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You did the big chop, now what? (part four)

Parted with barrettes.
Parted with barrettes.
this photo taken by Fern Illidge

What exactly can you do with a big chop? Many feel that there aren’t many options to styling short hair, but styling your TWA (teeny weeny afro) is not always all about actually styling your hair! Of course there are the infamous gels to enhance your curl (ECO Styler, Smooth’n’Shine, Kinky Curly, Miss Jessie’s, and… and… and…); and for the first month or so, depending on how short you cut your hair, you will probably rely heavily on the styling gels or creams to either enhance your curls or twists, etc. But is that all there is to a TWA?

Use pins, clips, or combs to style your teeny weeny afro after the bog chop.
photo taken by Fern Illidge

Style what?

Of course not. Just as it is important to condition, condition, and deep condition… you must take care of your hair outside of the wash process. What I mean is that you should have some sort of moisturizer or sealant for your hair that will guard and protect your strands against the harshness of some styling gels, weather conditions, and such. But you will have to experiment with the combination of products you use in your hair, and the order in which you apply them. For example, some naturals find that they have product buildup or flaking if they use certain oils before certain gels; or gels before creams; or even creams at all. It will take you a few tries to find what your hair prefers.

Exterior decorating

Not every woman is a flower child! Not every one wears big flowers or ribbons in their hair, and you don’t have to wear flowers in your hair for your TWA to look cute… try decorative bobby pins, gothic-style clips, earrings that clip into your hair (yes, you can wear earrings in your hair – they look fantastic on big puffs!)… be you and do you, NOT what everyone on YouTube do! (deal with the grammar for the sake of the sentence pattern! lol) Some lovelies look GREAT with big yellow and orange flowers in their hair, while others…not so much. There are so many options out there – try different things until you find your hair décor!

Need a little help? Check out the hand-crafted hair clips, combs, and pins on this online store...

Facial features

Not into ornaments for your ‘do? That’s okay – try enhancing the features on your face that make you unique. When you take away the frame of your hair, your face is naked and much more exposed. When this natural's hair was relaxed and shoulder-length, she would wear it in her face as a sort-of cover, or security blanket. Once she cut it, she began to hear more compliments about her eyes and cheekbones. Some even noticed dimples when she smiled! We were all born with features that define us – why not enhance them? Do you have great eyebrows? Then keep those arches spruced up and draw people to your eyes. Pretty eye color or shape? Find eye shadows in colors to match…well…everything! This, with maintained eyebrows will not only enhance your face, but your puff as well! Lip gloss, eye liner, mascara, or just a touch of powder. You don’t have to overdo it…but do something!

The little things

Last but not least, the little things also can make a difference. I’ve seen ladies on YouTube who put a part in their TWA – right side…left side…middle – whatever looks good on you. How about a single barrette in the front, or two on each side? Depending on the length of your hair, you can cornrow, roll, twist, or pin to your heart’s content. Top it off with a hat. Wrap it up in a decorative head wrap. Even eyeglasses can enhance facial features and a hairstyle. It is YOUR hair…wear it how YOU want! Again, the most important factor in wearing a TWA is how confident you are with it!

We will continue the big-chop-talk by sleeping on it...

*This is part of a five-part series on caring for your hair after the big chop.

Fern writes more about the care of natural hair on her blog. Find more information in her bio.

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