If there’s one thing that I’ve noticed during this coronavirus quarantine, is that it has “inspired” many women to do to either go completely natural or to do the big chop. As someone who is currently natural and also wore my hair super short for many years, I think that both transformations are dope. At the same time, I also know that sometimes when things seem to feel a bit out of control, it’s easy to make impulsive decisions in order to feel like you’ve got a hold of at least a few things.
For the record, it has nothing to do with being natural. There are so many articles that point to the fact that, if nothing else, keeping chemicals out of your hair is healthier for you (especially if you’re a Black woman). No, what I’m talking about is taking shears to your head to cut off all of those inches that you worked so long and hard for. Listen, if you’ve been wanting to go with a shorter ‘do, even before this pandemic, then do you, girl. But if you’re stressed out or worried that it might be for-e-ver before you see your stylist again, before you pull out some scissors or a pair of clippers, please make sure that you pause and ask yourself the following questions just so you can be sure that the big chop is what’s best for you. Right now.
Again, is this an emotional or well thought-out decision?
There are all sorts of articles that warn us to never make choices that are solely based on emotion. For one thing, emotions are subject to change, sometimes, on a whim. And, based on whatever feeling we have at the time, it can result in us regretting our decisions up, later up the road. For instance, a post I once checked out said that being anxious can cloud your judgment, being sad can cause you to settle and being angry to result in you taking (unrealistic) long shots. Hair is just hair. It’ll grow back. But based on genetics and how well you do (or don’t) care for your locks, that can determine how long it will take to get your inches back. So yeah, before any of these other questions, it’s really important that you ask yourself if the pandemic and quarantine have you wanting to cut your hair because of how emotional you might be, or if you’re actually doing so after giving it all some real thought.
Where are all of your scarves and hats?
Except when I make a run to the grocery store, I’m in the house all day. I live alone so, who the heck is gonna see my hair?! Now, my locks are natural, so if yours is relaxed or if it has dye in it, I get why this time apart from your stylist might be freaking you out a bit. But still, even if the quarantine feels like it’s going to last forever, this too shall pass. That said, are you sure that you just don’t want to deep condition your hair and either let it do its thing or put it up in a scarf and/or hat (when you go out)? If you’re worried that not touching up the roots could lead to breakage, our article “10 Tips for Transitioning to Natural Hair” can help you to take care of your natural hair while you’re waiting for your hair to be chemically-treated again. In the meantime, all of those cover-ups that you’ve got, why put them to use when they can keep you looking just as fly as your stylist does?
What about wigs?
Whether you’ve got a full collection of wigs or you’ve been on the fence about whether or not to get your first one, another option is to wear a wig. They’re fun. They’re versatile. And, if you properly prep your hair before putting one on, they are a really stylish way to keep you from cutting your hair until you are sure that you’re ready. But again, the key is to make sure that you don’t LIVE constantly in your wig (your scalp and hair definitely need time to breathe) and that you properly care for the hair that’s underneath them. Click here, here and here for tips on how to do just that.
Are you ready to let go of the easy ponytail?
I’ve got a girlfriend who cut off all of her hair a couple of years ago. We’ve been close for well over a decade and, to this day, that short ‘do is the dopest one I’ve ever seen on her. But last year, she decided to grow her hair back out, mostly because she missed the ease and convenience that comes with simply putting her hair up in a ponytail. There is some real validity to that point. If your hair is currently long enough to put up, you do know that big chopping means that you have to kiss that ability goodbye…right? Are you ready to do that? I ask because my friend and I both can personally vouch for the fact that the growing out period (when it’s too long to be super stylish and too short to put up into anything) ain’t nothin’ nice.
Are you prepared for the maintenance that comes with shorter hair?
I taught myself how to cut my own hair while I was in college. I think that God gave me a gift to style hair and I’m grateful, but let me just say that, even with the natural ability, cutting hair (especially your own hair) is not the easiest thing on the planet to do. Also, unless you want to rock a baldie or buzz cut, it can be hard to even create an even fade or to keep the nape of your neck on point (again, especially if you’re doing your own hair). These are realities that you have to face if you are considering cutting off all of your hair because it’s interesting—when your hair is on the longer side, it can sometimes feel like it’s taking years for it to grow out. But when your hair is short? You can literally feel like you need to do some form of upkeep on a weekly basis. I’m not kidding. Shorter hair is low-maintenance in between trims, but trims are required a heck of a lot more often. Definitely something to always keep in the forefront of your mind.
Do you have what you need in order to maintain a short ‘do?
Whether you’re planning to go short and relax your hair, texturize your tresses or be completely natural, different hair textures oftentimes call for totally different kinds of styling products. Hey, there’s no point in having short hair if it looks a crazy mess, simply because you had no idea what you needed to put in it. So, take a moment to ask yourself—do you?
Did you run this by your stylist (in order to get a second opinion) first?
If you do see your stylist on a regular basis, I promise you that you can’t go wrong with running by them what you are thinking. If yours is anything like the one I used to have, they will be super forthcoming on if it’s a good idea or not to “take it all off”. Because a good stylist is oftentimes a voice of reason, and because they already know your hair and (probably) how you treat it when you’re at home, they can let you know what length will complement your face structure, if they think you will be able to keep it up in between appointments and anything else that I might’ve inadvertently overlooked in this piece.
Again, I wore really short hair for years and years with absolutely no regret. But before you decide to make such a drastic change, just make sure it’s because you want to and not because quarantining has you all stressed out. The first reason you can feel good about. The second? Well, it could lead to anxiety that’s on a whole ‘nother level, if you’re not careful. Just sayin’.