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Curly Nikki

The Interim Phase- Natural Hair

By January 27th, 202117 Comments
The Interim Phase- Natural Hair
by Kenny of Skinny-Kenny

Today I thought back on my hair journey, which was not out of choice as I previously mentioned.
I love my hair now and wouldn’t cut it for anybody or anything. But I think the reason I didn’t grow it out before, is because of the interim phase. When I say interim phase I mean that period of hair growth that we all must undergo. Obviously I didn’t just wake up with a fully grown dread fro. It took many months (6 to be exact) before my hair became what it was. There were times of doubt to be sure, I tried several times to find either a barber or a set of hair clippers. As Black men, we tend to go for the shaved cut by default. And when my friends in America saw pictures of me with longer hair they cracked jokes, “Haven’t had time to go to the barber yet buckwheat?”. I think this interim phase might be the reason most men don’t bother to grow their hair either. But the end result has inspired a few of my male peers. Upon seeing my hair in person when I returned to America, several of my male friends told me they are going to start growing out their hair as well. And most if not all of them have told me how silly it looks and how much they want to cut it. Hang in there the best is yet to come.

Anyone currently in the interim phase?


  • prettyconfusednatural says:

    I am also at a lost what to do with my hair, mini braids have been my friend . My hair is right to my shoulders not pass but barely touching it. lol

  • dvaaunaturel says:

    I am in the interim phase and the scissors have started calling my name HARD! I have cut before (lack of research understanding that you can't color over henna/indigo (black) mix) and refuse to cut at all this go 'round. I plan to stick it out. I don't like my hair shape, it's too round and want something more tapered/layered. I plan to get braids, from The DAMN Salon, next week and hopefully that'll save my precious tresses. I probably have another 9-12 months more because I pass this phase I guess depending on how much length I retain. I don't like where I am but love my hair nonetheless. I'm in for the long haul.

  • Tomika says:

    OMG…you must have read my mind or seen my hair…ugh! Frustration, f-it and love describes my relationship with Twala (what i call my hair). I bc 2 weeks ago after 18months of transitioning. My wash n gos are gorgeous but its cold in the morning and getting colder. My twistouts just don't cooperate and i am not a big fan or braidouts although I may need to revisit that…but I am YouTube-in my azz off and I am being creative, adventurous and some mornings when I have styled at night, woke up late and my hair still doesnt do what i told it to do, I leave the house with my f-it attitude and sometimes I get compliments and sometimes I restyle when i get to work…so I am pushing through but learning a lot about my Twala's personality. Thanks for writing out your experience and for listening to mine.

  • Sophie says:

    I definitely struggled in the beginnings of the interim! Freshman year of college I was trying to fluff up/ pat down/ do something to my several inches of hair. I was clueless. My roommate saw this and then she said "I'm glad my hair is… manageable."


    Right now I'm in the same boat as another poster, where my hair is getting long but the shape is kind of off. Mainly my problem is that the top is the same length as the bottom, but since it has farther to go it is very far away from looking uniform. So I'm still waiting for it to grow out a bit in some areas and feel kind of like I'm in another interim.

  • Gloria says:

    I skipped this stage. I decided to stop relaxing my hair for a while, and so I was getting braids and kinky twists put in. One day, the lady that did my hair asked, "Are you planning to get another relaxer? You have a lot of new growth right now…I could trim off a little more of the relaxed ends each time you come in, if you want." And that was the beginning of my natural journey, lol, although I didn't know it at the time.

    I wore kinky twists for about a year and a half, and then I moved to a city that was too far from my hairdresser. She used to give me such a huge discount that I had no idea how much other people charged to twist and braid hair. I finally had to take the twists out, cut off the last of my relaxed ends, and start doing my hair on my own. Basically, I went from never touching my natural hair to all of a sudden having to take care of thick, armpit-length, curly 4b hair. This was a struggle for the first few months, but I have finally gotten the hang of it!

