This time last year, I had grown disillusioned with my hair. It wasn’t that I didn’t actually like my hair. Although it admittedly took years for me to do that, I was simply tired of throwing it into the same styles. And I’ve tried them all. Marley twists, box braids, cornrows, a simple blowout; you name it and I’ve probably done it…twice.
So, you can understand why I threw all caution to the wind and decided to chop all of it off. There was no deep meaning or epiphany behind my big chop; I did it on a whim without knowing what it would look like or how it would make me feel. The truth is that when my stylist first whirled my chair around to face the mirror, I Freaked. Out. There were no tears or angry words, but on the inside, I thought, “Wow. This is a lot to take in.”
That confidence that I had walked into the salon with was gone. So I had to grin and bear it until I got into an Uber and could cover my TWA (teeny weeny afro) with a beanie. One, my head was cold, and two, what had I just done?! After a week or so, my shock did subside and eventually, I grew to love this new version of me.
The biggest takeaway was that random hair makeovers are not for the light-hearted. I admire anyone with a tenacity for transformation, but if you’re like me, there are a set of guidelines that will definitely ease the transition into a new look.
Read ahead for my tried and true rules for makeover preparation.
Start With Inspiration
I’ve never been one to model myself after celebrities, prominent figures or other people in general (besides my mom, of course). However, I do wish I took the time to browse magazines, Pinterest, Instagram and other social feeds for hairstyles I might actually enjoy wearing everyday. When I discovered the The Cut Life Instagram page after my big chop, it felt as though I had done everything backwards.
Here was a treasure trove of short hairstyle ideas that I could have saved and shown to a hairstylist beforehand and instead, I made an appointment without consulting first. The truth is, a good hairstylist will always recommend that you sit down to discuss the transformation beforehand, but at the end of the day, they’ll move forward if you tell them you’re ready. Patience is a virtue in many aspects of life, but especially when it involves our hair and beauty choices. Don’t be afraid to slow down and weigh your options before sitting in a salon chair.
Know Your Texture
With that being said, keep your hair’s curl pattern (or lack thereof) in mind when browsing potential hairstyles. Gravitate toward men and women who share your same texture; this is the best way to tell if a style will look good on you before going through with it. For instance, if someone with pin straight hair brought a picture of Alicia Keys to their stylist, a true professional would probably advise against such a drastic change because of the potential damage it will do to your strands.
There’s a little more wiggle room with hair color since so many temporary options are available. However, consulting with a stylist is still necessary so you can be educated on the healthiest way to manipulate your hair’s shade. A pro can also help you identify your hair’s texture if you have no idea what it is to begin with.
Consider Your Lifestyle
If there was one thing I knew my big chop guaranteed, it was a style that better fit my day-to-day schedule. My morning routine is almost always rushed and subsequently, leaves little time for hairstyling and makeup application. When considering a hair makeover, know that it will change your schedule in some way.
Maybe you’ll have more time to sleep in the mornings. Perhaps you’ll need a little extra time in front of the mirror. If your hair-spiration comes from a friend or family member, ask them to share their routine so you can ask questions and consider whether you’d be willing to do the same thing.
Prepare for a New Routine
This is not to be confused with an overall lifestyle change. We’re talking about your product lineup; the spritzes, creams and sprays you use everyday. This was the biggest surprise for me because I assumed that shorter hair would equal less products on my vanity. Boy, was I wrong. I actually ended up using the same amount and even added a few new ones into the mix.
Because I used this as an opportunity to adopt healthier hair habits, I was introduced to an entirely new part of the curly girl world and soon realized that hair length really has nothing to do with the amount of products you use. Your hair’s health is first priority. For some, that means having a regimented multi-step routine. For others, that could mean the complete opposite. If you aren’t able to consult with an expert about the best products for your new hairstyle, anticipate a lot of trial and error in the future.
Remember It Doesn’t Last Forever
Lastly, know that you’re not permanently tied to a look you may not love. We obviously can’t turn back time, especially with drastic haircuts, but fostering a healthy hair routine means it will grow back faster and stronger than you think. More often than not, it usually takes a little extra time to settle into a new hairdo. Remember why you did it in the first place and if that came from a place of preparation and a genuine need for change, you’ll be just fine.