Category Archives: Big Chops

Miley Cyrus Big Chops!

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Okay, I know she’s not natural or curly. But, one, I love the cut and think that it’s really cute and flattering on her. Two, I love the confidence it takes someone who has always had long hair to say, “CHOP IT!!” Three, I love what she said to the haters on Twitter:

“if you don’t have something nice to say don’t say anything at all. my hair is attached to my head no one else’s and it’s going bye bye :) ”

Sounds realllllllyyyyyyyy familiar doesn’t it ;)? A big chop is a big chop, no matter  what your race, texture, status. At least, that’s my take on it. We have more in common than we know.

If that’s not a “Big Chop” smile of self-love and
liberation, I don’t know what is.

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The Big Chop: Norma’s HairStory

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Describe yourself in 100 words or less.
I am a 36, soon to be 37, embracing each year as they come, single mother of a 16-yr old beautiful daughter. Those who know me would say I am the life of the party … Put me in a room with new people and, by time the party is over, I will have everyone’s name and phone number in my Blackberry!!!! I am really bad at starting projects and not following through. One of my main goals for 2012 is to finish at least one project, so I chose to go natural!!! Let’s see this to the end!!!

What prompted your decision to go natural?
What prompted me to go natural is that my hair would always break. Then I would cut it all off and have a short hair cut and then it would grow back nice and healthy and start to break again, right in the middle of my head … #blankstare! What am I doing wrong? So, March 2012, I decided to transition.

How long did you transition before you big chopped?
I transitioned for about 3 months and, to no avail. My hair was still breaking, but only from the relaxed ends. So, I decided, “That’s it. I am done.” I discussed my Big Chop with my significant other, because I knew it would be an issue for him if I cut my hair … it wasn’t like my hair was down my back or anything. LOL. But, he saw that it grew a lot from my “Rhianna Cut” and he was ecstatic (that’s a man’s Mojo .. .long hair). So, after discussing the pros and cons of doing the “BC” with him and his approval, off I was to the salon. My beautician Sa’Rah (www.tressesbykaysarah.com), who is the best, cut off the permed ends. Woohoo I did it!!!! JUNE 14th – BIG CHOP!!!!

How did you feel immediately before and after the Big Chop?
Immediately after my BC I was like, “wow.” I mean, I have always had a short cut, but it was always styled and relaxed. What I had was a TWA. I was nervous and anxious. I knew it would grow fast without chemicals but, my first reaction was, “How are my co-workers at the firm going to view me?” I hopped out of the chair, put on some lip gloss and said, “I will own this TWA.” Out the door I went with confidence. As I got close to home, I said, “OMG, he is going to pass out” (“he” being my friend). But, he was very laid back and said, as long as there is no weave up in my head he is happy!

What is your current regimen? Go to products?
My current regimen right now is co-wash every 3 days. I use Carol’s Daughter Daily Leave-In Condition Spray, As I am Moisture Milk at night, and Miss Jessie’s Curling Pudding in the a.m. I have not chosen a new shampoo yet, narrowing it down to As I am shampoo and conditioner or Carol’s Daughter shampoo and conditioner. I also wear a satin bonnet at night and every 2 days I wear a shower cap (bagging) for extra moisture. Still learning “natural terms” and also still doing some research on the best scalp treatments.

What are your hair plans and goals?
My hair plans/goals are to have healthy hair. It does not need to be long, just healthy. Don’t want any shedding or breakage. Thursday, June 28th will complete 2 weeks since the big chop. I cannot wait to measure my progress. 2 weeks ago I had 1 1/2 inches of hair on my hair.

Do you have a hair crush? If sho who and why?
My hair crush is Traci Ellis Ross. I always loved Joan’s curls and how sometimes it was frizzy and she went with it. I hope my hair can grow that thick … hoping, praying and pre-pooing … hehehehehehehe!

Who is your favorite natural blogger, youtuber and/or fotkier and why?
Right now I am following Hairscapades and CurlyNikki. Hairscapades is my favorite right now. I love Skillz hair!!!!

Anything else you would like to add?
I really love the fact that natural hair is so in!!!! Women all around know instantly when they see you with the TWA and give you a thumbs up!!!!! It makes me hold my head up even higher!!!! Definitely can’t wait to henna … Can I do it with a TWA??????

