You took the plunge and big chopped. What’s next? Here are a couple of tips to help you get started:
Build a regimen
Will you co-wash (conditioner wash) or shampoo your hair? Which days will be your wash days? How many times a week will you wash your hair? Will you use the LOC method? It seems like a lot to think about. I found this post on Natural Hair Basics! really helpful as I started to build a regimen. My advice is: keep it simple. The TWA stage is great because detangling, washing and conditioning your hair is easy! Choose products that will help your hair retain moisture. If you’re not sure if co-washing or shampooing works best for your hair, try both. Keep in mind that your regimen will and should change over time. As your hair grows and changes, your routine will have to accommodate those changes as well. Try a regimen for one month before making any changes to it.
Experiment with hairstyles
Depending on your length after the big chop, your hairstyle options may be limited. Don’t be discouraged! As your hair grows, you will be able to do more with it. During my first month, I did twists and finger coils the majority of the time. Now that I’m in my second month and I have a little more to work with, I’m excited to try other styles.
Don’t become a product junkie!
This is a hard one. There are so many great products; it’s tempting to want to try them all. My rule is that I have to use up at least one product before I purchase a new product. I also think about why I want to buy it. Is this replacing a product that is currently not working for my hair? Or am I just jumping on the bandwagon? Knowing your motives may help keep you from becoming a product junkie.
Another great way to avoid product junkie-ism is by purchasing sample or travel-sized packs. Sample packages allow you to test just enough of each product to find out which ones are keepers, and which ones are not. Because they’re all 3oz or less, there’s no guilt or “product waste” involved. Besides, you can always hold on to the containers to fill up for your next trip.
Get started: tgin Sample Pack
Test the porosity of your hair
Knowing the porosity of your hair can help you figure out which products will help your hair absorb and retain moisture. This will help you to decide which products will work best for you and your regimen.
There are a couple of ways to test your hair’s porosity but the easiest is the “Float Test”. Take a few strands, clean hair works best, and place it in a cup of water. Observe the strands for about 2-4 minutes. If the strands sink to the bottom, you have high porosity hair. If the strands float, your hair has low porosity. If your strands floated to the middle of the glass, your hair has normal or medium porosity. This post on Naturally Curly explains the different levels of porosity in more detail.
In the end, it is a learning process. The first couple of months as a natural are about finding what works for you.
Jackie is an Ohio native who dreams of living in California. She began her transition to natural hair in December 2013 and big chopped in April. When she’s not blogging, she loves to workout, travel with her husband, and spend time with their three dogs.