5 Things I’ve Learned About Natural Hair Since Doing the Big Chop

It's been two months since I did the big chop. Here are some things I've learned about natural hair that's been helping me along the way on my journey.

Finger Coils on TWA 4C

It’s been two months since I did the big chop and I’ve been learning a lot about my hair and natural hair in general. I did my research beforehand but there is nothing like hands on experience. Here are some things I’ve learned about natural hair that’s been helping me along the way on my journey.

1. Learn to Love Your Hair

While preparing for my big chop I would browse the web for hours looking at pictures of teeny weeny afros, huge fros and all kinds of natural hairstyles to give me ideas and motivation. I found so many cute styles and thought to myself that my hair might look like this. The keyword being might as I had no idea what my natural hair would look like as I hadn’t seen it since I was a child, but figured it would be somewhere in the 4 category. I told myself then that I would love MY HAIR no matter what the texture, curl pattern etc. It turns out that my hair is exactly how I thought it would be and I can achieve the styles that I drew inspiration from. Still, my hair will never look exactly like anyone else’s because everyone’s hair is different. This is the most important thing that I’ve learned.

2. Water is a Naturals Best Friend

When my hair was relaxed water was like kryptonite. I absolutely would not be caught out in the rain without an umbrella, you would not catch me getting my hair wet at the pool or beach and my hair had to be covered tightly when bathing… especially my “kitchen.” My how things have changed. Water is now my best friend. It brings my hair back to life when it’s dry and thirsty and allows it to absorb my products. Water based moisturizers work best for my hair. I need my hair to be soaking wet to style it the way I want. I don’t cover my hair when bathing as the steam boosts my moisture and gives my hair extra bounce, and when there’s a light rain I embrace it. No more running for my umbrella. Water is not only your best friend externally but internally as well. I find myself drinking a lot more water than I used to as when I don’t my hair, skin and nails pay the price.

3. Oil is not a Moisturizer

When I was relaxed you couldn’t tell me that I wasn’t working wonders for my hair spraying it with oil sheen and rubbing oil blends in my hair. As a natural I now know better. If I rub some oil on my dry hair it will sit on top and give me temporary shine but my hair will still remain dry and thirsty. Oil locks in moisture and does not moisturize the hair. Coconut Oil is an exception but I find that your hair still needs to be wet for it to work, and alone it does not provide enough moisture for me. Using the L.O.C. Method (leave in, oil, cream) on top of deep conditioning regularly, my hair has been thriving and hasn’t been this moisturized ever. If I need to apply an oil when my hair is not freshly washed I spray my hair with water first to moisturize/activate moisturizers already in my hair and then apply the oil on top.

4. Less Manipulation equals Healthier Hair

I knew this when I was relaxed but I’ve learned this is even more true as a natural. When I first cut my hair I was washing/co-washing my hair 2-3 times a week, applying lots of products daily and constantly doing my brush coils which can be rough on the hair. I’ve since learned that all of this is not necessary. I wash, deep condition, detangle and apply my products once a week and either do my finger or brush coils. Every day after I spritz my hair with water to refresh, fluff with my hands and gel my edges. I add more leave in moisturizer mid week. My style lasts, my scalp is not dry, itchy and irritated and I’m not over-manipulating my hair.

5. Be creative

If you follow me on Social Media then you know that after I did the big chop I got a tapered cut and had the back and sides shaved down. It’s since grown back in and although it’s still tapered my twa is reaching that awkward length where you feel you can only wear it one way which can be boring. I plan to get through this stage with accessories like headbands and I’ll try a few different parts. My hair is just about long enough for a twist out so I’ll have a few more styling options, but the point is to be creative so I won’t get bored. When I need a break I’ll do a protective style for a few weeks, I do love me some box braids!

Feel free to share your tips that you’ve learned on your natural hair journey in the comments!

20 Responses

  1. Hey cuz, i kove this article! As you know im going natural too, but haven’t did a big chop yet so nervous. But i learned so much from what you wrote. Keep up the good work and i will be following your natural hair journey,love you.

    1. Thanks cuz. Yay, all of us will be natural now. Don’t be nervous and do the big chop when you feel comfortable. I’m glad I was able to teach you a few things and reach out anytime you have questions. Love you too! xo

  2. Erica this was great! Although I am using a protective style at the moment I am looking forward to embracing whatever my natural hair has to offer! #teamnatural

    1. Thank you! There’s nothing wrong with protective styling at all, as long as you take care of your hair underneath 🙂

  3. Being natural is definitely hard work. This was a great post. Sure have to embrace your natural locks!! I never big chopped but sometimes I wish I had.

    1. The big chop is definitely an experience. It’s kind of sink or swim, learn to love your hair, how to take care of it and show it off or hide it under a wig or protective style. So far it hasn’t been so hard for me since my hair is still short but I know when it grows out it will be major work. Thanks for commenting!

  4. I love this! I was nodding my head as I read because I remember eons ago when I went natural and learned these same lessons for myself. I’m impressed that you learned them so quickly though…it took me a year…or three, lol! In my defense, there was no social media in the dark ages, a.k.a. the late ’90s, so you KNOW I was styling my hair with hope and a prayer!

    Your hair looks beautiful and I hope you continue to enjoy your natural hair adventures. 🙂

    1. Lol at hope and a prayer. Social Media has been a tremendous help and I started doing my research months before I big chopped, so that helped a lot as well. Thanks for commenting 🙂

  5. Just big chopped and I’m navigating may through scarring alopecia. Glad to take the journey with you 😉

  6. I love all the styles of your new hair journey. You looks good, I’m thinking bout going back to team natural and following you. Since we both have that 4c natural hair texture and I’m a lil more educated about my hair texture and know of a few different styles I can do to it. Natural is is soooo free, just a clean wash, moisturize, maybe twist out and go.

  7. Your hair always look great no matter what style you do. I’m not new to being natural but new to the TWA. I do the brush coils daily. I use the LOC method and Eco Styler Gel to lock my curls but the next morning it’s matted to my head. I try to use water and fluff it out but it doesn’t look the same. How do you get your brush coils to last more than a day?

    1. Thank you so much. I didn’t do anything special to it. I just slept with a bonnet and lifted my roots with a pic in the morning.

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