Stay tuned for some updates!!!!
~Be Encouraged!~

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ETA: Thanks for sharing your Big Chop HairStory Norma! You look great! To answer your question, of course you can use henna on a TWA :). However, if you are contemplating experimenting with other color, I’d suggest holding off on until you are certain that you don’t want to get highlights or go lighter. Cassia is an alternative ayurvedic and natural hair treatment that works similar to henna, but won’t leave any color deposit that would cause problems if you wanted to lighten your hair at a later date. Remember, though natural, henna is permanent and red and it will not wash out. It can only be grow out. HTH!  

The Big Chop: Nicole’s HairStory

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Describe yourself in 100 words or less.
My name is Nicole. I’m a married mother of 3, who is quiet by nature, friendly, observant, loyal and an easy-going person.

What prompted your decision to go natural?
About 10 months after I had my first child, I experienced a lot of shedding. Then came the breakage along the left side of my nape area where it broke off completely. It felt like my hair was thinning and it was confirmed when I had to loop my the band around my hair 3 times when I put it in a pony tail. It was bothering me, because I had long hair for as long as I could remember. My hair is my crown and glory and I couldn’t understand what I was doing wrong. I incurred so much damage that my stylist had to cut my hair into a bob (first cut was chin length and the second cut was at the cheek) within an 8 month period. I didn’t know what caused the problem with my hair. I asked myself was it my diet or stress? So, in the meantime, my friend Tiffany was transitioning and I was contemplating with myself saying, maybe I need a fresh start, but I was still unsure. I told myself I would give it 1 year and then I’ll decide to either go natural or return back to relaxing my hair.

How long did you transition before you big chopped?
1 year.

When and how did you big chop?
June 1, 2012 is when I did my big chop and I did it myself.

How did you feel immediately before and immediately after your big chop?
A mix of fear and excitement. My heart was pounding!

How do you feel now?
In AWE. I never saw myself with a TWA. I’m glad that I never have to duck the rain or worry about limp, lifeless hair. This is the most spontaneous things I’ve done thus far.

What is your current regimen? Go to products?
I’m still developing a hair care regimen and still testing different hair products, so I don’t have any staple products yet. So far, I DC once a week with my current DC, which is Sof’nfree Nothing But Intense Hair Mask. I co-wash twice a week with Suave Naturals Tropical Coconut Conditioner, then use a leave-in conditioner, either Cream of Nature Organic Lemongrass & Rosemary leave-in or Cantu Shea Butter Leave -In.

What are your hair plans/goals?
To retain length, learn how to style my own hair and find what products my hair likes.

Do you have a hair crush? If so, who and why?
Rachel True from the TV Show Half & Half. Her auburn coils are shaped so perfectly. Also, Tia and Tamera Mowry in their Sister, Sister TV show days. I always admired their hair. And Elle Varner; she has envious ringlets and volume.

Who is your favorite natural blogger, youtuber and/or fotkier and why?
I watch Jazzybee445, she makes a great natural moisturizing spray. Naptural 85, excellent DIY hairstyles and tips. And Fgrogan. Although she’s not natural, she does long relaxer stretches. She’s quiet informative and has an inspiring hair journey. Also Curlynikki, and now Hairscapades, are my go-tos for information.

Anything else that you would like to add?
Yes. I’m looking forward to a new beginning with my hair and also doing the same with my daughters’ hair. I hope to achieve my ultimate hair goal to be BSL. Also, I met you at the Meet-up at Pooka Boutique with one of my besties, Tiffany Millican. She’s been encouraging me to take better care of my hair and ditch the chemicals.

Tiffany (left); Nicole pre-BC (right)

The Big Chop: Toya’s HairStory

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Describe yourself in 100 words or less.
My online name is Natural Beauty. I am a mother, health enthusiast, writer and an activist for natural hair. Those who know me would say that I’m very strong-willed, opinionated and analytical.

What prompted you to go natural?
I had gotten bored with my bone straight hair and had even bought a crimper to make it look curly. I was still too scared to do the big chop. I believe what influenced me was seeing other people go natural and how beautiful their hair looked. I made the ultimate decision on a mission trip to Tampa, Florida. I lived in a poor neighborhood, was a counselor to the homeless and at-risk homeless and taught art to kids from low-income families for six weeks. It was then that I realized how vain I was being.

