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FEATURES Jun 19 2013 8:06PM

5 Things I've Learned Since the Big Chop

by Martine Foreman of JustDiva

It’s been about a year since I chopped my hair off and decided to go natural.  A lot has happened since.  I have learned a lot about my hair and also about myself.  I have also learned a lot about how the world sees me and how much I care about how the world sees me.  It’s been an incredible journey. 

Many of the things I’ve learned aren’t all that major, but they certainly are meaningful. Recently, though, I have learned a major lesson resulting from a series of bad decisions that damaged my beautifully coily hair – an experience that broke my heart.  It’s like the lessons just don’t stop and I am taking it all in. 

During the past year my hair has made me happy, sad, excited, disappointed, confused, frustrated, aggravated, thrilled, hurt, and grateful.  Who knew hair could be so deep?  I sure didn’t.  I also didn’t know that the decision to stop putting damaging chemicals in my hair and chop it off could teach me so much.  Here is what I’ve learned.  Drop a comment and share what you’ve learned since you did the chop.

  1. There will always be people who don’t like your hair.  Who cares?I’ve learned that everyone has an opinion – from your cousin to your boss.  The last time I checked, though, this hair was growing out myscalp so why should I make decisions about what’s best for it based on other people’s opinions.  I think as long as I like my hair, that’s all that matters. 

  1. Less chemicals and heat means happier hair.  There really is just no denying the fact that chemicals are harsh, and so is heat.  The less you subject your hair to these elements, the happier and healthier your hair will be.  Anyone who claims otherwise is fooling themselves and is trying to fool you.  I spent months just focused on keeping chemicals out of my hair, but I recently had my hair blown out and the heat was so extreme it permanently damaged the curl pattern of my hair.  It was a tragic experience… but lesson learned. 

  1. You will never know what products work well for you until you try a few.  There are so many products out there, and everyone has an opinion about what you should use to make your hair shinier, softer, stronger and healthier, but to tell you the truth, what works on your own mama’s hair might not do a darn thing for yours.  The only way to find out what makes your hair happy is by finding out what doesn’t.  It can take some time but once you find the right products (which are usually not the most expensive items) you will be so happy.

  1. Managing natural hair is not harder or easier than managing relaxed hair.  It’s just different.  Before I went natural I would hear so many opinions about managing natural hair versus managing relaxed hair.  In my humble opinion, one is not easier than the other.  They are just very different.

  1. Falling in love with your natural hair makes you love yourself even more.  I considered going natural for years before I actually did it.  It was always a thought in the back of mind.  Every time I got a relaxer, I wondered if I was making a bad choice.  Then, when I got pregnant with my first child, I stopped relaxing my hair for a while and the idea of going natural became even more appealing. But, I will tell you what – going natural has given me so much more confidence and has made me love myself even more than I did before.  I guess embracing a part of yourself that is visible to the world just makes you feel like you can take on the world.  I love it!


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