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FEATURES Jan 1 2013 11:07PM

Post Big Chop: Short Hair Maintenance

by Chime Edwards, HairCrush

Many women believe once they big chop and they’re left with a TWA  (teeny weeny afro); there isn't much maintenance but this is far from true. Learning the proper way to moisturize and style your hair are key elements to enjoying your teeny weeny afro!

If you know anything about natural hair, you know that you need consistent moisture to retain length; even if your hair is only 3 inches long. Don’t fall into the mindset of “My hair looks fine, so it’s okay.” You must moisturize your hair on a regular basis if you want to see growth. One way you can moisturize your TWA is by
lightly spritzing it once or twice a day with only water, aloe vera juice, or a vegetable glycerin and water mix. You can also use a leave-in conditioner of your choice to add moisture and remember to seal your hair with an oil or butter.
Also, don’t forget to deep condition your hair. I recommend doing so every time you wash your hair, or weekly. Deep conditioning is easily one of the most important aspects of the curly and kinky hair-care regimen. By promoting elasticity, deep conditioning improves the strength of the hair making it more resilient, which helps in length retention in the long term.  At night, simply wear a satin bonnet or use a satin pillow case. Don’t skip this because you believe your hair is “too little” to be harmed. Child please! I’ve seen some janky TWAS due to lack of maintenance. You must protect your hair as you slumber. You don’t want to lose moisture throughout the night.

Styling Techniques
You may become frustrated with wearing a TWA due to the limitation of styles that can be worn. Most TWA wearers sport twist-outs, which may be difficult depending on your length of hair. The classic wash ‘n go is at the top of the list, which is great for all lengths. You can get great wash ‘n go results by combining your choice of a light leave-in conditioner and a little gel (I recommend using a natural hair gel) and seal it with a light oil. This combo will give your hair excellent definition. Also, wearing headbands, bows, and knit hats are a great way to spice up your tiny ’fro. Don’t be afraid to use them because you believe you will look silly due to your hair’s length.
I truly admire women who big chop and sport TWAs proudly. It’s not easy for most of us to do so. I waited two years before I finally cut my relaxed ends off. Yeah, I was kind of a punk, lol. Enjoy the length that your hair is now and don’t obsess over your length. You may not believe this but I’ve heard many women say they miss their TWAs after their hair has grown out and opt to cut it back to that length. Enjoy your hair at every stage. Don’t rush it; enjoy the ride! How did/do you maintain your TWA?



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