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FEATURES Jul 14 2012 11:43PM

The Highs and Lows of My Big Chop Experience

by Rachel Francois

It’s been exactly 4 months since I Big Chopped and it’s mostly been a wonderful experience. I say “mostly” because there have been some definite highs and some unexpected lows. 

High: My family and friends LOVE my new look. I’ve even converted some life-long relaxers to consider going through their own transitions.  I’m most surprised by my Aunt Pierrette, who was Captain of the “Are you out of your mind” team. She’ll say, “I’m going to wear my hair like Rachel but a little shorter”…insert BBM surprised face here.

High: Every day I look around and see more and more women who have made the transition from relaxed to natural. As we walk by each other in the subway, on the street or in the mall, we make eye contact and there seems to pass an invisible high-five, a message of “Hey girl! You better work!”. I can’t count the amount of times another natural has approached me to talk or ask about my hair. We talk about our different regimens, what products we use, what products we want to try or products we’ve tried and hated. There is a fear or timidness about complimenting each other and that’s not something that I expected. Us girls know that compliments don’t come flying from the next woman often.  I’ve unexpectedly joined a sorority of women who really do support each one another and I’ll drink to that!

Okay okay, now let’s talk about the hair lows and woes that have plagued my Big Chop journey. Firstly, why didn’t anyone tell me that when I woke up on day 2 and everyday that followed that I’d look like Who shot John?!
Low: My hair went from a touchable and shiny TWA before bed to a dry and dull nest of matted hair by morning. I must say that although my afro is by far easier to maintain throughout the day then when it was relaxed, I can no longer step out the house for a quick errand without properly going through my morning hair care regimen as I used to when it was relaxed. Now, I’d rather be late to wherever before you catch me with a dry afro. I understand that it’s due to the friction of my hair against the cotton pillow that absorbs all the oils from my hair but either way my morning hair is not for the faint of heart. I’ve read all about it but keeping your hair thoroughly moisturized is super important and no easy feat. The amount of products, especially Black Vanilla Moisturizing Conditioner and Leave-In Conditioners that I’ve gone through over the past 4 months should be illegal. I love that stuff and thank God I work in an office full of it!

Low: Not long after I cut my hair, I received a wedding invitation to my good friends, Lisa’s wedding. Immediately I starting thinking about what I would wear but then my thoughts came to an alarming halt…”Would I be able to wear a formal dress with my wash-and-go fro?!

As anyone that knows me will tell you, I love getting jazzed up. I’m not a flashy girl but I love being a woman and I very much enjoy putting on a dress and some heels. But never did I think I wouldn’t have anything to wear! Generally speaking, I haven’t had to change my style since cutting my hair but for this occasion, I just didn’t see how my hair was going to compliment my dress. Eventually, I panicked and got micro braids. I felt like a complete and utter sellout. I’m still trying to figure this one out but next time I have an event, I’m just going to thug it out and wear my TWA!


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