After 4 ½ weeks of having the micro braids in it was finally time to take those bad boys out. It was an okay experience but I don’t think I will get them again. At least in my foreseeable future. To take them out I divided my head into four sections and took them out slowly over a period of 2 ½ days. I had nowhere to be and nothing to do so I wasn’t in a rush.
When the braider (whom I randomly found on Craig’s List) was putting them in she used a small toothed comb to comb the sections she was about to braid – while my hair was dry. If you are a natural then you know that combing afro textured hair dry and/or without conditioner is a big no-no. However, when putting in things like braid extensions, is there another alternative? You certainly cannot put conditioner in your hair to braid in extensions and you cannot wet it because the braids won’t stay. Yea so that whole process seemed that it did some trauma to my hair. I made a mental note back then that when I took them out I would immediately go to the salon to get my ends clipped because I know they were being broken off. As I was taking them out a few days ago I lost the normal amount of shed hair that you would with not combing your hair in a month’s time. However, I did see a tiny bit of thinning around my edges in the front. It was not much, but enough to know that doing anything like to this my hair anytime soon would be foolish and detrimental to my hair.
So yesterday I went to the same natural hair salon in Philadelphia that did my big chop and my subsequent cut in September 2009 to get a trim – Au Naturale. It was a funny experience because there is a guy who usually stays in the front of the salon and is what is to be assumed a receptionist. He is a very masculine looking dude – dreads, tattoos, facial hair, etc. So imagine my surprise when he led me to the back to shampoo my hair. “Is that a problem?” he asked. “No, not at all. I am just surprised because I always see you at the front.” I replied. In my head I was thinking a number of things. First, why is he shampooing? Second, does he know what he is doing? Third, why is he shampooing lol? Now I know it is not uncommon for males to work in salons, but I always assumed that they were gay (not that that’s a bad thing). But this guy was obviously straight and again, very masculine. Not that type that would be shampooing a girl’s hair in a salon. So he took me in the back and shampooed me with this wonderful tingling peppermint, eucalyptus shampoo that I always ask for. I love the way it makes my scalp feel. Man, did he work that shampoo. Also a licensed massage therapist, he gave me the best shampoo I have ever had at a professional salon. Omg…It’s the little surprises in life…
So the stylist who trimmed my hair, to my surprise, stated that my hair was in pretty good shape and she didn’t have to take much off. ¼ of an inch at the most, so a tiny bit. Having my cut back in September, I was way overdue for a trim and it was nice to hear that I didn’t have to lose much hair.
Today I deep conditioned for about 45 minutes with Aubrey Organics GPB Conditioner because I felt I needed a bit of protein. Then I cowashed with the very moisturizing Trader Joe’s Nourish Spa Conditioner. Love that stuff. I didn’t style my hair or anything. I decided that today I would rock my fro. As a leave-in I used the Darcy’s Botanicals Daily Leave-In Conditioner followed by some extra-virgin coconut oil and some shea butter mix to seal in the moisture. Then I put on a pink summer dress, gold hoop earrings and some shades and went for a drive to Sally’s to get a new satin bonnet. Here are some pics.
I have too many pictures. I literally have hundreds and until a few weeks ago they weren’t in any type of order on my computer. Now that school is over I decided to finally try and organize them somehow. Today while organizing some new pics I had taken of graduation and my dear nine month of old kitten Coco Chanel (don’t judge me), I found this pic I’d taken on my new camcorder that my boyfriend bought me for Valentine’s Day.
This was taken in March on hair that I believe was either damp or almost dry. I love the little coily curlies that are popping out everywhere.
On May 28th, 2010 I graduated from the University of Delaware with a Master of Arts degree in Counseling in Higher Education. It was a rough two years but I am so proud of myself for getting it done. I would definitely say that grad school is not for the weak and it takes a great deal of determination and perseverance to get through it.
Among that many things to be considered on Graduation Day, two of the biggest were what to wear and how to style my hair. I spent weeks searching for the perfect dress. I wanted something form-fitting, knee-length and simple. One day while shopping at Macy’s with a friend, I stumbled across a brown form fitting, knee-length dress. I loved it because it was the perfect blend of conservative and sexy. It was something you could wear to the office, on an interview, or a date. After the long search for this dress I failed to get a shot of it on the big day. I was much too happy to be wearing my blue cap and gown and visiting with family. Including my sister and her children who I haven’t seen in two years.
For my hair, I knew that I did not want to wear my fro because my grandmother and brother would be attending and they have made no mistake about not liking my natural hair. When I considered wearing my natural hair all I could think of was my grandmother berated it and making a bigger deal about it than my actual accomplishment of getting my master’s degree. I thought that I would please my grandmother by either getting a cute cornrow style with extensions or micro braids. I eventually decided upon micros. On graduation day my grandmother did indeed make a comment about my hair, stating that she was glad I did something with my hair besides wear my fro. I suffered the pangs of insult silently. I tried to rationalize it by telling myself that having the micros in would give my hair a break and let it grow for a month.
They came out cute I think. I opted to go for a curly style to give it some flair. I wore micros all four years of high school and always wore them straight so I thought I would do something different this time around.
Here are some pics of me, my family and my hair on Graduation Day.
