people definitely are defensive when it comes to the argument of BC'ing. The article discusses the ppl who choose to hide their hair not those that don't. Shes obviously not talking about you if you decide to style your hair.
No short hair may not be my thing, but at least I can say I have experienced short hair and learned how to do it. Some ppl say something is not for them before they even try it. And even if its not your fave you know its going to grow out anyways!
I did the BC after almost a year of transitioning. Even before going natural, I’ve always either loved really short styles or wearing my hair long. I enjoyed my TWA, but the in between stage is a little maddening for me. I don’t like medium length hair period. My BC anniversary is this month, I very excited because my hair going into another stage. It’s a new length and I can do way more with it. I have really learned my hair and I know the longer it gets, the more I will enjoy it!
Not every long term transitioner uses weaves, braids and wigs to transition. There are others that wear braid-outs, twist outs, etc. So by the time, they cut off the relaxed ends; they will know what to do with my hair. The big chop is not for everyone and it basically comes down to just doing what's best for you. If I can go the distance and still have healthy hair, why not?
Reign Elle, this post was awesome. I did the BC in January. I haven't seen my hair without a relaxer since I was 12 years old and I am currently 26. I really wanted to get micros while my hair grew out but this post changed my mind. After reading about how much I will learn about my hair, its texture and moisture needs, I have decided to be bold and wear my TWA and experiment with products. I am already amazed that what I thought wouldve been 4a hair (my new growth used to be this tight kinky texture) is actually move 3b in these soft curls which I never would've guessed. Keep up the good posts.
naturallyneosoul I agree. A LOT of people missed the point.
i think it's interesting to see how many people get so defensive when we talk about having long hair. everyone at one point or another has wondered what they would look like with short hair or long hair. but the mistakes i made within my first year of being natural was scary and if i had long hair and made those mistakes i could only imagine what the damage to my self-esteem would have been like. I am learning to love my hair in every stage that it's been in. I currently have about 4 or 5 inches up top and 6 in the back. I have learned the products my hair likes and how to get the desired results for my facial structure and my hair texture. But because I do have 4a/b hair i think it will be interesting to manage when i have more length but because I've never had long hair i'm not sure how long i'm willing to let it get. but i do appreciate this article and reminding us that our natural hair has to be appreciated at all lengths, textures, etc
This article speaks volumes to me, for I have long natural hair, but I didn't actually start wearing it until last year. I spent a majority of my time in head wraps and braids, so I had to take a crash course in learning how to care for my hair. My hair was definitely easier to take care of after I shaved my head and I couldn't wait to have long hair, but now that I have it, I want it to stay on my head.
Personally, I am impressed by all the ladies that are dealing with two textures and naturals that invested time in their hair after cutting off all their hair. Whatever you need to do to learn how to take care of your hair, do it because it is worth it. I have been natural for more than ten years and I am only now learning the things that truly make my hair flourish. Patience, practice, and progress are worth the time you invested. LLP~OGC
I'm a the short stage and I can't wait to get to the longer lengths. I appreciate this post because I am stilling learning about my hair and getting used to its "uniqueness".
Although the responses this post make me want the long hair even more. Buns, ponies, less twists…*sigh* patience.
I would LOVE to do the BC, for many reasons, it's easier, and I would also love to not have to struggle w the two different textures while transitioning. BUT, I just dont have the face to carry off ultra short hair. Once, about ten years ago I was short for a few months and the mailman mistakenly called me "sir", so I said never again w the ssuper short hair. My face just looks better and more feminine w longer hair.
I was just thinking this today. Detangling is no joke these days, ugh. I am a wash n goer and it might just be getting too long for that. My hair is CBL stretched, I am thinking about a trim to make it rounder again and easier for the WNGs.
