Tag Archives: big chop

Natural Hair Journeys: Keisha’s HairStory

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POOF
Describe yourself in 100 words or less.
Je m’apelle Keisha. I’m in my early twenties, a newlywed, and lover of communication! Literally, I am in the process of earning my BA of Communication at the University of Colorado Denver. But, I also love to talk! I am a natural hair LOVER and obsessed with attaining a healthier lifestyle!

How long have you been natural and why did you chose to go natural?
My two year naturalversary was on February 16th!!!!! Yaaayyyyy!! I’ve always wanted full, healthy, bouncy hair. I know, who doesn’t, right?! Wellll, after almost two decades of lackluster hair, a combination of factors led me to my decision to go natural. I met a few sisters with gorgeous kinky, curly tresses and began to wonder what products I could use to make my hair curly; then I saw “Good Hair” *shrugs*. Call me a bandwagon hopper, I don’t care. This is one bandwagon I’m proud to hop on and it’s influenced an overall lifestyle change for me! (Okay, I’m off my soap box). The final factor is that I realized that I could not afford my bi-weekly appointments at the shop, so I officially became team natural. Well, at least, I started my journey in May of 2010.

Did you transition or big chop?
I did a big chop and a mini big chop! In my second year of college (winter 2009), I found a beautician (shout out to my fellow naturalista Mary C for my inspiration) and I did my first big chop, but had a relaxed style a la Harry Berry. I had a decent work study gig and was able to maintain my appointments for a while (September- April). But, eventually that relationship fizzled (along with my income; ahh the life of a college student) and I decided to take my hair into my own hands.

I can’t really remember the exact day, but I believe my last relaxer was in March or April of 2010. But, I still kept flat ironing my hair. That May, I went on a study abroad trip to China and this was really the turning point for me. I was extremely jet lagged for the first few days (or maybe just lazy!) and barely got up in time to dress and make it to class, let alone style my hair So, I began letting my hair air dry with Let’s Jam gel and scrunched it to make it “curly.” My transition was rough because my hair was so short to begin with, I couldn’t wear my hair in buns or updos. So, I had to do Bantu knot outs and slick backs. I really didn’t know of much else to do with hair that didn’t involve heat. So, I would just set Bantu knots every night and, when I forgot to do that, I would slick it all back with Jam gel. Sadly, I didn’t read many blogs back when I was transitioning, because that would have truly helped. But, when I finally chopped the last of my relaxer off in February, I found the natural hair blog community and slowly but surely got on the right track!

thenandnow

How did others (family, friends, colleagues) react to your decision to go natural? What was your response to them? How do they feel now?
Ha! Let’s just say my family was not the biggest fans and did not hesitate to ask had I lost my mind on a regular basis and inquire when I was going to “do something” with my hair. I am a bit of a rebel at heart. So, while this hurt a little, it was a huge part of my motivation. I wanted to show everyone that I wasn’t crazy and that they would soon understand the method to my madness! Many of my friends made the decision to go natural around the same time or had already been natural. So, I had nothing but support and encouragement from them! Now I’m not saying my mom and grandma were rude about it, they just knew what they were used to.

My hubby has always been my biggest supporter. Since we started dating in April of ’09, he has seen me go through countless style changes and always reminded me that I was beautiful even in my lowest (and roughest) moments. So, when I decided to not only cut my hair completely off with my Halle Berry look, but then stop relaxing it all in one year, he never spoke against it. And, aside from good-hearted teasing, he was always my biggest fan and supporter!

Now that I’m two years in, I think everyone sees that I’m in it for the long haul and my mom and grandmother are not so vocally against it. I can tell they are warming up to it and I think my mom and baby sis are coming over to team natural!

What is/was your biggest hair challenge/obstacle?  How did you overcome it or what are you doing now to try to address the problem?
My biggest challenge is dealing with dramatically different textures in my head and extremely fine and fragile strands. This has led to A LOT of breakage and much frustration for me. But, I’ve stuck with a pretty consistent routine, incorporated protein, and started maintaining a good pH balance by using aloe vera gel/juice in my moisturizer/styler. I also try to avoid wash-n-go’s and, recently, I have had great success with protective styling!

What do you love most about your natural hair and/or about being natural?
Gosh, I feel like there’s nothing I can say that hasn’t already been said and made cliché!! I guess the biggest things are the versatility, health of my hair and I must say that it has taught me tremendous patience and forced me to have self-esteem that originates within. Oh yeah, I can’t forget! My husband LOOOVEESSS my hair! He’s watched the transformation and, while he never got too excited one way or the other before I went natural, now he loves my twist outs and puffs and can’t keep his hands out of it!

