Take care of your new natural ‘do
So, you’ve just snipped off your relaxed hair—aka did the “big chop.” After you spend a few days getting reacquainted with your natural curls and kinks, you might find yourself wondering, “Now what?” You’re not alone. Keep reading for a round-up of hair-care tips and celebrity styling inspiration to help you get started on your new hair journey.
Picking out the right products for your particular hair type can sometimes seem like a wild goose chase. To save money, time and effort, purchase sample size products or join a monthly subscription box service like CurlBox or We Are Onyx to have the mini products sent directly to your doorstep.
Also, moisture is key when it comes to caring for natural hair, so consider the co-wash method (cleansing your hair and scalp with conditioner only) at least once a week. You’re also going to need a wide-tooth comb to distribute the conditioner throughout your hair and gently untangle your curls during and after your washing. As for shampoo cleanses, which have a tendency to dry out natural hair, try limiting that to once a month if possible. You may want to avoid products with ingredients like sulfates, parabens, petroleum, mineral oil and alcohol, which can be drying.
Again, natural hair craves hydration and moisture, so you’ll definitely want to invest in a deep conditioner. Deep conditioning once a week helps to smooth the hair cuticles and will give your hair a healthier appearance and softer feel. Many naturalistas whip up their own natural deep conditioners using ingredients like olive oil, honey, shea butter and more. Others prefer to buy ready-made treatments in stores or online.
Your daily regime should also include a water-based moisturizer, like a leave-in conditioner, and a natural oil, like extra-virgin coconut oil or olive oil. Because the molecules of oil are much larger than molecules of water, the oil will act as a sealant and help to retain the moisture for as long as possible. In other words, make sure to save the oil for last. A butter-based product, such as shea butter, can be used as a second seal, if needed.
We know that it might be tempting to go without that satin head scarf or pillowcase now that you’ve done the big chop, but you’ll actually need it now more than ever. Sleeping on cotton pillowcases will dry out your hair and ultimately lead to breakage.
While gels and other curl-defining products are optional, using them will help to achieve certain desired looks, like Nicole Ari Parker’s pretty spirals. They also keep two-strand twists, braids, finger coils and other protective styles in place, if your hair has some length. Remember to stick to water-based products to lock in as much moisture as possible.
Did you big chop yourself? Bravo! Taking the plunge is such a bold move. However, there’s no shame in hitting up a professional barber or stylist for a shape up or style to freshen up your new cut. Willow Smith always keeps us inspired with funky shapes. A few more ideas: a mohawk, a side part or a fade.
While your hair might not be long enough to style it how you’d like just yet, there’s no length requirement for coloring. A new hue is a great way to spice up your big chop ’do, like Chrisette Michele does here. From the salon professional to henna to drugstore dyes and rinses, there are a number of ways to get a brand new look with a pop of color. Just make sure to research all of your options to determine which route is best for your hair needs.
When it comes to the big chop, hair accessories and jewelry are a girl’s best friends. Jazz up that TWA (teenie weenie afro) with an on-trend floral headband or those larger-than-life earrings you’ve been dying to wear. Makeup is also another fun way to play up your facial features and accentuate your natural beauty.
At the end of the day, just because you’re natural doesn’t mean you still can’t play with other hairpieces, like wigs, extension braids and weaves. Just ask Solange, one of our favorite, famous naturalistas who’s known for rocking her fair share of fierce Marley twists, box braids and kinky and curly wigs. These are all great ways to help increase hair retention while your ends are covered and protected.