How long did I transition before I went natural?
I transitioned for about six or seven months. I just got tired of the two different textures and went for it.

When and how did you big chop?
I big chopped in January of 2006. I just went to a salon, had my permed ends cut off and the hair stylist styled my hair in coils.

How did you feel immediately before and after your big chop?
I have to admit that I was scared and thought that it would look ugly, since I have a round face. I had pretty long hair and cut off more than 9 inches. I just kept telling myself that it’s just hair and it will grow back, I could always return to a perm if I didn’t like it. Afterwards, I felt elated, free and confident. I had my hair styled in coils and it actually looked really cute on me.

How do you feel now?
I still feel very confident, true to myself and I love my curls. Since the big chop, I’ve had the blessed opportunity to influence others to go natural and to love themselves. I just hope that I can continue to do that.

What is your current regimen? Go to products?
I like to do hot oil treatments with either Moroccan oil or Khoret Amen oil from Carol’s Daughter every two weeks before a wash. Carol’s Daughter’s products are a staple for me. I also use the Tui Shampoo and Tui Smoothie for deep conditioning. I use Motions Wrapping Lotion and either Carol’s Daughter Hair Balm or Nubian Heritage’s Shea Butter with Goat’s Milk and Chai for my twist-outs. I also recently started doing henna treatments at least once a month.

What are your hair plans/goals?
My number one goal for 2012 is to just keep my hair moisturized, because it has a tendency to get dry, and gaining more length and volume would be a plus.

Do you have a hair crush? If so, who and why?
Yes, I love Esperanza Spalding’s hair because it’s so big and full. I want my hair to be like that. I feel like we have similar textures and, with some growth, I can realistically get there.

Who is your favorite natural blogger, YouTuber, and/or Fotkier and why?
My favorite blogger is Curly Nikki, because she just has so much useful information on her site.

Anything else that you would like to add?
I’m just glad to be a part of the natural hair community and you can find me on my blog at www.celebrateyournaturalbeauty.blogspot.com. Thanks and I love your blog!

Jen Big Chops!!

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Remember Jen, transitioning marine and my blogging buddy from the CurlyNikki presents Kim Coles GOC?!?! Well, guess what?! She’s a transitioner no more!! Jen Big Chopped and she sent me the video, so that I could share her huge moment with all of you!!

WOOH-HOOH!!!! Congratulations Jen!! You did it!! That ‘fro is nice!!

*I’m giving those household shears the side eye though. lol*

The Big Chop: Alicia’s HairStory

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Describe yourself in 100 words or less.
Graceful, kind, loyal, authentic, eclectic, versatile, 29.5 years old, beautiful, intelligent, smart, professional, bright, wise beyond my years (according to everyone), delightful, momma, daddy, grandma, auntie and uncle’s girl. Nice to meet you. I am Alicia. May I ask your name please? Lol!

When did you receive your first relaxer?
If I remember correctly, I was about 7-8 years old. Young, huh? But you couldn’t tell me ANYTHING then. I was the “business” in my head! My hair was long and breaking off as the relaxer touched my scalp, I believe. Lol!

Weave fanatic

Why did you choose to go natural?
One word. Eczema. On my scalp. A serious scalp condition that made my head sooo tender and thin. My dermatologist told me, “NO more relaxers, NO color, NO excessive heat.” Isn’t it amazing that things work out for the good of those who trust the universe? I’m grateful for that experience because it made me look at my overall health condition and the harmful things I was doing to my body that we incorporate into our everyday routine :).

Were you a long-term or short-term transitioner and why?
Short term. 3 months. Not that I didn’t try before. But, of course, that was short lived (only because my money wasn’t right for a couple weeks). Lol! As of now, it’s been 4 months since doing my final and last ends cut. Chop! Chop!

What was your initial reaction to your growing natural hair?
“I’m going to be bald.” I couldn’t see the light. I honestly thought my hair would be a TWA (teeny weeny afro) for the remainder of my life. And it was teeeeeeeny. Like a little longer than a boy cut. I was sooo ashamed. That’s why I don’t have pictures. I have a great texture of hair (as I believe that all textures are good textures. Some just easier to manage than most, but great all the same.) My visit to the dermatologist left me very afraid. I didn’t know what to do with it at all.

