So I have been rocking my natural hair for about 3 years now. I figured it would be good to make a list of things I wish I’d known before the big chop, for anyone out there who might be considering the change. Of course, you’ll find your hair is different and beautifully unique so don’t feel pressured to tick all the boxes but maybe consider a few things as listed below. If you’re looking to skim through the main points of this article, there is a brief resume at the end. Happy Reading!
Before the cut:
Before you get your hair cut, I suggest buying the necessary tools so that you’re not scrambling to find them when you’re already chopped and ready go.
The items I recommend are
• A spray bottle: Your natural hair will be dry, and whatever you decide to use to add moisture you’ll find infinite use for a spray bottle! This is the most functional but necessary of all the tools.
• A sturdy, wide tooth comb: I do mean very wide tooth! Make sure it’s durable, this is key. It’s best to learn how to finger detangle when you’re starting off but I always find it beneficial to have a wide tooth comb in my kit. A good afro pick should work as well in helping you shape that fro. Also worth noting is a rat-tail comb for styling.
• A tooth brush: To lay those edges all day long! A tooth brush is great as it gets a firm grasp on your baby hairs, allowing you to style yourself to perfection. Whether or not you use edge control is up to you. Personally, I just like to make sure my baby hairs are combed through.
• A satin bonnet/ satin pillow case/satin scarf: You need this product. Satin allows for your hair not be damaged by friction from a regular pillow case as well as preventing dehydration overnight. I would recommend getting at least two of these, for extra security.
Getting the cut:
If you’re ready to take the plunge, I recommend going to a barber. Especially if you’re getting it cut particularly short. I find female stylists in black salons can be quite resistant to actually cutting a lot of your hair. So try and find a good place to go where you’ll be comfortable during the hair-cut. I usually try and get my hair cut early in the day and go home and wash it myself.
After the cut:
This is the tricky part, learning to adjust to your natural hair. To make this transition smoother it would be beneficial to identify your curl pattern.
Curl patterns are usually grouped based on the way your natural hair curls. For example I’m a 4C. That means my curl pattern doesn’t have a lot definition and can be frizzy or seem a bit irregular. If you google “natural hair types” you’ll be able to find lots of helpful images.
Another useful thing to know is your hair’s porosity. Porosity simply refers to the pores on your hair strand and how well your hair absorbs moisture. Understanding your hair’s porosity will help you to understand what products, ingredients and routines will work best for your hair. To test for porosity, there are multiple methods you can use. I will attach a video link below.
Porosity ranges between low, normal and high.
• Low porosity hair means the pores on your hair strand are naturally quite closed. This means it’s harder for moisture to penetrate the hair shaft.
• Normal porosity hair has more regular porous opening. This means it’s easier to introduce and retain moisture with this type of hair.
• High porosity hair means that the pores of the hair shaft are extremely open. This type of hair absorbs moisture faster, allowing the hair to become over saturated but it also allows moisture to exit the hair quicker.
This video offers suggestion to test your hair porosity. NOTE: I would avoid the water test as it can be really inaccurate and inconsistent. https://youtu.be/TwhoTMEF1KU
Understanding your curl pattern and porosity can help you to try and establish a moisturising combination that will work best for you. As I said I’m a 4C and I have low porosity hair, so I’ve found hydrolyzed proteins absorb better into my hair and shea butter is the oil that works best for me as a sealant.
I hope this was helpful. Below is a summary of the above article. If you’d like to hear more about this topic let me know by commenting below. Thanks for reading.
Before the cut: Essential tools.
• A spray bottle
• Wide tooth comb/afro pick and OPTIONAL rat-tail comb
• Tooth brush
• Satin bonnet/pillow case/scarf
The big chop
• Consider a barber or find a salon you’re comfortable going to.
After the cut
• Consider your hair type.
• Find out your hair porosity.