I think my hair is much easier to deal with at its currently length (midback length). When it was shorter I felt the need to cleanse/style more often. However at the current length, if I'm having a bad hair day I can always pull it back or pin it up. Also, the amount of product that I use is not that much more than when it was shorter. I agree that everyone should enjoy their hair at whatever stage its in…ultimately, just wear it in a style that pleases them and suits their lifestyle/personality. 🙂
I have always had long hair and have tried short wigs just to see how I'd look and it wasn't a good look for me. I hate that people assume long hair is security blanket; no, that is not always the case. Everyone is different and has their preferences.I'm currently in my 10 month of transitioning and plan on going till 24 months so that I have enough hair to throw into a ponytail. The ponytail is my rescue for bad hair days. lol
Yes this post is written for me as I do not appreciate my short hair at this time!!! I keep wishing for when it is longer so I can wear some styles because as it is now – my hair is short and I am wearing wigs and stuff to hide it… I hate the comments that people make when they see my hair!!!
Get outta my head ReignElle! Lol! I literally had this same thought about five minutes ago. I bc'd this past Thursday. I have about a half inch of hair and I. Am. LOST. I thought aloe vera gel and all the highly praised products I researched would work well on my hair. FAIL! It's gonna take me some time to find out what works, and I can't imagine having to go through that process with more hair than I have right now.
I think the article makes some valid points about loving your hair at each stage. But whether or not more hair equals more problems is subjective and varies from head to head. In my case, it was "easier" to handle (wash, condition, detangle) the 5 inches of hair that I had when I chopped after 11 months of transitioning. But now that my hair is nearly BSL, I find it much easier to get my hair to look how I prefer it to look, much easier to create a style that lasts for an entire week, and I love having the ability to do a ponytail or bun in a pinch. So I am enjoying my hair much more now and in some ways, my routine is much simpler now than when my hair was shorter.
Well, as a natural that does have shorter hair, I appreciated the article. My hair is about 4 inches all over right now and very tightly coiled. It doesn't take long to detangle and pretty much any style I choose to do (other than a wash & go) takes about an hour to complete). Because I have 4b/4c hair, I can only imagine how long it will take to detangle and style my hair as it gets longer. Don't get me wrong, I look forward to seeing my hair grow longer, but I am trying to appreciate the shorter styling sessions while I have them. If her bottom line message was to enjoy every stage of your natural hair journey, I got it and I plan to!
This article is DEEP! I have been transitioning for about 16 months now (sans chop). I always felt like my face was too round for short hair, so I've just been getting trims every other month. I have only ever worn roller sets & roller wraps w/ a few wash-n-gos or blowouts mixed in… So now that my (collarbone length) hair is 98% natural IDK what to do with it in terms of natural styles. OMG… I have missed out on over a year's worth of practice (insert sad face *WHOMP WHOMP*) But I am a pro @ bunning it up. LOL
You live and you learn
I just wanted to clarify a few things.
If you check out my blog you'll see that I have relatively medium/long natural hair. I am not advocating cutting off your hair. In fact I am currently doing a grow-out challenge! This post was created because I know so many people who have started going natural, but they don't put the time in to get to know their hair while it is short. Instead they hide their hair instead of gaining the experience of the day to day work of its maintenance.
There are benefits to all areas of your hair growth. But I truly believe your first year natural is the most important, because it creates the foundation to how you will deal with your hair going forward. Hiding your hair without the experience, and having long hair 2 years later doesn't necessarily help you learn about your hair.
I acknowledged that there are many women who transition long term and are very successful at it. But the truth is many women that I know want nothing to do with their hair in that stage. If your hair is short, love it, learn it, and rock it!
Enjoy your big chop or mini chop! Long hair will come, so just love the hair you have!
T- Well I did the BC from shoulder length, transition for a few months but had so much breakage that I was forced to BC. I really couldn't wait to see my hair again from being a child. However, the limited styles when short is very challeging. You definitely have to be comfortable with yourself in all aspects or this could be the deal breaker. Lets just say patience is the key. Overall my hair is lovely its growing and my self esteem gained a little boost.(not that I needed it but it did) I'm right now about ear length and I can not wait to get enough hair for a ponytail. Who knows maybe when I get to that length I will want something else. One thing is for certain I will not be perming no time soon!
Because I don't do braids, twists and other styles that can take hours to do, long hair (for me is not THAT bad). The washing and detangling process takes the most time.