How did family and friends react to the new you? What was your response to them?
They were mostly questioning what I was doing with my hair. Some thought I was dreading or locs. It was different for most, but accepting in the same liking. God and my mom blessed me with a nice versatile face to walk around and look crazy for a minute. I tend to be very conservative and dress nicely, so they sort of knew that I wouldn’t be walking around looking too crazy. *lol*

What is your routine?
For now, until I absolutely learn my hair and make sure I properly take care of my scalp, I wash and co-wash every other week. My hair loves Shea Moisture products. They make a product specifically for eczema and other scalp conditions. I wash with their shampoo and conditioner and moisturize with their Coconut and Hibiscus Hair Milk. I use their Coconut Smoothie and finally seal with shea butter. During the week, I use shea butter and natural oils to keep my hair moisturized. And thank you Spirit Master, I have a little length.

What is your staple hairstyle?
For now, until I achieve my length goal (my hair is a little longer than a teeny weeny afro), I’m consistent with flat twists, twist out and twist out pin-ups (that is what I call them).

Pin up bun ... my faaavorite!

What techniques/products did you use to manage the demarcation line between your relaxed and natural hair?
I did a lot of top buns and used anything, bad and good, until I did some research on how to best take care of my hair. During the final transition, I blended with twist outs, flat irons and hats.

What is the most challenging part of transitioning and how did you overcome or cope with it?
The most challenging part for me was my ends breaking off. My hair was growing really fast at that time, so my relaxed ends broke off very quickly. That was scary. My hair was very thin and I had eczema really bad in one spot in my head, so my hair was very thin in that area. As you can see, my self-esteem went through a lot of changes. I’m so grateful for spiritual grounding. I was feeling really “ugly.”

Transition flat iron before final chop.

What has been the most fun/best part of going natural? What do you love most about your natural hair and/or going natural?
Well, apparently, I’m sexier with natural hair? Ummm, huh? Lol! But I agree with the guys. I love what it does for my features. My “guy” friend told me, “I love what you’re doing with your hair.” Family and friend support helps. I’m also very creative with styling. Transitioning made me value the consumption of water. I try to drink at least 60 ounces of water a day and I cannot WAIT to henna.

Do you have a “hair crush?” If so, who?
Corrine Bailey Ray. Drives me hair nuts.

Who do you follow online (i.e. blog/website, YouTube, Fotki, etc.)?
I stay on top of Curly Nikki and NaturallyCurly. Curly Nikki just does it for me though. Whooo! Loving on her! She is soo helpful and encouraging. And we are both petite, so I feel pretty okay about my hair if it gets bigger and bigger and bigger. And did I mention? … BIGGER!

What advice would you give someone who is contemplating going natural and/or becoming discouraged with their natural hair journey?
Just as you are patient when waiting at the post office, coffee shops for your favorite latte, or patient with falling in love, be just as patient with your hair. We tend to want to obtain overnight results, but even trees have to plant their roots strong. You are beautiful. Make-up or no make-up. Petite or thick. Short hair or long hair. Perfectly natural curly hair or relaxed. Regardless of what decision you make, ensure that you are comfortable with you. Thank you for letting me share my story. I hope to come back in 6 months with more length. Love you guys.

The Big Chop: Marva’s HairStory

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Describe yourself in 100 words or less.
My name is Marva. I am a laid back type of girl. I love spending time with family. I am enjoying life and all that it brings. I love meeting new people and I have a special place in my heart for the youth of today. I love learning new things and expanding my horizons. I embrace every quirky thing that makes me different and I LOVE MY HAIR (the good, bad, and unusual).

What prompted your decision to go natural?
My hair has always been thick since I can remember, but it started to thin a little around the crown. I had been relaxed since about the age of six or seven. I can say that my hair was always healthy until about 2 years prior. I saw the versatility that natural hair gave you, SO … I did it (I’m sort of compulsive).

How long did you transition before you big chopped?
5 months. First I cut my hair in a pixie cut and then transitioned for 5 months after that.

When and how did you big chop?
October 18th, 2010. I took my braids out and started cutting. I won’t lie, I was SCARED. But, I did it. I used to have a great fear of the unfamiliar, but NOT ANYMORE!