So, as you probably already know or have read somewhere on this blog, I’ve recently passed my one year natural hair anniversary. The last relaxer that I had before my big chop was in February 2009 and I went to a salon to get the relaxed hair cut all off on May 27th, 2009. So it has been a whole year. Having natural hair definitely takes some getting used to. Natural hair doesn’t look like, act like or feel like relaxed hair in any way. One thing I struggled with and still continue to struggle with a little bit is getting to know and being comfortable with my texture. My hair is soft but tightly curled with no visible curl pattern without the assistance of a good gel. When I was transitioning and still in the TWA (teeny weeny afro) stage I watched Youtube religiously and fell in love with other people’s natural hair. People who had looser curl patterns than I ultimately did. That was the first mistake I made because it caused me to be disappointed in my curl pattern when I didn’t have these ringlet curls that others seemed to have. Products like Kinky Curly Curling Custard did not have to same results for me as it did for others and it frustrated me. But now although from time to time I get “hair envy” I am beginning to accept my hair texture more than ever. It makes me unique and naturally fab 😉
I also succumbed to product junkie-ism. Every natural hair product that I read about on a blog or saw in a Youtube video I just had to try. Needless to say this can be quite expensive. I am working on finding my staple products and things that work best for my hair. Not always needing to try the latest miracle product.
Over the past year I went through stages with my hair. In the beginning, I was all about the wash-and-go, but when it started getting cold and my hair started to grow out I started with protective styling (coils, two-strand twists). Then when it got even longer I started wearing twist-outs. Twist-outs have become my favorite natural hair style.
I’m very happy with the progress of my hair thus far and can’t wait to see how it changes as it continues to grow. Going natural was the best decision I’ve ever made and for me there is no going back. For me the pros of being natural far outweigh the cons. Check out this video I made about my first year as a natural.
For those who may confused about what exactly a “big chop” is, it is a popular term in the African-American natural hair community that refers to cutting all the relaxed ends off from your hair which may mean cutting a significant amount of hair off. As you can imagine, this can be a traumatic experience especially for African-American women who are extremely attached to their hair. Psychologically, it is a process that can take months or even years to prepare for. Some women opt to transition, or slowly grow out their roots and gradually trim the relaxed ends off so that they do not have to drastically lose a large amount of hair.
I have never been one to be afraid to cut off my hair. My first huge cut was in the 8th grade when I went from above shoulder-length hair to a super short bob with layers and a shaved kitchen. Think a mid-90’s Rihanna. Then in the 12th grade I cut my shoulder-length hair again to a cute bob that fell to mid-ear. From then until 2007 I never hesitated to go to the salon and get liberal trims. I was never attached to length because my hair grows relatively fast and knew it would grow back. The last major cut before my big chop was in 2007 when I dyed my shoulder-length hair (it never grew to longer than that probably due to damage from relaxers) blonde and cut it to just below my ear.
So when I became so frustrated with my hair right before I was supposed to leave for Minnesota for an internship, I really wasn’t too nervous about going to do my big chop. My hair story is here. I only grew out three months worth of roots which was not that much so I already knew that this would be a drastic move. Like I would literally have NO hair, maybe half an inch’s worth. I had no reservations, not even about what my long-time boyfriend who had never seen me with unrelaxed super short hair would think. Or what my graduate school professors and classmates would think, or my supervisors and co-workers at my graduate assistantship would think. Going natural was something that I had been thinking about for a while and I was doing this for me and no one else. Here’s how drastic of a cut it was:
So I did it. And I LOVED it. I’d never done something so liberating, so free in my entire life. Something changed in me that day. If I could cut off all my hair and walk the streets of Philadelphia like I WAS that bitch, I could do anything. When women are contemplating going natural I advocate for the big chop. I like to think of it like ripping off a band-aid or jumping in a cold pool. Just get it over with.
I had mixed reactions to my hair. My grandparents did not like it at all and made it known. I had an inkling my brother didn’t like it but it seemed like he was gradually coming around to it. My boyfriend loved it and so did my co-workers. When I returned to school in September I would be debuting my short hair to my professors and classmates for the first time and I had the fleeting idea that they would think I had gone crazy. But that wasn’t the case at all and they loved it as well.
I will probably big chop again someday but for the foreseeable future I would like to grow out my hair. I am very impressed with my growth thus far and would like to see how long it can get.
So I want to formally introduce myself and welcome you to my new blog. I follow lots of blogs that focus on a variety of things from natural hair to fashion to celebrity gossip. I have always wanted to start a blog and since I have just passed my one year anniversary since I did the big chop, I thought why not commemorate the occasion by finally starting one. It was quite a daunting task to come up with a name for this blog. After many stinkers, I decided on Naturally Fab. I thought that was the perfect name because it encompasses all of the things I want this blog to be about. Obviously one of those things is natural hair, but also being my naturally fabulous self in all aspects of life without pretense and façade. But with confidence and securedness (I know that’s not a word lol).
I want this blog to focus on a variety of things. Mainly natural hair care with features on natural hair products and techniques, hair styling, and chronicling my hair journey. I also want to feature other things that I find interesting such as fashion, shopping, pop culture and life issues in general. I am very new at this but I am confident that this blog will come into its own. We all have to start somewhere, right?
I also have been vlogging on Youtube about my hair since May 27, 2009. You can check out my channel here. I really enjoy making videos for Youtube, but for a variety of reasons sometimes it is hard for me to post videos on a consistent basis. Making videos is quite a process. First, you have to shoot your footage, which can be a task if you are prone to making mistakes, fumbling your words, have a 10-month old kitten that causes distractions, etc. Then when you finally have the footage you need, you have to edit it so that the running time is less than 10 minutes. Which can be frustrating when there is a lot of important stuff you need to show or say. Sometimes I would think to myself, it would be much easier if I could just write about this instead of taking all that time to make a video. So I will still continue with my Youtube channel. However, I will make videos for very important things that need to have a visual aid, such as tutorials, interviews picture slide shows. If I just want to update folks quickly, review a product, or give my thoughts on something I will probably use this blog as an outlet.
So again, welcome to Naturally Fab. If you are not familiar with my hair story, check out the About Me section and view the videos chronicling the day I cut all the relaxer out of my hair and how I got to that point.