    I will say that those of you that did the big chop have a much better understanding of how to take care of your own hair than I did with mine, so by the time you get to APL or BSL (where I am now), your hair is going to be AMAZING, because it will have been properly taken care of from the get-go. If the interim stage is too much, though, I do think [properly done] protective styles like a weave, twists, or braids will help. It'll give you hair a couple of months of rest (during which it'll probably grow), and it'll give you some time to get excited about your hair again. 🙂

  • K3NNY says:

    HAHA I always forget about the guy in the blue shirt. Looks like he is going through his own "interim" phase.

    Dead @ Hair purgatory that's a good one!

  • Anonymous says:

    So glad to see you on here again Kenny! I also had a difficult time adjusting to the interim phase between itty bitty afro to medium. Since my hair has grown and I've cut it again I finally discovered that medium length is where it's at for me. Thanks for sharing man!

  • LM says:

    I meant front "half"…sorry

  • LM says:

    I think I am in this phase also. I have almost 9 months of hair growth and my twist and braid outs have started looking strange lol..the only style that seems to be getting me through this phase is either cornrowing the front have of my head and doing a twist or braid out in the back, or creating a flat twist head band and doing a braid our twist out in the back..I honestly dont know what else to do as I really dont care for alot of natural updo's. right now my hair is in bantu knots and I'm crossing my fingers for the results

  • Anonymous says:

    OMG Kenny, mzcnnd here. I am in the interim (PIMA) phase right now. Too short to be easy, too long to be cute. I big chopped to a caesar back in early June. Loveded it! Loved washing in the shower, putting on a little moisture and rollin out! Now I have a little less than two inches of napcurls. So I've had a TWA for a while and with shrinkage I imagine that even at the six month mark I will still have a TWA. So even though it's not long enough to twist, it's long enough to have to work wit in the mo-nin! But not a lot of styling options if you're not a headband kind of girl and I'm not! I've never wanted long hair, but I need at least six inches to have the style of my dreams. So, here I sit…in hair purgatory waiting for my locks to grow and hoping that by February I will able to do some thangs wit Kizzy!

  • Anonymous says:

    I remember this interim phase nightmare. When I went through it years ago, I was a hot mess. Didn't have the luxury of so many websites, products or information. I tried all kinda stuff and usually just ended up doing a roller set on small curlers or pinning it up in some kinda roll. I know I was looking crazy at the time, but it was so worth the journey.

    Thanks Kenny, for expressing your thoughts about this phase of the natural experience. You are a gem!

  • Anonymous says:

    Guys I am in this phase right now. It has been challenging. I have wanted to cut it so many times because this in between length is quite annoying. But I have a solution. I am going to a natural hair salon to get a twisted up do. Once I learn how to do it myself then I'll be good. That way my hair will be concealed so I can't stare at its awkwardness lol.

  • Anonymous says:

    I have put myself back in the interim phase by a large minichop I did last month. I hated the shape of my hair, but this cut should make it easier to grow out.
    This article resonated with me because this phase is why I kept my hair short for so many years – that in-between time when the hair is at this awkward length, netither short nor long.

  • Pecancurls says:

    LOL!! You guys are cracking me up about the guy in the blue shorts! I survived the interim with twist outs. I never did a one time BC. I did mini-BCs over a one year period and that enabled me to keep a little more length and size. That awkward stage can defintely beat you down.

  • Anonymous says:

    Ok, this is totally off subject but do you all see the man in the blue shirt in the upper left corner? LMAO

  • Anonymous says:

    I'm there now also! I'm about 15 months post bc and I'm still feeling like the length is awkward. I have great twistouts and puffs but still can't do any updo's. But by next summer, I'll be killin em!!!

  • crimsonpeach says:

    First: LOL at the dude pulling his shorts out off his crack in the blue tshirt.

    Yep, I'm in the interim/awkward stage now. Seems like I will be here forever! I have hella shrinkage so I might be here awhile. Right now I do curly fros and twist outs. The TOs are so hit and miss. I can do puffs but they don't look full and big like I want them to. In the meanwhile I will keep learning what this hair can do and keeping the dream of the BAA alive

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