A QUICK GUIDE TO TAKING CARE OF YOUR NATURAL HAIR AFTER THE BIG CHOP

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The time after the big chop can be a bit vague especially if you're used to relaxed/texturized hair with no knowledge of your natural hair texture. Before I go on with the hair care tips, let me walk you through what a big chop is again. 

WHAT IS THE BIG CHOP? 
The "Big Chop" is a term used in the natural hair community to describe the cutting off of one's hair. Women who have taken the decision to go natural either big chop or transition. Transitioning means growing out your natural hair gradually while chopping the relaxed ends from time to time until they are all gone and you're left with your natural hair.

If you're wondering which of the options to take, check out this article where I spelt out the pros and cons of big chop and transitioning.

HAIR CARE AFTER THE BIG CHOP
Here are 10 things to do after the big chop;

1. Learn Your Hair Texture. 
Hair texture is more than just your hair type. There are other parts like your hair porosity, hair density and hair width/thickness. Knowing your hair texture helps you understand your hair well and choose the right products for it.

Hair Type: This refers to your curl type. There is the Straight hair (type 1), Wavy hair (type 2A, 2B and 2C), Curly hair (type 3A, 3B and 3C) and the Coily hair (type 4A,  4B and 4C).

HAIR TYPE CHART (Image Source: pinterest.com)


Hair Porosity: This refers to how fast your hair can absorb water and oils. Hair porosity is very important in choosing the right products for your natural hair. Using products not suitable for your porosity type can do more harm than good. There are three porosity types - low porosity hair, medium porosity hair and high porosity hair.

HAIR POROSITY CHART (Image Source: www.maneaddicts.com)

Hair Width: This is the thickness of individual strands of your hair. We have; fine, medium and coarse hair strands.

HAIR WIDTH CHART

Hair Density: This is the number or amount of hair strands growing from your scalp and how close they are in proximity. We have; low density hair, medium density hair and high density hair.

HAIR DENSITY CHART


My hair texture;
Hair Type: Type 4b/4c
Hair Density: High density
Hair Porosity: Low porosity
Hair Width: Medium

Want to know more? Read our texture typing article.

2. Love Your Texture
Now that you've learnt your hair texture, embrace it. Every hair texture is unique in its own way, no texture is ugly. Use products that suit your hair texture. There are cute hairstyles for all textures, you just have to learn how to do them right.

3. Develop a Hair Care Regimen
When you learn your hair texture, build a hair care routine to suit it. For your twa, you don't need to do much. You would likely be pouring water on it every day while bathing. Try limit how frequently you use soap or shampoo on it. If possible, set that to about once in a week. Apply a leave-in conditioner, an oil and/or butter to seal in moisture after shower. As it gets longer, you make changes to the routine to suit your new length. A good hair care routine includes cleansing, deep conditioning, protein treatments, trims, moisturising and protective styles.



Read also: How to create a good hair regimen.

4. Don't Move with the Crowd
I know there are a lot of information online about what and what not to do in natural hair care. It is nice to have people to learn from when you're just a beginner but it will be detrimental to digest wrong information. Some people use coconut oil and it works fine for them. Others use it and it doesn't. There's no one way to natural hair care. Experiment and learn what your hair wants. Your natural hair can only thrive when you feed it with what it wants and not what you see others using.

5. Follow Influencers with the same Natural Hair Texture
You need to follow influencers with the same hair texture because what works for their hair will most likely work for yours. That is not to say you should do everything they do. However, following them makes it easier to learn about your hair too. As a woman with 4c coils, following a natural hair influencer with 3c curls is just wrong. The hair texture is so different from yours and need a totally different type of hair care routine.

6. Spice it up!
A lot of people find the teeny weeny afro boring especially those that love changing looks. Don't you worry! You can still create an interesting look with your twa. There are hair accessories like hair clips and hair bands to work with. You can do finger coils and even a wash and go. Thank God for YouTube, you will find a lot of hair styling tutorials for short hair. Don't be boring, explore.


7. Don't be a Product Junkie
Not every product that come your way is for you. There is always going to be hair care lines  promising magic that only happen in Disney movies and nickelodeon. Don't fall for these. Choose a particular hair care line suitable for your hair porosity and work with that.

8. Eat Right, Stay Hydrated
Hair grows from within. The health of your hair depends directly on what it's fed from within. Eat healthy food and drink enough water. When the body is dehydrated,  it is impossible for hair to hold moisture. The hair needs a good balance of nutrients to stay healthy. Make sure you eat a balanced diet and when it's not possible to some important nutrient from your food, take supplements to make up for them. Here's more on diet and its effect on hair growth.

9. Protect Your Hair
Protective styles will help you retain length because they minimize the number of times you get to touch or manipulate your hair. and this in turn reduces hair breakage. Install protective styles that keeps your ends protected, not too tight on the edges and give you room to moisturize and maintain your hair in them. Always sleep in satin bonnets or scarves to keep your hair protected while you sleep at night.

10. Be Patient!
Okay, I get you're doing everything right to keep your hair in its best condition. The next thing you should do is CHILL. Don't expect to grow 25 inches or waist length hair overnight. This takes time and commitment. Keep taking care of your hair and watch it get into your dream hair.

So here are simple steps to take after the big chop. If you have any other tips to add, please drop them in the comment section.

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