STRIPES

What is your current regimen?  Has it changed in any major way since you first went natural?
Wash day:

  • Pre-poo with oil mixture on hand (usually EVOO, JBCO, coconut oil, plain castor, and jojoba — a combination of any of these), covering with baggy and leaving either overnight or, lately, just for a few hours.
  • Deep condition with mixture of either Aubrey GPB or Honeysuckle Rose as the base and Aussie Moist 3-Minute Miracle, L’Oreal EverCreme Nourishing Conditioner, and yogurt. I may eventually try these all on their own and use only one or two, but for now I love them all and the combo has done wonders for moisturizing my hair.
  • Co-wash with As I Am Coconut Co-Wash or Tresemme Naturals Nourishing Conditioner.
  • Dry with a t-shirt with wet hair pulled to the front and twisted (thank CurlyNikki for the idea) under the shirt.
  • Using LOC method, split in four sections, and apply Kinky Curly Knot Today, then Olive/Almond oil mix, and finally Hair Food (shea butter mixture — found at local store called Akente Express, Denver).
  • Finally, I do chunky twists with homemade flax seed gel to stretch my hair and do my protective style of choice for the week.

I try to henna once every 3 months at least. But, now that I’ve discovered bentonite clay, I may cut back so I can experiment with color later.

I just started this routine in the past few months, but before this I was all over the place! I did twist outs every night, tried Curly Girl for a while, and probably tried every product Curly Nikki or Shelli suggested, but now I think I’m on to something.

What are your Holy Grail and staple products?
Tresemme Naturals Conditioners
Aubrey Glycogen Protein Balancing (GPB) or Honeysuckle Rose Conditioners
Flax Seed Gel
Aloe Vera Gel
Aussie Moist 3 Minute Miracle
L’OReal EverCreme
EVOO, coconut, castor, and jojoba oil

What is your “go to” style (share a picture of it, if you have one!)? Do you wear protective and/or low manipulation styles? If so, how often and why?
Lately it’s been the basket style (?) — hair parted down the middle with a jumbo flat twist on each side — or the poof. Before December ’12, my go-to was the twist-out. But now I just take bobby pins and twist it up or do variations of old school pompadour styles.

pomp

How often do you cut/trim your hair? How do you cut it (salon, DIY, straight, curly, in twists)? If you go to a salon, would you recommend it?
Well, I recently purchased a pair of shears. So, my goal was to dust twisted hair once every 8 weeks. But, I haven’t done it lately out of fear, lol. I really only trust the wonderful beautician who did my mini-big chop and freed me from the last of my relaxed ends; she can trim curly or straight! The shop is called Mykal Grant and I go to Tonya. It’s located in downtown Denver.

Has going natural impacted other areas of your life (i.e. health & fitness, style, environmental consciousness, etc.?) If so, how and in what ways?
As I stated earlier, when I went natural I became more conscious of what I was putting, not only in my hair, but what I was putting in my body. I can’t say that I’m doing much better about eating healthy, but I have been drinking water only and taking baby steps at a healthier lifestyle overall. I have never let my hair stop me from being active. I just fried it straight, dirty or not, ha! But now, I really don’t worry about it and working out is a breeze, because it helps me get heated DC’s and pre-poos!

Do you have a “hair crush?” If so, who?
Do I??? Gosh there’s a whole list lol. Shelli, of course. CurlyNikki, Mahogany Curls, Fusion of Cultures, Chime, Whitney aka Naptural85, and Corinne Bailey Rae, to name a few!

Who do you follow online (i.e. blog/website, Youtube, Fotki, etc.)?
CurlyNikki, Hairscapades, MahoganyCurls, Naptural85, Fusion of Cultures … too many to list, lol!

Where can we find you online?
Twitter: keishIScurli
Love, Hair and Health: http://lovehairhealth.blogspot.com/

I’m not that active yet, but my goal is to get better, lol!

What advice would you give someone who is contemplating going natural and/or becoming discouraged with their natural journey?
Don’t do it for anyone but yourself. Be reasonable with yourself in regard to hair growth and, most importantly, be patient and appreciate every moment of your journey!

Anything else that you’d like to add?
Thanks for the inspiration and platform! You are awesome :)!

MOHAWK

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Want to share your HairStory? Then find the HairStory that applies to you here, answer the interview questions, and e-mail them (with 5-10 pictures) to hairscapades@gmail.com!!!  

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.

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)

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.

GOC Contender #27: Deborah

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Name: Deborah (debhack1991)

Goals: To encourage hair growth. I hope to be able to accomplish a twist out at the end of this 6 months.

I big chopped on March 1, 2012. My hair is definitely a TWA in every sense (it’s approximately 1 1/2-2inches all over). I can’t take the weight of braids/weave in my hair, or even wigs, and it’s too short yet to twist. So, protectively, all I can do is keep it moisturized, satin pillow case/bonnet, hands out of it as much as possible.

Regimen: 

  • Weekly: Shampoo and deep condition weekly.
  • Daily: Spritz with water/tea tree oil mix then seal with shea butter, olive oil and coconut oil mix.
  • No brushing; finger style and use wide tooth comb when my hair is wet only.
  • I will use only natural products.
  • I plan to eat healthier (both for hair and over all health benefits).
  • Exercise, drink more water, stay away from sugar and white rice/pasta as much as possible.

Rewards: Books about hair care along the way. New clothes as I lose weight from eating better and exercising.

Documenting: This is still new to me and I would like to keep some sort of journal to help me keep track of things I’ve tried and whether or not they worked.

Thank you so much Shelli for being encouraging and supportive in your posts and sharing the post of others. It’s a great help!!

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.