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FEATURES Sep 18 2012 11:58PM
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Welcome Marquita to the Big Chop Club

Surprise! I big chopped! Not surprised? Okay, I get it. My pros and cons last month made it pretty clear that big chopping was the right decision for me. Now, that I’m natural, I am learning a great deal about how (and how not) to treat my hair. Every day I learn a little bit more. For me, I’m still in a transition (not from relaxed to natural), but from natural novice to natural expert.
 
 Here are a few important things I’ve learned about my new natural hair:
 
-Your big chop may not be your last chop: It’s really hard to get every single straight end (unless you’re using barbers clippers), so as your hair grows out, you’ll realize there are straights ends and you’ll have to go back and get a trim. No big deal, but just a thing you’ll deal with.
 
- Dryness like you’ve never experienced: For the first weeks or so, I spent time deep conditioning and using a leave in/oil, every single day. Sometimes twice a day!
 
-Learning the difference between dry and moisturized natural hair: That phrase “Listen to your hair,” means a lot more to me now. I was so concerned with moisturizing that I wasn’t paying attention to the difference between dry hair and moisturized hair. When your hair feels soft (some describe as fluffy, “cotton-y”), your hair is moisturized. Dry hair is hard, brittle, and you can sort of hear that’s its dry when you move your hands through it. Sounds simple, but not paying attention can result in limp over saturated hair.
 
-Your natural hair won’t look exactly the same every day: Being relaxed was sort of easy in that I always knew how my hair would turn out. Being newly natural, you’ll see how your hair changes as it gets healthier, more moisturized, and as it grows longer. You have to be at peace with how your hair will change.
 
-Finger-combing is great, but whip out the comb once a week: When I told Diane that I was finger-detangling exclusively, she was like…”Girl, comb your hair.” Finger detangling is totally viable, but it doesn’t hurt to use a wide-tooth comb once a week. When I do a big wash, I use a wide-tooth comb on conditioner-soaked hair. I like to use a conditioner with a lot of slip. The Hair Milk Co-Wash and the Transitioning 1-2-3 Kit Conditioner are great for detangling. The rest of the week, I finger detangle (still with a great conditioner).
 

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