I either wear a wash n' go (no shingling) which can last up to a week, twist out (which doesn't take much time to set), a dry bun, pony puff (just a glorified WnG).
Yes, it does take more time to do than a TWA, but unless its a special occasion, I don't do anything fancy or complicated.
Yes, my hair does require more products especially conditioners and leave-ins. Unfortunately I haven't found a leave-in for under $12/oz that works for my hair. I can go with cheaper rinse out conditioners though. Winter hair is harder and more expensive because I cant use products with glycerin. My hair hates Eco Styler (too bad because its cheap).
I never really had short hair (except for a Halle Berry phase in the '90s) because I went from pressed/burnt hair to transitioning to completely natural while cutting it ever few months so I wouldn't even know what a TWA looks like on me. I feel like I should just cut it short once just to see what its like…
I wouldn't say more hair, more problems, but I was just thinking this morning about doing a second BC, simply because it was taking so long to detangle!
My longer (shoulder length when stretched) hair does use up more product, and I am about to go into medical school, so I am B-R-O-K-E! I actually found my self moisturizing with some water and oil last week just so I could save the little bit of moisturizer that I do have for a special occasion…LOL!
But on a more serious note, even though it does take a little more time to style, and more product, I do appreciate my longer hair because it's showing that my hard work is paying off. Plus I get to do more cute styles 🙂
The reality is not everyone enjoys every stage of the transition.
I agree with this article completely. I find my long hair easy to deal with because I was able to practice when my hair was short. If a product doesn't agree with your hair, it's a lot easier to wash it out and start over when you have 4 inches than when you have 14. Although I would never tell anyone to BC before they are ready, there is a HUGE advantage to BCing because you get to learn your hair when it is still pretty easy to correct mistakes.
Cute and well written post…but….lol I gotta disagree. I love my long hair. I'm currently almost hip length, but i've been 3 inches at my shortest length. The only negative is going through conditioner faster! 🙂
I can style it more ways or if i'm lazy, easily swoop it into a bun and be done.
I transitioned for just under 2 years.
When my hair was short I loved it then too, and I do get days when I want to just cut down to a short fade, but I pretty much love my longer length.
WHy did you all transition for so long. Why not enjoy the big chop?
I also disagree with the "more hair produces more hair problems" line of thought.
Taking care of my hair has gotten simpler overtime because I figured out the least complex routine to get the desired results for my hair.
I have loved my hair at every length stage from BC to right now (collarbone length). I'll love it more as it continues to retain length. I have no problem with the idea of cutting it in the future If I should see fit to do so.
Guess it goes as deep as having natural hair. Many people never like natural hair in its short state. But as soon as its huge and 'hanging everyone is in love. I agree if you cant love it when its short, how can you truly appreciate it when its long.
Many women are afraid of having short hair. Long hair is their security blanket, and they ain't giving it up.
This post is really motivation for women with short hair, who are currently loathing the length of their short hair.
The point was just to say, enjoy your hair at all lengths, especially when its short. So many people run away from it at that length instead of appreciating the growth journey. Long hair is coveted by so many women before they even learn to care for hair at its shorter lengths.
I have to disagree as well. I transitioned for a year and a half and my below BSL hair is healthy and full. Sure, I missed out on the short TWA stage and growing that out, but I still manage my longer hair because that is all I knew to style in the first place :-).
While I'm glad you enjoy your short hair, I disagree. I don't like short hair and my long transition with my bsl hair is rolling along great. I'm enjoying learning about my hair.
I have to disagree. The longer my hair gets the easier it is for me to style and care for. I have enjoyed my hair at all stages, but I enjoy it more the longer it gets :D.
I've honestly loved my hair at every length stage. I didn't BC, because I was wearing my hair in a short cut, so I just grew out it out. I think that the learning curve is always relevant if you transition or do a BC. My hair has recently changed to low porosity and I'm back to reading on humectants, humidity, and doing a product overhaul. So as we age, change climates, and make our hair healthier, we always have to learn and sometimes re-learn information.
I think there is something special about every stage of growth. There is always a staple style at each stage, and new styles and products to try. Even though there are lots of disappointments, for me, the happy, fierce hair days outweigh the bad!