I’ve come across several YouTube natural hair gurus who have recently damaged their long natural hair after years of growing it out (Naptural85, for example). Personally, I prefer my hair long and it’s very unlikely that I’d get a significant haircut. I think it’s a great idea to experiment with your hair while it’s short. If you damage, cut, color, etc your hair while it’s shorter, you have less to lose and you might not feel as much regret (if you end up regretting experimenting). There are so many options for hairstyles. Here are some things that are fun to do on short hair.
- Straighten it often. I don’t mean go crazy with heat, but the only way you’ll know how to best straighten your hair and avoid heat damage is by straightening it. Practice makes perfect. Find the right technique for your particular head of hair through trial and error. Chances are, you will get heat damage at some point or another during your natural hair journey (aka life) so get it over with while your hair is short so you can trim it and it won’t be a big deal.
- Color your hair. This is one thing that I did and I’m glad I did it. When my hair was around shoulder length, I colored it black and got blond peek-a-boo highlights. It was fun for some time, but I got over having two-toned hair. I knew that my relaxed hair and color didn’t mix, but I was surprised to find out that not even my natural hair could handle color. The health of my hair was significantly compromised. I had to cut the damage off over the course of a couple years. Had that happened later in my hair journey, I would’ve been upset.
- Get a fun haircut. Tapered cuts were very on trend last year. I wished I had tried a fun and interesting cut…instead of the plain TWA (teeny weeny afro) when I big chopped. I wouldn’t dare cut my hair that short now. If you’re afraid of scissors, like me, get an interesting cut while your hair is shoulder length. The change won’t be that drastic and it will grow back in no time if you get over it.
- Try alternative hair care. Try out all those methods you’ve read about and seen on YouTube. When you have short hair, use henna…see if it agrees with you. If it doesn’t work out there’s no big loss. Try overnight deep conditioning. Try different products, techniques, routines. This is the best time to work out what your hair likes. It’s key to having a healthy head of hair.
- Try out different protective styles. Experiment with different wigs, weaves, braids, etc. Find out with agrees with your hair. Find out how best to recover from a long term protective style. If wearing a weave mattes your hair, it’s best to find out at ear length than to try and detangle armpit length hair and losing hair in the process. Keep in mind, however, that you should not have your hair always hidden. The only way you will learn your hair is by taking care of it (see previous bullet). If your hair is always in a protective style, you’ll have no idea what methods work for you. And having your hair out will be a frustrating experience.
Very often the moment we big chop, the obsession with growing long hair begins. There are lots of fun things you can do while your hair is short. All stages of natural hair should be appreciated and embraced. My biggest regret is not trying different styled cuts when my hair was short. At 7 years natural, I’m not brave enough to get a funky short cut. I keep my hair shaped in the same sort of style and might get my bangs angled a little more than usual. Definitely take advantage of having shorter hair and do what you want and don’t look back. Experiment while your hair is short.
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