So, you just did your big chop 2 weeks ago. Congratulations! I know that was a big step, but now that that’s done, we should talk about some things that you should expect over the next 6-12 months. There’s a few tips in there too. Ready?
After you’ve done your big chop, take time to develop a reoutine for yourself that works. This will take a lot of trial and error, but again, be patient. Enjoy the product experimentation now, because as your hair grows, detangling, washing, and styling will become more time consuming.
The first few months, or even year of being natural can be a challenge. It will make you wonder why you went (back) natural, and even play with the idea of getting another relaxer. DON’T DO IT! Be sure to trash, not put away all of the things that will have you second guessing your decision. If there is still a relaxer kit somewhere in your house, throw it out. Stash your flat iron somewhere you’ll forget about it, give it away, or put it in someone else’s care for the time being. If you don’t have a significant amount of length after your big chop, throw away things like scrunchies. Also, throw out updo clips, and definitely fine toothed combs. Do whatever is necessary to prevent going back on or getting down on yourself about your decision. Also, be sure to throw out any products that contain ingredients that are a big NO NO for natural hair–such as isopropyl alcohol, petroleum, and mineral oil to name a few.
Like EVERY naturalista, you’re probably questioning why your hair seems to be the same length as it was 2…4…8 weeks ago. Why is it not growing? Am I using the right products? Should I tweek my wash day, moisturize, bedtime, everyday styling routine? RELAX! Let’s look at a few facts on hair growth.
- On average, we grow ½ inch of hair each month. This equals 6 inches a year.
- Even with healthy hair practices, you will occasionally need to trim your ends, which leads to a regular loss of length
- If you choose not to trim your hair (which is HIGHLY suggested), it will cause split ends. Split ends travel up the hair strand and cause breakage
- If you occasionally experience a spurt in growth (i.e. more than ½ inch a month) and it doesn’t normally do that, it is unlikely that you will sustain that growth
Note: The best way to literally see your hair growth is to color it. Remember that color can damage your hair if you don’t care for it properly (i.e. moisturize, moisturize, moisturize).
Don’t Sweat The Shrinkage
We all want our hair to flow freely and touch our shoulders. Unfortunately, thanks to shrinkage, that may not be the case the first 6-12 months of being natural. Shrinkage is another ugh of being natural if you haven’t already heard. No worries though! Not only are their several ways to “combat” shrinkage, but shrinkage is actually a sign that your hair is healthy. Embrace it!
Depending on the type of hair you have (check out the High vs Normal vs Low Porosity hair post to determine what the porosity of your hair is), it could require more moisture than someone else’s hair. High vs Normal vs Low Porosity Hair (link: High vs Normal vs Low…Porosity Hair) As a new naturalista, daily to every other day refreshers could promote healthy and moisturized hair. When product testing, make sure to keep a light water-based hair moisturizer or spritz in your collection. It will keep your hair hydrated between washes, and keep it looking healthy and “alive”.
Protect Your Hair At Night
If you aren’t a big fan of satin bonnets or scarves, you should get used to sleeping on a satin pillowcase. Satin bonnets, scarves and pillowcases will keep your hair from drying out and breaking. Start good practices now.
Clarify, Strengthen and Deep Condition
Caring for your natural hair will involve much more than co-washing and moisturizing. Make sure that to use a clarifying treatment or shampoo to thoroughly cleanse your hair and scalp to remove buildup (I personally use a good shampoo once a month.). Deep conditioning treatments will help nourish, moisturize, and strengthen your hair as it grows. You should deep condition each time you shampoo your hair to ensure that it remains soft and healthy, which prevents breakage.
Be Your Own Kind Of Beautiful!
This, is above all, THE most important tip. Define your beauty for yourself. Be confident in who you are, and the decision you made. Hair breaks, hair grows and life goes on. At the end of the day, you have to be comfortable in your own skin. Embrace your beauty and have courage, as a woman who has decided to embark on a personal and hair growth journey. You were beautiful before you cut your hair. You are beautiful with your new hair, however short or long it may be, and you will continue to be beautiful as your hair grows.
Once you’ve got your regimen together and your no-no products and tools out of sight, you’re ready to enjoy being a new naturalista.