How did you feel immediately before and immediately after your big chop?
Honestly, WHAT DID I DO?! (For the first 30 seconds) I Loved IT!

How do you feel now?
Like superwoman: Invincible.

What is your current regimen? Go to products?

  • Shampoo (every two weeks): Shea Moisture Moisture Retention Shampoo
  • Co-Wash (every week): Aussie Moist Conditioner; Suave Shea butter and Almond Conditioner; HE Hello Hydration
  • Deep Conditioner: Aussie Deep Conditioner

I usually twist or braid my hair after washing, then wear a twist-out or braid out for two to three days. That turns into a puff for about two more days. After that, it’s normally time to shampoo or co-wash.

What are your hair plans/goals?
Growth, Growth, more Growth. And, most of all, maintaining the health of my hair. I’ve recently been having an itch to color my hair, but the jury is still out on that.

What, if any, “Hair Crazies” have you developed since big chopping?
Not really. None that I am aware of.

Do you have a hair crush? If so, who and why?
Yes, of course. Ms.CurlyNikki, Ms.Mae from NaturalChica.com, Ms. Shelli from Hairscapades, Ms. Charyjay of Charyjay.com, Ms. Janelle Monae, Ms. Tanika Ray (Love her hair), Ms. Meechy Monroe  and Ms. Tracee Ellis Ross (WOW … That’s a lot, but I love ALL HEALTHY natural hair).

Who is your favorite natural blogger, youtuber and/or fotkier and why?
Youtubers: CharyJay, Naptural85, NikkiMae2003KinkyCurlyCoil, MahoganyKnots,Taren916, Whoissugar (LOVE!), SimplYounique, xGOLDn, MsVaughnT, and Fusionofcultures. I love these ladies’ channels because they promote how to maintain healthy hair that looks GREAT!

Anything else that you would like to add?
I ABSOLUTELY LOVE MY HAIR, UNCONDITIONALLY!

The Big Chop: Carlisa’s HairStory

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Describe yourself in 100 words or less.
My name is Carlisa. I’m 16 years old. I’m very outgoing,bubbly and different. I love reading! I love my hair and the whole world knows it. I love God and make an effort to follow Him :).

What prompted your decision to go natural? 
I decided to go natural because I would feel my new growth and loved the texture. I became curious and did research.

How long did you transition before you big chopped? 
I transitioned for 5 1/2 months.

When and how did you big chop? 
I big chopped on January 23, 2011. I went to Sally’s, bought some butterfly clips and shears. I went in my bathroom and simply began cutting. My best friend helped me in the back. I never looked back :).

How did you feel immediately before and immediately after your big chop? 
I was a little nervous while I was cutting, but I was giggling and excited. After my BC, I know it sounds cliché, but I felt so liberated! I loved my hair, I washed my hair and took pictures.

How do you feel now? 
I am still very much “in love” with my hair.

What is your current regimen? Go to products?

  • Twist my hair into medium-sized twists, take one down, add a little Herbal Essences Hello Hydration (blue bottle; old formula) and detangle with a knock-off Denman I purchased for $1 at Walgreens. Then, I re-twist and repeat with my entire head.
  • Sleep with a satin bonnet and rinse the condish out in the morning.
  • Shampoo and condition in twists; rinse.
  • Take one twist down, add Eco Styler Gel (argan oil; red top) and coconut oil.
  • Re-twist and sleep with a satin bonnet.

For the next couple of days, I’ll keep my hair wrapped in a turban with the front out. I either pin the front twists like a side bang, or untwist and pin them. On the day before wash day I’ll rock a twist out and then repeat.

My go to products are: Hello Hydration, Aussie Moist, Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie, Eco Styler gel and coconut oil.

What are your hair plans/goals? 
When I first BC’d, my hair was only about a couple of inches long. I’m not sure how many, but you can judge by the pictures. But now, I am at armpit length and my next goal is bra strap length :).

Do you have a hair crush? If so, who and why?
Yes, stayrosey.tumblr.com! Her hair is absolutely beautiful :)

Who is your favorite natural blogger, YouTuber and/or Fotkier and why? 
I love the blackgirllonghair blog, and CurlyNikki. BGLH has a lot of resources and has so many posts to go through. I find myself on their just about everyday *lol*. And CurlyNikki is very funny! Her blog was the first natural hair blog I went to for my transition. Gia is so cute!

