Thinking of Shaving Off Your Natural Hair? Read This First!
By Jacqueline Samaroo
A shaved head is like the ultimate big chop. It’s not something many Black women would consider even if they are already rocking out to the tune of a sensational TWA.
Some women decide to shave off their natural hair after much deliberation and internal struggle. For others, it is a spur-of-the-moment decision, eliminating any chances to second-guess themselves. For some women, the act of shaving their heads is a defining moment while others view it as simply another style to try for a while.
What might you experience if you shave off your natural hair?
Expect mixed feelings before and after
You might find yourself embracing the idea of shaving your head one moment and then seconds later, wondering if you’re crazy for even considering such a thing. You’ll probably also bounce between being concerned what others will say and then deciding you don’t give a damn what they think.
It’s not uncommon after shaving off your hair to have moments of regret mixed in with the euphoria of “Why didn’t I do this sooner?!”
For a while, you’ll likely miss the act of grooming your hair – even if you had always felt natural hair styles were too tedious to keep up with. That may be mixed in with the joys that only bald-headedness brings. Like not having to worry about getting your hair wet when you go swimming.
Expect, too, to forget that you shaved your head! It happens and it even has a name – phantom hair. For a while after you’ve shaved your head, you may feel like it’s still there. This often happens when you wake in the morning or when your mind is preoccupied with other things.
Expect very different reactions from others
Some people find shaved heads attractive, some are turned off by them, and others couldn’t really care less. You’ll meet all types and don’t expect them to keep their reactions and opinions to themselves.
Shaving off your natural hair may be greeted with utter disbelief by (especially older) family members but get you high fives from friends. Your significant other might love your new look and the new attitude that often accompanies it. On the other hand, the decision to shave your head may be one of the hardest tests your relationship faces.
Expect to have more time on your hands
Black hair is amazing for its diversity and the range of natural hairstyles it can be done in. However, for most women, particularly those with curlier and kinkier curl patterns, styling and upkeep of their natural hair can be very time consuming.
A shaved head still requires maintenance, but it is nothing in the league of caring for and styling a head full of curls. You’ll still have to
- Use good-quality shampoo and conditioner for the sake of your scalp and the tiny hairs on it. A definite upside is that just a little bit of product now goes a long way!
- Keep your scalp hydrated and moisturized. It is now fully exposed to the elements and will dry out quicker.
- Protect your scalp from the Sun. Just as you would with other exposed areas of skin, use sunscreen to protect your scalp when out and about.
Expect a sense of empowerment and freedom
Many women who have shaved off their natural hair report a feeling of empowerment – of no longer attaching their self-worth to their hair. That attachment is a common occurrence among the Black community. History has ingrained it in us, teaching us that long hair is the ideal.
Many women also say that shaving off their hair made them feel more beautiful and confident than they ever did before. Your face becomes the focus and people tend to look you in the eyes more!
Some women also note that other women seem to want to connect with them more, perhaps because of the increased confidence level or because they are wrestling with the idea of shaving off their natural hair, too.
Have you ever shaved your head? Let us know what the experience was like.