By: Courtney Akinosho
When I first decided against relaxing my hair in October 2008, I fantasized about growing thick, luscious, bouncy curls that hung down my back for days. You know, the waist length natural hair that we all lust after? Like many women, I’ve always had long hair and friends, family and suitors all saw it as a signature part of my style. So imagine the shock on everyone’s faces – even mine – when six years later, I cut my waist-length hair…to a tapered fade (Check out 6 Ways to Rock a Tapered Fade), no less, right before a holiday.
Now one year, four months post-second big chop, I can safely say I have no regrets about ditching waist-length natural hair for a TWA, and here’s why:
- Wearing hats is now my go-to style, one I was never able to achieve before.
Turbans and hats are truly a lazy natural’s dream. But aside from the many head wrapping options that there are, dressing up an outfit with a hat is another level of fun that I’d never had before now. 12 Lazy Hairstyles for Natural Hair
- I see my face in a new light. I mean really see my face.
If you’ve never used your hair as a disguise, you won’t believe how easy it is to hide behind in times of anxiety or distress. Despite my somewhat outgoing nature, I always used my hair as a security blanket. Once those inches were gone, I had no choice but to get acquainted with the “new” face in the mirror. Though skeptical about wearing my forehead in public, my husband was extremely supportive of my short ‘do. “It really brings out the shape of your face, your beautiful eyes and the natural arch of your brows.” he said. You know what? He’s right. How’s that for a boost in confidence?
- Protective styles are neater and last longer.
One thing I hated about protective styling with box braids or Senegalese twists is that the investment hardly seemed worth it. A week after an install, I’d notice frizzy ends sticking out from braids or twists, refusing to seamlessly blend. I also worried about moisturizing my hair and whether or not that would make the style heavier/oilier/stinkier/looser. Having shorter hair seemed to solve that problem the next time I tried a protective style. 5 Reasons You Should Protective Style
- I’m making new friends who share interests other than hair.
Achieving waist length natural hair will undoubtedly bring questions from newcomers and even seasoned naturals who are curious about hair growth and length retention. Although I never considered myself a hair blogger, my social media following grew from networking with other naturals, offering advice and attending hair-centered events. Funny, but people don’t ask as many coif questions when you’re rocking a TWA. This leads to conversations about any number of things, and ultimately, I’ve formed a new group of friends who seldom talk about their strands.
- I’m finally enjoying the TWA stage.
When the goal was to achieve long hair, my focus grew away from best practices or low maintenance styles, and grew towards showing off all that length. There’s nothing wrong with setting length goals, but personally, they took away from my initial belief in having healthy, bouncy tresses. The irony. This time around I’ve forgone flat irons and blow dried styles for flat twists, a weekly wash-n-go and heat-free updos. Faux double buns with real bangs? Sure. Butterfly headband? Why not?
- Medical conditions and health concerns aside, I can always grow long hair again.
If there’s anything I’ve learned in these 7 relaxer-free years, it’s that appearances are temporary. I may have short hair this month, but I can have long hair next year if I continue on this healthy hair journey until then. More importantly, I can be happy and love myself regardless of my hair’s length.
Have any of you decided to big chop again? Are you surprised that I cut my waist-length natural hair with no regrets?
I’d love to hear your thoughts about celebrating the TWA. Leave your kind comments below!