Anything else that you would like to add? 
I love being natural, and wish I went natural sooner!

The Big Chop: Marci’s HairStory

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Describe yourself in 100 words or less.
Hi, my name is Marci. I’m a working mother of 2 living in the south.

What prompted your decision to go natural?
I’ve been going back and forth with going natural for about 10 years. There were several times that I started transitioning from my relaxer, but I never made it past 3 months before I relaxed again – mainly due to lack of patience and lack of information on how to care for/transition to natural hair. The biggest factor in me finally doing it was discovering the wealth of information online about natural hair care. That gave me the confidence that I could make the transition and properly care for my hair. I think natural hair just suits my personality. I enjoy the freedom from relaxers, the way my natural hair sets me apart and I think my natural hair enhances my natural beauty.

How long did you transition before you big chopped?
I transitioned for 6 1/2 months. My last relaxer was May 17, 2011 and my big chop was December 10, 2011. I was initially planning to transition for a year, but I got to the point that I could not stand my relaxed ends any longer. I really didn’t trim them like I should have and they would tangle whenever I tried to do anything with my hair. I was also experiencing major breakage.

How did you feel immediately before and immediately after your big chop?
As soon as I decided I just wanted to go ahead and cut it, I was determined and nervous. I knew that I couldn’t wait too long or I would chicken out. So I decided on a Friday morning to do it, then I called my stylist. I didn’t hear back from her that day, so I called a family member, and she cut it for me the next day. She cut it dry, so I went home and washed it right after and I hated it. The next day, it was dry and shrunken and not at all how I pictured it, and I hated it more.

How do you feel now?
Now I love it. It has been almost 3 weeks and, after the first 2 days, I started experimenting with products and most have worked for me so far. I think I look better than I ever thought I would have with the short hair. I can see already that my natural hair just looks better with my face and I’m excited to experience the different lengths as it grows out. I feel a different confidence than I did before that I think comes with being comfortable with being myself – unedited – and not caring about other’s opinions about how I look. I get complimented daily on my hair since I big chopped, but I know that, even without the compliments, I would still love it because it feels like me.

What is your current regimen? Go to products?
It’s only been a few weeks, so I’m still fine tuning. So far, co-washing is working well for me. I washed with Giovani 50/50 right after my big chop and haven’t used a shampoo since. I co-wash every 3 to 4 days with V05 Moisture Milk conditioner. I follow with Aubrey Organics White Camellia Conditioner (sometimes adding EVOO) and rinse with cool water. I use Kinky Curly Knot Today as my leave-in. I use Shea Moisture Curl and Shine Hair Milk as a moisturizer/styler and then seal with castor oil. I very loosely two strand twist my hair at night. If I don’t, my hair will be matted and flat in the morning. The twisting helps with a little stretch as well as preserving my curls overnight. In the morning, I take down my twists and fluff my hair with my fingers to give it the shape I want. Sometimes I will use a little pure Aloe Vera Gel to help define some curls.

I just tried an apple cider vinegar rinse and, so far, I think I love it. I deep conditioned with Aubrey Organics White Camellia Conditioner and EVOO on dry hair before I co-washed. Then, I co-washed with V05. After I co-washed, I rinsed my hair with the ACV rinse. I then applied a little more Aubrey Organics conditioner. I reapplied the conditioner, because I read stories online about some people experiencing frizz and I thought that the conditioner could help avoid that. I worked the conditioner through and finger detangled, then rinsed it out with cool water. After that, I proceeded with my usual regimen. The next morning, when I took out my twists, my hair was softer and the most moisturized since my big chop. Now, I just have to figure out how often to do the ACV rinse.

What are your hair plans/goals?
Right now, my hair goal is to grow my hair out while keeping it healthy. Since I have a twa (2 1/2″ to 3″), my short-term goal is chin length, then I will move to shoulder length. Eventually I want it past my shoulders.

