10 Things I Didn’t Expect After The Big Chop

7 Jan

1. The number of hair textures I had
Three, is the actual number. But since I was used to wearing it straight, this wasn’t something I realized until certain natural hairstyles would look different in different parts of my hair. There’s lots of information on how to find your hair type (or types), I found the Andre Walker Curl Typing (BTW, Andre is Oprah’s personal hair stylist) system to be most useful for me (there’s a good photo explanation at NaturallyCurly.com). I’ve got some 3C, 4A and 4b going on.

2. That I was using too many products
But I suspect I was a bit of a product junkie already. Much of what I had was meant for straight hair, which meant I had to research, reassess and ultimately throw things away.

This is what I work with now:
– a spray and a cream moisturizer—one for wet hair, one for dry hair
-oil (to seal ends)
-texturizers—two types: one to slick the hair down, one to define curls or draw out the kinkiness

3. The lack of complements. 
Co-workers gave me odd looks and said “That’s …. different.” In my single days, I was approached by fewer guys. I routinely heard: “Are you sure you don’t know want to perm it?” There were  also the blanket statements from other African-American females about natural hair looking “not done” or a “hot mess.”

4. Lack of black stylists comfortable with doing natural hair. 
Per, No. 3—one of the times I heard “Are you sure you don’t want to perm it” was in a African-American hair salon. The stylist went on to say: “I can’t make it pretty if I don’t straighten it.” It took more than a year before I found someone who was comfortable with my hair texture.

5. Natural hair isn’t low-maintenance. Period.
See Jan. 3  post.

6. What happens if I don’t wash, rinse  or detangle my hair after three or four days
Utter chaos. That’s all I can say.

7. Tons of styling aids come from household things.
Rolled up old (but clean) socks and stockings for “doughnut” buns; the boyfriend’s ratty old (but clean) T-shirt for a quick-dry head wrap, nipped strips of old nylons for hair ties. I could keep going …

8. The Alice in Wonderland effect
My hair is one length when its wet, about 65 percent shorter when it dries, somewhere in between when it’s damp, and  shoulder length if blow dried and flat ironed.

9. People with natural hair still get fake hair
Not talking about sew-ins or braids (who HASN’T had braids?). I’m talking about some of the other things you can do with cheap corner store braiding hair.

10. Sometimes conditioner is used before you shampoo
It’s called co-washing. Applying a bit before you shampoo helps soften the hair and retains moisture—a big concern for naturally curly hair.


3 Responses to “10 Things I Didn’t Expect After The Big Chop”

  1. nappyheadchronicles January 7, 2013 at 12:58 pm #

    Number 3 is a big shock, isn’t it?

    I was once told my hair was too wild! Sigh. I mean, I wish it was. But it’s really not. That comment surprised me by hurting. It wasn’t the words, it was the tone. It almost sounded like disgust.

    People don’t think before they speak. Especially when their opinions are unsolicited!

    • tiffwrites January 9, 2013 at 1:25 am #

      Yeah, people say those sorts of things as though they were rote facts! Never given a second thought!

  2. Tresa Gatson August 25, 2013 at 10:02 pm #

    I must say I refuse to go natural or allow my girls to go natural until I research and learn how to care for it the right way. It’s so many people I see confuse ” natural hair with doing nothing….but I must say I started with my daughter hair in January 2012 and NOW her hair is so thick, heathy and growing so fast….Now I started my hair and my youngest daughter January 2013 hopefully this journey will be just as successful….

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