So you’ve big chopped. You’re standing in front of your mirror still high on adrenaline but still a tiny bit nervous about what your auntie’s gonna say (you know *that* auntie). You might be thinking , “Well, that was fun, but how are we gonna grow this mess out?” That’s where I come in. I’ve big chopped twice, and I’ve learned a few things about growing hair out.
Growing Hair Out After a Big Chop
Take advantage of the short days.
Having short hair can be disorienting for a lot of people, if it isn’t something you’re used to, but I would urge you to relish in days of 10 minute dry time and never have to search for a pony tail holder. TWAs (teeny weeny afros) also let you try new things without as much risk since there is less of an investment in growth time. In short, try to be as comfortable as you can with your current length because if you spend your entire natural journey wishing your hair was longer, you’ll never be satisfied.
Get to know your hair.
Imagine you were getting a new pet, and to prepare, you bought all the food you would need for a year, new toys, a bed, and clothes just to find out that everything was incompatible with the breed of dog you adopted. Yikes. Research is key, especially with natural hair. In order to research properly, you need an idea of the type of hair you have. When typing your hair, focus more on the responses your hair gives you rather than the typical types (3c, 4b, abcdefg). There are so many other factors of hair besides curl pattern, you need to be aware of them. I’m certainly not saying that you have to be able to rattle off, “Hello, I have type 4a hair with low porosity and high density.” I can’t do that, but I can say that my hair likes heavier curl creams rather than milks and needs a huge amount of moisture. I’ve spent a decent amount of time spending time with and learning about my hair. Before you become a product junkie, get a sense (even a small one) of what your hair likes and dislikes. If it’s possible, I would also suggest seeing a natural hair stylist for a consultation.
Drink water & eat your veggies.
Vegetables, gross! Grow up. It’s almost 2018, and we care about our health now. Seriously, you can do all the protective styling and moisturizing you want, but if your diet is crap, your hair will never reach its full growing potential. Take an inventory of what you’re eating and decide for yourself if there is anything you want to change. I’m no nutritionist; I still eat McDonald’s twice a week. But I can tell you that the food pyramid is a good place to start. Also, make sure you’re drinking enough water. There’s a lot of discussion about the correct amount of what you should be drinking (8 cups, half your weight, help?), but do research and decide. And having to pee a lot is not an indicator that you’re drinking too much water. You’re supposed to pee.
Like I said before, my hair needs lots of moisture. When my hair is dry, it is more susceptible to breakage, and therefore, I won’t see much growth. Take time everyday to moisturize your hair. That may mean oiling your scalp, conditioning in the shower, or some other method (or combination of a few). Also, work to retain the moisture your hair already has. Rinse in cold water to close the cuticle. Sleep on a satin pillowcase with a bonnet on. Avoid rubbing your hair against rough fabrics. And protect it in the winter.
Leave your hair alone.
You want your hair to grow? Get your hands out of it. Find a protective style that works for you and wear it for a while. If you’re not the protective styling type (me neither), find a low-manipulation style, or a style that requires little day-to-day work. The idea is to leave your hair alone, and let it work its magic. Also, if your hair is struggling to perform in your chosen styles, stop putting it in awkward situations. If you ain’t got no edges, why are you stretching your hair into a puff, sis? Let it rest.
Congratulations and good luck with this milestone, pal! There are few more rewarding, jarring, and scary feelings than finishing a big chop, but soak in that feeling; it doesn’t last long. Another tip? Take photos along your journey. It will be nice to look back at a month’s progress when you’re convinced that your hair hasn’t grown since you cut it. But remember, length is not an indicator of hair health or worth. Work to have healthy hair, and it will grow. For more natural hair inspiration, check out my Pinterest board.What kind of hair tips you have for recent big choppers? Let me know in the comments!