What, if any, “Hair Crazies” have you developed since big chopping?
So far, it’s just hard not to feel on my curls all day! And all the hair sites are, like, brand new all over again! LOL

Do you have a hair crush? If so, who and why?
I love Shelli and Curly Nikki’s hair, because both heads of hair look so healthy, shiny, and bouncy. I love Corrine Baily Rae and Yvette Nicole Brown. I see naturals all the time that aren’t famous that have beautiful hair and they are rocking it with confidence – those are my true inspirations that always made me pause and rethink my relaxer.

Who is your favorite natural blogger, youtuber and/or fotkier and why?
I haven’t really followed many YouTubers or Fotkiers. Curly Nikki was the first blogger I found and I loved her site, because there was soooo much information. And I loved the different hair stories that I found on there. I found Hairscapades through Curly Nikki and I liked how Shelli shares so much of her personal experiences and also reviews product information. These sites have been the easiest for me to follow and I go to them every day because I want more!

Anything else that you would like to add?
I would encourage anyone thinking of transitioning or big chopping to research and soak up as much information as possible. I know that there is so much out there that can be confusing or overwhelming. But, I think the more informed you are, the more likely you are to step out and take the natural leap.

The Big Chop: Michelle’s HairStory

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Describe yourself in 100 words or less.
I am a daddy’s girl, a mother, a sister and a friend. I love to laugh, shop, eat and spend time with my family. I work full-time, am pursuing my degree as well as raising three children. I am still growing and learning about myself despite going on 40 in the near future. My hair journey has had ups and downs, but perseverance, patience and my PJism have kept me happy and nappy!

What prompted your decision to go natural?
First, let me start by putting it out there, I am bi-racial and my sister and I were raised by our daddy. So, you can imagine what our hairstyles looked like. Don’t get me wrong, he did his best and our hair was neat, but parts weren’t the straightest and there wasn’t a lot of variation to the styles we rocked to school. Once we were pre-teens, we would get the press and curls. But between the “bees stinging” me in the back of my head and sweating it out, they turned out to be a waste of time and money.

Fast forward a few more years and I got my first perm when I was 15 and I loved it. My frizzy, bushy hair was bone straight and finger-waves were smooth … oops, we’ll save that for a throwback post. Aside from having to get touch-ups, which I really only needed them every 6 months or so, oh and the occasional scabs (but that meant the perm took, right?), I didn’t really have any issues with the creamy crack. Keep in mind my “hairstory,” I never learned to do my own hair nor ever had anyone to show me how to take care of my hair. So, I had nor have any hair skills.

I have two boys who wore cornrows and both had two textures of hair. My oldest has looser texture of curly hair and my middle son has thick, coarser hair. They both had major hang-time. But, funny enough, my son with the thick and coarser hair has significantly more hang-time than his older brother with the easier to manage hair.

Fast forward again, here comes my daughter that was born with a head full of straight hair that grew and curled and curled with every milestone. One day I was researching Mixed Chicks and Miss Jessie’s products and reading the owners bios and it got me thinking about my own hair and if I had curls anything like my daughter’s – I don’t … lol.

How long did you transition before you big chopped?
My initial plan was to get an inch cut every 6-8 weeks, but I wanted desperately to see my curl pattern and couldn’t with the permed ends. So, ended up only transitioning for 6 months before I BC’d.

When and how did you big chop?
I inadvertently BC’d in February 2010. A friend of mine was wearing her hair in a short cute cut that was styled sometimes (looked permed to me) and she could wear it curly other times (looked natural to me). I asked her how and she explained she had a texturizer that allows her to wear it both ways … oh, I was very intrigued! I was wearing a bob with a bang when I started to trim and transition, so I knew that at least the length of my bang was perm-free when I went to my friend’s stylist. I sat in her chair and she asked me if my hair would curl and I didn’t know. She then asked how I wanted it cut and I said that I wanted the remaining perm cut out of my hair and she said, “Do you want a style or just the perm cut out?” … wth? “I want a style.” Well, she interpreted that to mean it was carte blanche to cut me darn near bald, hence my BC! The cut was cute, but aside from letting her or a licensed stylist curl my hair, I had no idea how to maintain it or even wear it curly like my girlfriend.

