Mini Chop: A Hair Horror Story

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Once upon a time, not so long ago there was a girl who stopped using chemical relaxers and allowed her hair to grow in the texture she was born with. For a while it was fun. Her hair natural curls grew long and full. Her hair was almost effortless.

Then one day the girl decided to color her hair and bleach it to get blond highlights like she saw in the magazines.  She did not deep condition her hair and eventually it broke off. She had to cut it. Then she decided to flat iron her hair…a lot. This loosened the beautiful curls that she had growing again. Then she decided to get a weave. This weakened her hair.

Eventually the girls hair grew sad and grew out frizzy. Part of the texture of her hair changed from a 3b/c curl pattern to a 3c/4a curl and became highly porous making it hard retain moisture. Parts of her hair didn’t curl at all anymore and parts grew very thin.

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My curls during the good times

 

It was a mess.

So the girl, heart broken, had to chop the damaged hair. She had to learn from her mistakes and start a new but what would she do differently?

Treatment

The girl in the story was me. Big surprise. Almost three months ago I decided to do a mini chop and cut about 3 or 4 inches off of my hair. Whoever said natural hair was easy lied. Sure there are some textures that are easier to grow long with little effort. But if you desire long hair and have a tighter curl pattern (3c – 4c) then you have to put in effort or else just go short.

So deep condition, steam, or hot oil treat weekly. Anything that focuses on super moisturizing works so I won’t pick a brand over another.

Make hair strong like bull.

One thing to keep your hair from weakening is to build protein strength. You can do this by minding what you eat but an added bonus is to use proteins in your hair. I would not do this weekly because too much of a good thing can be bad. Try anything from Carol’s Daughter or Shea Moisture. I also like the very affordable Dominican line Kenechom for deep conditioning which you can find on Amazon. Some mix it with Silicon mix but be careful with using silicones in your hair. They are great for making your hair shiny but you have to use a clarifying or sulfate shampoo to get them out.

I also advise you Nairobi hair conditioner. It has protein and helps define curls but use this sparingly. Don’t leave on overnight like you can with the above named conditioners. Proteins can dry the hair out.

I also use Aphogee protein treatment every 4-6 weeks

 

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The mini cut

Heat and Color

I won’t say don’t do this. You have to have some fun with your own hair. But be careful. Limit using a curling or flat iron. Personally, I’m trying to keep it at no more than 4 times a year for straightening my hair and for now I don’t plan to straighten my hair until September for a length check.

For color, avoid bleaching, the farther the color is from your natural color the more likely you might see damage. Try to keep the color you pick in the semi permanent, ammonia free line. ALWAYS deep condition weekly.

Get Your Curls Popping

After the cut the first thing I did was fully embrace the hair that I had to work with little to no manipulation. The curls around the perimeter of my head are a 4a texture which is new for me.  That hair is also more porous. Therefore I tried the Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse  and the Max Hydration Method to get those curls popping and more moisturized to match the rest of my hair.

Ya’ll this is work and although the results are nice, I just don’t have the time to do this treatment every day for a week. Luckily the wonderful natural beauty brand Shea Moisture made a line that incorporates the goal of this method. It has been a life saver for me. Most of my curls around the edges came to life. The few that did not, I simply flat twist (just one or two) to match the rest of my hair.  I also use clear gel or pomades to lay the edges.SBHighProrosityGroup1-300x199

Refresh your curls daily with a spray bottle of water and conditioner. I also like a clear gel which most natural hair lines have or Miss Jessie’s Curly Buttercream.

Protective Styles

Low manipulation of hair is another way to get it healthy and growing. No worries about brutal cold or dry heat stiffening the curls or having hair rub on clothes and weakening it or over styling (especially with heat tools). So a popular alternative is wearing wigs.  Get a good lace front, synthetic or human hair, and let your curls relax a bit. Play with different colors, lengths and textures. It can be fun!

People also try sticking to braids or buns. Be careful with both. Use of synthetic hair with your own hair for braids can be heavy on the hair shaft and repeat ponytails for puns can weaken the hair around the ponytail holder.

That’s all for now folks. I’ll keep you updated on my journey and anything new I learn along the way. Have you learned anything about your hair after a big chop?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Not Without My Hair

I’m a naturalista (not sure who came up with that term but thanks) but planning out how my hair is going to look and be maintained has become a factor in my travels since I studied abroad in the early 2000s. I like to diversify my look and I know that my hair is not weather friendly so I have to plan how I will do my hair before I hit the road.

So here are some things to consider and tips to avoid a hair disaster when traveling overseas with naturally curly hair:

  • Will my curling iron work in this country if I choose to go with a straight look? Sure you can get an adapter but they don’t always work. I’m looking at you Italy where a girl had gotten her hair freshly blown out and her adapter did NOT work the whole time with her curling iron. Somehow, with the help of bobby pins and a satin scarf I was able to maintain my unrelaxed hair. Morale of the story? Always prepare for the break down of your adapter. shiny
  • Will my hair be patted down at the airport and do I care? The bigger the curl the bigger the chance. I won’t jump to the idea that its discrimination and instead look at it in a practical way. I have forgotten I stuck pencils in my curly fro so it’s possible a TSA agent would want to touch the hair while going through security. This is also true if you are wearing wigs or weaves.
  • Do I want to wear a protective style? Speaking of wigs and weaves. Sometimes the easiest option or back up is a wig. Also you could wear a braided style which is the easiest of them all. You don’t have to worry about adapters or the weather.

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    I really want this hair style for the summer

  • Am I checking luggage? This is a question that actually matters because if I wear my hair in its natural state I have a few products (aka liquids) that have to be considered. I have some that I put in small containers so that they can go in the boarding size. However, if I’m going for a longer period of time I have to check my bag because I’ll have too much product.
  • Does the destination I am going to have shops where I can find my hair products?
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    I found a display like this in Amsterdam but won’t hold my breath for this in Thailand.

    If I really don’t want to check in my bag and just chance it with the small amount of product I carry on board then I need to consider whether the city I am visiting sells products for my hair type. Back in the day this was an actual concern but many of the towns I visit nowadays carry natural hair care product lines. However, if I’m visiting Budapest or Hong Kong, I won’t be expecting to see my hair care lines so this might play a role in what hair style choice I plan.

So maybe these considerations seem silly but if you have ever lost luggage where all your hair care products resided, had to buy a curling iron because your adapter didn’t work or had to scower a town (never to find) products to style your hair, trust me you don’t want to. Call me vain, but a type a cosmo girl likes to look nice when she’s traveling.