Naturallycurly Editor, Alexandra, shares how her big chop empowered her to live fearlessly and authentically.
I began getting perms at the tender age of three years old. Growing up of mixed heritage, my mom had no clue how to care for my thick curly hair, so someone advised her to perm my hair so it would be easier to manage. I got perms faithfully until I was in high school and then began wearing sew-ins. I wore weave for about four years and started spot perming my leave-out which eventually lead to horrible breakage. During college, I was determined to get blonde highlights and my hair stylist bleached my hair. My hair was extremely dry and brittle from the bleach, plus I didn’t know how to care for color-treated hair so it was all bad. I let my hair grow out for a while, then I began cutting it until I was ready for the big chop in May of 2015. I went short - real short! I figured if I was going to start over might as well try a new look, so I decided to cut my hair in a pixie cut.
What made you decide to go natural?
After years of perming my hair, wearing sew-ins, and then bleaching my hair, I was determined to reinvent myself and embrace my natural hair. I never knew how to care for my hair until I cut my hair off, which gave me the opportunity to learn my curl pattern and texture.
How has your family, friends and co-workers reacted? What was your response to them?
My family honestly couldn’t even tell when I wore weaves, but once I cut all my hair into a pixie cut they were shocked by how short I went. They’re pretty traditional and feel women should have long hair, so at first, they didn’t like it and would make jokes, but they’ve grown to love it.
What has been the most memorable moment of your hair journey?
Most definitely the big chop! I didn’t tell anyone I was cutting my hair, it was something I wanted to do to prove to myself that I could.
What hairstyle(s) made you feel the most confident?
Honestly, it took me a while to love my short hair. At first, I didn’t feel confident because I didn’t know how to style it, but now that I’ve been rocking my short cut for the past two years it’s definitely my favorite hairstyle yet.
What was your transitioning hair regimen?
While I was transitioning I had no clue what I was doing. I was still straightening my hair and tried wearing it curly, but couldn’t find products that worked for my hair and went back to what I knew: the ponytail.
My hair says I’m fearless, bold and courageous. It reminded me of the power and potential I hold.
What is your current hair regimen?
I’m a minimalist natural and prefer not to use too many products on my hair, especially since I have sensitive skin and some products cause me to breakout around my jaw line. I cleanse my hair about once a week and have a couple favorites that I’m loving such as the Elucence Moisture Balancing Conditioner or Camille Rose Moroccan Pear Conditioning Custard. Then, I apply a detangler or leave-in such as the Curl Girl Unwind Thermal Protector & Detangling Mist or Kinky-Curly Knot Today, which work great because they both provide great slip, plus a lightweight cream that defines my curls where I don’t have to apply too much styling cream. Lately, I’ve been obsessed with the finger coil method to have a more defined look and use the ORS Styling Smoothie, which is a heavy cream that is packed with protein and is great for finger coils, twists and braid outs. Each morning I refresh my hair with the Curly hair Solutions H20 Water Bottle that I love because it’s a continuous mist spray water bottle that gives my curls life without drenching them. Then, once I let my hair air dry, to add volume and definition to my look I grab my pick, fluff and I’m out the door!
Any advice you’d like to give other women who may be in the transition phase and need some encouragement?
Remember, direction is so much more important than speed. Don’t get caught up on what other curlies are doing, do what works for you! If a product isn’t working, try something else. If you weren’t satisfied with your twist out, keep practicing or try another heatless style. Luckily, there are tons of resources and products at our fingertips so take advantage of it. Like any journey, it’s important to set realistic goals, pace yourself, keep an optimistic mindset and celebrate your progress.
How do you remain confident along your natural hair journey? We'd love to hear from you, comment below!
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