How did you feel immediately before and immediately after your big chop?
B-U-T-C-H is how I felt afterwards! I am not a big accessories girl. I pretty much wear the same studs day in and day out, lipgloss or lipstick if I’m feeling a lil’ glam. A TWA for MOI was not the most feminine look on me. My family liked when I got it done, but to wear it au natural was not their fave look for me. My sister called it a Jheri curl and my daughter said it looked awful – “Mommy, don’t you want long hair?” I made a promise to myself to stick it out and to learn and work with my natural hair for at least one year. And, if I still felt uncertain about it, then I’d get a texturizer, but not a full-blown perm, and wouldn’t revisit going natural ever again.

How do you feel now?
Well I am rearing up on Year Two and I’m L-O-V-I-N-G it! Thank God for the internet, internet shopping and faith! There is a wealth of information that wasn’t readily available when I was growing up and definitely not the products to manage and maintain natural hair. I obsess over YouTube videos, Curly Nikki’s blog, which featured Shelli (for a Henna post I think), and I am now stalking Hairscapades, Kimmaytube and KinkyKurlyQueen (just to name a few) and all the dang products that pass their lips.

What is your current regimen? Go to products?
My current regimen (if you can call it that) is ever evolving – lol. I’m still growing my hair out and as it grows longer the same products just don’t work the same anymore. HENNA is my BFF&EVER – I henna once a month and I’m going to start doing Henna glosses instead of full blown henna sessions to see if there’s a difference for my hair. Depending on the season and/or style, I co-wash 2-3 times a week and ACV rinses at least once a month. Products I use to condish are Organix Coconut Milk, Aussie Moist, and HH HE. For WnGs, I use Aveda Be Curly, Samy Big Curls Curl Crème or Tresseme Curl Milk. Ouidad just had a fab sale (4 full size products, a widetooth comb and 6 hair clips for $29!!!)! I’ve been wanting to try her Climate Control Gel and Moisture Leave-in, so I can’t wait to try those out. My leave-in is KimmayTube’s Leave-In recipe!!! And, most importantly, my curls love a white t-shirt; no towels in this head!

What are your hair plans/goals?
My first and foremost goal is H-E-A-L-T-H-Y H-A-I-R and maintaining it! Secondly, I want to learn and master some protective styles and I DESPERATELY want to learn how to do a TnC!!! I’ve had nothing but major fails with mine. I’ve tried the flat twist, the chunky twist, dry twist, bobby pins … ugh.com!!!! Ultimately, I want waist length hair. My friend (who just started her natural hair journey) just made my Hair Growth T-Shirt (I love it) and I was surprised to see that I had passed Shoulder Length!

What, if any, “Hair Crazies” have you developed since big chopping?
I guess I have two if I’m understanding what a “Hair Crazy” is (is this in the lexicon Shelli??). First is, some of my ends are straight, no amount of scrunching, clumping, wishing and hoping will make them curl. And my other is I want an AFRO PUFF *stomping and pouting*!!!! I know, be grateful for the curl you have, but man, nothing beats a big ole fluffy Afro Puff!!!

Do you have a hair crush? If so, who and why?
Of course I do! My most recent hair crush (thanks SHELLI) is the Wonder Curl lady … the color the curl … drool, dribble, drool! But SHELLI (love your TnCs, length and condition of your hair), CurlyNikki (TnC and the “bigness” of her hair) and Taren916 (she had that volume and did another BC – you go girl!). My biggest hair crush of all is my daughter!

Who is your favorite natural blogger, youtuber and/or fotkier and why?
There are so many, but my tippy top favs are:

YouTubers – Taren916; KinkyKurlyQueen; Richeau; Naptural85 and NikkieMae2003;
FotkiSPIRAL, (where you at girl? Love your color) she has detailed albums with descriptions (love that); Richeau, (she is Empressi on Fotki), her hair is FAB and personality is even more FAB; and
Natural bloggers – just two, Curly Nikki because, without her, I would not know Hairscapades!!

Anything else that you would like to add?
This may sound corny, but definitely has been a lesson learned and given to you heartfelt … patience is vital (I guess that’s why it’s a virtue). Every curl is not the same (even the ones on your own head) and while you are stalking and obsessing online at the brave women who have shared their journeys with us, look first at where they began and not just where they are at. A lot have been on their journeys for years, if not all their lives, so their volume, length and/or knowledge base usually has a huge jump on your own.